Spirited Away is the only animated film I've ever seen that's perfect. It's the best of its kind. Director Hayao Miyazaki, who personally oversees every aspect of his films, is one of the few auteurs remaining in the world of animation. Each of his creations is a wonder in its own right, yet Spirited Away is his masterpiece.
Every character is infused with personality and charm, and Miyazaki never allows any of them, not even his villains, to be written on a single note. Yubaba, the temperamental witch who manages the bathhouse, antagonizes Chihiro unmercifully throughout the film, yet she is not entirely evil. Yubaba is mean, yes, and very domineering, but shows that she's also capable of kindness when she praises Chihiro for the young girl's excellent work in cleaning up a particularly dirty water spirit. The fact that his characters are never pigeonholed into the normal personality traits so often associated with animated films is an important aspect of Miyazaki's unique touch, one that consistently sets him apart from his peers.
A film that permeates with every shred of Miyazaki’s talent and creativity, Spirited Away succeeded in spiriting me away. I did not want this film to end.
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