chapter  12
Heart of Japaneseness: History and Nostalgia in Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away
ByShiro Yoshioka
Pages 18

In 2001, Spirited Away (Sen to Chihiro no kamikakushi) established Hayao Miyazaki as the undisputed leader in a national obsession with anime. The film, however, was not unequivocally praised as a masterpiece. Many Internet commentators complain that Spirited Away was less enjoyable than Miyazaki’s earlier films, especially those produced before Princess Mononoke. Spirited Away seemed somehow empty. Such was my own reaction; it was not as entertaining as Laputa: Castle in the Sky or Kiki’s Delivery Service. It was not as didactic as Princess Mononoke. It seemed that the film wanted to say something, but I was unsure of its message.