Frank posted his review of Spirited Away last night, and I feel that I need to respond to the following comment:
Ironically, Ian and Vic walked out of there claiming to have found it incomprehensible. This astonishes me – this had the most coherent, albeit simple, plot of any anime I’ve ever seen. Savages.
It wasn’t that I found the plot incomprehensible, just that I suffered severe whiplash from the plot twists pulled out of Miyazaki’s ass. In creating Spirited Away, it’s as if Miyazaki started with the end result (young girl gains strength and learns some lessons about good and evil and the blurred boundary separating them by experiencing life in an imaginary world) and then hired a five-year old with an ether addiction to fill in the plot points. Naturally, I realise that this is the same premise behind Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, but I don’t much like that story either. Tales of morality do not appeal to me.
Don’t get me wrong, the movie wasn’t all bad. The animation and details were incredible, each scene more inspiring than the one previous. The characters were very well done with easily identifiable personalities, although Haku was a little wooden. I liked how nobody in the movie was truly evil and few were truly good. Even Yubaba, the witch who runs the bath house where much of the movie takes place, had her good points. I would rate Spirited Away higher than Princess Mononoke, Miyazaki’s previous work, on the characters alone.