Ready to find out about what’s going on with Spirited Away?
Today we’ll be taking an extensive look at the plot of the first movie, any rumors floating around, and if there will be a sequel. So let’s dive right into it!
What Happened So Far in Spirited Away?
The story of Spirited Away starts with a young girl Chihiro, who’s in a car with her parents, and they’re driving to their new home. Her father, while driving, decides to take a shortcut, and they come across an abandoned village. Her parents decide to explore the village, but Chihiro’s intuition tells her not to. She tells them not to go, but they tell her that she should stay in the car if she’s not coming. Afraid of staying alone, she decides to go with them.
The three of them find a restaurant stall full of delicious food but with no people anywhere. Her parents become gluttonous and decide to sit down and eat. Chihiro is hesitant and tells them not to. They don’t listen and continue chowing down on the food. Chihiro finds a bathhouse and a boy named Haku. He warns her to get back to the other side of the river before it gets dark. She quickly starts running and sees her parents have been transformed into pigs from the food. She soon realizes it’s already dark, and the river is flooded.
Haku finds her and hides her from the ghosts and monsters that start crawling up at night. He tells her to go to the bathhouse and find a job and that if she has a job, she’ll be safe. She finds the boilerman, and after insisting, he sends her to Yubaba, the witch that runs the bathhouse. She tries to scare Chihiro away but, in the end, decides to give her a job. Chihiro is then renamed Sen by Yubaba. After this, Haku warns her that she’ll be using that name for a while and that if she forgets her full name, she’ll be trapped in the spirit world like him.
Later Sen sees a Japanese dragon. She recognized that the dragon was actually Haku. He goes to Yubaba’s room, and Sen follows him. Suddenly, behind her emerged Yubabas’ twin sister Zeniba. She was also a witch. She told Sen that Haku had stolen a very important cursed, goldenseal. Sen feeds Haku a dumpling, and he vomits the seal along with a black slug. Sen decides to return the seal to Zeniba.
Yubaba learns of this and orders execution for Sens’ parents. Haku tells her that Boh (Yubaba’s son) is with them and that he’ll retrieve him if she lets her parents go. Zeniba reveals that Yubaba used the black slug to control Haku and that Sens’ love for him saved him.
They return Boh to Yubaba, and she forces Sen to point out her parents from a pack of pigs. She correctly answers that none of the pigs are her parents and is free to go. Haku gets her back to the now dry river and vows to meet her again. They go through the tunnel back, and her parents don’t remember a thing after stuffing their faces. They drive off to their new home.
What’s Studio Ghibli Been up To?
Studio Ghibli is a Japanese animation studio that ranges from commercials and short films to animated feature films like Spirited Away.
They have many awards for many of their films and are considered one of the best studios for animated movies ever. The studio was founded on June 15, 1985, by directors Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata. They had a few years off from 2014 to 2017 because of Hayao Miyazakis’ retirement. But now they’re back and still at work.
The studio has won many rewards, and five of its films are among the top 10 highest-grossing animated films in Japan. Spirited Away is in 2nd place, making 380 million $ worldwide. Five of the studios’ films have received Academy Award nominations. Spirited Away won one in 2003 for the best-animated feature film.
So the studio is still in the works and going strong. Since finishing Spirited Away, the studio has done 10 other movies and is currently working on a movie scheduled to come out no sooner than 2023.
What Do We Know About Spirited Away 2 So Far?
Spirited Away is one of the best-animated films in existence, and this isn’t just fans talking. Critics seem to think so, too, as the movie has won several awards, including the Academy Award in 2003. It has made over 380 million dollars in sales, and there’s clearly demand for a sequel.
However, it’s been 20 years since the first movie came out. Most of the movies that have sequels make them within the 1 to 5 years mark. Also, it’s important to note that Studio Ghibli has NEVER done a sequel to a movie until this point. They like their one-hit wonders, and they’ve been sticking that rule tightly, no matter how successful the movie. There are currently no official reports for part 2, and for now, it’s a pretty safe bet to say that there never will be. The studio has built an image for not making sequels no matter how successful the movie and they’ve explained many times that this is because if there’s no need for a sequel, it will just be a forced story and fan service. That would ruin the movie’s credibility, and they don’t want to be a part of that.
So, it’s pretty safe to say that Spirited Away is not coming back.
What Do Fans Have to Say?
Fans clearly want Spirited Away to return with a second movie. The movie did so well that people couldn’t get enough. Theories were going around about the second movie, how it would be when Chihiro and Haku are a bit older and more capable. Rumors were going around about a second movie.
Basically, anything to believe that it would be coming back. When the studio announced that Miyazaki was retiring to work on a new movie, everyone exploded, thinking it would be Spirited Away 2. It turned out, however, that this movie would be “how do you live?”.
Where to Watch Spirited Away?
So, if you’re unsatisfied and want more Spirited Away, you can always rewatch the movie on Netflix. If you’re in the US, Japan, or Canada, you can buy the Blu-Ray or DVD. You can watch the countless theories and analyses on Youtube created by fans.
It’s a shame we won’t be getting a second movie, but it could be for the better. If the Studio thinks the movie is a one-time spinoff, it would be best to trust them. The last thing anyone wants is some forced creativity and a washed-out version of the first movie. It’s best to leave it as it is.