In 2001, Studio Ghibli released it's most financially successful film and one of the most lush, beautiful children's stories ever conceived: Spirited Away. It was a film that was instantly beloved by Japanese audiences and remained the top grossing animated film in Japan until 2016.
When Spirited Away was first released in the United States in 2002, it wasn't available in a lot of theaters. Personal experience: I was living in New Jersey at the time (a state full of theaters) and still had to drive an hour to find a place that was showing Hayao Miyazaki's now classic film.
All of which is to say that a lot of people first saw Spirited Away as adults, making the analysis of the story often about adult topics. We thought about the art, what the characters represent, we gushed over the score. And all of those things are worth discussing.
On today's episode of Every Day Animation, comics creator, Mariah McCourt, joined the podcast to talk about all those things. But a funny thing happened mid-conversation: McCourt's daughter woke up and started sneaking into the background while we talked about Spirited Away. And this may be a little "how the sausage is made," but, as it happened, I knew I wouldn't edit that sweet, baby girl out of the episode, because she's seen Spirited Away, too!
Part of our Spirited Away conversation turned towards that: what do very small children make of Spirited Away? How does that influence a parent's viewing experience? It mirrored a similar conversation Alex Zalben brought up when talking about Stephen King's It on last year's episode of Every Day Horror.
Kids: they change everything. And, short version, they make Spirited Away even better. Listen to our conversation to hear about why:
And if you're watching along with us, get ready for something very, very weird. On tomorrow's episode, Allison Pregler, host of the YouTube series, Movie Nights, is bringing her love of all things Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen when she has us watch their forgotten animated series, Mary-Kate and Ashley in Action. They're spies in it. But still also famous actors? There's a Scottish robot dog, there's an evil French makeup mogul, there might even be some Olsen conspiracy theories. So watch along (episodes are on YouTube) and we'll talk again tomorrow.