8. No Face Eats Everything
After convincing everyone that he has a seemingly unlimited amount of gold, No Face is lavished with food and gifts from the employees at the bathhouse. It’s one of those moments you can smell and taste through the screen – like the food is reaching out and caressing your senses.
No Face’s rampage through the bathhouse is both terrifying and hilarious, walking a fine line between the two. This moment is action-packed, the stakes rising higher and higher as No Face’s body morphs and changes as they ingest more and more food – and even people!
Like Chihiro’s parents’ transformation into animals, No Face shows the audience what happens when we mask our desire for love and comfort with overconsumption. We become insatiable monsters, with a thirst that cannot be quenched.
7. Don’t Look Back
When Chihiro is finally freed from Yubaba’s contract and her parents are human again, she is finally able to return home. But Haku warns her not to look back, not until she goes through the tunnel and comes out the other side.
It’s a subtle, powerful moment that rings true no matter your age: growing up means moving forward. To move forward, we must let go. It’s bittersweet, the way life usually is. And although Chihiro cannot look back, she’ll always remember. She’ll carry the lessons she learned with her, to her new school and beyond. And like Zeniba says earlier in the film, “Once you meet someone, you never really forget them.”
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6. Haku Comforts Chihiro
After seeing her parents in the pigpen, Chihiro breaks down. Haku is patient and kind, offering her food and gently urging her to eat. He rests his arm protectively over her shoulders.
While animation is a medium that can achieve stunning visuals that live-action simply cannot, Miyazaki’s animation shines the most when it’s subtle and nuanced. He’s a master of human behavior, and it’s in moments like these – where two people share space together, where they touch and look and breathe – that make Spirited Away feel so human – so real.