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Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi (Spirited Away)  
(September 12, 2002; Review by Val)

  Spirited Away is the latest masterpiece by the much adored Hayao Miyazaki. Miyazaki is, in my opinion, the greatest animator/director of all time. His storytelling ability is renown on an international level (as well it should be) and his stories never fail to capture the hearts and imagination of his audience.

Whenever we want to introduce a friend to the wonderful world of Japanese animation, we always reach for the Studio Ghibli collection of titles first. (If you want to win them over to anime, I say show them the best.)

Needless to say, I highly recommend seeing this film. I have seen both the original Japanese language version and the recently dubbed Englsh version (which just premiered in the US) and can safely say that this is the best english dub I have ever heard (and I am a serious anime snob!) I can certainly say that I was pleased with the performance of all of the english voice actors for the main characters.

The story is about a 10-year-old girl named Chihiro. She and her family are in the process of moving to a new community, when her father makes a wrong turn and takes them to what appears to be an abandoned theme park. Unfortunately, her parents partake of a bit of "forbidden fruit" (as it were) and are turned into pigs.

Now poor Chihiro and her parents are trapped in a mysterious spirit world. And she must find a way to release her parents from the spell and return them to their own world...before it's too late!

This is an absolutely wonderful story and another precious piece of storytelling magic by the great Hayao Miyazaki. You know you have reached perfection when the beauty of it all makes you weep with joy.

Miyazaki-sensei, arigatou...arigatou....

Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi

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