The Gift of Rewatching Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away

Nina Li Coomes at The Atlantic:

But only now can I tell you about the texture of the world Miyazaki created—for instance, the flickering neon signs advertising pork on the lane where Chihiro’s parents first turn into hogs. During one recent rewatch in a double feature with Howl’s Moving Castle, I noticed the choice to dress Yubaba, the witch who puts Chihiro to work, in gaudy Western attire despite her Asian-bathhouse surroundings, similar to Miyazaki’s later rendition of Howl’s Witch of the Waste; in both cases, he uses the women’s occidental stylings to highlight their tasteless greed. On another occasion, I realized that Rin, the young bathhouse worker who becomes Sen’s friend and guide, shares a resemblance to Lady Eboshi in Princess Mononoke and Satsuki from My Neighbor Totoro—they all fit the Ghibli big-sister archetype. Only in rewatching did I start to see and appreciate the connections between characters in the Miyazaki Cinematic Universe.

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