In Spirited Away, No Face is a monster who takes on the emotions of those around him (he's helpful to Chihiro because she helps him, etc). It only occurred later that that's why he's called No Face—he doesn't have any personality of his own.
I had the opposite revelation. I assumed the above was the case upon my first viewing, but after having to do a report on Japanese theater several years later, I realized that he didn't have no face, he had a Noh face! -Tropy McTroperPants
Japanese name is Kao-nashi ("without a face"), so, not really.
It is clearly a Noh mask. So yes really. It just means it was brilliance on the part of the translator, not the Japanese screenwriter.
English is a required series of classes in most if not all Japanese high schools, and the Japanese are rather fond of bilingual English-Japanese puns, including visual puns. So it's likely that Kao-nashi included the bilingual No/Noh pun as well.
In the Japanese version (with English subtitles), Yubaba observes that the "Stink Spirit" choose to hide itself in the rain. So, of course it would be so appropriate for the River-God to select a rainy day that might quell his stench and pain and allow himself to be accepted (a little more easily) into the bathhouse.
It could also be that, as a water spirit, rain follows him everywhere, or he is at least capable of summoning it at will.
It is quite appropriate for Chihiro to be the first to notice the pollution lodged in the River-Spirit and pull out the last speck of pollution (a fishing hook). After all, humans polluted this River, so Chihiro represents the potential of humanity or/and atonement for human's problems.
In the middle of the story, after Chihiro gives the River-God a bath, he flies away and we can see him after being cleaned up. It's very fast, but it's possible to figure out he's a very elder and white dragon(I actually only saw that on my third or forth watching). And who else is a white dragon? And what does that person turn out to be in the end? — Pro-Mole
The only thing that can cure Haku is the River God's gift. It's logical that medicine from a river would cure another river.
Yubaba, in her Mama Bear fury, grabs Haku with her hair and demands where her baby is while breathing fire at him. Haku barely reacts but one factor that aids in his calm resistance is that he is a river spirit, therefore fire coming from Yubaba's mouth can't hurt him as much.
It certainly would hurt a river spirit if they were the spirit of the Cuyahoga river!
Adding on to that, it's mentioned that the river spirit Chihiro helps cleanse of pollution is very powerful, and that Yubaba had to put a black slug into Haku just to control him, whereas stealing names is enough for everyone else. It stands to reason that river spirits would be quite powerful even without this evidence (rivers can be rather formidable forces of nature), so it's possible that Haku doesn't react because, free from the slug's influence, he's actually more powerful than Yubaba.
When Chihiro chose that neither of her parents were in the pig herd presented. That scene also has another meaning that basically says that her parents are not pigs for she is a human being, not just a mere animal.
That was something I've always considered brutally unfair. Now I see the sheer brilliance of it all.
If Yubaba and Zeniba are truly the same person, it would add a new dimension to the scene where Zeniba tells Chihiro she has a pretty name and reminds her to take care of it-this could be Yubaba withholding ownership of what she took from Chihiro earlier. (In the Japanese version, she clearly says, "Take care of [your name]. It's yours.")
As stated in Food Chains, the reason Chihiro didn't turn into a pig like her parents is because she only ate food that was offered to her by a spirit. Fridge Brilliance comes that the only times Chihiro is seen eating in the spirit world was when someone offered her food. Two times were by Haku (what appears to be a fruit and rice cakes), another time by the River God with the medicine, another by Lin with the pork bun and at the end with Zeniba with the tea and desserts.
The fact that at no point in the movie did any of the characters, aside from her parents, treat Chihiro as if she were a child. In the Spirit World, she is just another human, regardless of her age. She's expected to pull her own weight and do as well as any of the other workers in the bathhouse, which is one of the factors contributing to her maturity throughout the course of the movie.
At the beginning, everything Yubaba says about her is true (a spoiled, lazy, selfish girl who has no manners), and towards the end, the workers have begun to see her as an equal. It's just another extremely well-thought-out indication as to how far she's come in her emotional maturity. She's forced to say yes ma'am and no sir, and do what she's told without question. Spirit journey aside, this is part of the reason why her character development went as far as it did.
If you look carefully No-Face only eats the people that accept his Illusion gifts. This raises two possibilities. One is that because the soak token wasn't his he couldn't eat Chihiro after giving it to her. Two, is that he is constantly trying to get her to take the gold, so he can eat her.
Or it could be that - as stated in the first Fridge comment - No Face takes on the personality of those around him, so when he is faced with people who would take his gold, he is overcome by their avarice and his apatite is insatiable. However, when interacting with Chihiro, who only takes what she needs (like the bath token) and never more, his hunger is gone.
One of the more innocuous moments of Spirited Away can become truly horrific: Yubaba threatened to turn Chihiro into a piglet or a piece of coal, implying that these are standard punishments for intruders in her realm. Now, think of the sootballs carrying pieces of coal to the roaring furnaces by the hundreds, and Chihiro briefly helping them with this job.
There's also the fact that Chihiro would have been eating solid meals the entire time she was at the bath house — those porkbuns? PEOPLE.
Let's hope that the spirits also breed normal pigs in addition to taking polymorphed humans. After all, there couldn't be that many people getting themselves caught in the spirit world... right?
The fact that Kamaji tells Chihiro that the train only goes one-way. First, you might only think about how physically she wouldn't be able to return to the bathhouse by train. Then you realize that this is an Afterlife Express and Kamaji mentions that the train used to go both ways. Those that go on this train (aside from Chihiro) depart from the spirit world entirely.
At least one of these faceless spirits is shown to be a little girl standing on a platform as the train moves on to its next destination...
Look carefully at the tunnel right before Chihiro enters the spirit world, and right after she exits. In the time she spent there, the arc has become overgrown with moss and the face of the statue has completely eroded away... just how long were they in there, anyway?
In addition to that, some fans speculate that it could take at least a decade to fully erode the sculpture, or even the moss-covered arc, but in addition, note the trees, which look entirely different. They could've been in there for 20-30 years.
Luckily, the art book points out that this is apparently normal summer growth in Japan. Also, the car is fine and starts right up.
Without cold weather or specific fuel preservatives, gas goes bad in about three months. Therefore, no more than that much time has passed in the real world.
Alternatively, it could have been to show how much Chihiro changed the spirit world, or a rather literal version of the Spirit World being 'covered up' or similar, without time passing in the real world so much.
It's possible that three days passed in the real world as well, but that the spirits moved the car around to a different entrance to the bathhouse. Chihiro's family didn't enter the same way they left by. And it's the kind of mischief spirits are known for.