Fridge / Spirited Away

Fridge Brilliance
  • 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-Kami 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-Kami 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 Kami's gift. It's logical that medicine from a river would cure another river.
  • Chihiro tries the medicine not long after being given it, only for it to make her gag with it implied to be quite disgusting, as is common with medicine. However, both times it is used, saving Haku from Zeniba's curse and making No Face release his victims, it is precisely the fact that it induced vomiting that made it useful.
  • 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.
    • This troper disagrees. Miyazaki is not the kind of man who would believe humanity to be any different or any better than animals, and in fact almost always has undertones in his films equating human life to animal life and driving the point home that we're no different than they are. Read into the scene however you like, but I guarantee the above idea was not at all his intention with that scene. She was able to tell they weren't in there for two possible reasons: either because Yubaba is a known trickster, or because she didn't feel the parent/child connection to any of those pigs. When she first went to the stable where the pigs are kept, she was emotional, distraught, and unfocused. She wasn't yet mature enough to notice the connection. By the time her adventure had finished, she'd matured enough to stay focused and recognize that she didn't feel that connection with any of the present pigs. Of course, this is only my personal speculation as well, but it's certainly more believable than a Miyazaki film implying that humanity is somehow on a better or higher level than animals. -E Bsessed
  • 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 balls), another time by the River Kami 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.
  • After Haku is injured, Chihiro tries to go up to the penthouse to find him, but is stopped by one of the bath house attendants who freaks out and lets go of her when he sees that her hand is covered in Haku's blood and some of it has gotten on him. This makes sense as he's a Shinto kami, and in Shinto, blood causes spiritual or ritual impurity, a rather large failing for a bath servant.
Fridge Logic
  • By "Don't look back," Haku also meant that Chihiro should not tell anyone else about her experience in the spirit world after she returned.
    • It may also be a reference to the Greek tale of Orpheus - he went to Hades to save his lover, Eurydice, on the condition that he doesn't look back until he leaves. He does look back when he is out, but not when Eurydice leaves - leaving her trapped in Hades for eternity.

Fridge Horror
  • One of the more innocuous moments 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?
    • Also, Lin comments calmly enough that she wants to leave the bathhouse by the train, and gets excited at seeing tickets. Then you get to see who gets on the train. Wait a minute...
    • 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.
    • The Bathhouse has clearly been running for a very long time, but when entering the archway, the Dad states that it's pretty new. Maybe the newness was an illusion, and the illusion broke after they left the spirit world, allowing the archway and statue to show its true age.
  • When Lin tells Sen that Haku is Yubaba's henchman and not to trust anything he says, Sen immediately crouches down and sobs. Maybe Sen thought she'd been conned by Haku while vulnerable, into going to Yubaba and giving up her name, therefore forced to a life working in the bathhouse? No wonder she was crying all through the night.
  • Haku was sent to steal Zeneba's gold seal. In most legalities a seal on a will is just as legal as a signature. Since Yubaba can only control those, whose names she's stolen, she wanted that seal to control her sister. No wonder Zeneba was mad.
  • If Sen and Haku had never met,...as Chihiro and Haku, the river spirit, she would have probably been long turned into food, her parents, forever pigs and Haku would have remained a slave to Yubaba .... forever.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Fridge/SpiritedAway