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YMMV: Spirited Away
  • Alternative Character Interpretation: The theory that Yubaba and Zeniba are the same person. This is only applicable in the English dub. In the original Japanese version, Yubaba is much more vindictive and sinister, and has no intention to release anybody under her power willingly.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Chihiro restores her parents to human form and returns to the real world, but it's implied that memories of the spirit world promptly leave her mind afterward, and she won't be able to see Haku again. YMMV on whether or not her memories actually leave her.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse:
    • The Radish Spirit.
    • The little soot creatures.
    • "Oy, oy, oy, oy, oy, oy, oy, oy, oy, oy!" (The three heads.)
  • Magnum Opus: A heavy contender for Hayao Miyazaki, along with Princess Mononoke and TheWindRises. It commonly comes under one of his best films ever, which is even more impressive seeing his exemplary body of work as a whole.
  • Narm: Chihiro crying shiny, oversized tears while eating a rice cake.
  • Puppy Love: Chihiro and Haku. This became obvious once Haku's role as the Mysterious Protector was established.
    • This is something most Miyazaki films have in common. Not that it makes it any less sweet, though.
  • So Cool It's Awesome: There's a very good reason why it won the Oscar for "Best Animated Film".
  • Squick: Studio Ghibli has a thing for goo...and it's pretty evident here.
  • Ugly Cute: Some of the bathhouse spirits, particularly the Radish Spirit.
  • Uncanny Valley: Many of the spirits have proportions that are just wrong. The effect can be rather unsettling at first.
  • Vindicated by Cable: The movie wasn't a success in the US at first, but positive word of mouth and strong DVD sales made the movie one of Miyazaki's most well known films in the US.
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not for Kids?:
    • For a film aimed at young children, there's an awful lot of blood and other potentially frightening imagery, especially considering it was released in the West.
    • There's also some rather deep layers of meaning which won't be apparent to younger viewers.
  • The Woobie: Chihiro, so woobie you can't help but want to give her a hug and tell her everything's going to be okay.
  • Woolseyism: As mentioned above, the Disney dub is high quality, but there are some things that Disney thought needed to be explicated, so a few things are left out that either become more obvious in the Japanese version or were changed in the English to fit in. These changes aren't necessarily bad, and some people prefer them, but they are different.

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