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Trivia / Spirited Away

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  • Children Voicing Children:
    • In all versions, Chihiro is voiced by a child actress. Her Japanese VA, Rumi Hiiragi, was only 10 years old when she first recorded the character. Meanwhile, Daveigh Chase was 12 years old when she voiced the character in the English dub.
    • Haku's Japanese voice actor Miyu Irino, was only 13 years old at the time of the film's release.
  • Cross-Dressing Voices: In the Taiwanese and Hong Kong dubs, Haku is voiced by Wang Shizhen and Can Ngonjing respectively.
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  • Died During Production: Yasuyoshi Tokuma, the chief executive producer of Spirited Away and president of Tokuma Shoten, died during the early stages of production in September 2000.
  • Dueling Dubs: There are three Latin American Spanish dubs, both made simultaneously. One produced by Disney made in Mexico City-based Prime Dubb/SDI Media de México (broadcasted in HBO), another one produced by Primer Plano made in Buenos Aires-based Videorecord for their theatrical distribution in Argentina.note  and another one done in Mexico by BTI for Netflix. When Disney bought Primer Plano's Argentine theatrical rights of Spirited Away, they decided to release it with the Argentine dub instead of their own dub. To this date, the Argentine dub it's the most distributed in the region, being the only one ever released on home video and broadcasted on air TV and Disney Latino has come to distribute it in streaming and TV broadcasts in Disney Channel and Jetix; the Mexican dub, however...
  • Executive Meddling: With a rare positive spin and happy ending. After the lackluster box office showing for Princess Mononoke, Disney executives were hesitant to move forward with more of the Studio Ghibli films they'd bought the rights for. Castle in the Sky had been dubbed and shown up on the film festival circuit, but no proper release date was announced, and it seemed like the other Ghibli films would be lost in Development Hell. The happy ending? John Lasseter, then the head of Pixar, stuck his neck out to push for Spirited Away's production and release in America. Lasseter's championing of the film, and its eventual Oscar win, was the impetus for the eventual release of the rest of the Ghibli catalog on DVD, as well as the distribution of future Ghibli films.
    • On some editions of the DVD, Lasseter appears before the movie begins to gush about how wonderful Spirited Away is. There's even footage of him with his arm around Hayao Miyazaki!
      John: Miyazaki-san, the world; the world, Miyazaki-san.
      Miyazaki: [Pause] ...hi.
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  • Posthumous Credit: Yasuyoshi Tokuma is given a credit as chief executive producer, having been involved in the early stages of production before his September 2000 death.
  • Production Posse:
    • Chief executive producer Yasuyoshi Tokuma served as an executive producer for all of Hayao Miyazaki's films.
    • Nippon Television chairman Seiichiro Ujiie was an executive producer for all of Studio Ghibli's films since Porco Rosso.
    • This is Tsunehiko Kamijo's third collaboration with Hayao Miyazaki. He previously voiced the Mamma Aiuto Gang's boss in Porco Rosso and Gonzo in Princess Mononoke.
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    • Composer Joe Hisaishi, color designer Michiyo Yasuda and editor Takeshi Seyama return to collaborate with Miyazaki once more.
    • Supervising animators Masashi Ando and Kitaro Kosaka previously worked with Miyazaki on Princess Mononoke.
  • Promoted Fanboy: Takeshi Naito, the voice of Chihiro's father, is a longtime fan of Miyazaki's works.
  • Reality Subtext: Devoted environmentalist Miyazaki included a bicycle getting pulled out of the polluted water spirit after a clean-up group he was part of actually did find one in a river.
    • When Chihiro accidentally steps on the slug, the Boiler Man does a "cut the line" routine with her. In Miyazaki's time, this was a "cleansing" ritual that kids performed among each other when one of them accidentally stepped in feces. Much to Miyazaki's chagrin, he had to explain this to Rumi Hiiragi!
      • The translation staff had trouble with the gesture as well, until someone realized that it was thematically similar to a "cootie shot" schoolkids would use.
  • Studio Hop: At first, the film was originally released in North America by Disney, before switching to GKIDS.
  • Throw It In: While the rest of the English dub had to be a perfect syllable-for-syllable match-up, John Ratzenberger was allowed to improvise new lyrics to the assistant manager's little song. The line "Now that's an esophagus!" (said after No-Face spits him out) was also his idea.
  • Urban Legend of Zelda: There are numerous rumors surrounding around an extended, alternative ending in which Chihiro sees Haku again in some fashion. There are no indications that such an ending exists in any form.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • Zeniba's design was originally planned to be much more distinct from Yubaba's, being taller and thinner, but there wasn't enough room to develop an entirely new character who didn't appear until late in the film. Then it was suggested that they could be distinguished by the number of rings they wore, but it was difficult to keep track of that, so Zeniba ended up looking exactly the same as Yubaba.
    • No Face's design was originally much more humanoid and colorful looking in concept art.
    • The song "Always with You" was not originally composed for Spirited Away, but a film from Miyazaki titled Rin the Chimney Cleaner that would end up getting cancelled. Miyazaki ended up using the song in this film at the last minute due to realizing that the song's lyrics happened to fit perfectly with the film and its themes.
    • According to Miyazaki, his original draft would had made the film 3 hours long (the final film is 2 hours), which led to many scenes getting cut out in order to simplify the story and keep the film at a reasonable pace.


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