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The World of Spirits and Ghosts in Spirited Away

Spirits and ghosts are an important part of Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi (Spirited Away), and their world serves as the backdrop for the film. But Chihiro quickly discovers that it's a place that's not friendly to humans. Learn more about these spirits, ghosts, and their world!

by ljaesch1
Nov 30, 2015 9:35 PM | 3,505 views

Spirited Away logo

In Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away, the movie starts off with a scene of a young girl named Chihiro and her parents are on their way home. Chihiro’s father tries taking a shortcut but gets lost in the process, and they find themselves at an abandoned amusement park. This park has a ghostly secret that Chihiro will find out the hard way...



About the Spirit World



Day

Spirited Away Chihiro Ogino, Akio Ogino, and Yuuko Ogino

During the daylight hours, the world of the ghosts and spirits just looks like an abandoned amusement park to any humans that stumble upon it. The spirits are nocturnal, so they sleep during the day.


Night

Spirited Away Chihiro Ogino

But when the sun sets, it turns into a bath house, with food stalls that serve a clientele of ghostly creatures. Humans are not supposed to be in this world once darkness falls, as these spirits are not too fond of them, to say the least.

Spirited Away Haku and Chihiro Ogino

If a human ends up in the spirit world when the sun sets, they slowly begin to disappear and start to look ghost-like. When Haku finds Chihiro going through this process, he tells her that she needs to eat something from the spirit world or she’ll vanish.

Spirited Away Haku and Chihiro

Unfortunately, humans are unable to keep their presence hidden from the ghost and spirit inhabitants, because they have a very distinct smell. At one point, when Haku tries to get Chihiro to safety by crossing a bridge, he tells her she has to hold her breath until they make it across. If she lets out even a tiny breath, her presence will be discovered.



The Appearance of Ghosts and Spirits


Spirited Away spirits

The ghosts and spirits that inhabit the spirit world come in many different shapes and sizes. Some are blobby-looking, while others wear clothing and masks. Some of the spirits are tall, while some are extremely small. Some of the ghosts and spirits take on the forms of animals, with the most common being ducks. Others look like monsters, some with a terrible odor. There are even some that are made out of paper.

Blobby spirits

Spirited Away Chihiro Ogino and spirits

Spirits with masks and clothing

Spirited Away spirits

Tall spirits

Spirited Away Chihiro Ogino and spirit

Soot sprites

Spirited Away soot sprites

Duck spirits

Spirited Away duck spirits

Monster spirits

Spirited Away monster spirits

Stink spirit

Spirited Away stink spirit

River spirit

Spirited Away river spirit

Paper spirits

Spirited Away paper spirits



As you can see, there are a wide variety of spirits and ghosts inhabiting the spirit world that’s presented in Spirited Away. Even though Chihiro manages to survive in that world, it’s not a place that’s meant for humans.

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Related Database Entries

Anime: Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi
Characters: Chihiro OginoHaku

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