Many big movies achieved their 20th anniversaries in 2021, and one of them was the iconic Spirited Away! The story of Chihiro stumbling into the spirit world and struggling to survive by working in an elaborate bathhouse continues to captivate audiences to this day. During a TV broadcast of the film on January 7th, Studio Ghibli took to Twitter to answer some fan questions! This news comes to us from Crunchyroll.
One notable tidbit the studio gave out was of the character No-Face, named Kaonashi in Japanese, who lured the bathhouse employees closer to eat them.
Translated from Crunchyroll:
“Kaonashi’s voice recording sessions were filled with continuous hysterical laughter.
‘Please give me an even sadder ‘ah’.’
‘An even sadder ‘ah’.’
There’s some tremendous mental imagery of No-Face’s Japanese voice actor, Akio Nakamura, in the recording booth. While Hayao Miyazaki, the film’s director, keeps telling him to try again but make it sadder. Audiences sure seem to think that he hit the mark.
Another noticeable tidbit was the character Yubaba, the bath house’s boss and ruler. In one scene, the old woman shoots energy balls from her hands. A fan pointed out that the scene was reminiscent of the popular Shonen anime, Dragon Ball. Ghibli answered back with an image of the storyboards for the very scene, where the shot was labeled as “Dragon Ball style.” According to the tweet, Miyazaki’s explanation was that “she’s an old woman who can fly,” so why not give her the ability to shoot from her fingers?
Another fan asked a popular question among fans of Spirited Away. Do Chihiro and Haku ever reunite after the events of the film? In the film, it gets explained that Haku was the water spirit of the old river next to Chihiro’s house. Ghibli’s response was simply, “If she were to ever visit…”.
The studio also answered a few technical questions regarding the process of the film’s construction. When one fan asked if the flower bushes in the pig farm scene were computer-generated, Ghibli responded that they were “painted by hand and given depth in a computer.” Ghibli is famous for its hand-crafted scenery and animation; it’s nice to hear that the studio only used computer imagery when it was needed.
This is only a tiny handful of the cool stuff that the studio gave to the public. They also released early designs and test drawings of the characters and scenery, along with answering fan questions. Studio Ghibli is well known for its incredibly smooth hand-drawn animation and gorgeous scenery, so fans of either are bound to have a treat scrolling through what was released.
There’s something truly magical about a film from Studio Ghibli; whether it’s the gorgeous visuals or the captivating stories, you’re sure to get sucked into another world. Ghibli is currently branching out into new territories. Their first full 3D animated film, Earwig and the Witch, released in 2020. The studio’s infamous director, Hayao Miyazaki, has also recently announced he is coming out of retirement to direct one final film, How Do You Live? which is set for release in 2023. The Studio Ghibli library of films is currently on HBO Max exclusively for streaming.