Spirited Away (Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi) is a Japanese animated movie, better known as an anime, that was released in Japan in 2001. Shortly after its release it won both an [[Academy Award], among other prestigious awards. The story was written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki, a famous animator that works for Studio Ghibli. Studio Ghibli has become known for producing only the best in animated movies, and Spirited Away is no exception.
Spirited Away is the fantastic story of a young girl Chihiro Ogino. The movie opens with Chihiro upset because her family is moving away from all that is familiar to her. She finds time to complain about everything, and it is easily apparent that Chihiro is frequently unhappy and is often selfish. When traveling to her new home, her father takes a wrong turn and the end up at a strange building. Inside the building Chihiro and her parents find what looks to be an abandoned park.
They cross a dry riverbed while exploring and find a town full of restaurants that all have food piled high on tables, but no diners. Chihiro’s parents decide to dig in to the feast, but Chihiro is too worried about being caught to eat. She wanders off and starts heading for a strange bath house. Before she can get to the bath house, a boy named Haku appears and tells Chihiro that she must get back across the riverbed before night falls. Just as he says this, night begins to fall. Chihiro tries to run away, but is stopped when she sees that the dry riverbed has no become a rushing river. She is also distressed to learn that her parents have turned into pigs, and that she is slowly fading away.
Haku rescues her and is able to stop the vanishing by making her eat something that is from the spirit world, which is where both she and her parents have wound up. Haku brings her to the bathhouse and tells her that she had to get a job in order to stay in the spirit world long enough to be able to get herself and her parents out. She reaches out to a woman named Yubaba, who owns the bath house, and asks for a job. Yababa is glad to give her a job, but insists on taking her name as payment for the job. Chihiro quickly becomes Sen.
The next day Haku reappears and explains to Chihiro that Yubaba is able to control people by taking their names, which is how he, Haku, ended up under her rule. Chihiro manages to survive due to the friendship of strange creatures, such as a strange spirit known only as No Face, and Haku, her original rescuer.
The story of Spirited Away has almost a moral-like quality to it, with a bit of a coming of age story mixed in. The reason it won so many awards is because it does not focus on the fantasy world, but instead uses it to bring to life some of the problems that face the youth of today and how they can overcome them.