Joe Hisaishi - Spirited Away
Mar 28, 2020 (updated Apr 1, 2020)
87
乙女と海

It is as beautiful as a lightning bolt through a storm.
It is a train that flies over the water, a dragon that floats in the air. It is two wagons flying towards the horizon on the surface of a crystal blue sea, in the quietness of a summer twilight. In the heart of this ocean shaped by tears of rain, two parallel rails punctuate the landscape of a one-way trip, an initiatory journey with no sure return for a little girl. Journey within the journey, at the end of the night, to pierce her friend's secret in the middle of the darkness at the bottom of the world. Adorned with a masked but faceless shadow, the silence of her journey is only disturbed by a few piano notes resonating - high and deep, beautiful and sad, optimistic and melancholic - blending between the blue of the sky and that of the sea.

In this vaporous atmosphere, the stations pass before our eyes, points of land crushed by the immensity of the sea, shadows slide out of sight towards their uncertain future. In an instant, they disappear, crumble, and leave in our minds only the furtive imprint of a little girl lost at the edge of the wharf.

Seen up close, seen from above, this endless ocean continues to engulf every landmark outside these few stations. From the bathhouse to the sixth station, an eternity has occurred, from the sixth station to the bathhouse a short moment is enough. A suspended moment, in free fall, in the thunder of a silvery rain, a moment lost between the earthly calm of a countryside and the aerial lightness of a dragon. A thunder that sounds like a revelation, like a definitive change. The evolution of an impatient, selfish, stubborn little girl into a courageous, honest, devoted young woman. A magical, marvellous change in a fantastic, teeming, surprising universe.

As if in the middle of a dream, the earth is submerged by calm waters. The world is divided only between air and sea, in a soft fluidity agitated by the flamboyant character of a little girl trying to save her loved ones. At the end of the tunnel, at the end of the rails, at the foot of the sixth station, a light, warm breeze caresses her face. The moon watches over the serenity of the sea above the clouds.

The sun will soon be here.
Chihiro is going home.

Best tracks: "One Summer's Day", "The Sixth Station", "Always With Me", "Reprise", "The Dragon Boy","The Return", "Nighttime Coming", "The Empty Restaurant", "Procession Of The Spirits".

Worst track: "Yubaba's Panic"
WhatTheFunk's Tags
3 Comments
Mar 29, 2020
Reading this review takes me back. I can picture that famous train scene all over again, overpowering intimacy is what I'd feel. Hayao Miyazaki knew of his art very well, nobody could've captured that serene feeling quite as he did with Spirited Away. And to think I wouldn't even personally consider it to be top 3 Ghibli films!

Joe Hisaishi was the perfect musical right-hand man of Miyazaki. No one better could've so beautifully integrated his artistic vision into music form. That I find so mutual and fascinating about Ghibli film scores. Hisaishi was at his finest with the Princess Mononoke score, absolute bliss that leaves me paralyzed every time I hear it! That one in particular is an all time musical favorite of mine, you've got me motivated to discuss it sometime soon. :)
Mar 29, 2020
(sorry bout the double comment, was trying to edit the first comment and forgot to delete haha, oopsies)
Mar 29, 2020
@Inglume Thank you very much for completing my review with such a great comment, and I agree with you, this is not the best Ghibli movie but it has this music, this originality, this perfectionism that 99% of animated films don't have. During the first two weeks of the confinement I watched all of Ghibli's films and it made me want to write this little review to encapsulate a feeling. Personally I prefer Princess Mononoke which is my favorite animated movie oat, and I can't wait for you to talk about the soundtrack of this masterpiece!
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