Spirited Away from Studio Ghibli is the Oscar-winning masterpiece by director and animator Hayao Miyazaki. One of Ghibli’s most well-known works, it follows a young girl named Chihiro, who is in the process of moving to a new town with her parents.


On the way, they stumble into a mysterious Spirit Realm, where Chihiro gets separated from her mom and dad. The story sees Chihiro adapting to and exploring this unfamiliar place, and trying to reunite her family so that they can go home. The movie explores themes of growing up, memory, and consumerism, and these ideas are reflected in the words of the film’s characters.

Updated on November 16th, 2022 by Stacie Rook:

In collaboration with Lucasfilm, Studio Ghibli have released a new short on Disney+, titled Zen – Grogu and Dust Bunnies (via IGN). Combining Star Wars‘ Grogu with the studio’s aesthetic, the film also features Studio Ghibli’s soot sprites (or Dust Bunnies), who made a notable appearance in Spirited Away. This shows the lasting impact characters from the movie have had, an idea that is reinforced by Spirited Away‘s memorable quotes.

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15/15 “I Finally Get A Bouquet And It’s A Goodbye Present.

That’s Depressing.”

Chihiro, to her parents

Chihiro lying in the back of the car holding her flowers in Spirited Away

Chihiro starts Spirited Away feeling dejected. She has to move away from the life that she knows, which includes her friends, and though she has a beautiful gift from them, it only serves to remind her of her current situation.

RELATED: The 10 Best Hayao Miyazaki Movies, According To LetterboxdThis quote, spoken at the start of the movie, serves to highlight both the loneliness and unexpected humor within Chihiro. It shows her childish (though understandable) response to the kind gesture that her friend made, establishing the point from which she will grow over the course of the movie.

14/15 “I’ve Gotta Get Out Of This Place.

Someday I’m Getting On That Train.”

Lin, to Chihiro

Lin in a small boat in Spirited Away

While on the surface this quote from Lin could simply voice her desire to escape her current life in the overbearing bathhouse, it also serves a greater purpose.

It’s suggested that Lin has worked at the bathhouse for a long time, and she is skilled at her job. Because of this, the quote implies that Lin doesn’t necessarily want to escape the physical space of bathhouse, but rather that she desires to build her own life. Additionally, this desire to leave gives Lin and Chihiro a common goal, allowing them to grow closer to one another.

13/15 “Come On! Quit Eating! Let’s Get Out Of Here!”

Chihiro, to her parents

Chihiro angrily watching her parents eat in Spirited Away

This line is central to Spirited Away. It not only suggests that Chihiro instinctively knew that the food her parents were eating was not meant for them, but also serves as a way to show that she is fundamentally different from her mother and father.

Furthermore, there is something about this line children can connect with; a lack of parental understanding. More specifically, that parents often don’t heed the warnings of their children. Ignoring Chihiro’s plea soon proves to be a big mistake, as her parents’ greed leads to them being transformed into pigs.

12/15 “If You Make Sen Cry I Won’t Like You Anymore.”

Boh, to Yubaba

Boh looking cross in Spirited Away

This quote shows that, despite the initial distrust and prejudice Chihiro (Sen) experienced from the bathhouse staff and residents, there are individuals there that learn to look past their expectations and see Chihiro for the individual that she is.

Spoken by the baby Boh to his mother Yubaba, it also shows how much he has grown as a person from Chihiro’s friendship. Boh defies his mother’s expectations by siding with Chihiro, and by asserting his own will on behalf of someone else, rather than for selfish reasons.

11/15 “The Radish Spirit!”

Lin

Lin greets the Radish Spirit in Spirited Away

This exclamatory quote references one of the best spirits from Spirited Away, the Radish Spirit. It illustrates the exuberance of the characters in the film, and the uniqueness of characters that Miyazaki creates.

While most spirits are not main characters in the movie, they do a great deal to flesh out the Spirit Realm, showing its many sides. Some are resented by staff, some are benevolent, some come purely to test the staff, and some have darker motives. The Radish Spirit would later become an ally to Chihiro, and Lin’s greeting of him shows that she doesn’t fear him.

10/15 “Quit Whining.

It’s Fun To Move To A New Place, It’s An Adventure.”

Yūko Ogino (Chihiro’s mother), to Chihiro

Chihiro in the backseat of the car, arms crossed, in Spirited Away

Studio Ghibli characters are not known for being meek. Viewers only meet Chihiro’s mother for a few brief scenes at the start of the film, but even in this small time, a clear dynamic is established between the parents and their daughter.

RELATED: 10 Underrated Studio Ghibli Movies That Deserve More AttentionChihiro starts the movie as a demanding, upset child. Her parents have no patience for her behavior, not considering their big move from her point of view, and urge her to see the change as an opportunity. At the same time, this line hints at the huge adventure to come, though it’s not the sort that Chihiro’s mother imagined for the family.

9/15 “I Don’t Need Any Help, This Place Is Full Of Soot.”

Kamajī, to Chihiro

The Soot Sprites eating in Spirited Away

When Chihiro arrives in the Spirit Realm, she is told by Haku to go to the boiler man and ask him for work until he agrees to help her. When she finally finds him and asks him for help, he curtly remarks that he has all the help that he needs.

The audience is then introduced to the soot sprites (also known as Susuwatari), soot creatures that look like small fluff balls with big eyes, and who previously featured in My Neighbor Totoro. One of the best non-human Studio Ghibli characters, they capture the whimsy of the Spirit Realm, showing that not everything in the place is scary.

8/15 “Thank The Boiler Man, You Idiot.”

Lin, To Chihiro

Kamaji at the boiler in Spirited Away

Soon after meeting Kamajī the boiler man, one of Spirited Away‘s characters with mythological origins, Chihiro meets Lin, the bathhouse worker who will become her mentor and ally. Initially, Lin gives Chihiro a hard time, insulting her intelligence and seeming displeased that she will have to help her find a job.

While it’s a harsh introduction, Lin’s words are similar to Kamajī’s first words to Chihiro, and yet only a few minutes after he speaks them—when Lin walks in and is alarmed to see a human—the boiler man protects her by claiming she is his granddaughter. This parallel points to the fact that Lin, like Kamajī, will soon become a friend to Chihiro.

7/15 “We Don’t Want Her. She’ll Stink The Whole Place Up.”

The Bathhouse Workers, about Chihiro

The bathhouse workers look at Chihiro warily in Spirited Away

Once Chihiro enters the Spirit Realm, she finds herself completely out of her depth. Although she finagles her way into getting a contract to stay on and work, it doesn’t do her much good when she comes face to face with her fellow workers.

Nobody wants to take Chihiro on as a co-worker, citing her foul human “smell” as the reason. This prejudice adds to Chihiro’s feelings of isolation in the story, but also motivates her prove her worth as a hard worker so that the group will accept her.

6/15 “I Promise I’ll Get You Out Of Here…

…Just Don’t Get Any Fatter Or They’ll Eat You!”

Chihiro, to her parents

Chihiro and Haku visit Chihiro's parents in Spirited Away

Spirited Away sees Chihiro learning to be independent, but ironically, she is landed in her sticky situation in the first place as a result of her parents’ own greed. They refuse to stop eating at a sacred buffet intended for spirits, and as punishment are turned to pigs.

The teachers in this tale are not the parents. Indeed, as is the case in many of Miyazaki’s films, the parents are just as flawed as the children. In a way this acts as an equalizer, and sets up Chihiro as the protagonist to be treated as a complex individual.

5/15 “If You Completely Forget [Your Name]…

…You’ll Never Find Your Way Home.”

Haku, to Chihiro

Haku looking kindly at Chihiro in Spirited Away

Haku gives Chihiro a piece of paper with her name on it and tells her to keep it close to her. Yubaba took Chihiro’s name when she signed a contract to work, decreeing that she would now be known as Sen, in doing so gaining control of her and preventing her from returning to her old life.

Haku has forgotten his own true name, and doesn’t want the same thing to happen to Chihiro. This quote illustrates one of several instances where Haku helps Chihiro, and also speaks to the mutability of identity, and how holding on to the identity that one prefers is not always a given, but takes conscious effort.

4/15 “I Can’t Believe You Pulled It Off!

You’re Such A Dope, I Was Really Worried.”

Lin, to Chihiro

Lin and Chihiro talking in Spirited Away

Lin cares more for Chihiro than she originally intends to. In fact, this is the case with many of Spirited Away’s characters, showing that beyond assumptions and prejudice, real connections can be formed.

RELATED: Which Studio Ghibli Movie Best Suits You, Based On Your Zodiac?Initially Lin seems like a hardened worker with only her own interest in mind, but as the movie progresses it’s revealed that she is a kind young person hoping to find a way to change her life for the better. Lin’s blunt treatment of Chihiro ultimately comes from a place of care, even if her words can seem thoughtless at times.

3/15 “Welcome The Rich Man, He’s Hard For You To Miss;

His Butt Keeps Getting Bigger, So There’s Plenty There To Kiss!”

Aniyaku, about No-Face

Aniyaku dancing for No Face in Spirited Away

One of the most likable Studio Ghibli characters, No-Face, first appears as a mysterious spirit offering piles of gold to the workers of the bathhouse. No-Face brings out the worst in the inhabitants, putting their greediness and selfishness on display. This quote summarizes that arc in a humorous way, as the staff try to please No-Face in order to earn as much gold as they can from him.

No-Face, on the other hand, consumes everything around him but is never satisfied. He tries desperately to please Chihiro, implying that his initial gluttony was a symptom of loneliness. Ultimately, the character has a happy ending, finding a quiet life that suits his true nature with the witch Zeniba in the countryside.

2/15 “Staying In This Room Is What Will Make You Sick!”

Chihiro, to Boh

Boh hiding beneath many blankets in Spirited Away

At one point in Spirited Away, Chihiro fights with Yubaba’s enormous baby Boh, who Yubaba keeps shut away in a room. Boh is convinced that if he goes outside he will be exposed to deadly germs. He tells Chihiro not to touch him, declaring she will make him sick. This quote is Chihiro’s reply, which signals a turning point in her growth as a character.

The quote contrasts directly with the Chihiro that audiences were first introduced to, when she was sitting in the car complaining about the changes in her life. By this point in the narrative, though, Chihiro has learned the hard way that exposure helps one grow, and she recognizes that Boh is being harmed, not protected, by being so coddled.

1/15 “Once You’ve Met Someone You Never Really Forget Them.

It Just Takes A While For Your Memories To Return.”

Zeniba, to Chihiro

Chihiro and No Face visit Zeniba in Spirited Away

Spirited Away is ultimately a bittersweet story. While Chihiro and her parents experience life-changing events in the Spirit Realm, they leave without retaining the memories of them. Though altered as an individual, Chihiro forgets those who helped her get there. However, this quote suggests that these memories could return some day.

Yubaba’s twin sister Zeniba says this line to Chihiro, and it’s relevant not only in regard to the movie’s conclusion, but also in reference to the lost memories and names of the bathhouse workers. As the best Spirited Away quote, it summarizes the movie’s themes in a poignant and simple way.

NEXT: 10 Memes That Perfectly Sum Up The Studio Ghibli Movies



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