Animation Addicts Podcast, Podcasts, Studio Ghibli

Episode 16: Spirited Away – This Ain’t Your Typical Western Story

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The Rotoscopers jump into the world of Japanese animation by reviewing their first ever anime: Studio Ghibli’s fantasy-adventure film Spirited Away. Mason also introduces a new super duper anime trivia game and tries to stump Morgan and Chelsea. So join the Rotoscopers for all the news and laughs in the (Japanese) animated world!


  • The Rotoscopers: The Band!
  • News: Epic trailer is epic, DreamWorks theme park, Penguins of Madagascar movie, Kung Fu Panda 3; get more news at our website and
  • Mason discusses anime music and theme songs
  • New Game! ‘Super Awesome Fun Time Anime Synopsis Game Deluxe Bean Burrito Game!’ Mason reads a description of an anime and Morgan and Chelsea have to guess if it’s a real show or made up
  • Main discussion: Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away
  • Animes are like awkward conversations: you just can’t jump into them
  • Spirited Away is awesome because it stands out visually from other traditional animes
  • Characteristics of animes that deter Western viewers
  • Thoughts on grotesque character design: Yubabba’s big head, Chihiro’s dull design
  • Chihiro: her transformation throughout the film, “what’s up with that guy?”
  • Shifts away from traditional Western story telling: lowest point at the beginning
  • Story: static characters help move the forward; characters don’t grow up, but discover inner strength inside of them; Chihiro can’t go back, just forward
  • Standout scenes: the beginning is very typical of a scary movie, abandoned amusement parks
  • Mason’s theory alert: Chihiro & her parents died on the car ride & are entering the afterlife
  • Unanswered question: were the parents under a spell when they were eating the food?
  • What’s with the roasted newt?
  • Similarities with Alice in Wonderland and Pinocchio; Crow Yubabba is similar to Maleficent’s crow Diabolo
  • Chihiro’s defining moment, slow character evolvution
  • Susan Egan as Lin; Jason Mardsen as Haku aka a ‘voice acting hero’
  • Voice actor tangent: are some voices too recognizable and distracting?
  • No Face: unresolved character, Mason discusses fan theories about who No Face is
  • Morgan’s had a No Face in her life
  • Yubabba: great enjoyable character, stays nasty till the end, motivated by only money and her baby
  • Conundrum: how did Chihiro know that none of the pigs were her parents?
  • Themes: generosity vs. greed, love vs. infatuation
  • Rich with symbolism, lots of moments for reflection
  • Last lines of the film (added for English dub): “I think I can handle it.”
  • What both our listeners and The Rotoscopers rate it! ★★★★★
  • A big ol’ mail in the mail bag!
  • Plug to listen to past episodes!

Runtime: 1:19:53, 38.5 MB

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About Morgan Stradling

Morgan is a native of Arizona and is a desert rat who loves the heat--she doesn’t even turn on the AC in her car in the middle of the summer! She loves big eyeliner, Survivor, Lady Gaga, and, of course, animated films. She has her MBA in Marketing from ASU and now works as a Product Manager for a tech company. Follow her on Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.