10 incredible curiosities about Hayao Miyazaki’s masterpiece

On July 20, 2001, The Enchanted City premiered in Japanese theaters. Let’s find out 10 curiosities about Master Hayao Miyazaki’s animated masterpiece.

The enchanted city (2001) by Master Hayao Miyazaki Not only is it one of Studio Ghibli’s most popular films, but it is also among the most highly respected and beloved animated films ever.
In an era where – in the wake of the predecessor Disney Pixar – there are fewer and fewer production houses that are faithful to 2D, the animated feature films made using the traditional technique – albeit made using important digital innovations – still an incredible charm and still succeeds today in stimulating our imagination.
If you are a fan of the The enchanted citycome and discover the secrets and curiosities behind Miyazaki’s unforgettable animation masterpiece. Here are 10 incredible curiosities regarding The enchanted city.

1. The enchanted city: the absence of a manuscript

Despite having a story full of incredible events and well-developed characters, The enchanted city it was not made according to a very specific manuscriptas Miyazaki explained in an interview with Midnight Eye: “I never have the story finished and ready when we start working on a film. I generally do not have time. So the story unfolds when I start drawing the storyboard. I’m not making the movie. The film is made by itself, and I have no choice but to follow it ”.

2. Miyazaki: all done

Hayao Miyazaki wrote, directed and drew storyboards to The enchanted city. Enjoying the vision of this film also means immersing yourself in the vision of an extraordinary man, by a director involved in the production of his work one hundred percent; it is no coincidence that the New Yorker gave him the nickname: “The author of anime.”

3. Chichiro’s character is inspired by the daughter of a friend of the director

The Enchanted City: 10 incredible curiosities about Hayao Miyazaki's masterpiece

Not many people know that Miyazaki was inspired The enchanted city when he retired: In 1997, he had actually decided to retire. But during a vacation in the mountains, a friend’s daughter and her group of peers caught his attention: they were girls in their prime, close to adolescence, but extremely indifferent. Thus, the director felt the responsibility of making a work that could speak to girls of that age. Something that could stimulate them, and that was not just about romance or first love affairs: “I felt like it’s not what they had in their hearts, not what they wanted. And then I thought about making a movie where they wanted to be heroines.”

4. The Enchanted City: The Importance of Contemplative Scenes

The Enchanted City: 10 incredible curiosities about Hayao Miyazaki's masterpiece

In Miyazaki’s film, among others The enchanted citythe scenes of passivity are different. Sequences where one or more characters must breathe: they admire the landscape, look into the distance or just sit down. In an interview, the instructor explained the usefulness of these moments: “If you only have non-stop action without any respite, it’s just fatigue, but if you take a moment, then the tension in the film can build up in a larger dimension. If you just have a constant tension of 80 degrees all the time, you will become numb. “

5. The meaning of the title

The original title of the film of 2001 is Late to Chihiro no kamikakushi (in Italian, Sen and Chihiro’s divine disappearance.)
The term “kamikakushi” can be translated literally with the phrase “The disappearance of a kami” or by the hand of a deity. Kami is an element closely linked to Japanese culture, which is why translating the film’s title into other languages ​​was particularly difficult. In English, it was preferred to retain some connection with the original name, and in fact the film is known in Anglo-Saxon countries as Spirited away, which still gives a good idea of ​​a disappearance caused by spiritual entities. As we know, in the Italian version the title of the film differs a lot from the Japanese and becomes simpler The enchanted city.

6. We are faceless

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According to Miyazaki, the characters Chihiro, Yubaba and Faceless represent three different sides of a single person. Faceless embodies some of the hidden features of the human personality. A hidden – and partly dark – side of our individuality, which we all fight against every day. The character of Senza-Volto represents the complexity of people, our masks, our thousand faces.

7. The enchanted city: The film’s message in the protagonist’s name

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In the fantastic world created by Miyazaki, the choice of the characters’ names is not absolutely causal, but hides a very specific meaning. E.g, the name of the main character Chihiro (荻 野 千) literally means “thousand” and “ask questions” or “be on the lookout”. When she is hired by Yubaba, the little girl she is forced to give up part of her namewith only the first of the two kanji composing it, or 千 (Sen), which alone means “thousand”. Chihiro, who loses part of his name, also loses part of himself. It is Haku who warns her and explains that if she forgets her name, she will never be able to go home: “That’s how Yubaba controls you and steals your name. (…) If you forget that, you’ll never be able to go home.“.
The names of the other characters also have very literal connotations: Bō, Yubabas baby. it just means “little boy” or “son”; Kamaji, half man half spider spirit, can be translated into Italian as “the old man of the cauldrons”; Yubaba means “woman in public baths”, and finally Zeniba, Yubaba’s twin sister, means “witch”.

8. Animated scenes inspired by animals

The Enchanted City: 10 incredible curiosities about Hayao Miyazaki's masterpiece

To help the animators understand how the characters should move, Miyazaki asked them to draw inspiration from animals. For example, to animate the scene where an injured Haku falls into the boiler room, the director explained the action to his team by connecting it with three different animals: the dragon clings to the wall like a gecko before falling to the ground like a snake. Eventually, when Chihiro gives Haku the medicine, the model for the dragon’s mouth was a dog. This last picture contains a very nice anecdote. Since none of the team members had a dog, the designers went to a veterinary office and took several pictures of the dogs there.

9. The enchanted city: The Oscar winner

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Not everyone knows that The enchanted cityin addition to several national and international awards, he wonOscar for Best Animated Feature Film in 2003. That year, the level of graduates in this category was very high. Miyazaki’s film actually competed against: Lilo & Stich, Ice Age, Spirit – Wild Horse And The tax planet.

10. The scene, which contains the ecological message, is inspired by the director’s experience

Chihiro’s first job in Aburaya – the public bathing complex – is to clean up the spirit of bad smell, which everyone avoids because of the stench it emits. During the undertaking, the little girl realizes that the device has been pierced by a handlebar. With the help of the other companions, the protagonist succeeds in extracting the object – a bicycle – and freeing the spirit from the waste that weighed it. In fact, the spirit of a river was hidden beneath the mud mass, finally clean and free of pollutants.
The scene of the removal of the bicycleso structured, was born out of a real experience of director Miyazakias he himself reported: “There is a river near where I live, in the countryside. When they decided to clean up, we could see what his bed was hiding and it was really rotten. In the river lay a bicycle, with the wheel protruding above the water surface. “so they thought it would be easy to get it out. However, it turned out to be difficult, because the bicycle body had become so heavy due to all the dirt it had collected over the years”.

Read also: Studio Ghibli, Miyazaki’s masterpieces return to the cinema: here’s which ones to see and when

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