The Journey of Chihiro

Throughout a piece of literature, the hero grows. They will be classified as a hero or a villain based on their deeds and how they interact with the other characters. The first character usually starts out modestly before evolving into a more mature one. The voyage of Chihiro in the animated film Spirited Away highlights a distinct course pursued by a character in a quest to achieve particular objectives. A hero’s qualities are based on their deeds and how they affect the rest of the film. Chihiro exhibits characteristics that define her as a hero. The female protagonist undergoes a journey, which will form the basis of the essay and affirm the four stages undergone for one to attain the hero’s status.
The first stage according to Additional commentary on Spirited Away (2017) refers to the time the protagonist leaves home. Prior to the period, the protagonist portrays traits that defined the ordinary world. During the period, the protagonist lacks the needed skills and knowledge. In general, home refers to the natural world with less magical interferences. Chihiro is a name that identifies the protagonist with the ordinary world. The detour taken by her father signifies the commencement of her journey. The transformation of her parents into pigs highlights the reason as to why Chihiro leaves the mortal world and joins the spiritual one (Miyazaki, 2001). The detour is intentional by the director as it sets the theme of the movie and plays part in the transformation of the protagonist. The theme in the park highlights the start of a journey defined in the first stage of the movie. The director of Spirited Away creates a defiant character in Chihiro as he refuses to eat despite directives from her parents. The movie is intentional as it commences Chihiro’s journey from the mortal world to the spiritual one and back to the first. The long staircases are symbolic and signify Chihiro’s journey into the spirit world.
The second stage entails meeting a spirited helper (Additional commentary, 2017). The scene in the park introduces Chihiro’s helper Haku. Haku initially warns Chihiro of the looming danger. Upon her parents transforming into pigs, Chihiro is determined to survive and Haku plays part in ensuring the protagonist survive (Miyazaki, 2001). Haku saves her from disappearance by directing her to eat food from the spirit world. The set saves the audience a character who later on becomes the hero. The protagonist upon entering the magical world is directed by her mentor to seek employments from kamaji. He instructs her that this was only for her to survive the new world and ensure she survives the journey. During her encounter with Yubaba, Chihiro is warned by her mentor to avert any distractions and focus on her job. Upon the change of names, Haku reminds her of her mortal name the need to remember the name Chihiro as Sen was more related to the underworld (Miyazaki, 2001). The change of name indicated that the protagonist had fully transformed into the spirit world. Sen undergoes a series of journeys with an aim of outlining her good deeds that would eventually return her to the normal world.
The third stage of the hero entails good deeds by the protagonist (Additional commentary, 2017). While still new in the spirited world, Chihiro assists one of kamaji’s creatures that seemed burdened by the heavy load. The deed impresses kamaji and prompts him into employing Chihiro. A hero under this stage had to overcome different hurdles in a bid to achieve her mission. The movie places the protagonist positively as he aids a creature performs duties without pay even after Kamaji declined her job request. The second deed is when she saves Haku’s life with the herbal cake after an attack by paper birds (Miyazaki, 2001). The protagonist also manages to return Zeniba’s golden seal, which had been stolen by Haku. In the process, he manages to cure Haku and reconcile the magical siblings. Haku also saves the bathhouse from No-face. No-face had consumed all workers and upon eating the herbal cake, the cake makes No-face to vomit thus saving the bathhouse. The cake used to save the bathhouse was aimed at healing Chihiro/Sen’s parents but instead, she becomes unselfish and uses the herbal cake to save Haku from dying and the bathhouse from the terrors of No-face. While at the park and during their journey towards their new home, Chihiro seemed defiant of her parents and was opposed to their move. During the spirit world journey, she undertakes new traits, which included honesty, loving, caring and good heartedness (Miyazaki, 2001). The final good deed is when he manages to convince the spirit world to revert her parents into their human forms.
The fourth stage entails the hero’s journey back home (Additional commentary, 2017). The final stage highlights the protagonist having transformed and attained the hero’s status. In Spirited Away, Chihiro finally returns to the mortal world and manages to break the spell put on her parents. The first stage depicted the protagonist as a psychologically weak character and a rebel both to her parents and strangers. Chihiro feared the unknown, as was the case of the food in the back and the move by her parents to change homes (Miyazaki, 2001). The spiritual journey transforms Chihiro’s character. She becomes independent and improves on her decision-making. This is defined by the way she correctly indicates that her parents were not among the pigs on display. She also becomes a mediator as she fosters peace between Haku and her sister. She also becomes loving and caring given her encounter with Haku and her push to have her parents’ spell broken. Chihiro finally undergoes self-realization. The psychological process transforms her earlier character and she is able to overcome both the spiritual and mortal worlds (Miyazaki, 2001). To support these claims, Sen is able to regain his mortal name (Chihiro) and at the same time rejuvenate her child memory, which eventually enables her return home. She also appreciates her parents as she admits she is ready to tackle the challenges of a new home and school.
In conclusion, Chihiro undergoes the four stages of heroism. The character transforms along the movie with the help of a mentor, which in this case was a spiritual boy (Haku). The detour taken by Chihiro’s father forms the basis of the hero’s journey as it enables the protagonist to change her traits and appreciate the little things. In the initial stages, Chihiro is weak emotionally but after the spirited journey, she is able to save her parents and is ready to overcome the unknown challenges accompanying the new home and school. The protagonist is able to restore normalcy in the real world and spiritual world, as she saves the bathhouse and reconciles Haku and Zeniba. In the real world, she is able to return her parents to their human form.

Works Cited
Miyazaki, Hayao, director. Spirited Away. Studio Ghibli, 2001. Film.
“Additional commentary on Spirited Away” n.p. 2017. web. 4 Apr. 2017.

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