In my humble opinion the greatest fantasy film of all time, even comparable in its imagination and originality to Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland. What makes Spirited Away a masterpiece of the genre is the richly detailed animation, immersing the viewer in a strange, beautiful but sometimes unsettling world, almost reaching the artistic heights of Surrealism. The film is packed with a cavalcade of gods and monsters who's weirdness is probably partly due to western audiences unfamiliarity with Japanese mythology, but still manages to make most fantasy cinema look like drab Dungeons and Dragon's rip-offs.
There are so many great scenes in Spirited Away. Two of my favourites are Chihiro's (the main character's) descent into the depths of the immense bathhouse of the gods looking for employment and her eventual meeting with the arachnoid Kamajii, the grumpy but kindly master of the boiler room-the sequence has a Steampunk feel. The other is the train journey near the end of the film across a wide expanse of a flooded plain, that comes very close to surrealist art. The mood conjured is a dreamy watery melancholia.
If you love fantasy and animation and you have not seen Spirited Away, then buy or rent the DVD ASAP. You will not be disappointed!
Other Miyazaki/Studio Ghibli DVD's in my collection: