Studio Ghibli Reveals Philosophy Behind Spirited Away's Mystery Meat

Studio Ghibli Reveals Philosophy Behind Spirited Away's Mystery Meat

The 2001 Studio Ghibli film Spirited Away (or Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi) tells the unforgettably beautiful adventures of 10-year old Ogino Chihiro. She and her parents are moving to a new home when her father gets lost and they end up in a strange district (and unknowingly into an even stranger world of spirits).

After eating a mysterious food, Chihiro’s parents turn into pigs. She then spends the rest of the film trying to save them and return to the human world. In the end, Chihiro is asked to pick her parents out of a group of pigs, and she confidently answers that her parents are not among them.

Fans love speculating about how Chihiro knew her parents weren’t there, but Twitter user @0910noncha actually sent a letter to Studio Ghibli as a child and received a response!

I remember seeing Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi, and a long time ago I sent a letter to Ghibli about what her father was eating and why he turned into a pig. I got a response after forgetting about it, lol. This letter is all framed up now.

The first question answered is about what exactly that yummy-looking food was! According to the letter, all we know about the food is that it’s “for guests” and delicious. It looks like chicken, but Chihiro’s mother mentions that even the bones are tender. If it were chicken, then that wouldn’t be the case. It’s most likely a food only known to this world.

Furthermore, it’s just as Chihiro realizes that something is strange about this world that her parents turn into pigs. The letter comments that the timing is just a little too precise, and that you can probably consider the food as a trap.

Next up, the question of why they turned into pigs.

Chihiro takes on the role of a 10-year old girl lost in this mysterious world. Despite that, she goes on to learn about it, as well as friendship and devotion, and ultimately grows wise! She possesses a strong survival instinct.

Her parents take on the opposite role: the role of pigs, consuming more than their share. The letter states that this isn’t an instantaneous change. Over time, your body and mind become more and more pig-like. According to director Miyazaki, there were people like this during Japan’s economic bubble who grew greedier and greedier. The letter also added that once a person becomes a pig, your mind and soul will gradually turn into that of a pig’s, and this is a phenomenon that can be observed in real life too.

So then, how did Chihiro know her parents weren’t among those pigs? It’s not because she had some special ability. Miyazaki believes that, if Chihiro was able to survive in that world, then anyone would be able to, regardless of what crises they face!

At long last, an answer! What do you think of Studio Ghibli’s answers?

This is a Tokyo Otaku Mode original article by Jen Smith
*Top Image: Tokyo Otaku Mode Premium Shop*

All kinds of otaku are welcome at the TOM Fan Club! Join here: