We all know that Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away is the only Japanese anime movie to ever win an Academy Award. However, the movie still has a few mysteries and unanswered questions still lingering. Luckily, a fan sent a letter asking about the mysteries of the film, and guess what? Studio Ghibli actually replied!

@0910noncha asked Ghibli about several aspects of the film, including about Chihiro’s parents turning into pigs, the strange food they ate before their transformation, and how Chihiro passed her final test. In the reply letter, Ghibli explained that Chihiro’s parents turning into pigs symbolizes how some humans become greedy. The letter stated that:

 “According to director Hayao Miyazaki there were people that ‘turned into pigs’ during Japan’s bubble economy of the 1980s, and these people still haven’t realized they’ve become pigs. ‘These people are the ones saying, ‘We are in a recession and don’t have enough to eat.'”

They also added that once someone becomes a pig, they don’t return to being human but instead gradually start to have the “body and soul of a pig, ” and that this “doesn’t just apply to the fantasy world.” As for why Chihiro knew that the pigs weren’t her parents at the end of the film, it wasn’t because “she had ‘obtained special abilities’ in the spirit world.” Previously, the answer to that very question was answered by Hayao Miyazaki himself in an interview, where he stated that:

“I’ve never explained why Chihiro knows that her parents are not among the group of pigs towards the end of the film. Those people who are constantly seeking explanations often say that it’s illogical. However, I don’t think those kinds of things are important. After all the things she’s experienced up to that point, Chihiro simply knows that her parents aren’t there. You ask why she knows, but knowing is human life. That’s all it is.”


As to what the food her parents ate really is, the letter merely stated that “It’s not actually made clear what the food is – it’s just ‘very delicious.’”.

“According to the character Yubaba, it is “the guest’s food,” therefore it is both the food of the gods and for their guests. At the very moment Chihiro says there is something odd about this town, her parents turn into pigs. The letter says that perhaps this isn’t a coincidence and the food is actually “a trap to catch lost humans”.

The letter also answered the question on how Chihiro passed her test:

“Chihiro, as a 10-year-old girl, could understand the difference because she had overcome difficulties and had managed to acquire the ‘energy to live’ – which is something everyone can do naturally”.

The letter then added that:

“The focus of the movie is not on a beautiful young heroine, or a person with a unique heart, but an uncertain girl capturing the “energy to live” by facing her fears.”

Now that’s one lucky fan, and hopefully, that reply letter has shed some light into the speculations from that classic.

Source: Rocket News 24