Self-Sacrifice in Miyazaki's Spirited Away

As her days in the bathhouse wear on, however, her motivations grow more clearly admirable. Her desire to rescue her parents, once inextricably linked to her wish to return home, is now driven by a desire for their safety and happiness. Her interaction with No-Face and the other bathhouse patrons grows more genuine. Even the moments spent with Yubaba and her henchmen grow more manageable, as Chihiro matures. And when the time comes for her to choose between her own safety and the life of her dear Haku, her decision is instantaneous and without self-consideration.

We all have a bit of the Selfish Chihiro in us, waging an endless battle against the urge to place our wants before the needs of those we love. But Miyazaki's masterpiece reminds us that we must never stop fighting that urge—that it is only in subsuming our desires to the will of Another that we will find true freedom.

It seems that we can always do with a bit more spiriting away.

8/25/2011 4:00:00 AM