EDITING : 2024.4.22 월 18:51
The Gachon Herald
The story that we didn't knowAnimation that we watch again as an adult.
Baek Seong-ha  |  timidsohot@naver.com
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Updated : 2016.01.10  02:07:42
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In January 2014, an animated movie was a hit all over the world. The Disney movie Frozen gained popularity with all ages. Many adults as well as children fell in love with its theme song, Let it go. This year, another animated movie became popular, too. It was a movie about four emotions that live in people's brains, and was called Inside out,. Although they are animated movies, these two movies grabbed adult audiences with good music and amazing imagination. However, many people still think that animated movies are just for children. Some people didn't watch Frozen or Inside out simply because they are animated movies. What if there is a hidden story in an animated movie? Attracted by curiosity? Let's find about the hidden stories in two animation movies, Spirited Away and Howl's Moving Castle.


1. Spirited Away (2001, Miyazaki Hayao)

Chihiro and her parents are traveling to their new home. They enter an abandoned theme park by accident.
In a restaurant without an owner in the theme park, her parents are transformed into pigs because they ate food like pigs. After that, a witch Yubaba, who is the owner of bathhouse hires her in exchange for her identity, renaming her Sen. Chihiro. Sen takes a job as a bathhouse worker in which all spirits and ghosts get together. The bathhouse employees’ appearances are all similar. A person who attends to all customers is always a girl. A stink spirit, Kaonashi, visits the bathhouse, gives her gold and says, “I want Sen”. So, she runs away from Kaonashi. At the same time, Sen gets closer to Haku, a boy who is controlled by Yubaba, thanks to his help. Meanwhile, Sen passes the test of Yubaba, and she extricates her parents from Yubaba’s magic. Only Sen of Yubaba’s bathhouse employees doesn’t forget her real name. With the help of Chihiro, Haku remembers his real name. Finally, Chihiro, who has grown more than before, goes out of the theme park.



 ① Parents squander money, and Chihiro prostitutes herself to help them.

 ② Actually, the owner of the bathhouse for prostitution is called ‘Yubaba’.

 ③ They used assumed names in the red-light districts in old Japan.

 ④ It means contemporary people who lose their personality and just want money.

 ⑤ In old Japan, people had sex in bathhouses.

 ⑥ This part lampoon the time when people treated a girl as a sexual object.

 ⑦ If people forget their real name, they lose themselves. If it happens, they can’t get out of prostitution.


2. Howl's Moving Castle (2004, Miyazaki Hayao)

Sophie is an eighteen-year-old hatter.
One day, Howl helps Sophie who is in trouble. Because of this, Sophie becomes an old woman under a curse by the witch of the Waste. Sophie goes to Howl to remove the curse. There is a rumor that Howl steals hearts of only pretty women. But she thinks that he won’t do anything to her because she is an old woman. So she enters Howl's moving castle without hesitation. The castle is very dirty and Sophie becomes the castle’s cleaning lady. Because of her mistake, he fails his hair dyeing. He feels depressed and yells, “If I am not beautiful, there is no reason to live.” In the outside world, a war is getting worse. Howl gets hurt in the war for Sophie. Because Howl gets hurt, Calcifer, which is a fire devil connected with him weakens, too. So, Calcifer can’t move the castle anymore. At that time, a turnip which was helped by Sophie assists them. When she kisses the turnip with her heart, the turnip changes into a prince of a neighbor nation. The turnip goes back to his nation and stops the war. Howl and Sophie live happily in a flying castle which is transformed from a moving castle.



 At first, Howl says, ”I've been looking for you for a long time.” It’s because when Howl and Sophie met in the past, she said “I am Sophie! Wait! I’ll come to you! Wait in the future!”

 ② The curse that caught Sophie is to expose her mind in her appearance. She looks like an old woman when she thinks negatively, doesn’t like herself, and lacks confidence. While, when she is self-confident, or helps someone, she looks young.

 ③ Howl’s dirty and un-organized house suggests that he is just a boy who pretends to be an adult and feels pain.

 ④ In the past, Howl’s original hair color is navy. He has a jacket over his shoulder and thinks he can be loved only when he is good-looking. In a word, Howl puts emphasis on how he looks and is obsessed with lookism.

 ⑤ In the last scene, Howl’s hair color is navy and Sophie’s hair color is gray. These mean that he is not ‘uppyish’ any more, but Sophie is still experienced like an old woman in her mind.


Maybe you can look at the movies differently when you read the plots with the above explanations. Maybe you'd like to watch them thinking about hidden stories. Like this, many movies hide their real stories. Or some movies disclose what they really want to say, but we can't find it easily. For example, Up, is a movie about an old man's flying house that delivers a message; 'If you want, just do it no matter how old you are.' A future robot movie, Wall-E shows the importance of environment and the dark side of scientific developments. Not all animated movies are only for young children. According to a viewer, one can feel external interest or can grasp much deeper meanings. If you watch an animated movie while thinking about the hidden stories and the messages the director wants to convey, your mistaken idea that animated movies are only for children will disappear.

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