Spirited Away (synopsis - graphical - Page 4)

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This page contains a detailed synopsis of the plot of Spirited Away.

Spoiler Warning: Plot and/or ending details follow.

Sen Watches the Train Pass By

Eating in the moonlight, Sen remarks to Lin that she misses Haku, although Lin warns her that Yubaba makes him run unsavoury errands. They watch the train head across the lake towards the town, and Lin confides to Sen that she'll get there one day. Sen has a nibble of the ball that the river god left her, but it almost makes her vomit.

One of the little frog-men sneaks back to the big bath to swipe any gold crumbs left in the cracks between the floorboards, and the faceless spirit appears there to offer him one, then more, then a whole handful. As the frog-man reaches for the gold, the faceless spirit snatches him and swallows him whole. The foreman hears the commotion, and comes to investigate. The faceless spirit, now speaking with the voice of the trapped frog, demands a bath, proffering the gold as payment.

Sen dreams that she sneaks back to the pig-pen to feed her parents the gift from the river god, hoping to turn them back into humans. But she realises she cannot tell which pigs are her parents. Waking up, she finds the entire staff out of bed during the day, and the boiler room already going! She leaves her quarters to discover the bathhouse a madhouse of activity, preparing all the food they can for the faceless guest who is handing out specks of gold. Showing off the gold she's already received, Lin encourages Sen to make hay while the sun shines, or at least while Yubaba's asleep. Quietly turning from the pathetic scene of the entire bathhouse staff begging for gold, Sen returns to her quarters to ponder whether she will recognise her parents as pigs.

From the balcony, she recognises the white dragon with the green mane again, pursued by a flock of white creatures. Calling out to Haku, Sen realises that she remembered him even in this other form. Haku rushes into the bathhouse's quarters, and Sen closes the doors behind him. The white flock disperses as Sen realises they are made of paper, but Sen's attention is quickly turned to the bleeding dragon with piercing green eyes. The dragon struggles outside, climbing towards the top to the bathhouse, and as Sen rushes up the stairs to follow him, one of the paper birds attaches itself to her.

As she makes her way up the floors, she runs into the staff forming a corridor for the faceless spirit. The foreman attempts to shoo Sen away, but is roughly flung to one side by the faceless spirit, in whose hands magically appears a whole pile of gold nuggets, which he offers to Sen. However, Sen is interested in Haku, not gold, and runs off. Seemingly offended by this snub, the faceless spirit grabs the foreman and the nearest staff member, and stuffs them down his gullet. The rest of the staff flee.

Sen's Plans Almost Come Unstuck

Sen, her resolve strengthened by the sight of Haku's blood on her hand, now tries an unusual approach to reaching Yubaba's office. She sneaks to the outside of the building, braving steep roofs and ramshackle pipes (in a feat of derring-do reminiscent of Miyazaki's earlier Castle Of Cagliostro) to reach a ladder. She spots Yubaba returning from her night-time flight, and hurries up the ladder to the top floor. Breaking in through a window, Sen wanders through a room strewn with toys to peek at Yubaba consulting with the downstairs staff, and saying that Haku can be disposed with, as he is no use to her now. Yubaba suddenly turns towards the door where Sen is watching, and Sen quickly dives into a pile of cushions in the toy room. Yubaba starts stripping the cushions from the pile, but is reassured to find her baby there.

Yubaba leaves her baby to sleep, but just as Sen thinks she can sneak out, the baby grabs her and complains that she came to make him sick, with all the bad germs outside. He wants her to stay with him and play, away from the outside germs. Selfishly ignoring Sen's pleas to be let go to save her friend, the baby threatens to cry out to bring Yubaba, or even to break Sen's arm. In desperation, Sen shows him how badly her friend is hurt by displaying the blood on her hand. Shocked by this, the baby lets go of Sen, and she runs into Yubaba's office, where the green heads are attempting to push the Haku-serpent down a shaft. Brushing them aside, Sen is then attacked by Yubaba's bird. The baby, having recovered from the shock, now enters the room and although the bird and heads pause in trepidation and stop attacking Sen, the baby's threats to cry and bring Yubaba to kill Sen are no less dire.

Haku Injured In Dragon Form

The paper bird attached to Sen then speaks, and turns into Yubaba! But when the baby calls out to her, she tells him that he can't even tell her apart from his mother, and turns him into a plump little mouse. The bird is turned into a tiny little thing that can barely lift itself as its wings buzz like a mosquito, and finally the three green heads are turned into a likeness of the baby. The lady reveals herself to be Yubaba's twin sister, whom Sen has inadvertently brought into Yubaba's private rooms. She is after Haku, who has stolen her seal at Yubaba's bidding. However, the lady tells Sen that the seal was protected by a deadly charm. The heads start to explore their new baby body, and while everyone is distracted, Haku lashes out and shreds the paper bird, and Yubaba's sister fades away. Haku, tired by the effort, topples in to the shaft, while Sen clings to him and the mouse and the mosquito-bird cling to her. As Sen grasps Haku's horns, a memory comes to her - a memory of being under the green water, grasping.

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