The Wait For It Podcast

Late To The Party - Spirited Away

December 06, 2023
The Wait For It Podcast
Late To The Party - Spirited Away
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Show Notes Transcript

Ready to step into the supernatural world of Hayao Miyazaki's Spirited Away? Here's your chance to hear about the acclaimed Studio Ghibli film as we journey into this magical realm for the first time, sharing our initial reactions about the film's vivid animation, multifaceted characters, and cryptic symbolism...but be warned...one of us enjoyed this cinematic experience much less than the other.  Listen in as we compare our personal interpretations, debate its high ratings, and acknowledge its profound influence on fans.

IMDb Synopsis: During her family's move to the suburbs, a sullen 10-year-old girl wanders into a world ruled by gods, witches and spirits, a world where humans are changed into beasts.

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Speaker 1:

Welcome to your go-to source for entertainment. Wait for it Gaming.

Speaker 2:

Wait for it. Anime Plus Ultra.

Speaker 1:

Mr Eric Almighty and Phil Vafilippino yeah, they've got you covered, and all you gotta do is Wait for it.

Speaker 2:

Hey everyone, welcome back to the Wait for it podcast. I am your co-host, phil Smith, aka Phil Vafilippino, and joining us, as always, is your other co-host, mr Eric Almighty, and folks, we hope you had an excellent holiday and we appreciate you letting us take some time off as well to recharge as we turn the corner into the home stretch of 2023, which is just absolutely wild to think about. But we'll have a ton of content for you in the month of December, starting off with late to the party for a very, very anticipated episode, for I know a lot of us and you know this is a movie era that you had seen earlier in the year. I myself watched it for the first time today and I am a little anxious to see how this goes, because I am prepared to upset a lot of people with this episode today, to kind of give you guys a little precursor of how my viewing experience went, and I guess I'll just have to live with the consequences for our listeners, viewers and also just the random people that come across any type of clip on TikTok or Instagram or wherever it is, and let me know that I have awful, awful taste. So, however it goes, Eric, I guess I am prepared and strapped in for the ride.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and Phil is fresh on his viewing of Spirited Away. Literally hours before we recorded this Finally watched it for the first time. I watched this movie maybe about six months ago for the first time, so it's still fairly fresh for me and we've been talking about this movie being on this series for a long time. I mean, obviously we had to get the heavy hitters like Paddington out of the way, but once we did that, what's the next most iconic figure? And it's some of the characters here in this film. It's an iconic movie. It's going to be polarizing, because I don't necessarily disagree with what you probably think, but I will also say that I have seen the movie more than once and I think that's a huge, huge impact to not only the viewing experience the second time around, but the experience of enjoyment of what you're seeing and the appreciation we're going to get into it. That's what late to the party is all about. So obviously we're going to be going into spoilers. If you haven't seen Spirited Away, this is your warning. But, phil, why don't we get into it? What did you think of Spirited Away? Maybe give us a synopsis before we kind of jump into it.

Speaker 2:

Yes, spirited Away, of course, for those of you if you're not familiar, is one of these highly heralded Studio Ghibli films. Right In this animated feature by famous Japanese director Mayazaki, 10 year old Chihiro and her parents stumble upon a seemingly abandoned amusement park. After her mother and father are turned into giant pigs, chihiro meets the mysterious Haku, who explains that the park is a resort for supernatural beings who need a break from their time spent in the earthly realm and that she must work there to free herself and her parents. And this is, as I don't think I mentioned it this time, or this is my first Studio Ghibli film as we prepare to go see the boy in the heron or later on this week, a little bit of a preview for you guys. That will be next week's International Feature episode, super excited for that. But this is regarded, eric, as one of the best, not just animated films of all time, but one of the best films of all time. And that's why I am going to be extremely respectful when it comes to this conversation, because I know this film is held in very high regard and very near and dear to a lot of people's hearts for various reasons, and I can see why In certain elements. When, while watching this film, why that is and again, this came on 2001 and it won an Oscar in 2003, I am a little curious about that gap. I didn't go back and look like why there was a two-year gap in between it winning. Maybe it's because that when it came to the West, that's probably why it went in 2003. That's what I would assume. So animation, stunning, a really really beautiful characters, beautiful Locals, beautiful environments, loved, all of that. There's obviously a whole bunch of symbolism going on in this film as well, and those are the things that definitely stand out for me. But I would be hard-pressed to give you character beats or character moments that resonated with me because I was just so caught up and how incredibly strange this film is and I think that is a studio ghibli, my azaki thing and that does make me a little concerned for viewing of the boy in the heron. But, as you mentioned, I am glad that I watched this first to kind of get prepared for, maybe, what our viewing experience is going to be. But it's actually kind of funny that I'm talking about it being weird because I am wearing shout out to urban weirdo. My shit just got weird. That's a perfect example for how I felt watching this movie because, again, it was just, it's just very strange and I could not get into it the way that I wanted to, and that did disappoint me.

Speaker 1:

That's understandable. I mean, this movie is a journey and there's a lot going on. Phil, I usually criticize films a lot for being all over the place, but this movie really I Don't know. This is one of the first movies I've seen, especially upon a rewatch, where I just kind of got immersed in the world and and shit just happening was kind of okay for me. And that's not a normal viewing experience for me. I usually need to have it make sense and I need to fully understand it. But I don't know, I didn't feel that way with this film. Maybe that's because not only is the animation Spectacular I know there have been some remasters to it but it holds up very strongly. The score is also amazing and while I also didn't really relate with a lot of characters and the story is a little hit or miss, it is confusing at some points. It's really more focused on its themes more than its story and, again, I normally don't like movies like that. But I found myself not liking this movie, just like you, phil, not really understanding the hype and enjoying it the first time. My son loves the movie and when he put it on the second time I thought I was gonna walk away. I sat down and I watched the whole thing and I gained a new appreciation for it. So I think that's where we're gonna definitely differ. To go back to your point about the the 20, the 2003 Oscars, this movie actually didn't release in the US in the US until September of 2002, so there was a gap and Disney was involved in the English dub of this film, funny enough. So interesting to kind of go back there and look at this. This movie, though film very polarizing. Obviously a lot of people love it. I Definitely Think it's one of the best animated films I've seen as far as the way it looks and the way it sounds. But I do agree like the characters are a little lacking. The movie is a little weird and the plot Kind of all over the place when it comes to understanding the world. But there's so many things, phil, that you kind of mentioned. Like there's a lot of symbolism, environmentalism. They're supernatural Talks about capitalism, I believe, in some senses. So there's a lot going on. Is there anything that you that you could take positively away from the film outside of? You know all those Overwhelming beats of the film well, for a couple of things.

Speaker 2:

First, you said you know your son loves this movie. He also likes wish, so I would just like to point that out. I'm very upset he did wish a five out of five.

Speaker 1:

Which I disagree with. But I disagree with star being a good song. More so I trust his judgment over yours. I'm a star.

Speaker 2:

I'm a star, just so just to make sure that that's correct. But you also say that like it's More focused on its messages than its characters, but like we have so many examples of Animated films specifically doing both well, so like I don't really get that because I know a lot of people say that. But but as far as similar, like you said, you know there's corporate greed being accepted in society as far as like no face, and then you know that's kind of what's going on there, definitely a whole lot of themes. But you know you asked as far as some of the positive, I think I mentioned those at the top of it. Like I said, it's beautifully animated and I can certainly see why this resonates with a Lot of people, but it's just so sporadic and so random and so Unfocused on any type of character development, on any type or like trying to like generate these Emotional beats that I just did not resonate with and I know a lot of people do. But for me, because the story was so all over the place, I found myself just Essentially trying to run out the clock with this thing again. It's two hours long and it's two hours of again randomness and just weird Stuff happening and and again I get all of those weird moments are layered and caked in Symbolism, but when I don't care about what's going on, I don't really care about the symbolism, and I watched a couple YouTube videos in preparation for this, just trying to get a better Understanding and appreciation for what's going on here, and I certainly did. And again, one thing that comes across when watching all that content, as far as when it comes to this movie, is there's an incredibly passionate fan base for this film and that's why I'm just trying to tread extremely lightly here, because I get I don't want to be Absolutely annihilated for what is already going to be an unpopular opinion. I actually did just kind of Google, spirited away, overrated, just to see like what came up. And there is a unpopular opinion subreddit and it's specifically for Unpopular opinions and, eric, I don't know that I have seen an unpopular opinion upvoted this much on this subreddit. It's 12,000 upvotes, meaning people agree with it being an unpopular opinion. The whole point is to post an opinion that is incredibly unpopular and just full of people that are there were like this may be the most Unpopular opinion I've ever seen in the sub. Good job, oh goodness. You have encapsulated the essence of the sub, because I think that's enough. Distinctly unpopular opinion Yay an unpopular opinion murder him. That's how I feel right now. If I were to put this in some sort of forum like reddit, that is how people would feel towards me. So, again, I hope that this isn't how I feel after seeing the boy in the hair, and I don't think it is how I will feel, but this one just was not for me and I really, really wanted it to be. I'm still very much open to watching the rest of them, because I know people have different tiers, different rankings for all of these, but it spirited away was the one that I was like. Oh, this is the one that I hear about the most. And I'm gonna start here, and I'm disappointed in myself for not liking as much as I was, as I am disappointed in the movie as well.

Speaker 1:

No, I mean, it's completely fair again. When I walked away from the film the first time, I did not think I was gonna watch this movie again and I definitely didn't think I was gonna like it. I don't know. It does have a charm to it and Studio Ghibli is very much like that. I am so worried for you, for the boy in the hair, and you were talking literally the other day about how excited you were and I was like, well, why don't you watch spirited away first, you know, and then tell me how you feel?

Speaker 2:

So this is your fault also because the first animated Anime film that you've had me watch was your name. So I just want you to let you know that you have set this bar to an unreachable level Ever since then.

Speaker 1:

So I don't think that that's what I go through. I compare every RRR or your name or your name again. Just it's literally those two movies and and into the spider-verse, like my top three, is pretty yeah. It's pretty set in stone. It's those three films and then everything else. Like there's a huge drop-off, although somehow puts and boots. The last wish, I think I think is coming into its own. I think man should just watch that. I think it's. I think I love that movie More than I should as far as top tier movies all time. But you know, phil, the boy in the hair and right now as it stands, I'll be the rod and tomatoes guy today 97% Tomato meter off of a hundred and nine review so far obviously has yet to release in the States. 82% audience score, which is interesting. A little bit of a drop off there compared to spirited away 221 reviews on the tomato meter, 96 and then a 96% Audience score and obviously the boy in the hair and has like less than 50 audience scores ratings. The spirited away is over a quarter of a million, so it's is the most popular one. I Would yes, yeah, I would say yes, I would say by a large margin. To be completely honest, even looking at his filmography, miyazaki this is, I believe, on IMDB, his highest rated film that he has directed, and, mind you, there's a lot of other ones. You probably heard about Kiki's delivery service, my neighbor Totoro house. House moving castle is a big one. I have a. I have a feeling you wouldn't like that if you didn't like this one, but I also don't like that one. So I don't know. Ponyo a lot of films, this is the highest rated one and, like you mentioned, it's the one that people talk about the most. I'm just really curious how you're gonna Not only go into the boy in the hair and but how you're gonna walk out. It's gonna be interesting.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, we will. We will see, especially since we're going with a huge Studio Ghibli fan in our friend Joanne. So we will see how she reacts to it, because I I'm not sure which one of these films is her favorite, but I do know she has like the sprites, or whatever they're called, on her phone, like on her phone case.

Speaker 1:

So Joanne has a lot of art dedicated to spirit away. Right is a great plug to Joanne, who's info will be in the show notes. We do have a code through her if you want to go to her site and you want to get some amazing Merch. This is just a quick plug for Joy-Ann Draws and, again, her website, Joy-Ann MG. I believe You'll see that in the show notes. Feel free to click on it, check it out, use our code. But yeah, she's a huge fan, I believe, of Spirited Away, just from her artwork alone. In fact, I think that's like the main studio Ghibli one that that she does. So, yeah, I don't think she's going to be happy with you after this episode.

Speaker 2:

No, probably not. It'll probably be the end of that sponsorship, but anyway it's. Yeah. Like I said, I absolutely would, and I saw some of the people that also rated this lower on like IMDb, letterbox stuff like that. They had similar things that, as I'm saying, like they have heard so much about it and went into it absolutely wanting to love it and I just did it. It's just so. I watch a lot of weird stuff and if I'm not invested in the characters or the story or whatsoever, then the weird becomes louder, right, like all of that randomness is elevated and highlighted and when I again because I didn't care about what else was going on, that's really all I could focus on. So sorry, I apologize. If this is one of your favorite films, that is great. Again, it's just not for me. I will just go watch your name or post some boots the last wish and be on my way, and we can just part ways here. That's fine, I'm sorry.

Speaker 1:

Well, no, don't part ways. I didn't, I didn't. Goodbye. What did you say Fuck me, fuck me for Goodbye? I didn't do anything. No, it's. You know. It's just super interesting to hear your take on it. It kind of justifies how I felt walking out of the movie for the first time and seeing it. You see the theaters.

Speaker 2:

No, I did not actually, I saw it at home.

Speaker 1:

I would love to see this movie in theaters, I think we had a chance, we missed it yeah. I think it would be a great experience on the big screen. Is there no chance that you'll ever watch this again? No, I'm not.

Speaker 2:

I did think about maybe watching it again in dub, but oh, you're in sub. No, no, no, I'm sorry, sub. I watched it, I'm sorry, I'm sorry. I'm thinking about going back and watching it in sub, but I don't think so. Have you letterboxed this thing?

Speaker 1:

I have. What did I letterbox it? It's actually a great question. I am. I will tell you this. I am still working on several lists I would like to really commit to letterboxed because I've kept up with 2023 very, very proactively. You know this, for our end of year awards, we have the MCU movies ranked that we worked on.

Speaker 2:

We have a. We have like an a animated film lists on there as well. We do yeah.

Speaker 1:

Mine's still a little interchangeable. I do have spirited away here at a four and a half and, yeah, a big gap, big gap. I'm just enchanted by this film. I just really am, I really, really am. I again, I don't think you should have to see a movie twice to enjoy it. I don't think that you should have to understand all the symbolism and all the themes of a movie in order to enjoy it and you talk about this all the time. I don't think you should have to go pull up YouTube movie explained, and search that and watch a video Explaining the movie to you. I don't know, but for this one maybe, like that's like my exception, and I get it, I understand it. If you, if you walk away saying you don't like this film, I'm not going to be the snob. That's like how dare you? I get it, I was there, but I gained an appreciation for it and I will say it's out of four and a half. It might be more of a 4.25, and is that enough for it to really get me? I mean, I'm not going to be Into the top 10 animated films of all time. It's here on my list. I'm not going to tell you where, but is it going to stay there? I don't know. I really got to work on this list a little bit more, but it has a conversation and if it's your favorite animated film of all time, if you're listening I totally get it, and if it's not, I get that too. Yeah, it shouldn't be, but you know I you don't want enemies and you don't want to fight, but then you do stuff like that.

Speaker 2:

I don't get it. Sometimes you just you just got to go for the troll, but no, I uh. Yeah, like I said, if you Find this is and I know what this is a lot of people's comfort film as well, and I can see why. Again, at certain, at certain points but not for me I gave it a two and a half Because, again, I just didn't enjoy it.

Speaker 1:

So how can I?

Speaker 2:

have it so disrespectful if I didn't enjoy it, how am I going to give it A three? If I'm going to recommend this, like I'm not gonna, I wouldn't show this to my daughter. She I don't think she would like it either. So I mean she could maybe watch it with her aunt, but I don't think she would enjoy it. She's also in love with your name. So, just like you, just like me, you set her up for failure.

Speaker 1:

That's yeah, that's I understand, I get it.

Speaker 2:

I understand, I get it yeah no, if I'm given your name of five, there's no way that I can understand that this is a four and a half.

Speaker 1:

No, and again I said four and a half. I'm gonna be and I'm gonna be honest with you. It's probably a four. It's probably like, realistically, a four.

Speaker 2:

Like I might have to change that.

Speaker 1:

But like that shouldn't take away from how much I I do like the film, yeah, but yeah, do I love the film like no, no, I don't love it. I don't love it. It's not. It's not one of the best films I've ever seen, but just technically it's a marvel. Um, and I think just that alone feel like that, that to me the things that I care about, everybody's letterbox score and everybody's scores in general are different, but for me the score and the animation alone, absolutely a three, which to me is a. I would recommend it For someone to watch and formulate their own opinion. Where two and a half we're getting closer to shining territory. That's the disrespect. No way.

Speaker 2:

No, no, I couldn't do that, but I will say this is as we close this out. There are, absolutely, like, certain set pieces in this that I would Frame, like I'm not going to do that, but like I could see, putting this up in a, you know, in a decorative setting and being, like you know, this is stunning, this is beautiful. So I get that for sure.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, you understand like why this movie is iconic.

Speaker 2:

I think absolutely, it's just not for me.

Speaker 1:

Other than the shining. We have understood that for most of these movies that we maybe does have really good cinematography.

Speaker 2:

It's just what they're filming is not good. It's not very good, yeah, no.

Speaker 1:

It's a little disrespectful because, if I recall shin Godzilla, I believe you also gave that a two and a half and I feel like this movie is a three. I feel like I can convince you over time To change it to a three, because I think you're not. I think you're. You're thinking so passionately, like fresh on your mind, how much you didn't like the movie. But I think the imagery will stick with you and I think you will get it to a three eventually, even without watching it?

Speaker 2:

What if the imagery got it to a two and a half?

Speaker 1:

Well, I mean listen, this movie was not as bad as Shin Godzilla and it was not as bad as anywhere. It should not be in the realm.

Speaker 2:

They put at least Godzilla in that movie.

Speaker 1:

They also put 55 conference rooms Okay true, that's true.

Speaker 2:

It does have our favorite US ambassador, or whatever she was.

Speaker 1:

Honestly. Honestly, I forgot everything about that film the moment we saw minus one. So thank goodness, yeah. But yeah, this was our episode, guys. Like, honestly, we just wanted a chance. We have not talked about it, which you know we probably should have said at the beginning, but if you've been riding with us for a while, you know we usually stick most of the conversation into this episode. For the first time, phil did text me, though, and gave me a pretty early indication that he was not enjoying it.

Speaker 2:

So I did. I just couldn't keep it to myself because I can't remember what happened in the movie and I was like what the fuck am I watching?

Speaker 1:

And again, totally get it. I'd be so curious, if you got to this point in the episode, whether you reach out to us. Phil's about to give you all that info, but whether you reach out to us on social media, you leave a comment If you're watching on YouTube or you saw a clip on TikTok, you know whatever, and you came here. We'd love to hear from you. But, Phil, let's wrap this up. You know late to the party and then next up is international feature and it's the boy in the hair in which we are seeing in theaters when it releases and we'll be out next Wednesday, which is super exciting. So, Phil, if you want to take us out for any new listeners where they can find more episodes and reach out to us, yeah, thanks so much for checking out the podcast, whether it's your first time or if you've been here for a while.

Speaker 2:

You can find everything you need in the show notes of this episode, the link tree link. We'll have a catalog to all the rest of our content, as well as our social media pages. Instagram and TikTok are going to be your best bets. We talked a lot about Godzilla minus one in this episode as well. If you want to see Eric and I's reviews right out of the theater, that is where you can find those over on TikTok. And if you want to find yourself wanting to support the podcast, you can do that a couple of ways. One of the best ways share the content like. Share it on your social media stories. Tag us, let us know that you're listening and also let other people know that they can listen to you, that they can listen and where they can listen. That is always a really, really great way to support and leave those five star reviews. Apple podcast Spotify definitely drives up the podcast charts and helps us out a ton, but if you want to support the show, maybe just a little bit extra. Eric will let you know how you can do that.

Speaker 1:

So, in addition to all of those free options, if you do want to support us a little bit extra, you can go straight to our Buzzsprout page, which is in that link in the show notes, and you can give us a little bit of support there directly. Or if you'd like to turn that into something that you get a little bit extra of, you could go over to Patreon where patrons like Stefan and Briar are helping support the podcast and they're getting exclusive behind the scenes access, kind of a before and after credit of episodes like this. Also early access, in addition to many, many more perks. We're really hoping to build that platform in 2024 and even expand the perks even further. So we truly would appreciate the support. But, like Phil mentioned a like, a comment, a share, those things go so so far and we truly appreciate you, even if this is the last episode you're listening to because of Phil's terrible take with that Sorry. My name is Mr Eric Almighty. That is my co-host, phil the Filipino, and please don't forget, we release new episodes on the podcast every Wednesday, with bonus content on platforms like TikTok, and all you got to do is wait for it.

Speaker 2:

So I heard you're looking for a go-to source for entertainment Wait for it. Gaming, wait for it. Anime Plus Ultra.

Speaker 1:

Mr Eric Almighty and Phil the Filipino. Yeah, they've got you covered, and all you got to do is wait for it. This is the Wait For it podcast.

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