Every summer, Hayao Miyazaki spent his vacation at a mountain cabin with his family and five girls who were friends of the family. The idea for Spirited Away came about when he wanted to make a film for these friends. Miyazaki had previously directed films such as My Neighbor Totoro and Kiki’s Delivery Service, which were for small children and teenagers, but he had not created a film for ten-year-old girls. For inspiration, he read shōjo mangamagazines like Nakayoshi and Ribon the girls had left at the cabin, but felt they only offered subjects on “crushes” and romance. When looking at his young friends, Miyazaki felt this was not what they “held dear in their hearts” and decided to produce the film about a girl heroine whom they could look up to instead.
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