Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi, also known as Spirited Away, is a story detailing the journey of a young girl named Chihiro who is trapped in a bizarre world inhabited by spirits and gods. With the help of a lost spirit named Haku, Chihiro seeks out a way to free her parents and herself from Yubaba and return to the human world. Throughout her many escapades, her personality veers from a naive and helpless little girl into a strong-willed and dauntless individual.
Spirited Away was directed and written by Hayao Miyazaki. Every summer, Miyazaki spent his vacation at a mountain cabin with his family and five young female friends. The idea for Spirited Away came about when he desired to make a film for these friends. Miyazaki had previously done films such as My Neighbor Totoro and Kiki's Delivery Service, which were for small children and teenagers, but he had not done a film for ten-year-old girls. For inspiration, he read shojo manga magazines such as Nakayoshi and Ribon that the girls had left at the cabin. When Miyazaki read the magazines he felt that they only offered things such as crushes and romance. When looking at his young friends, Miyazaki felt this was not what they "held dear in their hearts", so instead he decided to make the film about a girl heroine that they could look up to.