Spirited Away is one of the most beloved movies from the legendary Studio Ghibli. On her way to a new home with her parents. a sullen 10-year-old named Chihiro stops in an abandoned theme park. As her parents are transformed into pigs, she realizes that they have unknowingly become part of the spirit world. Chihiro must make her way through this new world to find a way to change her parents back to normal and resume her former life. The story is gorgeously animated and wonderfully told, and is considered one of the greatest anime movies in history. But are there other anime like Spirited Away out there? While nothing can exactly replicate this incredible movie, there are other anime that have much in common with it.
Some anime similar to Spirited Away are full-length anime, like Mushishi and Natsume's Book of Friends. Others are movies like Spirited Away - Ghibli's other films often follow female protagonists on journeys of self-discovery, and watching other Ghibli films offers a similar experience. But movies from other studios like Hotarubi no Mori e and Children Who Chase Lost Voices also resemble Chihiro's story.
Help out your fellow fans by voting up the anime that you think are a great next watch for those who love Spirited Away.
While it would be easy to put every single movie by Studio Ghibli on this list due to stylistic similarities, we'll stick to just one - Howl's Moving Castle. Like Spirited Away, Howl's Moving Castle follows a female protagonist who is unhappy in her ordinary life. Sophie a young woman who works at a hat shop and is so serious that she's failing to enjoy her youth. Through meeting an eccentric wizard named Howl and also literally transforming into an old woman, she begins a magical journey that helps set her on the path toward happiness. Meanwhile, spending time in a magical world helps Chihiro develop a sense of gratitude, wonder and joy in her everyday life.
If you're looking for an anime with similar mythological underpinnings but with a protagonist who is a competent and knowledgeable adult, you should try watching Mushishi. Ginko is in the business of solving problems caused by mushi, mysterious beings that often exist harmoniously with humanity, but which can cause illness, time warps, and sudden outbursts of magical powers. Mushishi is focused more on developing its setting than on its protagonist, but Ginko does get a few episodes dedicated to his personal growth and development, allowing for further comparisons to Spirited Away.
After nine-year-old Ren's mother dies and his father disappears, he finds himself struggling to survive on the streets. His life changes dramatically when Kumatetsu, a warrior from the realm of Shibuten, decides to make him his protege. At first, Ren struggles to process the existence of this new world, and the new expectations that are being placed on him. Through resilience and mental fortitude that he didn't know he possessed, he begins to make sense of his new world, and form meaningful relationships with the people in it. Ultimately, however, he wishes to return to his own world. While all of the details don't line up precisely, Ren's journey bears a striking resemblance to Chihiro's.
Natsume's Book of Friends follows a young man whose grandmother left him a magical book. All yokai (demons) whose names are recorded within the book are under Natsume's control, which is why he's constantly pursued by yokai who want their freedom. He decides to dedicate his life to setting them free - a process that he'll need a lot of help with. Like Spirited Away, Natsume's Book of Friends is about a young person who is thrown into a world of mythology that he doesn't fully understand, but is nevertheless dedicated toward progressing through.