Spirited Away is a near perfect film, Released in 2002, I watched it yet again. and I don't rewatch most movies. In fairness, though, I didn't rewatch. I re-experienced.
Easily the sweetest movie you will ever see on Fear with Beer (and I say that with confidence) this animated full-length movie from the remarkable Japanese director Hayao Miyazaki was distributed and overdubbed in the U.S. by Walt Disney Studios. Make no mistake, this is a ghost story, but unlike most ghost stories where ghosts push through into the human world, this is the story of young Chihiro, a human, who accidentally intrudes on the spirit world. In this movie, she is the other worldly one.
Unless I'm watching 1970s Italian horror camp, I steer clear from overdubs unless I can't find a subtitled version. I prefer hearing the original tones even if don't understand the words coming out of their mouths.
The American version of Spirited Away, however, is different, meticulously orchestrated and acted. The slight rewrites make it accessible to American audiences not familiar with Japanese legends while fully retaining the magic. Good stuff. Plus, while you probably wouldn't recognize the voices by hearing them, it's got a retro TV fest of talent: Suzanne Pleshette (The Bob Newhart Show), David Ogden Stiers (M*A*S*H) and John Ratzenberger (Cheers). It's even got a home-town boy from my Cleveland, Ohio - Paul Eiding.
I specifically wrote this post for anyone who has never seen this or any other Miyazaki film. Spirited Away is visually beautiful, expertly directed, childlike yet deep at the exact same time, and creatively weird without even once feeling pretentious. While Spirited Away is full of humor and charm and far from scary, I still mark this one as a Mangus Essential for ghost stories.
Kiuchi Brewery Hitachino Nest Beer XH
I had to match a remarkable movie with a remarkable beer, so turned to Miyazki's Japan for this different take on a Belgian brown ale. Similar to domestic beers aged in oak whiskey barrels from Tennessee, this ale was aged in Japan in saki barrels. This import is not inexpensive, but if you're a craft beer lover, it's worth seeking out, if you can find it.
Checking their website, they now have a restaurant in San Francisco. Unfortunately, that's still a haul from Cleveland, but hopefully it means more distribution of their beers stateside. They have a number of varieties I'm excited to try.