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'spirited away' is returning to theaters

Hayao Miyazaki’s 2001 Studio Ghibli classic will be screened in U.S. theaters next month to celebrate its 15th anniversary.

Emily Manning

Earlier this week, it was revealed that beloved Japanese director Hayao Miyazaki will return from retirement to helm a film he's been working on for 20 years, Kemushi No Boro, or Boro The Caterpillar. Which means that Boro has been inching around Miyazaki's mind before the release of what's perhaps his best-known film: Spirited Away. The seminal coming-of-age film turns 15 this year, and to celebrate, Spirited Away will return to over 400 theaters in the United States.

On December 4, an English-dubbed version of the Japanese film will be presented. On the following day, December 5, a Japanese language version with English subtitles will be screened. Both films will be accompanied by Ghiblies: Episode 2, a 25-minute short film that has never been released in North America. It follows the Studio Ghibli staff — incredibly talented animators who have brought to life the worlds of My Neighbor Totoro, Princess Mononoke, and Kiki's Delivery Service — as they go about their days dreaming up new characters.

While pretty much everything that emerges from Studio Ghibli is praised, Spirited Away has long been considered the studio's crowning achievement. The film — which follows 10-year-old Chihiro as she becomes separated from her parents and navigates survival in a bizarre spirit world — won an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature and remains Japan's highest grossing film of all time (even topping Titanic). It earned a glowing review from Roger Ebert, who argued that Miyazaki's hand-illustrated films "have a depth and complexity often missing in American animation."

A full list of participating theaters is available here. If you go, you're more or less obligated to cosplay as the best meme of all time.

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Text Emily Manning