New York Times and Sen to Chihiro / Go

andrew osmond andrew
Tue Jan 8 16:34:49 EST 2002

Mark Schilli writes
>Michael Arnold says he "kept seeing shadows of Alice in Wonderland and the
>Wizard of Oz" in "Spirited Away." I did too, particularly the "Alice" books,
>but when I mentioned this to Suzuki Toshio of Studio Ghibli -- the film's
>producer -- he said Miyazaki's strongest influence had been "The Tombs of
>Atuan," the second book in Ursula K. Le Guin's "Earthsea" series. I haven't
>read the book, but its back cover blurb says that the heroine, Tenar, "was
>stripped of her name and family while still a child and dedicated as high
>priestess to the Nameless Ones, dark powers of the Tombs of Atuan." It also
>mentions a young wizard, Ged, who "stayed to set Tenar free and lead her out
>of the darkness." Sound familiar?

That's fascinating. Has your interview with Mr Suzuki been published in
I haven't seen Spirited Away yet, but I knew Miyazaki loved Earthsea and
IMO there are strong allusions to the books in his Nausicaa manga - less
to do with the specific world than with some of the key values. 
I read Atuan years ago. Flipping through my old copy, the following
lines from Chapter 1 caught my eye:

' "O let the Nameless Ones behold the girl given to them, who is verily
the one born ever nameless. Let them accept her life and the years of
her life until her death, which is also theirs. Let them find her
acceptable. Let her be eaten!"
'... The little girl, who had no name any more but Arha, the Eaten One,
lay on her back looking steadily at the dark.'

(That said, the stills I've seen make Yu-Baba look like a dead ringer
for the Duchess in the Tenniel 'Alice' illustrations.) 
andrew osmond

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