How Long Is Spirited Away (And Why)?

How Long Is Spirited Away (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 125 Minutes

Spirited Away, released in 2001, is a Japanese animated movie of the fantasy genre. Directed by Japanese animator, director and author Hayao Miyazaki, Spirited Away tells the story of ten-year-old Chihiro Ogino and adventures in the world of Kami. 

The movie spaning 125 minutes, is set in two worlds, modern-day Japan and a parallel magical land where creatures and spirits of the Shinto folklore live. The film is akin to a classic fairy tale, like Alice in Wonderland, that takes the viewer along on Chihiro’s journey of discovery. 

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How Long Is Spirited Away?

CategoryTime Taken
Movie: Spirited Away, 2021125 minutes
Books: Spirited Away, Volume 1 to Volume 5approximately 20 minutes each

The movie has a run time of 125 minutes or 2 hours and 5 minutes. In this time, the audience witnesses the character development of the protagonist. Chihiro changes from a grumpy and selfish individual to one who is patient and independent. The viewers also experience various elements of Japanese folktales, transporting them to an exciting, magical world. 

Spirited away is also available as a graphic novel. Available in five volumes, this retelling uses actual illustrations from the film. Each book is 172 pages long and takes around 20 minutes to read. 

Although many people say that the books are indistinguishable from the movie, it is not entirely true. The book shows each panel in more detail. Furthermore, the scene comes alive. The speech bubbles are sharp to highlight the chaos. Colour and symbolism used creatively express the tone and mood of the protagonist.

Hence, one may want to read longer than 20 min to enjoy the art style and story told.  

Why Is Spirited Away So Long?

Unlike all other animated movies released, Spirited Away uses traditional animation techniques. The film is 125 minutes long as each still, hand-drawn by animators, beautifully depicts small details that show the meaning behind the story. 

An example of this is the mesmerizing train sequence that shows the scene contemplating life, death and the beyond. Such a message is only possible with a slow and isolated visual setting and beautiful background score. 

Furthermore, the long run time allows for complete and engaging storytelling. The adventures of Chihiro, whose parents turned into pigs, can not be depicted in a shorter time. The story follows Chihiro, who gets a job at a bathhouse or Abura-ya, run by a witch, to turn her parents back to humans. The viewers meet strange workers and interesting spirits who visit the bathhouse to rest. In the end, Chihiro is back to the modern world and has grown up and is ready to attend school in her new neighbourhood. Additionally, the use of colour and symbolism correctly depicts the mood of an individual. 

Lastly, the movie’s 125 minute run time is justified, as each movement shows connectivity and hard work. In one scene, Chiro tries to feed Haku the serpent his medicine. To clearly express this scene in the movie, animators designed it to imitate placing one’s hand into a dog’s mouth. They did so by recording themselves putting their hands in a dogs mouth. This level of dedication led to the creation of an engaging but long movie.  


The movie Spirited Away runs for 125 minutes or 2 hours and 5 minutes. The lengthy runtime justifies the beautiful story and character development. The detailed, hand-drawn illustrations in the film show the journey of Chihiro in search of a cure to turn parents back into humans. The viewers follow the protagonist, who meets multiple creatures, spirits and a witch on the way. 

This beautiful film requires two hours of animation to portray the deeper meaning behind the story and the detailed animation to go with it. It aptly depicts the change in the protagonist’s character through beautifully designed drawn pannels. Furthermore, the panels show small details that connect different elements of the story. 

All in all, the viewer can learn multiple life lessons from this movie. It feels good to binge-watch.


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