The characters rarely focus and exposit as the wonders we see passing along in the background, they are used to these worlds as they live in them, which is what Miyazaki is inviting us to do, to live in and be absorbed by this fantasy.
“The creation of a single world comes from a huge number of fragments and chaos.” ― Hayao Miyazaki
Miyazaki often doesn’t explain the fantastic and otherworldly aspects of his worlds, they just are. The fantasy of his worlds is background. They often don’t directly serve the story like a lot of fantasy, and, counterintuitively, that serves to make them more authentic.
The land is inhabited by gods, beasts and natural forces not found in our world outside of myth and legend, like Sen’s sentient wolf family or the creepy yet childlike clicking forest spirits.
These beings and forces are never explained. They are never given background or origin.
However, when we are given background and explanation as to how aspects of this world came to be, it’s in regards to the main players in the story, namely Lady Eboshi, the leader of Irontown, forcing the audience’s focus on those aspects of the story, its characters.
This could also be a logical extension of the age old narrative idea of: show, don’t tell. If were given the entire history of how the bathhouse in Spirited Away was constructed, (we are only told it was built on top of an abandoned theme park), the magic is somewhat gone. If we are left wanting, there is no shortage of information we can infer from the immaculate character design, background art and music that Ghibli excels at. It all serves to usher you into the story even more.
We aren’t looking for the opinions and reactions of the characters to these meticulously crafted worlds, because they have none. We are then forced to instead form our own opinions on them, ask and possibly even answer our own questions on these worlds and their events.
Glasp is a social web highlighter that people can highlight and organize quotes and thoughts from the web, and access other like-minded people’s learning.