The fantasy animation film “Spirited Away” was written and directed by the masterful Hayao Miyazaki, and it focuses on Chihiro Ogino, a 10-year-old girl who moves to a new neighborhood with her family. They discover an entrance to the Kami world, a place full of the spirits from Shinto folklore. A witch, Yubaba, turns Chihiro’s parents into pigs, and she has to navigate the spirit world while trying to free her family and herself from their grasp. While the film is one of the greatest animated features of all time, and it’s surely memorable, it also contains one of the greatest and scariest anime creatures ever put to screen.
The world of “Spirited Away” is full of everything from dragons to witches and spirits of all shapes and sizes. The scariest monster, perhaps, is No-Face, an unsurprisingly faceless specter who initially appears as a floating black spirit with a white mask where its face should be. We discover that it can ingest individuals to gain mass, personality, and physical traits. At first, it seems like a simple and harmless entity, but No-Face gradually ingests the greed and vices of the workers it absorbs. This corruption transforms it over time into a massive, hulking beast obsessed with consumption and with Chihiro. Our connection with the young protagonist makes the horror hit home especially well, given that the increasingly dangerous being cannot leave her alone.