Hayao Miyazaki’s 2001 masterpiece Spirited Away was a major global crossover hit — a critical and commercial success that earned the animated film an Oscar, and the title as Japan’s highest-grossing film in history, beating out Hollywood blockbuster Titanic. But 19 years after its release, Spirited Away has lost its crown to Demon Slayer.
Demon Slayer — Kimetsu no Yaiba — The Movie: Mugen Train has surpassed Spirited Away as the top grossing film in Japan ever. Japan Times reports that the film took in ¥32.47 billion and drew in 24 million to theaters since its opening on October 16, according to co-distributors Aniplex Inc. and Toho Co.
That’s a pretty major feat during a pandemic (albeit in a country that managed to curb its cases early on), and an even more major feat to end Spirited Away‘s 19-year reign with its box office haul of ¥31.68 billion. Even more impressive: Demon Slayer, which is a direct sequel to the popular action anime series, managed to pass the ¥30 billion mark in just 59 days — much faster than Spirited Away‘s 253 days.
But Spirited Away director Hayao Miyazaki isn’t too bothered by the dethroning of his beloved classic at the box office. Caught off guard by reporters while heading out of his home to pick up garbage in his neighborhood, Miyazaki was typically unfazed by the breathless questions asking about his opinion on Spirited Away losing its No. 1 title at the Japanese box office. His answers can be found below translated from Japanese (via HypeBeast):
On how he feels about Demon Slayer closing in on Spirited Away: “I don’t think that has anything to do with me. As long as the workplace they make is peaceful, and they’re doing their best–that’s all that matters.
On if he’s watched Demon Slayer: “I haven’t seen it. I rarely watch, I watch other things. I don’t watch TV or movies. I’m a retired old man who picks up trash.”
On how he feels about fans lamenting Spirited Away losing it’s spot: “I don’t care about that. The industry will be inflated these days. Anyway, I need to pick up trash…”
There he is, the trash-picking (but not trash-talking, at least intentionally) king. There’s likely plenty of people reading into this box office news as being the first sign of Studio Ghibli’s demise as being the pre-eminent studio for anime films, but Ghibli has weathered closures and retirements galore without losing its prestige. It, and Spirited Away‘s legacy, will be fine. Probably.
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