How long was Chihiro in the Spirit World? It only seemed like a few days: the night she signed a contract; the day she let in No-Face and bathed the polluted river spirit; the day she saved Haku and returned the gold seal to Zeniba; and then came back from Zeniba's (which was night at the time) to the bathhouse (where it was sunny).
Chihiro's dad said that the package workers had the keys to their new house and could go in to start placing everything there. But since they were in the Spirit World for at least a few days, wouldn't it seem strange to the workers that Chihiro's family hadn't come for days? Also, wouldn't it be weird to themselves, since they supposedly don't remember anything and it only appears to be a couple hours to them, once entering their new home and finding every package there without the workers? How would they find a logical, non-magical, solution to explain this to themselves?
in my mind its been way more than a few days that passed in the real world. i think it has been much much longer months, perhaps even years. i mean look at the before and after pictures of the building. chihiros dad said that the building was fake and that the facade was made of plaster , plaster does degrade but not that quickly, and plants barring bamboo do not grow that fast. definetely several months if not a few years could have passed in the time they were in the spirit world. on top of that chihiros parents mention that the car is all dusty inside, it takes months of just sitting with no one touching it for a car to get really dusty and gross inside, and yes i remember seeing the grass and saplings growing up around the car, i watched a tree grow up through an old tractor that sat quietly rusting away in my side yard and that takes YEARS to happen.
or it could just be magic but the only way you could truly find out would be to ask hayao miazaki himself.
im basing my theory off of this old japanese (or chinese if my memory fails me) folktale about this guy who travels to the spirit world or the palace of the dragon king or something like that and stays for a few days. after a while he starts missing his family and tells one of the kings daughters that he wants to go home, the princess gives him a box before he leaves tells him very seriously never to open it and sends him on his merry way, he gets back to his home town finds it much changed and confused asks around to try and see what had become of his family and friends, he finds out from a very old man that all his family is dead and a 100 years had passed in his absence, ( a la Rip Van Winkle) striken with greif he opens the box and is either transformed into an extremely old man or crumbles to dust because the box held all the years that the had missed in the real world.
Not to get too analytical, but if it was more than three years since they had been gone then their car wouldn’t even start. Gas goes bad after about a year, and if you car doesn’t get started very often (every month or two) than oils in the car will get stagnant. Now let it be know that I am not a mechanic but I have belt with cars a fair bit.
I feel like the entrance looks nice because the spirit world wants to welcome them in for whatever reason, and when they leave the entrance is what it truly looks like. In the before picture of the entrance you see the nice red on the building giving it a nice amusement park feel and afterwards the wall is white meaning the it was never red or the it’s just super old.
I have just a thought. Perhaps the spirit world moves at a different pace than the real world. Thus, a few days in th espirit world would be a few minutes in the real world.
Or, that chihiro imagined the whole thing while they were traveling. This could have been dreamed by her while she was bored since they were in the car.
Hi, here's a thought:
It doesn't actually have to be separate tunnels. In the beginning of the movie the wind seems to be pulling them in, and they see little shrines outside the path as well. The "old" look of the building is what drew Chihiro's dad into the spirit realm in the first place.
Essentially, it could have just been the spirit world's way of trying to entice them in, an illusion. The building, the rock, everything around it, could have looked that way the whole time.
And I'd like to think they weren't gone for too long in the first place, probably a week or so. We're not really given indicators that time works differently there, and I'd agree with a previous comment that its a bit depressing to think of it that way.
This thread is old... But, chiriros dad said in the beginning tvat the building looked new'ish with the concrete or what ever and there was no moss etc. When they came bavk you could not see the statues face because it was so mossy and the grass was long, trees bigger etc. The buidings new concrete finnish had worn off revealing the stones and the builsing got all mossy. They were gone for decades I think...
In my oopinion, having seen this movie at least 50 times on my life, there are a couple of things to consider,
1.- Indeed times is relative, and it seems that in the Spirit World time is slower and this creates the difference.
2.- In regards vegetation, leafs and dust inside of the cat, you will be surprised how chaotic and wild is nature. And I don't think you will need a lot of time to get to that point, 2 weeks told.
3.- I am totally agree with the fact that the car will not start if it is stopped not just years but a couple of months, that it is also something we are not usually aware as we keep using this things in the daily basis, but stop using your car for 2 months an let me know if when you start using it back... something is not working or not working at all
4.- I am also agreed with the previous comment in regards that I do not think the movie will want to destroy the life of this family, by coming back from nowhere after years or decades... that will be a really sad end(possible sometimes knowing Japanese movies in general), but he way it finish kind of imply that everything has been a weird experience that only Chihiro will be able to explain.
but this is just my opinion or at least what I would like it to be deep down.