Toxicity in Spirited Away’s Bathhouse

Toxicity in place is one of the themes I found most prominent in Studio Ghibli’s film, Spirited Away.  I believe that No Face is the embodiment of a person’s personality and desires. The characters in the bathhouse are toxic because they are driven by greed, so when No Face eats the characters in the bathhouse, it becomes this monster who acts and consumes food in a very uncivilized manner.

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When No Face later goes to Zeniba’s cottage, No Face acts very different. Now that No Face has a purpose and is in a place with kind people, it can be the best version of itself. No Face doesn’t need to “eat” anyone because it can be itself.

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I think this theme is very important in our lives because I’ve seen people change both in personality and appearance – in the clothes people wear and how they resemble the people who inhabit those shared spaces. A place can be the home environment, school, the workplace, the community, your friend group – it can be a lot of places. If you feel that the environments you are currently in are not good for your mental health or are impacting you in ways that you don’t like, I urge you to think about if the place is fit for you, and if leaving the toxic environment is an option. Some food for thought.


I wasn’t sure of No Face’s gender (I don’t believe it’s identified in the film) so I’m not sure if I should use he, they, or another pronoun. Please feel free to enlighten me and I can change the post to make it better. Thanks. 🙂

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18 thoughts on “Toxicity in Spirited Away’s Bathhouse

  1. Yes, I agree! I loved those distinctions in the anime and it’s one of the reasons it’s my favourite from the Studio. It’s amazing what a person can accomplish when they are nurtured and given a chance to grow for themselves. 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

  2. So you’re saying that no face is a manifestation of a human personality with both the good and bad qualities , and because the characters that run the spa are driven by greed and gluttony .It enables no face to become a monster.
    But surrounding yourself with kind hard working idividuals that want the best for you. Then you become a better person.
    I like it! The silver lining of this metaphor is just how those around you can effect how you act . The reverse is also true YOU can change how those around you act . If zeniba or the dahli lama visited the spa surely they would act differently.
    We can’t always leave a toxic environment. But we can be the angel in the toxic swamp that changes the environment for the better. 🙌
    That being said being the angel or being yourself in the swamp is difficult 😆
    Even in this virtual environment I find myself writing about what has happened to me and what I think others might find interesting, Instead of what I enjoy thinking about.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes! That’s exactly what I’m saying!! I really love your point about the reversal, and how you can also change the environment. It’s also so true that being the angel is the swamp is difficult. Thanks for taking the time to read and think about this, Joseph! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

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