New deals recently struck by both HBO Max and Netflix means Studio Ghibli's incredible back catalogue is now at last becoming available to stream online, including the out-and-out anime classic Spirited Away - read on to find out how to watch the film in your region.
Seen by many as the finest example of Studio Ghibli's incredible cinematic output, Hayao Miyazaki's masterpiece is one of the most successful animated movies of all time.
The film follows the story of 10-year-old Chihiro, a girl who is left longing for her old life and friends after moving to a new neighbourhood. While exploring her new surroundings with her parents they stumble upon a seemingly abandoned amusement park.
There they meet the witch Yubaba who turns Chihiro's mother and father into giant pigs. Chihiro is forced to work at the resort as she tries to find a way to free herself and her parents and return to the human world. First released in 2001, Spirited Away grossed over $347 million worldwide, making it the most successful movie in Japanese history. It also topped Titanic to take the record for the highest earning film of all time at the Japanese box office.
The winner of the Best Animated Feature award at the 2003 Oscars, (the first and only hand-drawn and non-English-language animated film to win the prize), Spirited Away along with the rest of the Studio Ghibli back catalogue was largely unavailable on streaming services or to download digitally.
All that has now changed however. Netflix has nabbed exclusive streaming rights for 20 out of 21 films produced by the studio across all territories except the US, Canada, and Japan. Meanwhile, HBO Max is set to be the home for Studio Ghibli content in North American when the brand new streaming service goes live in the US in May.
One of the most beloved and enduring anime films, read on for full details on how to stream Spirited Away, no matter where you are in the world with our guide below.
How to watch Spirited Away online in the U.S.
American anime audiences have a little bit of a longer wait in order to binge watch their way through Studio Ghibli's classic movies.
If you're hoping to watch Spirited Away in the U.S., you'll be sad to see that Netflix does not offer the Studio Ghibli films in the U.S., Canada, or Japan. That doesn't mean that you can't stream it, though.
That's where a VPN (Virtual Private Network) can be a lifesaver. They allow you to virtually change the ISP of your laptop, tablet or mobile to one that's back in your home country, letting you watch as if you were back there.
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While HBO Max has secured the streaming rights to the studio's back catalogue, the new service isn't currently due to launch until May 2020. The service is set to be priced at $14.99 a month.
If you don't have the patience to last that long, all of the studio's animated movies have been available to purchase in digital form since December 2019 on major platforms like Amazon Prime Video and iTunes including Spirited Away.
How to watch Spirited Away in the rest of the world
There's no such wait for anime fans outside of Canada, Japan or the US, as Netflix has already begun streaming Studio Ghibli classics including Spirited Away.
The service has been gradually releasing films from the studio onto its library since February, with Spirited Away having been released on Netflix on March 1, 2020. All Studio Ghibli films are now available on the service, excluding the 1988 Second World War epic Grave of the Fireflies due to its publishing rights being held by another company.
Depending on your location, basic monthly subscription costs for Netflix are: £5.99 (UK); €7.99 (Europe); R99 (Africa); AED29 (United Arab Emirates); $9.99 (Australia); $11.99 (New Zealand).
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