Seemed to take me forever to finally watch this movie, and it was well worth the wait. I'm forever searching for films that reflect what I think of as the world of Philip K. Dick novels. Movies based on Dick books rarely meet my approval, but once in awhile, some other picture will find the psychedelic spirit of Dick's best work. You don't expect to find it in a "children's movie," for sure, but I take what I can get.
There are a bunch of astonishing creatures in Spirited Away, and most of them would make sense as intergalactic beings from a PKD novel. My favorites were the little soot thingies ... that's what they are, soot with arms and legs ... but there's plenty more where that came from.
It's a wonderful movie, accurately described by Andrew O'Hehir in a Salon review:
To those who want to ask practical questions, such as whether "Spirited Away" is an appropriate movie for children, I have no answers. Arguably it isn't an appropriate movie for anybody.I give it a 9 on a scale of 10.
[Edited to add Letterboxd list of Studio Ghibli movies I have seen]