Not quite the most terrifying cartoon I've ever seen (that honour goes to Watership Down, which I first saw when I was around 7 and still haven't completely recovered from), nor yet the oddest (that would be Pom Poko, a charming feature for children in which talking raccoons fight evil human real estate developers by magically enlarging their testicles and bouncing on the bad guys' heads), but nonetheless enthralling.
Visually it's lovely - the dark, deserted city lighting up and becoming populated by ghosts is very creepy, and there's a wonderful scene of a train travelling through water. There are lots of fun characters including the soot particles, Yubaba the witch/bathhouse proprietor and a giant baby who gets turned into a rather cute rat. My favourite was probably Haku, who is a bit of a dish, ever so slightly Dark, and has the ability to turn into a snakewolfgoatdragon.
The heroine is a very realistic little girl who triumphs over adversity (her parents get turned into pigs and everyone wants to eat her) by being polite and respectful to witches, Stink Gods, No-Faces and sumo squid walrus things alike.
As this was the subtitled version, here's the list of Japanese Words I Recognised:
- Arigato (Thank You)
- San (Master)
- Hai (Yes)
- Gomen Nasai (Sorry)
- Chu (Squeak)
Oh, nausicaa.net tells me that the sumo squid walrus thing is actually 'A god of Daikon radish'. That's much clearer, thanks.