Fan Fiction & Commentary

PART 1:

Title: Lin

“Chow time” A girl dressed casually entered the boiling room, all smile.

“Good evening, Lin. You look merry, you must have got good news from Yubaba.” Kamaji handover his old bowl to her, the old men relented as he was affected by her excitement. 

“Yes, permission to transfer, Yubaba said that this is also my task. I’ve never seen her so generous. Thanks for your encouragement, Kamaji. I’m closer to my real identity.”

“It still surprises me that Chihiro could trigger your hidden memories. That’s why you volunteered to work on pig farms.”Kamaji put down his chopsticks, sighed, “Pity that our bitter relationship with the human has shut the border down. Working in the pig farm will be harder than here in Bathhouse, but it seems the only place that you could access human in the Spirited Realm.” Lin frowned, “Their fights are not my business. Don’t worry about me. Even humans are pigs, I’ll try my best to regain my name and memories.”

Kamaji shook her hands. “Remember the boy in your dream, he’ll guide you to find your name.”

Lin nodded, “Goodbye, Kamaji.”

“Goodbye, Lin.”

Waterfall roared as the last sunlight shined on a giant Bathhouse. Three pig farms stood aside in a hill surrounded by colorful gardens. A group of dark shadows lurking nearby, reaching their tiny arms to guests and servants, seeking for something. As Lin approached the entrance, a rough voice echoed the Bathhouse, “Tell them this is a high-class bathhouse, not free accommodation for homeless!” Soon, a giant bird furiously flew away to the sky. 

 “Yes, Yubaba.” Servants greeted. Lin crossed the bridge and looked back for a while. “I’ll miss the gold and roasted newt.” 

The sun began to sink, and mist before the ghost-like town had darkened. Several dark figures were hurrying to cross through streets until three pigs entered their gaze. There, two adult pigs devoured and hit by a restaurant owner. One of them cast a spell. Three pigs quickly fell asleep. The rest, including Lin, swiftly carried them back to the farm.

Unlike the glamorous Bathhouse, the pig house was simply neat and filled with snoring sounds. When Lin swept the floor, new pigs were violently being stripped off. She froze as her throat couldn’t come out a single note. 

“Don’t pity them, freshman. They are just poultry.” said a wolf-liked manager. 

That night, she had a vivid dream: a familiar boy, human, was sitting against a broken trunk, crying. “I shouldn’t have left you, I’m sorry.” Suddenly the scene shifted to a shrine where the boy handover a wooden plaque (Ema) to a brown fox spirit, said he returned where it belongs. Lin opened her eyes with tears cousing down her cheeks. She believed that the strange fox was connected to the boy and the Ema. 

Time flew as more fragile memories were recalled.

A few months later, Lin and everyone went to the hall and saw one of the iron pens was loosened, nothing left except several footsteps toward the garden.

“Another pig escaped.” Grumbling noises filled inside the farm. “Everyone, gear up! Sun’s almost down. Lin,” the manager, commanded before the workers, searching for the freshman.

“Yes, I’m here,” Lin came out from the crowd.

“Put on the black cloak.” She put on her black cloak and covered her head. “I thought we just have to capture them back.” Manager.” He hesitated, answered, “It hides you from shadows.”

“Shadows?” Lin frowned. He avoided her gaze, briefly explained, “They attack living beings by swallowing them alive, some could even read minds to make their pray vulnerable.”

“Including spirit?” Lin pointed at herself, shocked. He looked at her for a while, nodded. 

At night, they traced the footsteps and reached to a misty abandoned harbor. A frighten scream bust out, they saw a little pig was fleeing in terror. Then, intermittent whispers heard in the chilling dark. Workers swiftly hide behind the thorny thicket. Lin looked through overgrown grass and saw a group of giant shadows with many hollow eyes were marching to the edge, where the pig was shivering alone.

“Do something!” Lin turned to the workers, but they retreated. Pig intensely struggled as its head was horribly engulfed into deathly darkness.

 “Hey!” A loud shout stopped shadows. They saw Lin stood up, uncovered her head. Suddenly, a chilling wind floats through among her. Vehement yells nearly breaking her skull. Shadows grew taller and broader upon her until they covered the sky. Lin stepped back thither limping. Shiver like cold blades scraped every bone. She heard many haunting voices, crying.

“How dare you interrupt our feast, spirit in human form!”

“Why do you look like those humans!”

“I’m starving. She looks delicious too, may I eat her?” a childlike voice approached.

“Oh! You want to know your real name.” 

“We don’t have names. How about some newts or gold, those are your favorites right, Lin?”

They gathered in a circle, trumpeting at her.”Eat her, eat her!” Lin shrieked in terror until a giant fox barked and quickly cast the shadows. The harbor gradually returned to placid. Lin opened her eyes and saw a headless girl, as young as Chihiro, floating on the sea. Lin’s shoulders were unstoppably shaking. “There’s nothing you could do.” the manager emotionlessly covered the body with his cloak. As he carried her away, seawater dropped from her pale wobbling feet.

Lin appreciated the fox who shaped into a smaller size. In the dark harbor, she could hear a deep voice came out from its mouth.”Those ghosts were once greatly respected deities until humans destroyed their last sacred land and shrine. They want others to suffer the same pain so they abandoned their titles and use their power to take revenge. But I saw you, you are as kind as he told me.”

The silver moon peeked out from clouds and shined on them, Lin shockingly recognized it was the same brown fox in her dream. 

Back to the dormitory, Lin looked at the old plaque with name “Byakko” beautifully crafted, continued, “Another time, I saw we were playing together under a cherry blossom tree. He showed me an Ema, proudly said,’I made this in a shrine. Happy birthday.’ He called me ‘Byakko’. I teased at him, said that is for wish-making, and it’s supposed to be in the shine. He blushed immediately.”

“When I was a guardian of the shrine, he gave it to me.” said the brown fox.” He apologized and said his family couldn’t feed themselves, so they desperately sold their land, including his friend’s tree. I was touched so I promised him to return this to you. Byakko. Even he’s gone.”

“That explains why I was abandoned. I was scared so I left the Human World and found a new life. But I never want to hate him.” She softly stroked it like consoled their sorrow.

“But not every spirit could, Lin.” Lin read its message, said, “No, I can’t help those fallen deities, they killed a little girl.” 

“They only became aggressive because nobody willing to help them. They aren’t as lucky as you are.” The fox took out a white fox mask, said, “Your name not just defines who you are but also gives the power that nobody has.”

A balmy sun shinned across the sea. Lin crossed the flower field, saw her manager stood before her, crossing his arms. Lin responded in silence.

“We are spirits, no matter how awful we are. So stop caring about those pigs.” he warned.

“No, they aren’t.” Lin lifted her arms like he carried her body that night, he froze. Lin looked at her willowy arms, murmured, “I choose to live like human because of somebody I cared, even I had forgotten him.”

She bent politely and passed by him.

A swarmed of shadows was slowly wandering on the street. They saw Lin and approached, reached their tiny black arms to her, moaned. They seem weaker under the sunlight. Lin reminded her of the boy. She put her hands on theirs. Slightly, a tremor, like a dam emotion, was about to break out, but not from her. More shadows gathered. Lin felt her body was filled with energy, her hands became fury. She took out a mask, asked the crowd, “Would you like me to help you?”

Before the bridge, many saw a pure white fox crossing the bridge toward them. Along with a group of dark spirits was wearing masks painted as fox. The Bathhouse servants grinned widely and fluttered their hand fans. Those masked spirits stepped in a luxury bathtub filled with herbal medicine. They tearfully purified themselves.

Upstairs, a white fox was standing against a scarlet column, with the owner.

“So, you gave them your masks and belongings.” asked the witch at an interesting tone. 

The white fox answered, “I’m not a giver.” The ghosts gradually took down their marks.” I only want to help them.

Down there, shadows became transparent and disappeared in the air, leaving many white masks behind along with shocking servants.

“All right, you win.” The witch snorted and threw her a train ticket. The fox swiftly transformed into a girl who caught it. Lin gave a deep bow before gone.

“You had a great employer, sister.”

-End-

PART 2:

Commentary

By employing themes of identity and interpersonal help, I had slightly changed the genre of original Spirited Away. The tone is darker as I approach the spirits’ negative responses regarding the loss of human harmony as the Spiritual Realm and Human World are tightly connected and affected each other.

My fanfiction of Spirit Away has employed Volger’s (1998) Mythic Structure and character archetypes. Act I established the setting of the pig farm, introducing Lin’s desire, and her hero’s journey, Kamaji’s support and the background information of spirits and humans. Through Lin’s conversation with her elder mentor, Kamaji, raised the central question for individuals: rather they should be involved in the collective conflict or not, which will be answered through the conflict at the beginning of Act III. 

Act II breaks into three parts: encounter enemies of pig farm’s manager and shadows, Lin’s ally, the brown fox and tests from work. It introduces the fallen deities as shadows. the human boy as the “herald” who mentioned in Act I and appears throughout Act II. He significantly reminded Lin of her identity and motivates Lin since his story announced a resolution of the tense relationship between humans and deities. The brown fox is first shown as a shapeshifter as she was a mystery figure in dreams until they met. When Lin was in the supreme ordeal as she questioned her hesitation of saving the girl, the brown fox provides rewards. She becomes a mentor who completes Lin’s identity and guide her to the correct path. Lin, therefore, changes from a selfish girl to a heroine who willing to risk her life to save a human and the dangerous deities, because she learned from her memories that hatred only created more sorrow. She regained her love and care that she failed to recognize in the film.

In Act III, the climax begins with the conflict between Lin and the manager who debate the worthiness of human life. I inserted the conflict to highlight moral complexity and the spiritual clash of perspectives. The central questioned was answered. Resolution despite presents the purification of shadow, it also reveals the trickster in the story, Zeniba. Although she is trickster, she is designed to be positive as she rewards Lin by fulfilling her ultimate wish, a train ticket to leave the Bathhouse. Hayao Miyazaki left a gap of imagination when he illustrated Yubaba left Bathhouse without the mentioned reason. So I added Yubaba’s Zeniba was invited to temporary pretend as her sister. Lin returns with her elixir (memory, name and a better self) which benefits the income of Bathhouse. Her ending is positive and open to be interpreted. 

All Vogler’s archetypes (the heroin, “herald”, mentor, threshold guardian, shapeshifter, shadow, and the trickster) are applied in the fan fiction.  Although some characters share the physical ability of shapeshifting such as Lin, manager and brown fox. However, only the brown fox could presented her change of identity as she was revealed as the key character who unlocks Lin’s dreams. 

Reference:

Volger, C. (1998)The writer’s journey: mythic structure for writers. (2nd) Studio City: M. Wiese Productions. 


Sophie Tse 16912888

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