These characters are here to remind you to never, ever give up.

As much as we love the main characters in big Studio Ghibli films, the supporting characters are sometimes even more coveted, due to their comparatively short screen time. That’s particularly true of Ghibli’s 2001 anime film Spirited Away, where the spirits from the bathhouse almost steal the show, so whenever the studio releases merchandise dedicated to these characters, they tend to sell like hotcakes.

Now it’s not just the supporting cast but the stone statue seen at the beginning of the film that are making an appearance in the studio’s latest merchandise lineup. There are six to collect in the new series, and they can be purchased separately or as a box set.

The collection is called “Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi Potteri Yura Yura Oki agari Koboshi”, which translates to “Spirited Away Plump Swaying Self-Righting Dolls“. As the name suggests, these little dolls don’t ever fall over, thanks to their rounded bottoms, which means they’ll self-right themselves, even when pushed.

Self-righting dolls are something of a tradition in Japan — made most famous by the daruma, a rounded object modelled on Bodhidharma — where they act as a metaphor for perseverance, due to their ability to always keep standing.

It’s an ethos that’s well-suited to the themes of Spirited Away, where the characters show a great sense of determination to overcome obstacles in their way. Take Oshira-sama, for example. Others might not be able to stand the smell of this pungent radish spirit, who quietly helps Chihiro while visiting the bathhouse, but that’s not going to stop it from enjoying a bath in the bathhouse!

▼ Oshira-sama (right) and Ootori-sama (left)

Similarly, the duck-like chickens known as Ootori-sama struggle to fit into the baths together, but they do so regardless. Other characters doing it tough are No Face, the child Boh, who was turned into a mouse, and one of the green heads known as “Kashira”.

Mouse Boh looks suitably stunned, as usual.

One of the most unusual “characters” in the range, however, is the Dosojin statue, which makes a fleeting appearance at the beginning of the film as it stands on the path that Chihiro and her parents embark upon. In Japan, stone figures like this are believed to protect travellers as they act as deities of paths, so placing one of these on your desk is a nice way to feel safe as you travel the many roads of the Internet.

With all the attention to detail on each character, it’ll be hard to choose between them, so you can purchase the entire set of six for 5,280 yen (US$37.25).

Alternatively, if you’ve got tighter purse strings after splurging on the recent Totoro story collection, you can purchase these individually for 880 yen each. However, they’re being sold individually in blind packages, so there’s no guarantee as to which one you’ll get.

The series went on sale at Donguri Kyowakoku stores and online from 28 July. While they’re fun to play with, they also make a beautiful display in the home of any Ghibli fan, especially if you can pair them with this series of Spirited Away bathhouse spirit figures!

Source, images: Donguri Kyowakoku
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