Spirited Away has a bath house full of spirits who serve and feed their spirit visitors. And one of the sources of their food are the pigs they keep in pig pens. We know that those pigs are edible, because Yubaba at some point implies that Chihiro's parents (turned into pigs) may be ready to eat. Moreover, Chihiro's parents are not spirits, and are therefore not spirit pigs. And they are kept in the same place as other more-or-less identical pigs - which makes me suspect that, in that world, pigs are not spirits, but are animals raised for consumption.

My question is: do we know where those pigs come from? Are they pigs that belong only on that world, or is there some basic back-and-forth between the spirit world and ours that results in meat animals making their way there? Has Studio Ghibli ever shed light on what seemingly ordinary pigs are doing in the spirit world? Or does animism have something to do with this?

It may also be that this is just one of those things intentionally given to us as a mystery, to be accepted and not deconstructed. So if there isn't any solid info given to us on this, I would consider that valuable information in itself.

  • boredpanda.com/… – Valorum Jan 22 at 21:28
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    @Valorum Yep - I've seen this when I was googling for an answer. It doesn't really address the question, however. – Misha R Jan 22 at 21:30
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    Hence why I've posted it as a comment. – Valorum Jan 22 at 21:33
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    Well, when a mommy pig and a daddy pig love each other very much.... Pigs have litters of 10-20 piglets at a time, and can have 2 litters each year. That's 20-40 new pigs per sow per year. There's a reason they're a common farm animal. Start with 1 male and 1 female, and within 4 years you could have over 100 pigs in your herd... – Chronocidal Jan 23 at 16:01
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    @MishaR It just seems weird that you were fixated on the Pigs, and not (for example) the fish, the prawns, the cows, the squid, or the chickens - No-face's feast shows quite the variety – Chronocidal Jan 24 at 8:32

The food being prepared for the spirits at the beginning of the movie consisted of VAST amounts of meat. That meat has to come from somewhere, and the simplest explanation is that regular animals exist in the spirit world alongside the spirits. The pigs are probably just regular pigs. Remember Rin gave Chihiro roasted newt, and as far as we know it was just a regular newt.

There appears to be plenty of back and forth between the words in the movie. Chihiro and her family accidentally cross between worlds and the river spirit vomits up all sorts of sludge and trash from the human world. It would make sense that normal animals have crossed over as well.

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  • I appreciate the answer, but it doesn't really address the question. In my post I already recognize that the pigs are likely ordinary pigs, and my question isn't so much whether they make their way into the spirit world, but how. Are they bought? Are they exchanged with other spirit farms? Farm pigs don't tend to wander around enough to form and sustain a whole new farm by random chance - I am wondering what exactly is the process by which they end up in the spirit farm. That said, if there is official word from Ghibli that they have wandered in there randomly, I would accept that. – Misha R Mar 4 at 2:55

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