If you are an anime fan, chances are that you’ve probably wondered about the mysterious dish eaten in “Spirited Away” before Chihiro’s parents turned into giant man-pigs.
One of the animators, Hiromasa Yonebayashi, finally shed some light about the food that has been intriguing viewers is actually a coelacanth. According to reports, coelacanths are plump, lobe-finned fish that can grow to more than 2 meters.
Previously, it had always been speculated that it was a stuffed lamb stomach, or Ba-Wan (a Taiwanese street food). However, the speculations proved to be false when Yonebayashi took it to his Twitter account to put the mystery to rest through a thread he posted on 19th September.
The former Studio Ghibli animator’s tweets read, “It was written on the storyboard that the soft, flabby food the dad eats is the stomach of a coelacanth. Haku moves quickly and stops suddenly so there aren’t a lot of key frames, making it super simple. Chihiro is trembling and nervous, so there are a lot of key frames, making it a pain.”
— 米林宏昌 (@MaroYonebayashi) September 19, 2020
Unfortunately, no pictures of the coelacanth stomach can be found online. Even though it looks mouth-watering in the animation, it is not recommended to eat the fish because its flesh can cause sickness.
The coelacanth is also considered to be a “living fossil” as it was thought to have gone extinct with the dinosaurs 65 million years ago.