Call Me Chihiro (2023) Ending Explained – Does Chihiro leave the town?

Call Me Chihiro (2023) Plot Synopsis

Based on a manga, Call Me Chihiro follows the life of a woman named Chihiro. She is a former sex worker who leaves her job and moves to a small seaside town, working a job at a bento stall and mingling with the locals. A quintessential slice-of-life film, Call Me Chihiro looks at its bright and cheerful protagonist’s everyday life and the people she meets.

She hangs out with an old, homeless man and shares several meals with him but he soon passes away. She meets a teenage schoolgirl named Okaji who seems to be in awe of her but also faces issues with her authoritarian father. As well as Betchin, another schoolgirl who hides away from her family and spends her time reading books and manga.

Chihiro also meets Makoto, a small boy raised by a single working woman. Basil, a friend of hers who works as a singer and dancer at a pub, visits her. They later bump into Chihiro’s former employer, Utsumi. Chihiro also forms a strong bond with the owner of the bento shop where she works and his wife, Tae, who has recently lost her eyesight.

Here’s everything you need to know about how Call Me Chihiro ends!

What was Chihiro’s backstory?

We don’t spend a lot of time in Chihiro’s past, but the film does reveal a few important things. Early on in the film she gets a phone call from her brother who informs her of their mother’s death. She doesn’t react to the news and tells him she’ll pass on attending the funeral. Her relationship with her brother seems distant too.

A flashback shows a young Chihiro sitting outside on some steps, eating messy sushi rolls made by her own hand. A woman in a glitzy dress watches her nearby, approaches and then asks for a piece of sushi. She tells the young girl it tastes good. They walk together and before parting ways, the woman introduces herself as Chihiro.

Utsumi later reveals that when Chihiro came to the massage parlor, she looked like an ordinary woman but her shoes were filthy and worn out. If she hadn’t stepped in through that door on that day, she might not have been alive in the present. In the flashback, when Utsumi asks her what name she wants to use, she says Chihiro.

How does Chihiro change the lives of the people around her?

Being a slice-of-life movie, Call Me Chihiro doesn’t exactly bring every storyline to a conclusion or resolve every single conflict. Instead of focusing on distinct endings, the film throws light on the characters and how they’ve grown and, ideally, would keep growing even after the end of the tale.

Okaji still has issues with her parents, but she is finally able to enjoy a hot meal at Makoto’s house, so much so that it brings her to tears. Makoto finds new ways to connect with his working mom, who in turn recognizes and appreciates his qualities even more. Chihiro does dissuade Basil from pursuing Utsumi, but the latter two maintain a good relationship and seem to continue meeting each other.

The day before Tae’s discharge from the hospital, Chihiro sneaks her out and takes her for a drive. They sit in the car and listen to the rain, a sound that Tae finds thrilling. Chihiro recalls meeting Tae the night she quit her job and arrived in town. It had been raining and Tae had given her free chicken with her bento. She says at that moment she knew Tae was from the same planet as her. Only the second person to make her feel that way, after the original Chihiro.

Chihiro also tells Tae about her mother’s death and how she didn’t feel anything. She says she might have been different if she was born as Tae’s daughter. Tae says she’s wonderful just as she is and gives her a tight hug.

Does Chihiro leave the town?

The next night, all of the people Chihiro’s met come together for an outdoor dinner to celebrate Tae’s return from the hospital. The bento owner, Tae, Nagai, Okaji, Betchin, Maktoto, Basil and Utsumi are all there. Everybody engages in upbeat conversation, the mood is warm and companionable.

Suddenly, Chihiro leaves the party and walks down the streets on her own. Tae, who realizes, gives her a call and tells her she felt her leave. She knows Chihiro is planning to go somewhere far away again but advises her not to. She tells her to grow roots in this town, as no matter how far she goes she will still hold on to her loneliness. Chihiro doesn’t respond but tears up when they finish the call.

The next scene shows us a sign advertising an open position for a part-timer at the bento shop. The shop owner and Tae peel acorns together. The owner tells Tae about the time he interviewed Chihiro. After asking her a few questions he left her alone for a few minutes, giving her a bento box to eat in the meantime. He says the way she relished the entire contents of the box was a sure sign of her being a good person.

How does Call Me Chihiro end?

The final scene of the film shows Chihiro in a different town, working as a farmhand. The farmer tells her she’s good with animals and asks where she worked before this. She replies that she worked at a bento shop.


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1 thought on “Call Me Chihiro (2023) Ending Explained – Does Chihiro leave the town?”

  1. I have read the article on regarding the ending of the movie “Call Me Chihiro” and I must say, it was an interesting read. The author did a good job in summarizing the plot and discussing the themes presented in the movie. However, I believe that the article lacked depth and analysis in certain aspects of the ending.

    For instance, the author briefly mentioned the significance of the train scene at the end of the movie but did not delve deeper into its symbolism and how it relates to Chihiro’s character development. Additionally, while the article provided a good explanation of the ending, I feel that it could have benefited from more examples and evidence from the movie to support the analysis.

    Despite these critiques, I appreciate the effort the author put into writing this article and providing an explanation of the movie’s ending. I would suggest that in future articles, the author could add more depth and analysis to their writing and provide more specific examples from the movie to support their points. Overall, it was a good read and I would recommend it to anyone who wants to better understand the ending of “Call Me Chihiro”.

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