No-Face (カオナシ Kaonashi, lit. "Faceless") is a spirit and a secondary antagonist in the Studio Ghibli film Spirited Away. He is shown to be capable of reacting to emotions and ingesting other individuals in order to gain their personality and physical traits.
No-Face was first introduced standing on the bridge watching a rushing Chihiro and Haku, who were, at the time, trying to avoid any spirits from persecuting her for being a human. He subsequently disappeared and reappeared again on the bridge the morning after, watching a passing Chihiro with fascination. No-Face doesn't appear again until he is let into The Bathhouse by a considerate Chihiro, who worried that No-Face would get wet out in the rain (and because she thought he was a customer). He emerged again next to the Foreman, stealing a Bath Token for Chihiro. Apparently happy that she thanked him, No-Face subsequently stole more tokens, but was ultimately rejected by Chihiro, who told him that she only needed one. Disheartened, No-Face disappears, leaving the tokens to fall to the floor.
While the rest of the workers celebrated after the leave of the Unnamed River Spirit, No-Face was seen sitting in a corner, watching as the workers fought and argued for leftover gold on the ground. Learning that gold was important, No-Face baited an unsuspecting Aogaeru to come closer to him when the latter was digging for gold in the middle of the night, swallowing the frog spirit and gaining his corruptive properties soon after. With the negative qualities in Aogaeru reflecting in him, No-Face demanded a luxurious bath from the workers, throwing magically-conjured gold to the workers in the process and becoming larger by ingesting large amounts of food.
With his assumed large amount of wealth No-Face became a sensation with the workers who constantly begged for tips from him. After witnessing Chihiro reject his offering of gold, No-Face dropped the gold onto the ground in despair, forcing greedy workers to fight for a piece. Angered in assuming that a worker insulted him, No-Face swallowed another two people, as his true nature is revealed to the horrified workers.
He is next seen throwing a tantrum in a guest room, asking to see Chihiro. With his offering of gold rejected a third time, No-Face shows sadness when Chihiro mentions that No-Face could not give her "what she truly wants". After being fed the last of Chihiro's emetic dumpling from the unnamed river spirit, No-Face chases Chihiro through the lower levels of the bathhouse while regurgitating everything he has eaten, after regurgitating the last of the food and spitting out the workers he swallowed he returned to his old timid self and followed Chihiro to Zeniba's place, where he learns to knit and sew. As Chihiro leaves, No-Face is requested by Zeniba to stay and learn from her away from the negative influence of The Bathhouse. No-Face is last seen with Zeniba and her Hopping Lantern bidding Chihiro farewell as she flies off on Haku's back
When first introduced, No-Face appeared in a semi-transparent state while shifting in and out of visibility. His organs are visible, pulsating in several states. His figure resembles that of a long, black tube. While it is unknown if No-Face has a physical body, it is shown that he can develop arms and legs with the capability of leaving footprints as he walks. An ominous, expressionless mask with grey-violet highlights is painted on his "head" of sorts, and while there is a "mouth" painted on the mask, No-Face has shown that his real, expertly-hidden mouth is larger than the one present on his mask.
No-Face is a lonely spirit who begins to follow Chihiro Ogino after having developed an interest in her sincerity. His vocabulary consisted of grunts and moans as opposed to coherent words. Not knowing much about the Bathhouse or about other spirits in general, No-Face learned by example and adapted to his surroundings.
Exposed to the corruptive thoughts and greed of the workers, he quickly grew to encompass their personalities, hoping that his endeavor to be like those around Chihiro would eventually garner her affection for him. While this ultimately brought upon the opposite effect, Chihiro was somewhat true to No-Face after she invited him and accepted help from him.
No-Face becomes obsessed with Chihiro, and wants to see her and her only. He becomes extremely volatile after being fed the River Spirit's emetic dumpling by Chihiro, and, while fleeing from the obviously now-hostile spirit, she calls out to him twice to follow her. She accepts him as a co-journeyer into the train ride on her way to Swamp Bottom after he calms down and is out of the Bathhouse. At this stage, No-Face is no longer aggressive and is quite docile, even obeying Chihiro's orders, like "sit" and "behave yourself."
As a monstrous, out-of-control being, No-Face exhibits all the negative traits of those he had swallowed (most significantly, Aogaeru), becoming a brash, arrogant, loud and selfish creature whose obsession with Chihiro proved troubling for everyone around it.
Towards the end of the film, No-Face meets with Zeniba, another witch who works alone, in contrast to Yubaba, who runs her bathhouse with a complex hierarchy. Perhaps attempting to match the rules of the new tiny society, No-Face starts spinning and knitting and appears proficient in that. Happy with his new environment, he accepts Zeniba's proposal to stay with her as an apprentice.
Mimicry: Whenever he eats a creature, he uses its voice and abilities. For example, after eating Aogaeru, he speaks with Aogaeru's voice and he starts to jump like a frog. He also takes on Aogaeru's personality. If he eats more creatures, he will speak with different voices simultaneously. Because of this ability, his gender is unclear.
Alchemy: He can transform mud and dirt into objects like gold.
Absorbing: He can eat anything, whether it's food or spirits. This may be an extension of his mimicry ability.
- The Art of Spirited Away, page 109
- Ueka Nobukazu, ed. "Sen to Chihiro no kamikakushi" o yomu 40 no me, Tokyo: Kinema jumpou-sha, 2001, page 106