After the events of the movie, Chihiro finds herself jaded with the human world, especially after the idea of ‘home’ isn’t what it used to be. In the spirit world, it seemed like a week had passed, at the most - but outside, it’d been well over a century. Her parents can’t cope with the abrupt change or the loss of everything they’ve ever known, and they don’t believe her when she tells them what happened…of course, they can’t remember. So once she’s old enough, Chihiro leaves and reimmerses herself into the world beyond, becoming something of an oddity: a human who navigates her way across dangers untold and unknown.
Kohaku, for his part, does pretty well for himself once he’s reclaimed his identity from Yubaba; he becomes a leader in his own right, holding sway over those who see fit to abandon the bathhouse - including Lin. The river spirit, with no river to call his own, makes his own haven full of its own secrets and intricacies; he did learn from the very best, after all. Eventually, he starts to hear rumours of a human woman facing down the spirit world with no fear. He knows it’s her - now there’s just a matter of waiting for her to come to him…or letting his impatience crumble and seeking out his lady love.
you guys this is my favourite pairing in all the Ghibli movies and omg James Marsden’s voice still does stupid things to me and oh maaaan *U*