Princess Mononoke

Even gods now fear the encroachment of man. Princess Mononoke opens with Ashitaka, the last Emishi prince, returning home only to encounter a boar turned demon. He confronts the boar to protect his village and is infected with the same disease that turned the boar into a demon. The village elders force him to leave the village and seek the only possible cure in the west. The curse gives Ashitaka uncontrollable strength, but at a cost. He travels to the town of Iron Works where along the way he encounters a monk that provides him with a possible lead. In the forest there are gods and spirits who may be able to heal his wounds.

Ashitaki’s next step places him on the game board as a pawn to be used against the mysterious Princess Mononoke and the gods that live in the forest.

Princess Mononoke is overtly environmental. Humanity has the ability to even kill forest gods. The film is full of strong women (most of Iron Works is populated by ex-prostitutes) and complex characters. Every character has multiple dimensions, even the supporting cast. Villains are not completely villains; heroes are not completely heroes. The complexity of characterization is very well done.

The animation is phenomenal. Grass dances in the wind; the demonic infections are pleasantly revolting. The story is paced well with periods of intense violence and moments of quiet. This film is one of the highest grossing films as well. Princess Mononoke is Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli at its best.

2 thoughts on “Princess Mononoke”

  1. Beautiful or not, it’s still got to have a good story that is entertaining and makes sense. I don’t share your view of a flawless Ghibli, in fact, I find at least half of their films to be flawed in several ways. Many of Ghiblis films are quite impressive, but in my opinion, many of them are often overrated as well.Sometimes it just seems like Ghibli is the greatest in a quality sense of the anime industry, so they’re what many of the most overzealous fan latch on to prove to themselves or others how much better anime supposedly is. They’re an amazing studio, no doubt, and one of the best in the world, but I still don’t buy in to the flawless viewpoint that so many fans seem to have about them and Miyazaki specifically. Honestly, it often just reeks of fanboyism.

    1. I was disappointed with Ponyo and much of the latest Ghibli efforts. I can understand your views that they can be overrated. One thing that Ghibli does do well is bring anime to the wider American audience. Ghibli is considered Disney (for better or worse) so people are going to watch an animated film as opposed to anime.

      Ghibli isn’t the only studio that produces high quality. I prefer Production IG and Bones over Ghibli. Princess Mononoke is probably one of the best Ghibli films, but it isn’t without its problems like awkward dialogue or story holes.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *