Review By: John Fragglepuss Evans
Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Studio Ghibli
First Released: July 1997, 130-minute film.
Summary: A calm village residing in the mountains comes under attack from a demon-possessed boar. Ashitaka, a young man and prince of the tribe, kills the creature to save his village. Before his death, the boar bites Ashitaka on the arm, leaving it blackened and cursed. Following his village’s traditions, Ashitaka is exiled and becomes a wanderer, looking for a cure to the curse before it consumes him.
Iron Town is a fortress under the leadership of Lady Eboshi. Through the clearing of the surrounding forests, Iron Town produces large amounts of Ironsand, used for gunpowder and other machinery. However, because of the destruction of the forest, nearby animal clans seek revenge, led by a human girl of the Wolf clan named San.
When Ashitaka comes to Iron Town, he discovers the complicated nature of the area and tries to bring peace to the world.
Princess Mononoke is one of the first anime I ever watched and began my love for anime. After I watched this film I started to actively search for more anime like it. Hayao Miyazaki, the creator of Princess Mononoke, did an amazing job creating a new world for us to care about. There is a great story line with characters that are constantly evolving throughout the film. There is no absolute villain, as we come to find out that all of the characters have reasoning behind what they do. There are characters that seem evil, but upon further inspection, they believe that what they are doing is good for themselves and those they love. This is one of the reasons that Princess Mononoke is one of my favorite anime, because there is reason behind everyone’s actions. People are not mean just to be a jerk, they truly are trying to do the best course of action for themselves and for those close to them.
There is a lot of emotion that will come out while watching this film, since there are a lot of ups and downs. This is a film that will end and leave you thinking about it for quite a while. It will make you want to watch it again.
Miyazaki uses a lot of his signature themes in Princess Mononoke. He emphasizes the importance of nature and environmentalism. He uses several strong female characters. There is childhood transition. The absence of absolute villains is also a common theme in Miyazaki films.
You might enjoy this if: You have not watched much anime in the past and want to give it a try. Also, if you want a quality story, you will enjoy this.
You might not like it if: You hate anime in all its forms.
Note to the Viewer: This is a wonderful gateway anime.