Tuesday, January 2, 2001

Princess Mononoke (Mononoke Hime)

Genre: Fantasy
General Audience
Credits: 1997 Hayao Miyazaki (director, screenplay, original story), Studio Ghibli


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Cover Description:
The march of technology, embodied in the dark iron forges of the ambitious Tatara clan, threatens the natural forces explicit in the benevolent Great God of the Forest and the wide-eyed, spectral spirits he protects. When Ashitaka, a young warrior from a remote, and endangered, village clan, kills a ravenous, boar-like monster, he discovers the beast is in fact an infectious "demon god," transformed by human anger.

Inflicted with its deadly curse, a young warrior sets out to the forests of the west in search of the cure that will save his life. Once there, he becomes inextricably entangled in a bitter battle that matches Lady Eboshi and a proud clan of humans against the forest?s animal gods? who are led by the brave Princess Mononoke, a young woman raised by wolves!

NOTE: This description was written sometime in 2001 and was recorded in the classic Otaku Fridge as ??.??.2001. Unfortunately the database would not accept non-numerical values, so this review is now dated January 01, 2001 by default.

Truly a masterpiece! >>> by skysenshi
Dealing with the demon has placed a deadly curse on the Prince Ashitaka. So he journeys to the west to find a cure. When in his quest, he finds another village of iron-miners, Ashitaka meets Mononoke, human daughter of the great Wolf Tribe's leader. Ashitaka learns there is more to the curse that bewitched him -- a war between humans with a need to protect their community and animal-gods with a sacred vow to protect nature.

Princess Mononoke is probably one of the most spectacular anime I have ever seen. While it may not say much in terms of artwork, its plot and storyline have definitely placed their mark in my memory (just don't think about the annoying Claire Danes' voice if you're watching the English dubbed version). Like most serious anime, it's quite difficult to tell who the real villain is until you get to the last part. Both the mining village and the animal-gods have their reasons to fight. The village only wants to protect their lady, who has shown them nothing but great kindness and compassion. She longs for a bright future for the people she governs and will destroy anything that gets in the way of this vision. The animal-gods, in turn, fight for the preservation of their home and their tribes. Virtually every character in PM have well-defined good and bad points. Although Princess Mononoke is the title character, I had observed that Ashitaka is the main character, not Mononoke herself. Foreshadowing is also used effectively to captivate the audience. Every emotion, whether you find yourself empathizing with the humans or animals, can be felt clearly. There is a thin line between ambition and corruption, and PM plays this out all too well. Overall, I could say that this is not only a beautiful anime but a profound message about the ecological devastation that people are capable of. Truly a masterpiece!

Individual Rating: Art/Animation 8; Story 9; Characters 9; Sounds 8

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