Princess Mononoke: A Battle Between Man and Nature

Perhaps one of Hayao Miyazaki’s most breathtaking films and an incredible Japanese animation triumph, it’s no wonder this film’s popularity comes from the magic helmed by the master of its genre. One of Japan’s top box-office champions, it is no wonder why this film is a spectacle to experience all on its own. It gives the same charm and imaginative gusto such as its American counterpart Disney. Princess Mononoke is a film for all anime or animation lovers alike to watch and devour with their hearts and their eyes.

This colorful film follows gods and demons in a struggle to save a precious forest guarded by Princess Mononoke and her tribe of wolves. Hayao Miyazaki has outdone himself by creating a beautiful, breathtaking, and harsh world where nature battles man. Like a sweeping forceful and zealous comic book storytelling, it is no wonder why the talented Neil Gaiman had helmed the English adaptation of one of the most ambitious Japanese animation films ever created. All of these things make this film a gem in the animation film world, but its theme of nature, Japanese myth, and a long history is what truly makes this film so special.

The film’s hero Ashitaka is launched into his quest to save the forest when a giant boar attacks his village, shrouded in small wriggling parasite like strands. After killing the gargantuan demon and getting infected by the curse, Ashitaka is forced to leave his village in search of the Forest Spirit to try and heal his infected curse.

The forest is filled with some of Miyazaki’s most extravagant creatures. The first we see of them is the Tree Spirits of otherwise known in Japanese mythology as Kodamas, small child-like spirits who are born from the trees. Others we see are the giant white wolves that protect the forest from outside threats. This is when we encounter Princess Mononoke herself. But perhaps the most far-fetched and extravagant creatures in the film is the Forest Spirit. Roaming the forest in an animal-like form and wandering above the treetops by night with a gossamer-like shine the size of Godzilla. Not to mention the swathes of plants and flowers displayed when the Forest Spirit walks is ravishingly presented.

Translated by Neil Gaiman while still capturing that Japanese charm, this film is told through the voices of many actors such as Minnie Driver, Jada Pinkett-Smith, Billy Bob Thornton, Billy Cudrup, Clair Danes, and Gillian Anderson that belong to the vibrant images displayed throughout the film.

© Boundless Daydreams 2016

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