Anime Review: Princess Mononoke

Genre: Historical/Fantasy

Studio/Creator: Studio Ghibli/Hayao Miyazaki

Distributor: Miramax

Running Time: 2 hours, 14 minutes

Suggested Age: 13+ (MPAA: PG-13)

My Rating: 10/10

Summary: Set in feudal Japan, this is the story of a young warrior named Ashitaka who becomes cursed when he fights a boar that has attacked his village.  He exiles himself and that’s when he meets San, a girl raised by wolves, and Lady Eboshi, a woman who wants to oppose the forest gods. Which side will Ashitaka choose?

Review: This is my number two favorite Ghibli movie, right behind Spirited Away. What’s really interesting about it is how different it is from the rest of Ghibli’s filmography. Firstly, it has a male lead rather than a female lead. Second, it’s the only Ghibli movie without a flying sequence.

Lady Eboshi seems like the villain of the story, but you can actually sympathize with her. You can see that her village benefits from her. All the women are from brothels and owe her their freedom. She’s also taken in lepers and treats them like people.

The animation is vivid. I love the lush greens of the forest. Even though there is an environmental subtext, it’s clear that both sides of the issue are presented fairly.

Sub/Dub: The dub is really hit-or-miss. Some of the actors clearly haven’t had enough experience in voice acting to do it right.  The ones who do have experience come off very well, like Keith David, who plays the boar demon. I’d urge you to stick to the sub.

Music/Score: Joe Hisaishi once again composed a great score. It accents the story well.

Violence:  (7/10) Ashitake’s curse gives him superhuman strength.  In some battles, he is capable of beheading enemies or removing their limbs.

Language: (2/10) Just a few curses.

Nudity: (0/10)

Sexuality: (0/10)

Religion: The forest is the home to several spirits. There is also a huge deer-like spirit who serves as the protector (a genus loci actually), and kodamas, who are like the dryads in Greek myths. If their trees die, so do they.

  1. #1 by aghammer99 on March 29, 2013 - 3:20 pm

    tough call for me because I love so much of the Ghibli releases (in different ways) although this might be my favorite. (tough call though… it might be Pom Poko… HA, just kidding… ;))

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