Princess Mononoke Overview & Culture Notes

A PDF containing an overview of the film and some culture notes.

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Posted By: Julie Corriveau

Posted On: November 1, 2017

The biggest surprise to me in watching "Princess Mononoke" was the freshness of the animation. Having grown up on Disney animation I found the peaceful pace and the lack of sentimentality brilliant and foreign . The beautiful scenery in the beginning set me up for a scare at the introduction of the writhing worm skinned demon boar-monster. Up until the monster's arrival I was mentally scheduling a screening date for my classroom. After watching the movie entirely I find it may be too violent to screen in the seventh grade but I would definitely recommend it to my more mature students. The animal characters are not your typical comic fuzzy friends found in animation. These beautifully drawn creatures are works of fine art that kill. The human characters also defy simplistic animation stereotypes of good and evil, blurring the lines in a humanist style so that the audience must make their own decisions. For example the female industrialist destroying the forest is also a kind patron to lepers and a liberator of sex workers. Ashitaka, the main character of the film, finds his role in the film is a mediator between the forces of humans and the gods of nature. Both sides comment several times that Ashitaka must be on the other side, when he is trying desperately to convince everyone that there are no sides. Peace is the way. The English voice talents sounded familiar. The end credits confirmed some impressive Hollywood names participated in Miyazake's film. This impressive project was released in 1997. Somehow I missed it 20 years ago.
I believe as I learn more about Asian culture I could watch this film many more times to enjoy not only the artistic details but also to enjoy the under lying themes not evident to me today. I would also like to experience it in the original Japanese (subtitled).

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported
This Work, Princess Mononoke Overview & Culture Notes, by nctawork is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported license.