Princess Mononoke (1997)

It's Sunday and the last day of Girl Week 2017 which means I could only write about an animated film with a strong female character, and I picked Studio Ghibli's Princess Mononoke

While protecting his village, a young warrior, Ashitaka (Yoji Matsuda in Japanese, Billy Crudup in English), is stricken by a deadly curse and his only hope is to travel to the far east. He eventually finds himself in the middle of a battle between Iron Town, led by the ambitious Lady Eboshi (Yuko Tanaka in Japanese, Minnie Driver in English), and the animal inhabitants of the forest, led by a Princess Mononoke (Yuriko Ishida in Japanese, Claire Danes in English), a human raised by wolves. 

Although it seems pretty straightforward, the story is far from being simple. It's actually quite complex, mainly because of its many elements of Japanese myths. Those elements, however, are what make the story so imaginative, interesting and engaging. I have no idea how a kid would feel about it, but I, as an adult, was more than satisfied with it. If only all animated movies had such deep stories.

It's a story of love and hate, war and peace, and they are combined beautifully. Most of all though, Princess Mononoke portrays the conflict between man and nature and delivers its ecological message very well. Although it's clear that the film sympathies with nature, I liked that there are neither good guys nor bad guys, just people. 

The characters play the most important role in this "war" and it's impossible not to fall in love with them. On the one hand, there are humans, not all but most of them, who take/destroy everything they can from the earth. On the other hand, there's Princess Mononoke who actively sides with the animals. The tenacity and determination of this young woman are to be admired. She is determined to destroy all humans or die trying, to save the earth. In the middle, there's Ashitaka, a young man who fights to bring peace between these opposing forces. 

However, I'm yet to mention my favourite part of Princess Mononoke, the visuals. This film is a visual feast. The drawings are simply gorgeous. The characters' expressions convey their feelings to perfection. And they make them feel real. And the settings, they are jaw-dropping beautiful. 


  1. I need to revisit this one. When I saw it, it didn't quite work for me, but I've always wanted to give it another try.