This is my favorite movie. Of all time.
Princess Mononoke (or Mononoke Hime) is an epic animated movie (but don’t think Disney) about a young man named Ashitaka who becomes cursed while defending his small village from a demon who had once been a great boar. He learns that the curse will eventually kill him, and so travels to where the demon came from to find out why it became the way it did and seek out a possible cure for himself.
Ashitaka eventually ends up in a pretty special forest, and there meets San, a girl raised by wolves. Together they work to bring an end to the war between humans and nature.
What I love about this movie is the storyline. It is rich and complex, a refresher from some of the shallowness we might be used to. Studio Ghibli, the studio that created this movie, is led by the renowned Hayao Miyazaki. Miyazaki is well known for making masterpiece anime films, and this is one of his best movies. His skill and attention to detail really shine throughout. The story is unlike other typical ‘human vs. nature’ movies, which often portray humans as the “bad” side, and nature as the “good” side. The story goes deeper than those two simple sides, and reveals that both sides have good points and bad. There is no straight right or wrong answer, and quite a few sometimes conflicting beliefs.
The music score is not as varied as in Spirited Away, but still holds its own. Each track accents each scene perfectly. The swelling music that plays in the ending scenes is especially touching. Princess Mononoke also has the best opening/ending song I’ve ever heard. You may listen to it here.
The movie is really brought to life by the careful drawing of each scene. Each and every single moment in the movie was hand-drawn. Take a moment and let that sink in. I can’t hardly fathom the amount of hours and care that went into each scene. It really adds to the emotion and feel of the movie, making every moment all that much more realistic. It’s very easy to lose yourself in the animation, every time you get to see the beauty of the land and forest, you can’t help but feel awed. What a masterpiece.
Combine all three elements of story, music, and scene, and you have yourself one of the greatest anime films of all time. And I do not say this lightly. Fan or no fan of anime, do yourself a favor and see this. It may open your eyes about the world, and change the way you think.