Mononoke Hime (1997)

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Mononoke Hime by Hayao Miyazaki (Studio Ghibli).

The anime movie is about a village called Emishi who gets attacked by a demon boar. Ashitaka, the protagonist, fights and wins against the boar, however his arm gets cursed by the demon. This curse gives him demonic power. To find a cure, he has to travel to the west and so he arrives at the Iron City. The Iron City is in war with the forest because of their deforesting measures. Inhabitants of the forest are Princess San, the wolves and other spirits. In fact, the main focus is on this war and Ashitaka wants to find a way to make peace between both.

The main theme in the movie is the combination of technology and nature. It shows how technology and the impact of humans destroy the nature. This powerful message is good depicted and proves that the human civilization and nature should live in harmony. A further important and interesting part in the movie is the difference of thinking between humans and animals and even among themselves. The aspect of environmentalism is perfectly shown and better depicted than in  “Gin’iro no Kami no Agito” (which was too exaggerated).

Even though that “Mononoke Hime” is not a bad movie, it lacks in characterization. The focus is too much on Ashitaka who is not the most interesting character. Indeed, Princess San is way more attractive and impressive than the protagonist. She does not appear very often on the screen and therefore we know almost nothing about her. In addition, there is also a lack of character depth and development in the anime movie and so we were not able to share any empathy with any of the characters. The lack of emotions makes it even harder. Another negative aspect of the characters is the change from being evil to good to evil to good etc. In some scenes, one character seems to be the good one, but in the next scene he/she proves the opposite which makes it very confusing.

As we start watching the movie, we were a bit confused, but then it gets a little bit more interesting. The whole story is about the protagonist on his way to find a cure for his demonic curse, which turns out to be a very (very) long way. The length of the movie is too long for the story and includes many unnecessary scenes which makes the movie boring. The fight scenes between humans and forest are slow and does not include much action. Fight scenes are supposed to make the movie more interesting and thrilling, but this movie fails in doing so.

The ending of the movie is predictable: the main protagonist saves everyone and is the hero of the story which gives the movie a happy ending.  Moreover, the ending consists of dumb decisions (Spoiler Alert):  Princess San and Ashitaka, who is in love with her, decide to go different paths and do not even care about the other one.

“Mononoke Hime” is a very famous anime movie which got amazing reviews and was praised as one of the best from Studio Ghibli.Therefore we decided to watch it and in the end we got disappointed (on the basis of the aforementioned reasons.)

Cheers,
MikaYuu Hyakuya

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