January 14th: Princess Mononoke

Princess_Mononoke_Japanese_Poster_%28Movie%29

Release Date: 1997
Director: Hayao Miyazaki
Why I picked this: Recommendation and lack of exposure to Miyazaki

Beautifully animated and with an outstanding attention to detail, this historical fantasy epic can be appreciated by anyone who admires traditional hand drawn animation and Japanese art. The forests and towns look amazing, the sometimes graphic violence is smooth, and some sequences feature an extra layer of computer animation that seamlessly enhances the hand drawn animation. The story of the movie blends both historical and fantastical elements to create a relatable and magical world. This world truly feels alive with likable human characters and both charming and intimidating animal and spirit characters. The movie has very basic themes about hate, and the environment, nature, and how the humans ultimately affect it. The movie showcases the humans as progressing and innovating, developing newer technologies such as the gun and the grenade. The struggle between the two forces is not exactly black and white, and Ashitaka, the protagonist, does his best to fight for both sides. All of the female characters are as strong as the male characters, some even being stronger, with San and Lady Eboshi being the most interesting characters of the movie. However, I didn’t feel that the main characters got what they deserved when the chaos in the movie ended, and I felt uninterested some parts in the middle of the movie. Still, any appreciators of animation should give this epic movie a watch.

Crisp and smooth hand drawn animation with a layer of computer animation, this Japanese fantasy film is beautiful. A bit on the long side, but that’s to be expected from such an epic.

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