Posted by psgels on 23 November 2007 with categories: Anime Reviews


If you want to know why Hayao Miyazaki is famous for his environmentalist movies, then you should watch Mononoke Hime, as the struggle between humans and nature forms a huge focus in this movie. This is the movie that ranks for many people as the best movie that came from Studio Ghibli. While I don’t share the same views, this does remain a worthy addition to their repertoire.

The setting of Princess Mononoke has actually quite some similarities with Nausicaä: humans need space, forest doesn’t like it and fights back, humans fight back and come to hate the forest and an ever-increasing cycle continues, until of course, the main character appears. The only change is that while Nausicaä took place in the future, Mononoke Hime is set in a past-like world, in which the industrial revolution has just begun.

If I had to compare the two settings, then I’d say that Nausicaä wins in terms of creativity. On the other hand though, Mononoke isn’t held back by a manga that went on for too long to make a proper movie about it. Most of the major characters and parties are fleshed out pretty nicely, and the major villain walks into an excellent line between good and evil. You can see why she’s doing the things she does, even though they’re morally unacceptable at times. One thing that also adds to the movie’s value is that there are many different parties that all have their own reasons to fight and be involved with the story, both on the human and forest-side. The side-characters are really the ones who make his movie shine.

And yes, there we go again: the same can’t be said for our two lovely main characters, like in most other action-anime that start a bunch of teenagers. A lot of predictability in the movie comes from the two of them, especially the male one. While most characters aren’t really good or evil, the two of them are clearly meant to be on the good side, and I blame them for the rather Disney-ish ending. This really is a mainstream movies: both in the good, and in the bad ways. Be also aware that near the ending, a few inconsistencies in the storyline appear, though to delve in them would be a bit spoilerific.

And while the setting may be less creative than other of Miyazaki’s movies, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t any creativity at all. For Mononoke Hime, Hayao created a fascinating world, especially the iron-factory where the women have basically become equal to the men is something I’ve never seen delivered in such a believable way, especially considering the time in which the movie is set. You can clearly see that Hayao is a huge feminist as well.

I finally understand why Ghibli has become such a big name. Hayao Miyazaki knows exactly what it takes to make a movie mainstream, and yet creative and good. While a few things had to be sacrificed for this (most importantly, the rather dull male lead and the cute and mysterious girl that is the female lead), this turned into a worthy movie. While the animation isn’t as revolutionary new as the movies that he produced in the 1980s (apart from perhaps the few elements of CG), they still look as beautiful as ever, with quite a nice musical score added to it.

4 Responses

  1. Lika says:

    On the other hand though, Mononoke isn’t held back by a manga that went on for too long to make a proper movie about it.

    Actually, I just want to point out the movie only covered 1/4th of the manga because only 1/4th of the manga had been written until then.

  2. psgels psgels says:

    Ack! There was? Now that you mention it, that might explain as well wy the climax felt so forced and Disney-ish.

  3. L.A says:

    Oh no! If you only had watched this in a theater….I know you could give better score than that, the sound track of this movies is just a masterpiece!
    Well anyway, I personally think Mononoke Hime was more like Seirie no Miribito to me than Nausica….

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  • BrendanVGC
    (Wednesday, Mar 4. 2015 10:06 PM)
    @aidanak47 that kaworu plan was so stupid in all three versions of evangelion (the original, manga, and rebuild) that he remains a really shallow character to this day. The manga had the best character development for him (still only like a chapter and a half long before he dies tho). Rebuild spent an entire movie length with the potential to go indepth but it somehow failed miserably. Probably because all he did was be a love interest for shinji and play piano duets.
  • AidanAK47
    (Wednesday, Mar 4. 2015 07:14 PM)
    @Brenda, yes but when you look at there plan it’s nonsense. They have an end goal yet everything they do seems to hinder that goal. For example, instead of taking on the act of fighting angels themselves they set up a banch of there organisation and put it in the hands of someone they clearly do not trust. Then they constantly limit their funds therefore increasing the chances of third impact and screwing up the entire plan.
  • Emma
    (Wednesday, Mar 4. 2015 05:45 PM)
    Damn, its absolutely criminal that I still haven’t got round to playing the new smash bros yet…
  • choi
    (Wednesday, Mar 4. 2015 05:24 PM)
    I love the anime seens birth always watch anime online english subbed and dubbed in anime site before i leave house i watch at least 2 episode like naruto, bleach or one piece i techinically watch anime in my destop also google chrome but everything is change and i use now laptop for some reason but many site recommended to watch but i love to watch in animereborn.net for subbed and for dubbed
  • BrendanVGC
    (Wednesday, Mar 4. 2015 04:46 PM)
    @aidanak47 true i guess, i dont use the wiiu for anything else but Smash. But Seele is making unnecessarily complicated villainy plans, as all anime villains like to do to drag the story along
  • AidanAK47
    (Wednesday, Mar 4. 2015 02:13 PM)
    @Emma, haven’t been keeping up with those shows. Yatterman kinda went a direction I didn’t like and I haven’t heard good things about rolling girls. As for Junketsu, I just didn’t really get around to continuing it.
  • AidanAK47
    (Wednesday, Mar 4. 2015 02:10 PM)
    @brendan, You think I could own a Wii u and not have smash bros? That’s like having a console with no television. On Eva I think the biggest problem is that if you actually think about Seele’s plan you realize that it makes no sense. Whatsoever. Hell it’s like they are actively trying to shoot themselves in the foot.
  • Emma
    (Wednesday, Mar 4. 2015 10:10 AM)
    I’ve noticed Aidan you’ve had no additional words on rolling girls, yatterman night, Junketsu no Maria. Also I would definitely gladly read your Garo posts.
  • Bam
    (Wednesday, Mar 4. 2015 09:59 AM)
    Fumoffu was considerably funnier than the actual show, but it only paid off if you were somewhat invested in the main series.
  • Emma
    (Wednesday, Mar 4. 2015 09:50 AM)
    Man, making favourites list is so hard, I needed to fit some shoji Kawamori, Asano Inio and Tsutomu Nihei on the list…

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