Princess Mononoke, I was really looking forward to crossing this off of my to watch list. Given how everyone loves this film I thought I would love it too. I was wrong.
I don’t hate it but I definitely don’t love it.
It wasn’t what I expected. It was more graphic in its violence than I expected for one thing and the romance didn’t really win me over for another thing.
We start with Ashitaka when he’s with his tribe, the Emishi tribe. This evil/angry spirit Nago, comes by and almost destroys the village and curses Ashitaka and he has to leave with his red elk, Yakul/Yakkuru (the name changes depending on dub/sub).
This is the beginning of the movie and I was already sad. He had to leave his family and he couldn’t come back until things were resolved…honestly it broke my heart. Especially as he was their prince and they were already struggling as it was.
So in my head I was thinking, “Solve the curse and then go back to your people and your sister.”
Along the way he meets many people and the curse on his arm seems to feed on anger and hatred. Thus we can see most of the people he meets have this in them to some extent even Mononoke.
There isn’t really a completely right person on either side of the conflict. The people of Iron town are trying to make a living and Mononoke and Moro are trying to save the forest. Both sides aren’t talking to each other and both sides aren’t willing to listen and come to a compromise.
However, having said that, I think Iron town was probably more wrong. They were literally destroying all the nature around them. What were they going to do when they laid waste to everything? Couldn’t they plant some trees? Would that really have been so hard?
Also Lady Eboshi, I’m not sure she was such a good person. She helped all those people out sure but did she do it out of the kindness of her heart? Then she got corrupted by greed and anger later on? Or did she help them because she knew if she helped the vulnerable they would be loyal and eternally grateful and so would never turn on her because they had no body else?
The sad thing was by the end of the movie she really was ready to sacrifice them all because she didn’t want to lose to nature even when she saw she was in the wrong. When they find out she doomed them, they’re still loyal! She gets a slap on the wrist and I’m like… bitch what? You killed the Great Forest Spirit and it almost destroyed you all if it hadn’t been for Ashitaka and San but no, no it’s fine… it’s totally ok because you lost an arm.
I was so mad. It was the most horrifying part of the movie, imagine killing something so pure.
But I guess that was the point of the movie. He, Hayao Miyazaki , was trying to show us how our, the human race’s, love for industrialisation is destroying the planet. I get that.
This movie also highlighted how in the end nature always wins. It doesn’t matter what you do, in the end we harm ourselves the most. Nature will set itself right and start again even if it has to destroy us to do it.
The movie also highlighted how anyone and anything can be corrupted by hatred. The only truly neutral person who didn’t let hatred consume him was Ashitaka. It may have been easier because he was a third neutral party but even as they try tried to kill him or hurt him, he still stayed neutral. His goal was to set nature right again and to get rid of the curse and he stuck to it.
It takes work and it’s not easy but we too can resist giving in to hatred.
He was my favourite character honestly, him and Yakul, what a majestic creature! And so sweet. He wouldn’t leave Ashitaka behind even when injured… my heart!
Oh yeah, Mononoke, also known as San. She was very childlike. She was strong in ways Ashitaka was not but she was also fragile. There was a duality to her. She was wild and yet she was unsure.
She was still trying to figure herself out as she was obviously growing and becoming a woman but she also didn’t want to leave her pack behind and join the humans. Ashitaka definitely showed her the good in humanity and they were able to bond over their struggle to save the forest.
Did I feel the love that they had for each other, no. I felt more like they were friends.
Honestly I was really invested in him finding his way home. I don’t know why, I don’t normally get so invested in that but this time I was. He was forced to leave and so I just felt it was sad that he couldn’t go back.
After he helped rebuild Iron town, but a more environmentally conscious one, then what? What next for him?
So yeah that was my take on Mononoke.
Oh and I couldn’t stand Jigo, someone needed to push him off something. He was such a snake! A snake! The man stirring the pot of hatred for his own gain and with a smile on his face… ooh!! When you put him and Ashitaka together, the contrast!
What were your thoughts on Princess Mononoke? Do you think I’m crazy?