Mononoke Hime (もののけ姫) – a battle like you’ve never seen before

No animation movie has ever left me spellbound like the ones from Studio Ghibli

I was so thrilled be when Marc of Go, See, Talk held a super interesting event called Miyazaki Madness where he made a simple battle between (almost) ALL  Ghibli animations. As I have mentioned so many time, Studio Ghibli is my number one animation studio in the world, far above Disney, Pixar and any other animation studios. They keep on making great imagination and amazingly beautiful art. I really appreciate how they keep holding on with hand draw animation rather than shifting to digital animation.

Because of the love I have for Ghibli is so big, I kept commenting in Marc’s Miyazaki Madness. I didn’t know that the person with the most comment will get a DVD from Studio Ghibli. I was quite surprise when Marc told me that I won a DVD. In fact… just talking about Ghibli is already more than enough for me because I often feel alone when people start talking this and that about other animation studios that rarely awed me.

I told Marc that I want Mononoke Hime, I have seen it once and I can still remember how beautiful the art and story of Mononoke Hime. The DVD arrived last week and I was a bit shocked because it was a dubbed version….and God knows how I hate dubbed (and remake) movie. Fortunately, the special features include Japanese Language Track…よかった ね (^^)v

Now…let’s talk about the beautiful story of Mononoke Hime

Mononoke Hime is another breathtaking, mesmerizing, thought provoking and beyond ordinary imagination movie by the great Miyazaki Hayao

It took place in the time where Gods still protected the earth, where the forest was as vast as eyes could see and where spirits lived amongst us.

 Ashitaka (Yōji Matsuda) lived in a peaceful village far from other village. Suddenly, a demon came charging from the forest heading to his village. He was warned not to touch it but to fight it, he had to touch it. When the demon died, it returned to its original being, a Boar God. The God had a metal bullet inside Its body. The injured Boar God had been infested with demon because of the hatred It carried inside Its heart. Having touched and the demon left Ashitaka with a curse wrapped around his arm. To lift the curse, he had to leave his village and find the Deer God.


On his way, he stopped by an ironwork village which was under the protection of Lady Eboshi (Yūko Tanaka),  a powerful woman who was loved by everyone in the village. You might think that ‘here comes the bad guy’, but there was no such thing as terribly bad person or incredibly kind person in this animation. No matter how hard you try, you can never make yourself hating Lady Eboshi as she had her reasons for doing things she did.

Lady Eboshi had been Mononoke Hime’s target to kill since she arrived in the forest that used to belong to the Boar god. She was the one who shot the Boar God.

San and Moro

Who was Mononoke Hime anyway?
She was a girl named San (Yuriko Ishida ). She was raised by the Wolf God named Moro (Akihiro Miwa). Moro had 2 wolf children. Her tribe is not as many as the Boar God but with only 4members in the tribe, she gave more struggles against Eboshi than the Boar tribe.

Ashitaka saw things from both sides, he did not choose to stand in either Lady Eboshi’s side nor San’s side. He wished that all of them can live peacefully together, human, animals, trees and Gods.

A third party came between them. This group was led by Jiko (Kaoru Kobayashi). It was a group of skilled hunters. They wanted to cut off the head of the Deer God and presented it to the emperor.

That’s all I can say about the story. I don’t want to end up spoiling this mesmerizing animation to anyone who happened to read my review. Giving spoiler from this movie is a sin. I will leave the story telling by saying that It is a battle like you have never seen before.

What I like the most about Mononoke Hime is the vast imagination by Miyazaki Sensei.
The story is a wonderful timeless fantasy
that emphasized the need to live hand in hand with nature. It was so easy to forget that I was watching an animation, it felt like watching real people with flesh and blood in a set of a beautiful forest.
The art was captivating, it was very beautiful. I did not feel like I was seeing an animation, I felt like seeing a gallery of art. Unfortunately I can’t take snapshots of my own like I always do whenever I reviewed Ghibli animation 😦 something’s wrong with my DVD-room. All the snapshots here is from Google.

I love seeing the Night Walker, so transparent and beautiful, it looks like stars are trapped inside it. The Kodama, spirits of the trees look so peculiar and yet so cute. When they all gathered on the tree to welcome the Night walker is a marvelous scene.

In short, watching Mononoke Hime will not make you realized that you have just spent 2 hours 14 minutes watching it. Time flies so fast and a definite  movie

What I always like about Ghibli Animation is the fact there is no such enemy is truly evil and no such hero is truly angelic…they are all humans with their own desire and passion.

I give you The Japanese Trailer because it has more  depth the other trailers (The US version is here)

Other Ghibli Animations:

  1. Gake No Ue No Ponyo
  2. Tales From The Earthsea
  3. Laputa – The Castle in the Sky
Moro Tribe and Kodamatachi

18 thoughts on “Mononoke Hime (もののけ姫) – a battle like you’ve never seen before

    1. Thank you, Mike 🙂
      It’s so easy to write about this movie…I don’t need to spend so many time thinking what best to write about it.
      Me too…I think the Japanese trailer represent the story the best.

    1. It is indeed great film. I am with you Cas, Mononoke Hime will definitely be in my top5 Ghibli movies but Spirited Away is still my number one movie.

      Spirited Away is still the best out of all Ghibli movies IMO

  1. I haven’t seen Princess Mononoke but I have it at home on my list (which is growing bigger by the day) I really want to see it. It looks stunning,

    Thanks for sharing!

  2. Novia, I can assure you, YOU ARE NOT ALONE! Strangely, Princess Mononoke is my least favourite of the Ghibli films I own, it is still great but I prefer some of the other films. Any idea when the next film is coming out?

    1. Horay…nice to hear that..But, I already know you are one of the fans, Ronan 😉

      Here, people around me only know Ghibli if they are people who love things Japanese or movie buff who enjoy watching movies across the world (Not merely Holywood movies)…in other words, not many people know Ghibli animation 😦 They are obviously missing great stuffs.

      The latest I’ve read in wikipedia is Kokuriko-kaza Kara which is based on a manga is out somewhere this month. It was directed by Miyazaki’s son. I hope it is much better than Gendo-seki, it was the worst Ghibli animation I have ever seen.
      Have you seen it, Ronan? Gendo-seki is Tales From The Earthsea in English.

      The other one is The Tale of The Bamboo Cutter, directed by Isao Takahata. Not sure when will it be out. Since it is by Takahata, we can expect sad story…or at least deep story from that one.

  3. The only Ghibli movie I’ve ever watched is Spirited Away. And took my breath away. I’m still trying to find Howl’s Moving Castle. Help?
    I’ve heard of this movie, but never really knew the story. So when I saw the wolves, I gasped. I LOVE wolves. So that could possibly be my main reason to search this movie 😉

    1. Only spirited away? Wow…You’re missing a lot of great animations!!
      I used to have Howl but the DVD has been broken somehow…you know how pirate DVD is. I wish our original DVD suppliers released all Ghibli animation (not only those from Hollywood), I would love to buy all of them. I have an AVI file of Howl if you’re interested.

      Mononoke Hime is quite easy to find if you go to Mangga Dua 😉

  4. I have only three animation DVDs and they are three Ghiblis. Princess Mononoke is one of them. It is awesome, absolutely awesome. I really like the pictures you added.

    1. Yaii…glad to know we are on the same page here. Awesome is a perfect word to describe Mononoke Hime.

      What is the other Ghibli you have? I know you have Mononoke Hime and Hotaru no Haka.

      I am planning to review Hotaru next month as it relates to my Independence Day. I was planning it for last year but last year my DVD player didn’t work perfectly.

      1. One of them is Howl’s Moving Castle, the other one Chihrio (? not sure). I haven’t watched them yet. I have seen part of Chihrio on TV and liked it a lot and then I ordered it.

        1. Chihiro is my number one Ghibli. I hope you will review it once you’ve seen it. I want to know what you think about it.
          I have watched it countless time and it still hasn’t bored me

    1. Thank you, Kel 🙂
      I was a bit confused, at first, between Mononoke and Howl. And I finally pick thiis one as I haven’t watched it longer than Howl.

  5. I really like the film up to the end just disappoints me. The story, the artwork, the music everything about it is just fantastic but I think this is kind of like a redo of Nausicaa. Still one of the best anime films every I’ll give it that. Miyazaki really pushed the bounds of animation and employed wonderfully subtle CG to pull it all off…man it’s so pretty to watch.

    But so glad you like the film and thanks for the shout out:)

    1. Thank you for sending it all the way to my country, Marc 🙂

      I kinda like the end…not the best ending ever but it was okay. Mononoke has one of the best artwork in all Ghibli animation in my opinion. Very beautiful.

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