Princess of The Wolves

Just as with the other movies that we have watched, the very opening scene of Princess Mononoke was a foreshadowing of what was to come. The scene opens up with a view above the forest and mountains with a narrator speaking about man and beast no longer living in harmony together as they once had, causing the forest to be destroyed. The camera angle then lowers into the forest as we see some weird type of creature moving through the trees. A younger man (who we come to find out is the Prince Ashitaka) and an older man guarding the town decide this creature is a demon boar and Ashitaka chooses to try to save the town from the demon. While killing the boar, Ashitaka becomes injured and is later told that he is cursed. He has to leave the village and travel to the west in order to try to find a cure to the curse, or he will die from it.

There is a scene of Ashitaka riding through the nature where he comes to a town. He meets a monk (Jigo) who tells him that there is a place in the forest that may be able to cure him, but that it is not safe for man. Ashitaka decides to go anyway and sets out that way. We then see a scene of Lady Eboshi and her people being attacked by wolves while they are trying to work up in the mountains. One of the wolves is shot and a few of their men fall off the cliffs to their assumed death. Ashitaka then comes across two of the men who made the fall off the cliff and actually lived. He sees a girl sucking blood out of the injured wolf and asks for her help. She yells at him to go away and he goes on into the forest to get the men home.

Ashitaka gets the men back to their home, Irontown, and learns that Lady Eboshi is cutting down the forests in order to get the iron under the ground. Due to Lady Eboshi’s actions, the spirit-wolf girl (San or Princess Mononoke), attacks the village in hopes of killing Lady Eboshi. Ashitaka separates San from Lady Eboshi and leaves carrying San. On his way out of the village, Ashitaka is shot and injured, but he continues on anyway.

San is able to get Ashitaka to the magical forest where the Great Forest Spirit heals his wound, but not his curse. Soon after there is a fight between the boars and the humans and it ends in the lead boar becoming a demon. The demon boar captures San and Ashitaka, with the help of the mother wolf, saves her from the demon boar. The Great Forest Spirit causes the demon boar and the mother wolf to die. Right after, Lady Eboshi shoots the Great Forest Spirit’s head off and the spirit tries to find its head. During this time, anything the spirit touches dies. Ashitaka is able to warn the people of Irontown in time to save them, but their village is destroyed. San and Ashitaka get the Great Forest Spirit’s head from Jigo and return it to the spirit. The spirit then dies, but all the nature comes back to life. Once woken up, Ashitaka realizes his marks from the curse are fading/almost completely gone. San and Ashitaka decide to live in separate areas: San in the forest and Ashitaka helping the people of Irontown rebuild their home, but they agree to meet frequently. There is now a connection between man and nature, in which humans are no longer hurting the forest.

I must admit I was the least excited about watching Princess Mononoke out of all the movies for this class. I am not a fan of anime and I figured this would just be another one of the typical Japanese anime movies. Although the animation and some of the ideas did follow the typical anime movie, there were other aspects of the film that did not seem very anime to me. There were many characteristics of the film that were similar to that of the films we watch that are the normal “Hollywood” productions. For instance, the way the camera angles were done reminded me of a non-anime movie that one would watch. One example of this is the shots above the trees in the sky. There were several of these in this movie, just as there were scenes like this in both of the other movies that we have watched so far. There were also many scenes that displayed the beauty of the nature surrounding the film, just as there were these types of scenes in the other movies as well.

Amanda

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