I typically don’t like anime, so when I began watching this film I was not excited. After viewing Princess Mononoke I was pleasantly surprised by the artistic and carefully woven story. Princess Mononoke is about the struggle between nature and humans. Both sides are portrayed as harsh and unforgiving but also as good (Iron Town are hard workers and “gods” are protectors of the forest). While movie ends with no clear winner, nature does make a comeback after the battle is done and we see the little white creatures (kodama) coming back after all the devastation.
What really impressed me was how this had a western feel to the movie. We see Ashitaka traveling the countryside and we get to see beautiful scenes of mountains and trees. He battles creatures and falls in love with a girl. He is trying to be the good guy but must fight in the end. There seems to be a battle of good and evil, just not sure of the side as the author seemed to make this ambiqious. The story of protecting the environment or having the most fertile/profitable land in the world is typically but has more to it that makes this film brilliant. Anime done this way is not cheesy and is well thought out and makes the average adult want more. By spending the time and working the colors and the pictures the viewer is drawn into the film as if it were not just another children’s cartoon. The images of San (Princess Mononoke) going through the forest remind me of the mythical forest of Princess Bride. A great film to watch over and over that I am sure after many viewings still has many angles and plots to think about.