This is my fourth Studio Ghibli film (I first saw Spirited Away years ago and then both My Neighbor Totoro & Ponyo more recently). I’ve never really quite been able to get into them (although I do love the character of Totoro – would like to re-watch that with subtitles as I saw it dubbed when it was on TV and I really hate dubbing). Maybe Spirited Away wasn’t a good introduction to Studio Ghibli for me as it was pretty “out there” – I should have started with Totoro or Princess Mononoke.
I really enjoyed Princess Mononoke and would have to say it’s my favorite I’ve seen so far (I’ll see if Totoro ends up my favorite after watching it with subtitles). It’s made me much more eager now to see the rest of the Studio Ghibli films in the top 250. To be honest, it’s probably because I found the story much more straight-forward for my simple, Western, Disney-loving ways. 😉 It had very strong main characters, a groovy Deer God, and, most importantly, Kodama! I LOVED these dudes. I do think they’re what helped make me enjoy Princess Mononoke so much.
A kodama (木魂?) is a spirit from Japanese folklore, which is believed to live in certain trees (similar to the Dryad of Greek mythology).
Cutting down a tree which houses a kodama is thought to bring misfortune, and such trees are often marked with shimenawa rope.
In Princess Mononoke they have these adorable little bobble-heads that rotate. They’re awesome and I want a few of them to follow me around every day & keep me company.
Watching Princess Mononoke was an enjoyable experience and I’m now looking forward to exploring other Studio Ghibli films and re-visiting the ones I’ve already seen. And out of the 9 films I’ve watched so far for my IMDB top 250 project, this is my second favorite one (Modern Times being first – it will be interesting to see if anything beats that one for me as I absolutely loved it).
My Rating: 8.5/10