ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Film Review: Princess Mononoke

Updated on February 28, 2016
Film Frenzy profile image

Written by: Jason Wheeler, Film Frenzy Senior Writer & Editor.


In 1997, Hayao Miyazaki released Princess Mononoke, which starred Yoji Matsuda, Yuriko Ishida, Yuko Tanaka, Kaoru Kobayashi, Masahiko Nishimura, Tsunehiko Kamijo, Akihiro Miwa, Mitsuko Mori, and Hisaya Morishige with Billy Crudup, Claire Danes, Minnie Driver, Billy Bob Thornton, John DeMita, John DiMaggio, Gillian Anderson, Debi Derryberry, Keith David, and Jada Pinkett Smith providing English voices. The film grossed 14.5 at the Japanese box office and was nominated for the Annie Award for Outstanding Individual Achievement for Directing in an Animated Feature Production. It won the Mainichi Film Award for Best Japanese Movie, Best Animation and Japanese Movie Fans’ Choice and the Japan Academy Award for Best Picture.


During the Muromachi period of Japan, the Emishi people have been conquered and driven into hiding in the remote corners of the eastern side of the country. In one village, a demon attacks and their last remaining prince Ashitaka is mortally wounded. However, the demon curses the people and Ashitaka’s wound will kill him in time. He is made to travel west in search of his destiny before the curse takes full possession of him and he destroys the village.


A wonderful film that’s part of the fantastic Studio Ghibli filmography, Princess Mononoke gives a good portrayal of a world in constant conflict, where greed, war and hatred corrupt nearly every character in the film while man and there is no balance between man and nature, with the latter is losing the struggle to remain habitable for nonhumans. However, while the moral concerning nature and the environment is an important one, the film notably deconstructs it by showing that the idea of a conflict where it’s all of humanity fighting against the entirety of the force of nature doesn’t work and only furthers the conflict with neither side coming out victorious. At the same time, it shows that technology tends to pollute and corrupt nature. But on the other side of that deconstruction, the idea of man vs. nature is reconstructed by showing that it’s possible for man and nature to live side by side in harmony without there being conflict and when it comes to technology, it also allows people to thrive and grow. When it comes down to it, the film seems to bring about the message that humanity and nature able to coexist and should do so.

What’s interesting is that, in going with the aforementioned deconstruction, the film doesn’t make caricatures out of the humans and humanizes them. As such, there doesn’t seem to be anyone who is completely to blame for the conflict as they all have their own reasons for getting in the fray. Take Lady Eboshi. While she sets out to kill any god and animal who gets in her way, it’s because she has a genuine desire to help people and the lepers state that she is the only one who has ever looked at them as human while she gives homes and work to women originally from brothels. What’s more is that her arrogant and antagonistic nature are due to the constant threat on all sides, one threat being the animal gods who want to keep Iron Town from growing and the other being the warlords who just want to wipe them out. Even then, she’s not resistant to growing as a person and after seeing what happens when she tries to kill a god, Eboshi makes it a point to rebuild Iron Town while making room for nature.

Then there’s Ashitaka who consistently tries to maintain a voice of reason and peace between the humans and the denizens of the forest. Throughout the film, he continually works to maintain pacifism but is shown as not being able to as he keeps being kept from living out his ideals as he resorts to direct and violent methods when he absolutely must. Yet, he’s the quickest to go right back and work out his ideals.

San is a good complement to Ashitaka as well, being brought up by a god in a place of magic. But where Ashitaka is trying to broker peace between everyone and is seen as having no genuine hatred, San hates humans despite being one, though it’s justified considering how she was raised. But even she has standards, seen when telling the apes that their plan to eat Ashitaka in order to become as strong as humans would make them worse than humans. As the film rolls on, when it becomes clear that the humans are growing as people and committing to make it so they can coexist with nature, she has her own character growth and lessens her hatred.

There is also a really great aspect to the relationship between Ashitaka and San. Though the two recognize that they have feelings for each other, they know that it’s impossible for either to give up their present life so they part ways. However, the film demonstrates that they’ll never be completely apart as the promise to see each other every now and again.

5 stars for Princess Mononoke

the postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent WNI's positions, strategies or opinion


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)