Princess Mononoke Final Blog Entry

After viewing part of this film in class, I decided to complete this class by watching the rest of the movie and writing my final blog entry on it.

Princess Mononoke is extremely different from most of the topics we studied in class this semester. Namely, it has its origins from Japan. As such, the movie has much more gore and violence that one would typically expect from an animated film. But for anyone who has actually watched the movie, it is clear that the story and content is by no means strictly aimed at children.

The movie starts in a peaceful town with the main character Prince Ashitaka. The action starts immediately when a boar monster attacks and Ashitaka saves the village, but becomes cursed in the process. The rest of the film is spent describing his adventures through the forest and world in order to find the source of his curse and hopefully disarm it before he dies.

It turns out that the reason the boar became a monster was because it was shot by an iron bullet. Ashitaka soon finds the village of iron town, where the leader, Lady Eboshi, is mass producing iron guns used to fight both humans and animals alike. These iron guns were the cause of the boar monster. After some investigation, Ashitaka reasons that the spirit of the forest, along with the animals of the forest, are being threatened by the guns of iron town. Soon, it become apparent that Lady Eboshi and a group of other bandits want to kill the spirit of the forest and take its head. Surprisingly, they were successful in chopping off the spirit’s head and this results in a fast spreading “black death” that kills anyone that it touches. The forest, along with iron town, is completely destroyed and the villagers all fled for their lives. Ashitaka comes to the rescue by returning the spirit’s head, but the day light has already started to shine and the spirit cannot live in its “normal” form in the light. As soon as it gets its head back, it dies to the sunlight. However, upon its death, the forest starts to grow again, the grass turns green and everyone who just witnessed the disaster makes amends to start a new life and a peaceful relationship with nature.

It should be brutally clear to most adult audiences that Miyazaki wanted to stress the importance of man’s connection and dependence upon nature. Furthermore, man cannot hope to live peacefully by fighting, overcoming, or destroying nature. All of these ideas are obviously present in Princess Mononoke through the boar monster, the forest spirit, Ashitaki’s curse, and Princess Mononoke herself. The other main idea of Miyazaki’s film is the embrace of technology (in this case by iron town) and how it affects the mentality of humans. Although Lady Eboshi wanted to destroy the forest animals and spirit, she actually did not have evil intentions. She merely wanted iron town to be a safer, richer, and better place to live. However, she and her followers were blinded by the advancement of technology, thinking that iron and guns could replace the natural things in this world. After she successfully shoots off the forest spirit’s head, she realizes that nature is something much more powerful than she had thought or imagined.

Some viewers may describe Lady Eboshi and iron town to be stupid or self absorbed people that deserve what they got. But really, the people in the movie are not much different than us. Everyday, I come home and take technology for granted. Thinking that a faster computer or a thinner laptop will make my life easier, better, and more efficient. Some of this is true, but much of it ignores the exact things that iron town ignored in Princess Mononoke.

I won’t leave any questions to think about this time as there are no more class discussion left, but I will say that this movie has certainly made me think about a lot of the things I do in my daily life. But then again, so as many of the things in this class. Lastly, I’d like to say that I enjoyed this semester in Gardens and hopefully will see you guys around sometime on campus.

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