Princess Mononoke Initial Musings

This past Thursday, I finally watched the Studio Ghibli film “Princess Mononoke” (directed by Hayao Miyazaki) for the first time. I was lucky enough to see it in theatres for its 20th anniversary special screening. In some sense, I cannot believe I’ve previously never taken the time to watch this film. I went into the theatre clueless about the film’s background and story line, and was in complete awe and blown away by the totality of the film. Some scenes overwhelmed me with sadness and despair, especially the hatred (brought about by humans) that turned animals into demons and the lack of care and conservation humans had towards mother earth. How relevant Princess Mononoke is to our world today! The extremes of both sides, nature and conservation vs. human industrialization, power, and domination, Princess Mononoke vs. Lady Eboshi, were convincingly portrayed. My heart broke and was in distraught seeing how the selfish desires of the human heart can lead to such intolerable destruction to humans and mother earth. Prince Ashitaka’s character brought forgiveness and hope for a genuine and respectful coexistence of humans and nature. One of my favorite scenes was when Prince Ashitaka comforted Princess Mononoke by simply hugging her after her heart was filled with brokenness, vengeance, and hopelessness, to remind her of love, among many others. My mind is still constantly thinking about the story, the beautiful soundtrack, and the important message for us humans alike. I by no means fully grasp the film, but appreciate Hayao Miyazaki and his staff for creating such a compassionate film filled with essence and timeless relevance. I do plan on re-watching the film soon, and look forward to one day visiting the Ghibli Museum in Japan.

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