Princess Mononoke – Hayao Miyazaki Review
We have our own opinions and thoughts set to stone. Our personality, work ethic, and style define who we are. Whether you are a writer, reader, an enthusiast or on the way on to becoming someone with any title, it is important to “see with eyes unclouded”.
So what does it mean?
You have to be unbias. You may have your own opinions when you come across something, but still you have to see all sides of the story.
Who said those words?
It is the wise words of the Oracle which allows us to understand the different sides of the story in the eyes of Ashitaka. The second time watching this anime, I was able to understand how these few words “See with eyes unclouded” brought structure and meaning to this anime.
On the screen, words appeared and described the scenery displaying the beauty of the forest. Then we see Ashitaka, our main character who we follow throughout this journey, and Nago, the boar god. We see the boar god whose gruesome death, did not leave without a cursed mark on Ashitaka. Ashitaka took upon the Oracle’s words to “see with eyes unclouded” for a cure. We begin to see how the forest is changing as people are expanding and taking down the trees in the forest.
Man vs. Nature
Ashitaka comes across the Irontown village which Lady Eboshi invites him inside. From the drinking men, we learned that Lady Eboshi is a strong and respected woman who even fought Nago. When Ashitaka learns Nago is the boar god, he doesn’t laugh unlike the other men. In Ashitaka eyes, we begin to understand that Nago was just trying to protect the forest, his home from Lady Eboshi and how Nago’s death was unfortunately a pity. We see Lady Eboshi fighting with those “beasts” as she takes cuts down trees. Her disregard for the environment is seen as she doesn’t see them as her opponent. Ashitaka is not pleased with her plan to destroy the forest as he holds his cursed arm from drawing his sword. From the irontown village, we see the dark forest that once was green and live.
Man vs. Man
We see Lady Eboshi fighting other troops for the forest. There is the ugly side where people are fighting each other for resources.
Ashitaka is our main character who goes on a journey to cure his arm and meets with lots of people, some unfriendly people. He is not on a side. There is frustration when Lady Eboshi is taking the forest but he is generally a good guy who helps both Princess Mononoke and Lady Eboshi every single time.
Princess Mononoke is a human girl who lives with Moro and the others in the forest and fights with Lady Eboshi. Princess Mononoke has hatred towards humans and with reason, we can see why. Moro is her parent who raised her since she was a baby abandoned by her so-called parents. As much as she hates humans, she could see not all humans are evil: Ashitaka.
My favorite scene in this whole anime has to be Princess Mononoke standing on top of the roof in the irontown village with her mask on her face. You can say a picture says a thousand words and this does. I can’t even imagine what Princess Mononoke is feeling as she stands there ready to fight alone in Lady Eboshi’s territory. As the wind blows Princess Mononoke’s hair and mask, we see that she is a person with emotions, fighting for her home (the forest), her family (Moro etc.), her life, and the future.
Lady Eboshi is a strong woman who is seen as the leader of her village. She is the one who protects and takes in all the people with disadvantages and women. She is caring to her people but she is one who wants to expand her village and industrialize. There is a limit to how she cares the women although it may seem not pleasing, she believes they could handle fighting off the men. Even if it means to cut down all the trees and gods, she doesn’t sympathize well with those inhibiting her plans.
Corruption is in the form of black curse that can destroy everything in its path. It is interesting that corruption has started with the iron ball that Lady Eboshi shot Nago. We also see corruption physically in the ironwoods and forest.
Kodama is a ghost like creature. Ashitaka knew that Kodama is a sign the forest is healthy. Kodama can represent a lot of things to what is a forest healthy.
Deer God represents the life and death of the forest once the “head” is cut off or the last tree is cut, unimaginable things happen.
Princess Mononoke is a great anime that can be very realistic at times. We get to understand the characters and who they fight for. We also understand that cutting down all the trees and destroying the forest is bad. The forest is not ours. Miyazaki does a great job depicting the different sides of the anime: the people, forest, animals. There is no bias towards one side as the ending is very realistic though many would like a slightly better ending with a definite conclusion with our favorite couple.
Princess Mononoke is very environmentally theme focused on deforestation. We have to “see with eyes unclosed” by not cutting down all the trees, not being too greedy, and appreciating nature. Our actions have consequences and in the anime, Lady Eboshi and the people in the village see what they have done. In the end, the animals are rebuilding the forest back to its original state. There is no good, evil side, people, or environment side.
Our world Today
Princess Mononoke is an anime and it does relate to real life in more ways than one. Considering the timeline is tremendously different, our forests today are being deforested similarly in the anime. Although there is no demon god, or curse of some sort, we have to live with the repercussions as well as the animals in the forests.