Princess Mononoke or Spirit/Monster Princess is a 1997 Japanese animated epic historical fantasy film that was written and directed b Hayao Miyazaki and was animated by the very popular Studio Ghibli for Tokuma Shoten, as well as for Nippon Television Network and Dentsu and was distributed by Toho.

The highly popular Japanese animated film was started by Yoji Matsuda, Yuriko Ishida, Masahiko Nishimura, Tsunehiko Kamijo, Akihiro Miwa, Mitsuko Mori and Hisaya Morishige.

Set in the late Muromachi period or during the 1300’s particularly in the 1336 to 1573 era of Feudal Japan which was made colorful and interesting for its fantasy elements, Princess Mononoke followed the story of Ashitaka, a young prince of Emishi who was entangled himself between the struggle of the forest gods and the relentless human consumption and exploitation of the natural resources. The film was very relevant to the current situation of the world right now considering that there are a rampant exploitation and non-stop consumption of the finite natural resources of earth that greatly alarmed environmentalists and scientists, which if not slowed down might be the cause of the global catastrophe.

The term “Mononoke” is derived from the Japanese word for spirit monster, or in other popular folklore as shape-shifters, a common supernatural being that is related to mythology, and other supernatural belief in different cultures. The film was released on July 12, 1997, in japan and two years later it was released in the United States and emerged as a critical and highly successful commercial blockbuster that eventually earned itself as the highest-grossing film in Japanese history. In fact, due to its popularity, a lot of brands created and manufactured different merchandises about Princess Mononoke.

It does not stop there because it held the Japanese box office record until the release of another Japanese animated film Spirited Away in 2001 which was another blockbuster by Miyazaki. Due to its popularity worldwide, there was an English dubbed version of it and was distributed around the United States and other parts of the world through Miramax films. Although it did not click on cinemas, it was a total hit when it was released in video and DVD which also helped Studio Ghibli’s popularity and expanded its influence outside of Japan.

Princess Mononoke has a lot of reasons why it is considered as one of the greatest Japanese animated film in history and below, we listed down the critics’ review and further examination about the film.

  • PERFECT FRAMING- According to critics and animation experts, the entire film is a masterpiece frame by frame. Watching it is like looking at a painting that is a sequence based on every frame because of the intricacy and the meticulous details of the animation that each has its own detail and character. A lot of scenes of Princess Mononoke are breathtaking according to them, from its beautiful landscapes all they way to the villages and the stunning view of the battlefields.
  • OBSCURE LINES THAT ARE REALISTIC- Another aspect that the viewer should notice is the film’s unapologetic depiction of our morality and the reality that we are facing in. It was able to deliver a clear message that impacts each of one of us.