I have never seen an Anime movie before, however the boyfriend loves this movie and wanted so bad for me to see it. So I saw it. Here are my thoughts.
Title: Princess Mononoke [Mononoke-hime (original title)]
Director: Hayao Miyazaki (Japan)
Writer: Hayao Miyazaki (Japan)
Cinematographer: Atsushi Okui
Starring: Yôji Matsuda (Japan); Yuriko Ishida (Japan)
Year Released: 1997
Synopsis: “On a journey to find the cure for a Tatarigami’s curse, Ashitaka finds himself in the middle of a war between the forest gods and Tatara, a mining colony. In this quest he also meets San, the Mononoke Hime.”
Every time I hear the word “anime”, I think of greasy haired teenage boys trading their Pokémon cards, and cape wearing girls reading comic books; these are the type of people I have encountered in the library, in the manga section of the book store, and sitting alone at the lunch tables in the cafeteria. I have never understood what was so great about “anime”, and up until now, have never even read a graphic novel, or seen a movie that deals with Japanese animated characters. To me, anime was a “nerd” affair, which is why, when my boyfriend excitedly told me I needed to watch Princess Mononoke, I was quite taken aback.
I went into this movie quite cynically, I must admit. “How can an anime film be one of my non-nerdy boyfriend’s favorite movies?” I thought. When the movie started, I sat back and just tried to enjoy it. To my curious surprise, I didn’t even have to try.
Like all foreign films, my boyfriend and I try to watch every movie in the original language. We put the audio in it’s original format – Japanese – with English subtitles. Not even three minutes into the film, we had to switch the audio to English because we couldn’t keep up with the subtitles. For long English sentences, the Japanese translation is short and quick, and the subtitles just passed on by without us able to read them and understand what was going on. Once we switched to English, it was much easier to keep up with everything.
However, I have a problem with voice-overs. I can’t concentrate on the images or story if I see that the lips are off of the words. I can’t concentrate on the characters if I think their voice-overs are monotone or don’t sound like the character. So I was quite pleased when I realized that the English voice-overs for Princess Mononoke were perfect. Since it’s animated, you can’t necessarily tell if the lips don’t match up with the words, and the English voice actors gave the exact amount of tension, surprise, and seriousness in their voices as the original Japanese actors would have. Good voice-overs make a movie that much more pleasant.
The images in this movie were stunning. Just plain spectacular. The animation was realistic – not what I was expecting from an anime movie – and the scenery, if you will, was gorgeous. The story itself is very beautiful and inspiring as the people of the land try to live peacefully with the nature, so the wonderful images only added to the special content of the film.
All in all, I was extremely surprised at this movie. Yes, it was long, however in this film’s case you did not want it to end. The action scenes were great and characters were both funny and endearing. Princess Mononoke, whether you like anime or not, is definitely one to watch. Hey, if an “anime-hater”, such as myself, was turned into an “anime-lover” then it must be good!
*Note: The review above is written by me. ©Kalie Lyn 2011*