Princess Mononoke, or Mononoke Hime to give it its Japanese name, could have been covered in February for the anniversary along with Howl's Moving Castle, My Neighbour Totoro or Spirited Away, but honestly I'm glad I can devote a whole regular-sized episode to it, because it's so jam-packed full of greatness. As much as I love all the aforementioned movies from the legendary writer/director Hayao Miyazaki, Princess Mononoke really is something more epic.
It's more adult, more complex, more violent and graphic, and while Mr Miyazaki himself would never admit to it being a masterpiece, it truly is.
With an English dub written by Neil Gaiman, it's widely considered one of the best translations of the original Japanese script. While Ghibli loved Gaiman's work, his name was removed from the credits and the U.S. release of Princess Mononoke was purposely ruined by real-life villain and nasty piece of work Harvey Weinstein, who gets mentioned several times just for being a massive a-hole when Disney appointed Miramax the distributor. No surprise there.
Princess Mononoke, though, is a masterclass of character and world building, all encompassed in a beautiful shell of traditional animation, with the minimal of CGI (in places you wouldn't expect!) and doesn't actually have a true antagonist. Every character struggles with being consumed by hate, even the empathetic Ashitaka - one of few male lead characters featured in Miyazaki's stories, but who remains a force for good, despite the evil growing within him.
We all have the power to co-exist with each other, and with the natural world. Now, more than ever, the demon of hate is threatening to consume modern society. Princess Mononoke might be set during feudal Japan, but its message of love, acceptance and co-existence is more relevant now than it has ever been.
Whole Hog Theatre's incredible stage production of Princess Mononoke can be found here
Joshua Garrity's video can be found here
I would love to hear your thoughts on Princess Mononoke! You can get in touch on
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Thank you to patrons Simon E, Sade, Jardiel, Claudia, Simon B, Laurel, Derek, Jason, Kristin, Cat and new patron Andy for supporting Verbal Diorama.
Thanks to the following for their contributions to this episode:
Theme Music: Verbal Diorama Theme Song
Music by Chloe Enticott - Compositions by Chloe Facebook
Lyrics by Chloe Enticott (and me!)
Production by Ellis Powell-Bevan of Ewenique Studios.
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