Princess Mononoke

Princess Mononoke ★★★★★

Princess Mononoke is such a fantastic exploration of human motivation. "Just whose side is he on, anyway?" asks one character of the protagonist, Ashitaka. It's a question that could be asked of almost every character at one time or another throughout the story. What motivates people, and who decides which motivations are virtuous and which are not? This is a much more complex fantasy story than simply "unlikely hero finds the power to defeat the dark lord." Here there is no one who is a through-and-through villain; the spirits are confusing and often distant; and the resolution for the heroes is not necessarily ideal. I'm often reminded of Treebeard's statement, "I am not altogether on anybody's side, because nobody is altogether on my side, if you understand me."

Watching the movie this time, I wondered: Did Ashitaka forget his sister because he gave away the spearhead? Was he destined to stay and rebuild the city, or should he have returned home to the exiled community?

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