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Summary: A picturesque epic drawn on a large canvas. Fast paced, action packed drama with battles between gods, humans and animals.
Princess Mononoke has many themes. A prominent theme is the struggle between nature and man as industrialization encroaches upon forests. Another theme is equality between men and women, with women leading industrialization. For me, the loveliest theme was the struggle between hatred and forgiveness. In many movies, if somebody is angry or has caused devastation, a hero wipes them out, so that evil is destroyed. Princess Mononoke has a different flavor. I would say that it is more holistic, that we are all interconnected. Somebody else's misery is ours collectively.
In the very first scene, a wild boar attacks a village. The boar has become a demon imbued with anger and hatred. Prince Ashitaka kills the boar. After his death, village folk collect around the boar and offer their prayers so that the spirit of the boar becomes calm and peaceful, so that it stops suffering from anger and hatred. The anger and hatred of the boar is not limited to the boar alone - it spreads to whosoever comes in touch with it -- physically or mentally. For example, with the killing, Prince Ashitaka is now cursed - he shall become a super human warrior but die soon, as his wounds deepen. Later in the movie, it is discovered that the boar had become a demon because a piece of metal was lodged inside it. That piece of metal was a bullet that came from an iron factory made by humans. Overall, the movie has an element of togetherness with everything around us. We are not separate from the boar, the forest and the gods.
This movie reminds me of a wonderful story book for children called The Legend of the Bluebonnets.