Distribution Rights: Disney
Genres: Comedy, Fantasy
|Pom Poko (Movie)|
Alternate Titles: Raccoon Wars,
Heisei Tanuki Gassen Pom Poko
Description: Pom Poko is about the
tanuki. Tanuki (often imprecisely translated as
"raccoon" or "badger") are wild creatures with
raccoon-like markings, belonging to the canid (dog)
family, native to Japan. Japanese folklore credits the
tanuki with the ability to do magic and to transform
into different shapes.
The tanuki in Pon Poko use their powers to try
and discourage humans from developing and destroying the
forests where they live. The also use them to try to
pass for human and fit into human society. Directed by
Isao Takahata for Studio Ghibli.
| Reviewer #1: Clyde Adams
Episodes reviewed: Movie;
|| Pom Poko
is a comedy with a serious underlying theme: the war between
humanity and nature. Whatever you think of that theme (I don't
think much of it myself), Pom Poko is a funny, engaging
movie, beautifully realized, but it's not one of Studio
Ghibli's very best. It lacks focus, because there is no
central character; we meet lots of tanuki, but we never get to
know any one of them well.
The tanuki are comic. Their fantasy forms are funny
looking. They are deliberately mischievous. "If we lose our
sense of fun, we will no longer be tanuki!" one says.
Faced with a serious problem, the tanuki debate and try
various approaches: frightening the humans or murderously
attacking them. Nothing they do seems to slow down the
development, or the destruction of their beloved forests.
Two of the most striking scenes are huge illusions. In one,
the tanuki fill the city with imaginary creatures: A gigantic
glowing skeleton, a huge floating snake with a head like a
human woman's, and many more. In the other, the tanuki create
the illusion that the city buildings and paving are gone, and
that the trees and plants are growing there again.
| Reviewer #2: Mariela
Episodes reviewed: Movie,
||When the Disney/Tokuma
deal was announced, fans who had seen this wonderful movie
were forced to wonder "How is Disney ever gonna release this
one?" This tale of tanukis at war is a delight to watch, but
to the non-Japanese viewer, parts are confounding, bizarre and
well a little hard to handle unprepared (that "unique ability"
male tanuki have sure makes audiences uncomfortable.) All that
aside, this tale of human development vs. Nature packs in
humor and heart, with a somewhat haunting message about a
conflict with no easy answer.
It is very easy to sympathize with the tanuki in their
struggles, it's their way of life and existence that is being
threatened. But lest we root for them too much, the movie
cleverly juxtaposes harmless scare tactics with violent ones,
and to add to the uncomfortableness factor, which we
humans are causing this war with our need for more
housing, more development, more space.
Still, there is a lot of joy in this piece, and hope. Any
scene with tanuki transformations is priceless, particularly
the "training school" portion. The ghost parade is a wonder to
behold, even is you aren't familiar with Japanese mythology
and legend. And the ending, though somber in its realism, is
still infused with a never dying hope we should all be so
lucky to have. The scenes of violence, and "Japaneseness" of
this film may make it inappropriate for younger viewers, but
older children and adults can most definitely enjoy this
Studio Ghibli masterpiece. Even if I have no idea how to