(detailed information about this entry from Wikipedia)
Princess Mononoke (もののけ姫 — Mononoke Hime) is a Japanese animated film by Hayao Miyazaki and was first released in Japan on July 12, 1997 and in the U.S. on October 29, 1999 in select cities and on November 26, 1999. Roger Ebert soon placed the movie sixth on his top ten movies of 1999 . Mononoke also became the highest grossing movie in Japan until Titanic took over the spot several months later. Overall, Mononoke is the second most popular anime movie in Japan, next to 2001's Spirited Away, also by Miyazaki.
It is a jidaigeki set in late Muromachi period of Japan, and centers on the struggle between the supernatural guardians of a forest and the humans who need its resources, as seen by the outsider Ashitaka. "Mononoke" is not a name but a description that might be rendered in this context as 'spirits', making the title of the film "Princess of the Spirits/Spirit Princess."
Ashitaka is an Emishi prince , who saves his village from an assault by a demon. After killing the demon, Ashitaka found out that it was the Boar God Nago suffering under a curse, and having placed a demon mark on Ashitaka's arm, Ashitaka is cursed by the Boar God's hatred and pain. However, after consulting the shamanistic wise woman of the village, it is found that a lump of metal was in Nago's corpse and was likely the source of the curse. Though only limited to his arm, the curse will eventually spread throughout Ashitaka's body, and then Ashitaka will die. Because of this curse, should Ashitaka come under any rage or hatred, black tendrils will come out of his arm, and may curse other people.
Ashitaka sets out from his home to find a cure, though that is not the main portion of the mission bestowed upon him by the wise woman. Ashitaka's true mission, given him by the wise woman, is to "see with eyes unclouded by hate" what is the matter in the lands to the West, as Nago came from there. In doing so, he leaves his village forever, never to return. Ashitaka sets out with only Yakul, his loyal red elk. Since it was considered taboo to see off one who is banished, only one person dared to say goodbye to Ashitaka: his 'little sister,' Kaya. (according to Miyazaki, actually his bride-to-be; calling herself his 'little sister' as a term of affection) who gives him her crystal dagger so that he would not forget her.
Journey to Irontown
As Ashitaka travels westward, he encounters a group of samurai who are attacking and slaughtering a town full of villagers. Angered, Ashitaka attempts to restrain the samurai but is stricken by Nago's curse. This curse imbues supernatural strength upon his cursed arm, allowing his arrow to cut through the air with such speed that it cuts off both arms of a samurai. After decapitating another samurai with an arrow, the samurai refrain from pursuing him. Afterward, Ashitaka discovers that the curse has spread further on his arm, growing bigger.
At the next town, he meets a strange monk, Jigo, who was saved by Ashitaka during the attack. Ashitaka shows Jigo the iron bullet that was in Nago. Jigo tells Ashitaka that he may be able to find where it came from at a place called Irontown.
On the way to Irontown, a pack of wolves assault a wagon train transporting rice. One particularly large wolf, the wolf goddess Moro, is shot by the guards and falls down the cliff. One of the wolves attacking the train is ridden by a strange human girl, the Princess Mononoke, or Princess of the Spirits.
On his way to Irontown, Ashitaka passes by the bottom of the hill, encountering the wreckage and remains of those who fell down the hill in the previous battle. Ashitaka finds a wounded soldier and a wounded cattle herder and attempts to help them back to their village, leading them through a vast forest on the way. Before leaving, Ashitaka also sees a strange girl sucking the blood from the wound of Moro, in an attempt to purify the wound and remove any infection from the site, and seems quite taken with the strange human girl.
At Irontown, Ashitaka learns many things, which puts all the missing pieces together. There is a great war between Irontown, which wants the mountain's iron, and the Mononoke (or forest spirits). Each does what each thinks is right. Each fights for the ability to survive. The forest spirits want to preserve the forest so they can continue life, and Irontown, led by Eboshi, wants to take out the iron so that the people, a group of lepers, former prostitutes, and other social outcasts, can survive.
San, the Princess Mononoke, wants to kill Eboshi to save the forest, and has tried many times. Ashitaka witnesses such a conflict one night, as a battle suddenly arises. After a little chasing, Eboshi challenges San to a duel. Ashitaka tries to warn San not to fall into a trap, but San pays little heed. The able men form a circle around San and Eboshi. Ashitaka becomes angered at San's predicament, and displaying superhuman strength, clears a path through the townsfolk of Irontown. He then forces his way between San and Eboshi, blocking a weaponblow from both of them, attempting to force a peace between the two with words. Once Eboshi attempts to slash Ashitaka's arm with a spare weapon, Ashitaka stuns both women, knocking them unconscious. Ashitaka gives Eboshi back to the townsfolk, while he carries San away. As he leaves, one woman accidentally shoots Ashitaka with her ishibiya gun, but he continues out of the town, showing superhuman reserves of fortitude. Single-handedly he pushes open the gate (normally requiring ten people to do so) and leaves Irontown atop his riding elk, Yakul.
In the forest
As Ashitaka is riding from Irontown on Yakul, with San as a passenger, he loses the strength bestowed by the curse, and falls off of Yakul. The two wolves who are San's "brothers" immediately want to eat Ashitaka, but San stops them. She senses that Ashitaka is dying, and is confused as to why a human would fight on her side. San demands that Ashitaka explain himself, but Ashitaka only responds with words of care, enraging San. She did get startled when Ashitaka tells her she is beautiful, before he falls unconscious. A group of Apes then appear, telling San to leave the human so that they may eat Ashitaka, but she refuses.
Touched by his compassion, San takes Ashitaka into the forest to a sacred pond deep within the heart of the forest. There, she lays him on an island in the center of the lake, plants a plant next to Ashitaka's body, and tries to set Yakul free. Yakul refuses to leave, and San departs to allow Shishigami, the Forest Spirit, to arrive in solitude. Shishigami heals Ashitaka's bullet wound with a touch of its lips, but does not remove the curse.
The next day, Okkotonushi and his herd arrived at Shishigami's forest after months of travelling. Their mission is to kill all the humans and thus protect the forest of Shishigami, or die trying, picking up where Nago left off.
After healing fully, Ashitaka was told to leave the forest, or be killed by Moro, who hates humans, but not with the unrelenting passion of San.
Ashitaka tries to mediate the conflict between man and the creatures of the forest. Ashitaka cares for San, and shares her concern for the forest's welfare, but he has also come to sympathize with the people of Irontown. He sees Eboshi and San as two people who are blinded by their hatred for one another, and wants to find a solution that will please both sides. However, he fails, and thus the war begins.
The war is three-way. A powerful samurai lord, Asano, has led troops to attack Irontown, demanding half of all the town's iron. Meanwhile, Okkotonushi's attack force prepares its own war. Eboshi realizes that the ones most feared are humans, not beasts or gods, for humans are capable of treachery and their weapons are much more powerful than claws or teeth. Eboshi leads the Jibashiri, the emperor's agents who arrived with the not so benevolent monk Jigo, as well as the ishibiya troops to fight the boars and kill Shishigami. The Emperor believes that the Forest Spirit's head will grant him immortality and will pay well for it. Eboshi leaves the women to defend Irontown, knowing that they are strong enough to hold their own. Eboshi does this partly because she knew the men were powerful hunters, but also because she knew they would likely betray her after their task was over.
The boars, despite their huge numbers, are no match for the humans' mines and ishibiya. Only Okkotonushi, fatally wounded, is still alive. In order to kill Shishigami, the Jibashiri skin the dead boars to confuse Okkotonushi. When Okkotonushi senses the "ghost boars," he thinks his warriors have returned from the dead, and wants Shishigami to revive them. Before Okkotonushi can reach the island, the Jibashiri attempt to finish Okkotonushi off, which causes his rage to engulf him. Okkotonushi turns into a full demon, with many red tendrils of burning hate seeping through his skin. San tries to push the tendrils off of Okkotonushi, but a hunter with a sling knocks San unconscious. San is engulfed by the red tendrils as Lord Okkotonushi plows towards the sacred lake.
Ashitaka senses that San is in trouble. With one of San's brother wolves, rescued from the mines, Ashitaka delves into the forest to find San. Along the way, Ashitaka attempts to tell Lady Eboshi about the attack on Irontown. Eboshi's men have already gone back, but Eboshi continues to hunt Shishigami. By the time Ashitaka gets to San, Okkotonushi has already reached the sacred island. Ashitaka tries to reach through the red tendrils to save San, but cannot reach her, and Lord Okkotonushi throws Ashitaka off into the pond. Moro, who was unconscious from her fight with Okkotonushi, awakens, and rushes towards Okkotonushi, demanding her daughter's return. Moro is able to dig San out. Ashitaka takes San from Moro's mouth, and rushes San into the water to clean the tendrils off of her body.
Shishigami, the Great Forest Spirit, finally arrives. Eboshi, having arrived at the pond clearing, attempts to kill Shishigami with her gun, but Shishigami continues on, ignoring the wound. Okkotonushi, despite being blind, half-mad, and without much of a sense of smell, still is able to sense Shishigami. When Shishigami reaches Okkotonushi and Moro, Shishigami kisses the nose of Okkotonushi, and the humongous boar falls over, dead and at peace.
Eboshi rushes out once again, attempting to shoot Shishigami. Despite Ashitaka and Shishigami's attempts to stop her, Eboshi manages to shoot Shishigami in the neck, just as Shishigami begins to change into the Nightwalker, and his head falls off. As this happens, Shishigami's body sends out a black ooze, which destroys everything in its path, trying to get its head back. With her last ounce of strength, Moro's severed head bites off Eboshi's right arm before falling into the black ooze. Jigo and his men put Shishigami's head in a box and try to run off.
Ashitaka brings Eboshi and Gonza to the island in the center of the sacred pond, escaping the Nightwalker's headless body. San wants to kill Eboshi, so that San can end the human threat. Ashitaka refuses, saying that Eboshi's wound is enough punishment. Angered, San demands that Ashitaka take Eboshi away, accusing Ashitaka of always being "on the human's side." Ashitaka then explains to San that he is human and that San is, too. San insists that she's a wolf and, out of rage, stabs Ashitaka in the chest with his crystal dagger. Taken aback at what she has just done, Ashitaka steps toward San, hugging her in his arms. Explaining that he tried to stop the men, San insists that the forest is doomed, and that "it's all over." Ashitaka refutes her point by saying that "We are still here," and that they can save the forest.
The Forest Spirit's corpse begins an ever-widening search for its head, wiping out a huge tract of the forest as well as Irontown itself in the process. Ultimately, San and Ashitaka force Jigo to return the Forest Spirit's head. Thus restored, the corpse's killing touch is abated, and the Nightwalker falls as the sun rises. Its disappearance is followed by a great wind, which blows out the flames consuming Irontown's remains, and sweeps away the samurai encampment. When the wind stops blowing, the surviving humans are astonished to witness the Shishigami's final gifts: a blanket of green grasses, flowers, and the shoots of new trees covering the vast empty plain that the rampage turned the forest into. The lepers among the Irontown survivors are healed of their disease, and Ashitaka is healed of his curse, though he has a tiny scar left.
The Irontown survivors and Lady Eboshi vow to build a new and better town. San mourns the death of the Great Forest Spirit, but Ashitaka insists that Shishigami cannot truly die, as it is life itself. San returns to the wilderness, saying that though she cares for Ashitaka, she cannot forgive the humans for what they have done. Ashitaka announces that he will be staying at Irontown, but that he will come to the wilderness and visit her whenever he can.
Finally, somewhere in the ruins of the forest, a single kodama emerges from the new growth, studying a group of tiny seedlings.
This story takes place in Japan during the Muromachi Period, which is considered to be the transition period between the medieval period and the modern period. It is notable that the power of the shoguns greatly declined in this period.
This is a time when Japan started to grow rapidly in population, and Japan also began to cut down many forests, not just to acquire more living space for the people, but also to dig out the Earth's natural resources, especially iron. Primitive guns were manufactured as well in China, and Japan seems to have acquired the technology as well.
On the animal side, this is a time when the power of beasts has diminished much. It is implied that ancient creatures were very wise, and they were all humongous, many times larger than normal animals. These creatures were capable of using and communicating in human speech, as well as having the ability to live hundreds of years. However, as each generation passes, the animals get smaller and smaller, as well as becoming less intelligent.
It is unclear how many animals were once like this, but by the Muromachi period, only the wolves, apes, and boars are intelligent. The apes are known for their wisdom, thought, and knowledge. They cannot fight, but they can plant trees to attempt to reforest the mountains. Being as wise as they are, the apes realize that their attempts are fruitless, and thus they wanted to eat Ashitaka. The boars are known for their brute strength. They are usually the defenders of the forests, because of their physical might and the large numbers of their tribes. They are not as intelligent as the other two species, and they pride themselves for "attacking from the front, even though it is useless." The boars are the strongest of the three, and they could grow to a humongous size. The wolves are somewhere in between the boars and the apes, not as intelligent as the apes, not as strong as the boars, but also with a bit of cunning within them. These three species could be compared to the sage, the warrior, and the leader.
Ashitaka comes from a tribe called the Emishi, which used to be a glorious people, natives of Honshu, that had been resisting subjugation by the Japanese emperor for centuries. However, the Emishi were defeated by the samurai of the Yamato clan, which proceeded to become the rulers and government of the Empire. The Emishi thus went into hiding, around the Northeast part of Honshu, Japan's largest island. By A.D. 1300, the Emishi were completely integrated into Japanese society. However, Ashitaka supposedly comes from a tribe of the Emishi that had resisted integration and still lived in exile.
Irontown gets its name from its purpose: to dig up iron, change it to steel, and make top-quality weapons. Their latest invention is the ishibiya gun, a cross between a musket and a grenade launcher, shooting an iron ball at high speed, able to penetrate wood, animal, and samurai armor. They also have a sort of a primitive flamethrower, usually used in conjunction with the ishibiya guns for maximum effect.
To get iron, the townsfolk must destroy the forests on the mountains. The wood that was cut could also be used as fuel to power a giant smelter, which is used to remove the oxygen in the ore. This plan is complicated with the presence of the animal spirits within the forest, who fight with their lives to protect the forest. This includes many acts, such as night ambushes, surprise attacks on supply trains, and skirmishes with the humans that go outside of Irontown.
Irontown cannot even trust its own species, as neighboring samurai warlords desire control of Irontown. They are not stupid, and they know that the future lies with iron and steel. They frequently demand quotas of iron whenever they feel strong, and when Irontown refuses, they attack. However, Irontown is strong enough to defend itself.
Irontown itself grew prosperous because of one woman: Eboshi Gozen. When Irontown first was built, the people simply used the iron sands at the beaches where Irontown was built. Unfortunately, the iron sands were soon used up, and the men looked enviously toward the unreachable iron within the mountains. There existed a large boar, Nago, who was the master of the mountains. He and his clan could not be defeated, and all of Irontown's strong and able men were wiped out. That was when Eboshi came, with the ishibiya troops lent to her from the Emperor. After a great battle over the entire mountains, the boars were wiped out, and then Irontown became prosperous.
Eboshi, then began to endear herself to the people of Irontown. She bought the contracts of prostitutes to free them, and took in lepers as well, and gave them jobs in Irontown.
Ashitaka is an 18-year-old Emishi prince who was meant to become the future leader of his tribe. One day, after rescuing his village from a demon (the Boar god Nago), Ashitaka received a fatal curse on his arm, which would eventually consume his body and kill him. The village shaman tells him that the Demon was corrupted by pain and hatred, and the source of the curse was an iron bullet found within his body. Ashitaka must go to the lands of the West to search for a possible cure, find out what is happening there, and finally "see with eyes unclouded by hate". This means leaving his village forever because they have shunned contact with the outside world for 500 years.
Ashitaka arrives at Irontown, where he is caught up in a raging war between humans and the mountain gods. Ashitaka cannot take sides, as both sides fight for good and just reasons: humans to thrive and grow, the Mountain Gods for the right to survive.
Amidst this great battle, Ashitaka finds San, the Princess Mononoke. He falls in love with her at first sight, and he gradually wins San's love. Ultimately, he tries with all his might to create peace between the forest and man. Nago's curse becomes a double-edged sword—it will eventually kill him, yet it also gives him supernatural strength, an ability which comes in handy at times. Ashitaka is also an excellent hunter, and could likely hold his own even without the curse.
At the end of the film, Ashitaka is freed from his curse and though San returns to the forest, he remains within Irontown, implying that the two will maintain contact despite living in separate worlds.
San (Princess Mononoke)
San, the Princess Mononoke
She is known as Princess Mononoke—the princess of spirits and beasts. When San was a baby, her parents, along with some other travelers, were attacked by the wolf goddess Moro. Without any other possible means of escape, her parents threw San to Moro as a sacrifice to save their own lives, thus escaping while Moro was preoccupied with San.
However, San was spared; Moro did not eat her, probably because San was merely a baby and was not 'contaminated' by the ways of humans. Moro raised San as her own daughter, and San treated Moro as her mother. San rejects her own humanity, thinking of herself as a wolf. It could be possible that because of her past, San hates humans with a great ferocity, even moreso than Moro.
San cares very much for the forest she lives in and the animals she lives with. While Moro may be known as the Queen of Beasts, San is known as the Princess of Beasts. San is very agile, able to dodge arrows, darts, and even ishibiya shots. She, like the Mountain Spirits, wants to destroy the humans so that they will stop taking away all their land. She desperately wants to kill Eboshi, the leader of Irontown.
San is very courageous and at times harsh, but she does have a soft side, gradually brought out by Ashitaka. She did not expect to live through her final attack against the humans, but Ashitaka rescues her and takes her out of Irontown. San is enraged that she has failed again to kill Eboshi, and on seeing Ashitaka helpless on the ground, wants to kill him for interfering. San is shocked when Ashitaka tells her that she is beautiful, and, confused, decides not to let him die. She takes Ashitaka to Shishigami, who heals his bullet wound.
In spite of her love for Ashitaka, San fights against the humans to protect her forest. After the war, she tells Ashitaka that even though she loves him, she cannot forgive the humans for what they have done to the forests, and she will continue to live apart from them.
Eboshi is a very strong and caring woman, who wants to help the people of Irontown. Being a former prostitute, and having killed her master and freed herself, she uses her money to buy and free other prostitutes. Eboshi also takes in lepers, treating them as humans instead of parasites, and helps them with their wounds.
Eboshi eventually brings her flock to Irontown, where the iron is taken from the mountains to make steel, and then high-quality weapons. The people had used up all the iron along the beaches, and they needed to move further up the mountains. However, there is a ferocious boar god in the mountains - Nago, the undefeated champion of the mountain. Many strong and brave men go into the mountains to challenge the boar, but none succeed. However, Eboshi and her men defeat the boar, shooting him with an ishibiya gun, mortally wounding him and turning him into a demon. This boar god is the same demon that curses Ashitaka.
Eboshi proceeds to lead Irontown, cutting down trees and using the iron beneath them to further the settlement. Eboshi wants to defeat the animal gods so that there will be nothing but "dumb beasts" without the god's influence, and thus the land would become a rich place for humans to live without animal interference. The harlots and lepers would have work, be able to live as people rather than animals, and have a good life.
Eboshi has plenty of enemies, both man and beast. The samurai warlords want to take control of Irontown, knowing the value of the ore surrounding it. Eboshi is able to get some ishibiya troops to defend Irontown, and being a very capable leader, she is able to stop the samurai lords from taking over. As for the beasts, practically every mountain god hates Eboshi, and they all vie for the opportunity to bite her head off. They want to protect the forest and their habitats. Despite the apparent ferocity of the beasts, Eboshi is wise enough to know that the true enemy is not beasts, but rather humans, for humans are deceitful, crafty, and intelligent enough to use nature to make the most horrifying of weapons: guns and explosives.
Shishigami is the ancient spirit of the forest. During the day, Shishigami resembles a great stag with many antlers and the face of a baboon. During the night, however, Shishigami becomes the Nightwalker, a god of death.
Shishigami has a number of powers, most notably, the ability to give and take life away. Those that Shishigami deems to live, will live; those that Shishigami believes have lived enough, he takes away. This ability is so great, whenever Shishigami walks in his stag form, plants will instantly come to life at his feet, and just as quickly, they will wither and die. Shishigami gives a kiss to those that he takes life away from, but gently nuzzles when giving life to something.
Shishigami intended for Ashitaka to live, but with his curse, and to live in pain until it kills him. However, when Shishigami regains his head and 'dies,' he lifts the curse, leaving only a tiny, harmless scar.
Moro is the 300 year old goddess of wolves. One day, years ago, she cornered a group of travellers trespassing on her lands. As a desperate attempt, a traveller laid a baby at Moro's feet to escape from her fangs. That baby grew up to be San, whom Moro treated as her own daughter. Moro is the leader of the Wolf Clan, and is known as a ferocious warrior, very brave and strong.
Moro was injured shortly before Ashitaka arrived by an ishibiya bullet, and she knows that the poison will eventually destroy her. Unlike Nago, the boar god who cursed Ashitaka, Moro knows that death is smiling down at her; she just smiles right back. Moro will wait until her death comes, knowing that she has lived long enough.
Moro is determined to use every last bit of strength within her to protect the forest she loves. Although she was saving her strength to deal with Eboshi, she saves San instead. She does, however, take care of Eboshi as well-- she bites off her right arm, thus preventing her from ever using a rifle again.
Okkotonushi is the god of boars. He was rumored to have been killed 100 years ago, but he actually lived, and is 500 years old as of the story. Okkotonushi and his tribe live in a faraway land, where they kill humans to protect their forests. However, hearing that the great Shishigami's forests are being plundered by humans, they come to Irontown, after months of travelling, and vow to destroy the humans, even when Moro tells them to go back.
Okkotonushi is blind, possibly from his old age. He is also very observant, noticing that the boars grow more stupid and small as the generations pass. This is evident: Okkotonushi is much larger than Moro herself, while his warriors are merely the size of large cows. Okkotonushi is thus determined to destroy as many humans as possible, before boars eventually become hunted for meat. He is very rash, possibly an inherited trait of all boars. They attack head on, despite any disadvantages, and do not engage in any strategizing.
Differences between the English and Japanese Versions
Since the film was virtually uncut upon U.S. release, there are very little changes between the English and Japanese versions. The main difference is that the Japanese version is more suited to an Asian culture, while the U.S. version is more suitable to an American audience. Some critics (Michael Atkinson, Mr. Showbiz) have said that the translation from Japanese to English (along with any alterations) has weakened the film somewhat. Alterations include the fact that there are many more references to mythology, as well as more names to groups such as Jibashiri and Shishigami, in the Japanese version, that are changed to more general terms (e.g. Mercenary and Forest Spirit) in the English version. Though the violence is left uncut, the dialogue was edited somewhat to remove many expletives, and to make some characters seem more respectful to each other in the English version. There are subtitles on the DVD release of Mononoke that more closely match the Japanese dub's dialogue (though still not to a very close degree).
The film was massively successful in Japan and with both anime fans and "arthouse" moviegoers in English-speaking countries. In those countries, it was widely interpreted as a film about the environment told in the form of Japanese mythology. Disney's Miramax subsidiary purchased U.S. distribution rights, but wanted to cut the film for American audiences (and for a PG-rating). However, Miyazaki balked at this, and the film was instead released uncut with a rating of PG-13. Miramax also chose to put a lot of money into creating the English dub of the movie with famous actors and actresses, yet when they released it in theatres there was little or no advertising and it was given a very limited run, showing in only a few theatres and for a very short time. Disney later complained about the fact that the movie did not do well at the box office. In September of 2000, the film was supposed to be released on DVD in the U.S., but Miramax announced that only the English dub would be included on the disc. Outraged fans demanded the Japanese track be put on the disc as well, and the threat of poor sales prompted Miramax to hire translators for the subtitles, which held the DVD release back by almost three months. When the film was finally released on DVD it sold very well, due to no limitation in availability.
Box office totals & admission numbers
Box office gross:
- Japan: ¥18,650,000,000
- USA: $2,298,191
- Spain: €598,040
- Japan: 13,530,000
- France: 500,380
- USA: 467,344
- Spain: 156,816
- Italy: 26,989
The United States and United Kingdom DVD releases have both the English and Japanese soundtracks, and the US release additionally includes two different sets of English subtitles (the dialogue used in the dub and a "literal translation").
The English version of Princess Mononoke (with a script adaptation by Neil Gaiman, author of The Sandman) received mixed reviews from critics. Although most of the reaction was positive, others criticized the dub for most of its casting choices, notably Billy Bob Thornton as Jigo and Claire Danes as San, claiming that they detracted from the experience as well as added off-screen dialogue that pointed out things clearly meant to be shown through visuals alone. Despite this love-hate atmosphere, the dub has been hailed as one of the best ever done alongside Spirited Away, which had also been met with the same criticism.
The English version of the movie, as seen on YTV, is broadcast in pan and scan format, retains Japanese subtitles and credit texts, and uses 'Wolf Princess' instead of 'Princess Mononoke' to address San. 'Princess Mononoke' is used nowhere except in the title.
The movie stars the following actors (listed in English version/Japanese version format):
- Billy Crudup / Yōji Matsuda — Ashitaka
- Claire Danes / Yuriko Ishida — San
- Gillian Anderson / Akihiro Miwa — Moro
- Minnie Driver / Yūko Tanaka — Lady Eboshi
- Billy Bob Thornton / Kaoru Kobayashi — Jigo/Jiko Bou
- Jada Pinkett Smith / Sumi Shimamoto — Toki
- Keith David / Hisaya Morishige — Okkoto/Okkotonushi, Narrator (English version only)
- John DiMaggio / Tsunehiko Kamijo — Gonza
- John DeMita / Masahiko Nishimura — Kohroku
- Tara Strong / Yuriko Ishida — Kaya
- Iron Town Women - Sherry Lynn, Tress MacNeille
- Tatara's Women Song - Jennifer Cihi, Leslie Ishii, Mary Elizabeth McGlynn
- Additional Voices by Pamela Adlon, Lewis Arquette, Corey Burton, Keith David, Debi Derryberry, John DiMaggio, Alex Fernandex, Jack Fletcher, Julia Fletcher, Pat Fraley, John Hostetter, John Rafter Lee, Tress MacNeille, Matt McKenzie, Michael McShane, Matt K. Miller, Marnie Mosiman, Adam Paul, David Rasner, Dwight Schultz
- Best Picture; The 21st Japanese Academy Awards
- Best Japanese Movie, Best Animation, and Japanese Movie Fans' Choice; The 52nd Mainichi Movie Competition
- Best Japanese Movie and Readers' Choice; Asahi Best Ten Film Festival
- Excellent Movie Award; The Agency for Cultural Affairs
- Grand Prize in Animation Division; The 1st Media Arts Festival (by the Agency for Cultural Affairs of the Ministry of Education)
- Best Director; Takasaki Film Festival
- Best Japanese Movie; The Association of Movie Viewing Groups
- Movie Award; The 39th Mainichi Art Award
- Best Director; Tokyo Sports Movie Award
- Nihon Keizai Shinbun Award for Excellency; Nikkei Awards for Excellent Products/Service (details)
- Theater Division Award; Asahi Digital Entertainment Award
- MMCA Special Award; Multimedia Grand Prix 1997
- Best Director and Yujiro Ishihara Award; Nikkan Sports Movie Award
- Special Achievement Award; The Movie's Day
- Special Award; Houchi Movie Award
- Special Award; Blue Ribbon Award
- Special Award; Osaka Film Festival
- Special Award; Elandore Award
- Cultural Award; Fumiko Yamaji Award
- Grand Prize and Special Achievement Award; Golden Gross Award
- First Place, best films of the year; The 26th "Pia Ten"
- First Place; Japan Movie Pen Club, 1997 Best 5 Japanese Movies
- First Place; 1997 Kinema Junpo Japanese Movies Best 10 (Readers' Choice)
- Second Place; 1997 Kinema Junpo Japanese Movies Best 10 (Critics' Choice)
- Best Director; 1997 Kinema Junpo Japanese Movies (Readers' Choice)
- First Place; Best Comicker's Award
- First Place; CineFront Readers' Choice
- Nagaharu Yodogawa Award; RoadShow
- Best Composer and Best Album Production; 39th Japan Record Award
- Excellent Award; Yomiruri Award for Film/Theater Advertisement
- The landscapes which appear in Princess Mononoke is said to have been inspired by the ancient forests of Yakushima, off Kyushu, and the mountains of Shirakami-Sanchi in northern Honshu. ( in Japanese)
- The Forest Spirit is based on the Japanese Serow, right down to their well-known habit of stopping and staring when they spot humans in the forest. Yakul also somewhat resembles a Japanese Serow, or another goat antelope.
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