Sunday, June 14, 2009

Pom Poko

Pom Poko
Directed by Isao Takahata

This is a Studio Ghibli film from the the mid 1990s. The story follows a colony of tanuki that live in a forest that is about to be turned into a suburb and how they try defend their natural habitat.

Tanuki are actually creatures that are similar to raccoons, but there is also mythology that surrounds them. Tanuki have the ability to shape-shift and the tanuki in this film use this ability in their efforts to thwart the deconstruction of the forest.

One of the aspects of this film that I really enjoyed was the amount of references to Japanese mythology... not just the stories surrounding the Tanuki. In the above photo some of the tanuki have turned into dharma. Dharma are little sculptures that have no eyes. An eye is painted on to symbolize a goal or a wish, and when the goal or wish takes place the other eye is painted. The film is full of these little details... some I was able to pick up on and others that I am sure went completely over my head. 

One scene that is really spectacular is when the tanuki join forces to make a parade of the spirit world through the city and scare the humans. I was able to spot some oni and the god of wind and the god of thunder.

Rustin Allison

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