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Princess Mononoke     |   

Get ready, because you are about to read a review for the first anime to be awarded a perfect 10 out of 10!!!! That's right, you heard me. This anime is that good. Now let me put away the party favors and tell you why I think so.

Princess Mononoke will probably be unlike any anime you have ever seen, yet wholly recognizable as anime in its purest form. First of all, let me say that this anime looks drop-dead gorgeous. The characters are beautiful, the animals are stunning, the action is breath-taking, and the scenery, my God the scenery, will absolutely blow your mind. Some of the scenes that take place in the center of the forest, with water flowing all around and sunlight barely breaking through to illuminate the enchanting gloom, are enough to make you forget what the movie is about, simply lost in the pleasure of viewing such a beautiful environment.

However nice the visuals, the story is where this film really shines. A profound and moving tale about the eternal struggle between man and nature, technological progress and natural beauty. This is a movie that is so touching it will bring tears to your eyes. The sense of beauty and anguish that this anime projects are overwhelming. I can't praise it highly enough.

The story begins with our hero, Ashitaka, the prince of the Emeshi people, protecting his village from an attack by an enraged demon. Ashitaka is wounded, but manages to slay the demon. Upon its death, the sage of the village banishes Ashitaka, for the demon was actually a sacred forest spirit who became corrupted after being shot by a bullet. The wound it inflicted upon Ashitaka's right arm will continue to fester and spread until it consumes all of his body and soul. Ashitaka sets out to the land from whence the forest god came, to find what caused its transformation, and possibly to find a cure for his affliction. He eventually arrives in Iron Town, where the willful Lady Eboshi is running a massive refinery for iron. It was one of her iron bullets that turned the forest god into a demon. Lady Eboshi is slowly destroying the forest and its inhabitants in her quest for ever-greater supplies of iron. Opposing her is San(a.k.a. Princess Mononoke), who fights alongside the wolf spirits who raised her as they fight to save the forest. Ashitaka is quickly caught up in the struggle between the two, and things are further complicated because he has feelings for San. Finally we have Jigo, a monk who is out to take the head of the chief forest spirit, since the emperor will pay him handsomely for the supposed immortality that the head will grant.
We quickly find that it is hard to define what is right or wrong in this movie. Everyone believes they are doing good, and some very serious moral questions are raised. This anime will truly make you feel for the characters and their causes, which is the main reason why I give Princess Mononoke a perfect 10 out of 10!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!