Pom Poko is a very interesting movie at every level, and we’ll try to delve into all ofthose different areas in this post. First, it comes from Studio Ghibli, so you know it is part of a community with a great record for making groundbreaking and unique anime films. The concept came from famed writer and director Miyazaki, and the actual script was written by Isao Takahata, who also directed the film.
What’s the Story of Pom Poko?
One of the things that you will note with some of the other films that come from this studio, such as Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, is that there is something of an environmental message to the films. In this story, there is a community of magical creatures known as the Tanuki, raccoon dogs, which are an important part of Japanese folklore. When this story begins, their world is under threat of human development. Cut to thirty years later, and we see that the land of the Tanuki is much smaller and those who still live there are actually fighting among themselves for resources.
One of the elders, the matriarch Oroku, convinces them that rather than fighting with one another, they need to join forces and stop this continuing development of their land.
It is their only hope for survival in this new world. They use their magical skills to aid them in this. The Tanuki are shapeshifters and illusionists, although many have forgotten the old ways. They need to learn their skills in order to press back against the humans. We won’t spoil the story here, but we can tell you that the end is probably not something that you would expect.
What Will You Love?
There are many fantastic things about this film, including the animation and the attention to detail when it comes to incorporating folklore. The Tanuki have several different forms that they can change into – normal animal, anthropomorphic animal, and a cartoon blend of the two. This might look like a kid friendly film, but there are themes and some scenes that may not go over well with the younger crowd. Still, this is an anime film that you really do need to make sure you watch. Not only is it a good story, it really does have a good message about the respect that people need to have for the natural land around them.