Monday, February 10, 2014

Pom Poko, the Raccoon Wars (Heisei tanuki gassen ponpoko), a melancholic anime about the city encroaching and finally destroying the nature around it

DVD Cover A lot of people nowadays are born in the city or a large town somewhere; nature and animal life is something you see on TV. Few older people, though, may remember what life used to be mere decades ago, when wild nature was what awaited you when you got out of your yard and people were three times fewer.

Pom Poko is a movie about the changes urban development brings to the land, as seen from the perspective of a playful and intelligent race of racoons, magically endowed with the ability to shapeshift into anything they choose. Worried, scared and finally enraged by the destruction of their home forests by the expansion of Tokyo, they decide to fight back. Alas, their efforts are in vain, there is no stopping the humans.

A beautiful anime, nicely drawn, very imaginative, it is almost impossible to dislike. The only problem I see is the rapid shift from the playfulness of the raccoons to their grief and despair and then back again. Sometimes I didn't know if to feel sad or to laugh; sometimes I could not stop myself doing both at the same time. And that is saying much: I am city born and bred and can't stand nature much, so it was an inspiring movie.

Watch this, it is another animation gem from Studio Ghibli.