Review of 'Pom Poko (Heisei tanuki gassen ponpoko)'

pom_poko.jpg An early movie from the magnificent studio Ghibli. The life of a community of raccoons is put at risk with the development of a new suburb for Tokyo. The raccoons are forced to take action against the humans who threaten their very lives by transforming into various items (including humans) – Of course, it is well known that raccoons are able to transform themselves (!) and walk on their hind legs (!).

A bit of a “cutesy” film with a few amusing elements but I found it generally depressing with a rather unsatisfying, but, I suppose, inevitable, ending. The premise seems to be that raccoons are lazy and to be laughed at rather than to be taken seriously – despite the very serious nature of the situation. Death features throughout and the raccoons are, a bit disturbingly, quite anatomically correct (if you get my drift) so I would suggest this is not one for young children – Despite it's often silly moments. I guess that is what makes this movie quite confusing: Is it intended for adults or children? The movie makers themselves do not seem to know who it is meant for. Of course, this could be simply a “western” view of the movie and perhaps it is much clearer to the Japanese. I wish they would explain it to me…

The animation, of course, is of very good quality though it is not a shade on the more contemporary Ghibli films.

Worth watching, I suppose, if you have a chance but I would not go out of my way…

Rating: “A bit better than average”

Review Date: 2006-11-02

Directed by: Isao Takahata

Studio: Studio Ghibli

Year: 1994

Length: 119 minutes

Genre: Japanese Animation

Other reviewed films by Isao Takahata: