Twenty-five years later, and the lessons from Pom Poko continues to ring true. It's a harsh look at the damage that humanity can do to its environment, wrapped up in the comical antics of shapeshifting raccoons. It leaves you feeling complicated, disappointed, but also more aware. It may have a different flavor than most Ghibli films, but it's still a strong one, and it urges you to not look away.
When I was young, I spent a lot of time watching animated movies on video, and it was especially easy to find new titles from the small Japanese video store a few blocks away from my house. Ever since my father had brought home My Neighbor Totoro, I was enchanted with Studio Ghibli, and I wanted to watch everything that they'd put out so far. The Ghibli ga Ippai Collection had just been released, so I could stock up on titles, with one of those titles being Pom Poko. I remember sitting down, expecting to see something in the vein of Laputa: Castle in the Sky or Kiki's Delivery Service and getting something far different.
I enjoyed the movie, no question about it, but it didn't make me feel good the way the other Ghibli films did. It didn't make me feel miserable (that honor would go straight to Dog of the Flanders) but I didn't experience the magical feeling of wonder that usually comes from finishing a Ghibli film. It was overall a very perplexing experience. It's been 25 years since the movie's release, and now that I'm an adult that ...read more