Pom Poko

Title:Pom Poko
Heisei Tanuki Gassen Ponpoko (Japanese)
Pom Poko - A tanukik birodalma
Pompoko (French)
Szopy w natarciu (Polish)
平成狸合戦ぽんぽこ (Japanese)
平成狸合戰 (Chinese (Taiwan))
Keywords: , , , , ,
Notables: Animation - Studio Ghibli
R1 License - GKIDS
In Pom Poko (the Japanese title literally means "Heisei-era Raccoon War Pom Poko"), Tanuki (animals native to Asia which look like raccoons) living in the forest near a government construction project, are being threatened by the destruction of their habitat. Banding together and seeking help from other tribes of Tanuki, they live up to their traditionally mischievous reputation by changing their shape and trying to sabotage the construction effort.

When this fails, they stage one last great illusion, hoping to alert the city folk to the natural wonders being bulldozed to make room for yet another Tokyo suburb, before it's too late...

(summary from ANIDB)

119min Movie
OverallArtAnimationCharacter Design MusicSeries StoryEpisode StoryReviewer
Rent 9 9 9 7 7 Ggultra2764 [series:2137#1552]
Pom Poko was a title with a good amount of potential in its premise of tanuki protecting their lands against human land development. But a couple major elements to the movie I have issues with stand out too much to tempt me to give this movie a Buy rating. On the plus side, the movie does do a good job at making clear just how negative an impact land development has on animal habitats. Animals find themselves forced to flee to other areas as a result of their forest homes being excavated. With more of their lands being destroyed, overpopulation and limited food supplies become a major concern to the well-being of animals. Towards the later half of the movie, the tanuki eventually divide into three factions when unable to maintain their unity where each side represents a mentality taken by man in response to changes made in their lives and environment resorting either to conformity, eco-terrorism or escapism in the form of religious observance. The visuals to this movie were quite good with fluid movements coming off the various forms taken by the tanuki when they transform and any destruction of forest and city environments inflicted by either man or the tanuki. The appearances of the tanuki vary depending on the situations they appear in where they appear like real-life raccoons when seen by humans, have a goofy looking appearance when showing their mischievous and prankster moments and assuming a more anthropomorphic form when in serious moments.

However, the movie has a couple things to it that raise eyebrows for me. There are points in the movie where the tanuki do come across as selfish and greedy which did raise some red flags for me on sympathizing with them, such as stealing money from an amusement park owner or celebrating each of the pranks that they caused to deter the land developments. In addition, the narrator's habit of detailing on every scene that occurs throughout the film annoyed me with detailing on everything that went on with the tanuki clearly onscreen and seeming to force me to try to sympathize with the plight of the tanuki.

Pom Poko is still a decent Ghibli film to check out thanks to its environmental focus into the struggles of the tanuki. But some moments eluding to selfish intentions with the tanuki and the presence of a narrator do lead this movie to be another of the weaker entries I've seen from Studio Ghibli.

Last updated Wednesday, October 27 2010. Created Wednesday, October 27 2010.

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