Princess Mononoke (もののけ姫, Mononoke Hime) is a film made by Studio Ghibli, and tells the story of the young prince Ashitaka who finds himself caught in a war between the old forest gods and a mining colony. The mining colony desires to mine the iron-rich land, chopping down trees in the process and attacking the forest gods who attempt to protect or regrow the forest. Ashitaka mediates the two groups to achieve peace and balance.
The film discusses the negative implications of destroying nature for the sake of economic gain (Smith, 2019). The harm that the deforestation does to the ecosystem is continuously emphasised throughout the film, as well as the disregard that humans have for the forest. The plotline aligns itself with real world tensions between conservation movements railing against a perceived need for capitalist progress combined with the trade union-led social justice agendas associated with lower-class citizens and their employment cutting down forests (Smith&Parsons, 2012). In the end, the film possess a polarized message that promotes resolution through direct action (Gregor, 2020). It is a wake-up call to human beings in a time of environmental and spiritual crisis that attempts to provoke its audience into realizing how much they have already lost and how much more they stand to lose (Napier, 2005).
- Gregor. 2020. The Need for Action: Understanding the Environmental Warnings in Princess Mononoke and Oryx and Crake
- Smith and Parsons. 2012. Animating child activism: Environmentalism and class politics in Ghibli's Princess Mononoke (1997) and Fox's Fern Gully (1992)
- Napier. 2005. Anime: from Akira to Howl's Moving Castle
- Thevenin. 2013. Princess Mononoke and beyond: New nature narratives for children.