Culture Magazine

Duality: Norm Holland on Princess Mononoke

By Bbenzon @bbenzon
 Norm Holland's been watching Miyazaki. Here's his take on Princess Mononoke:
There is no “bad guy” in this anime (unlike the usual Disney scenario). The wolf-god Moro can express a gentle melancholy, “I sit here and listen to the pain of the forest,” but she can also furiously attack the rice convoy and other mortals. Even Jiko, mercenary and greedy as he is, helps Ashitaka in the village and aids his escape from a trio that wants to steal the gold he may have.
The Forest Spirit exists in a day form and a night form. It (or she or he) has an animal’s face and body but human eyes. It can give life and take it away—the flowers and plants that sprout from his footsteps and then wilt. His day form is benign. His Night Walker version is scary. That is to say, life and death—so paired, they are scary. So far as he is concerned, the ending is ambiguous. San says the Forest Spirit is dead, but Ashitaka declares that it will never die. And I suppose we have to accept the duality.
Sometimes there is fighting between the “other” world and “our” world, but we can hope for harmony as in the finale. We are to accept these dualities with love and respect for their very difference. The film leaves us with the separation of the lovers, the forest’s San and the town’s Ishitaka. They will live separated, but at peace with the difference between them. They will lovingly visit from time to time.

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog