The Tale of Princess Kaguya かぐや姫の物語

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Jan 15, 2014 06:03
I watched the new animation film "The Tale of Princess Kaguya (かぐや姫の物語)" by Isao Takahata 高畑勲, who is best known as the director of "Grave of Fireflies" (火垂るの墓). He is also the producer of the great TV animation programme "Heidi, Girl of the Alps" (アルプスの少女ハイジ). Together with Hayao Miyazaki 宮﨑駿, with whom he works in Studio Ghibli,he is considered one of the greatest directors of animation films in Japan.

I heard that "Heidi, Girl of the Alps" had been widely broadcast in Europe, where the story is set. Many kids watched it without noticing it was made by complete foreigners in the Far East. Although Takahata never lived outside Japan, his passion for details convinced European kids that the animation was produced in Europe. Well, this could be exaggerated. If you ever watched "Heidi", please let me know your impression about it.

"The Tale of Princess Kaguya" is based on the classic fairytale Taketori Monogatari 竹取物語. The art of the film is quite unique. Takahata decided not to use the standard style of animation. To realize the world of the Japanese fairytale, he chose watercolor-like painting.

As a result, the film succeeded in creating what we think "very Japanese". It was beautiful. But that kind of made me sad, because the beauty had gone long time ago in real Japan.

The story is set in Kyoto and I live in Kyoto. The modern Kyoto outside the cinema was simply aggregation of ugly box-shaped buildings. Oh, dear! We can only see the traces of the classic beauty in a few touristic points.

At the end of the story, the princess realizes what her life on the earth is about. I cried.

I bet half of Japanese audience would find the film boring, whereas the rest would love it. I belong to the latter group.