The Tale of the Princess Kaguya

Alt title: Kaguya-hime no Monogatari

Movie (1 ep x 137 min)
4.091 out of 5 from 6,613 votes
Rank #646

In an idyllic rural setting an old bamboo cutter and his wife raise a tiny girl found nestled within a glowing bamboo stalk along with a fortune in gold. As she approaches adulthood the bamboo cutter uses the fortune to purchase a villa in the capital, buy himself a title and employ tutors to transform the country girl—now given the name Kaguya—into a refined woman. News of her beauty brings powerful and wealthy suitors who compete for her hand in marriage, culminating in a proposal from the emperor. All the while Kaguya wishes that she and her family could return to their former life and to be reunited with her sweetheart, Sutemaru. Sooner or later, though, her true origins will make their own claim upon her.

Source: ANN

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Warning: Spoiler Alert The Tale of Princess Kaguya is one of the most beautiful Studio Ghibli films I've seen in a long time but also one of the saddest. It follows the life of a girl called Little Bamboo by her friends as she grows exponentially after being found in a glowing bamboo stalk by a local bamboo cutter along with a fortune of gold. For a few years she thrives, enjoying her idyllic life in the mountains with her friends, her parents and the bugs, beasts and trees. But then her naive father decides that her beauty deserves riches to match and they move to the capital to live in a mansion he built with the gold. Not wanting to disappoint her father, she eventually learns to embrace the role of a noble princess but it's clear to see that she hates every second of it. Her father however, is too busy trying to impress the nobility and improve his position within society that he does not notice. She is renamed Kaguya and he then tries to marry her off. But Kaguya is clever as well as beautiful and outwits all those who just wanted to possess her. In dream sequences she runs away back to the mountain and embraces her childhood sweetheart but to no avail. Her melancholy turned into such a deep depression that after the unwanted embrace by the King, her heart screamed for help and set in motion her journey back to the moon from whence she came. Like I said at the start, it is one of the saddest films I've seen in a long time. And what made it so sad for me was the heart-wrenching ending. It symbolised to me a wasted life. Instead of being happy in the mountain with their simple yet idyllic life, her father took that away and forced a life on her that she did not want. She missed out on the true love and family she would have received from her childhood sweetheart, and so did he. Instead, he moved on with someone else but it's obvious he wasn't happy either. Her short life on Earth was spent fending off creepy old men trying to own her and I'm 100% convinced that she would still be living happily in the mountains now if they had never moved away. And  that just breaks my heart.

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