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.
Overall, my thoughts are that this film is excellent. It’s genuinely a brilliant animated film that keeps up Studio Ghibli’s reputation and if this is to be Isao Takahata’s final film, he is going out on a brilliant film, and this is by far his best work to date. My only major complaint with the film is that a few of the darker moments feel the film should have warranted a PG rating rather than the U rating that it did get and I think a few parents might be a bit shocked by some of the things that are allowed in Japanese kids films. I was aware that there were plans to censor certain scenes of this film, but I am happy to say that the film is completely uncut in its British release and it’s all the better for it. The film gives us excellent characters, a brilliant but hard hitting storyline that offers us no easy answers and I really think that everyone will be emotionally affected by the end. It’s a brilliant, but sombre piece. I’m not sure that it will appeal to as large an audience as past Ghibli films have, mainly on its Japanese sensibility and culture. However, for me personally it was damm near brilliant. Particular praise goes to Chloe Grace Moretz for her excellent performance as well as the rest of the brilliant ensemble cast and the amazing animation and film score. I am firmly in the belief that as much as I liked Big Hero 6 this film should have won the Oscar.
Japanese folk tale: The Tale of Princess Kaguya, made by Studio Ghibli.
Story is quite minimalistic as is expected from a story made in 1592.
Animation is gorgeous brush-like and as good as you'd expect from Studio Ghibli.
Sound is great and fit's that historical setting.
Characters are good, especially Ouna and even though she didn't speak much, the round maid.
A bittersweet tale that is both sad and hoepful at the same time. Anothe Studio Ghibli masterpiece! Well worth watching again :)
I really enjoyed the storyline, but I warn you, before you watch this please be at least 17, they Flash you.