With the rise of the Iron Age in feudal Japan, man and nature grow increasingly at odds. As mankind infringes more and more into the kingdom of the beasts, many of the elder animal gods begin to succumb to their rage, cursing themselves as they lash out at rural and urban settlements alike. When young Ashitaka, hero of his village, is imparted with one of these curses after slaying a crazed god, he forces himself into exile to prevent further harm to his village. As he ventures out into the world, however, he discovers just how dire the straights have become - with man and beast ready to break into all out war, his curse becomes the least of his problems. As both sides teeter dangerously on the side of outright slaughter of one another, Ashitaka sets his own problems aside and, using his charisma and honor, seeks to quell the hatred before it gets beyond repair - but will he be in time or is he simply delaying the inevitable?
Manga in 200 Words: Princess Mononoke Premise: A young prince is cursed by a demon when he kills it to defend his village. He must set out into the world alone in order to find a cure for his suffering, but he’ll end up finding a war between mankind and nature. Format: I’m reviewing both of these at once, so comparison is impossible to avoid. The manga is beautiful when compared to other manga art initially, but it’s limited by the film’s footage, so the layout isn’t as dynamic as ones you’ll find elsewhere. In addition, perspective on the fantasy creatures is harder to get in a 2D medium.Environment: It’s a pretty clear-cut battle between technological progress and traditional balance with nature. Technology is bad in Princess Mononoke, because you can’t develop it without killing off guardian beasts, apparently.Characters: The manga version focuses on the humans, because a lot of the characterization of spirits is sound or motion-based in the original film, and that’s lost here.Overall: The art is great, but a lot is missing because of the conversion. Princess Mononoke makes a decent manga, but given a choice, I would watch the film instead. Hands down.
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