The Tale of the Princess Kaguya is a 2013 Japanese animated fantasy drama film produced by Studio Ghibli and directed and co-written by Isao Takahata. It is Takahata’s fifth film for Studio Ghibli, and his first since 1999’s “My Neighbors the Yamadas”. It was released on November 23, 2013 and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature at the 87th Academy Awards. Taking a deviation from Ghibli’s traditional animation techniques, The Tale of the Princess Kaguya implemented a new style which hits you right at the onset.
My fellow film enthusiast and reviewer RUCHIKA GOYAL, reviews this film. She has a knack for the animated films and has closely followed the genre over the years. She brings some delightful insights into a film which has been much loved and appreciated. She takes a very viewer like approach in putting forth her points which I believe will find many takers. Enjoy!
We all believe in some sort of fantasy in our life. Sooner or later everyone comes across some enigmatic matter that transpires around us in our habitual life. All we need to do is keep our eyes open for the magic to happen. So is the tale of a village bamboo cutter named “Sanuki no Miyatsuko” (Takeo Chii) who discovers a toy sized girl inside a glowing bamboo shoot, who mystically transforms into a young baby. Believing her to be “Blessing of God”, Miyatsuko and his wife raise her as their own. This part is particularly delightful to watch, all those growing years from a crawling baby to a strong patio girl who sings and dances to the tunes of “birds, bugs, beasts, grass, trees and flowers” is ravishing. As time passes by Miyatsuko believes her to be a divine royalty and plans to make her a proper princess, and shifts to the capital where her training as princess starts and as she grew into a beautiful young lady, she is granted a formal name from “village’s little bamboo” to “Princess Kaguya”( Aki Asakura) for the light and life that radiates from her.
In the second half while at the capital, the story goes depressing as it runs into two lanes, one which was full of life and joy, where things happened mysteriously, and other where old beliefs and societal norms slowly fades away the bond of father-daughter love. All the care is turned into must to do tasks. Director Takahata has done justice to both the sides of story. Later, Kaguya reveals to her parents that she originally came from the Moon. Once as a resident of the Moon, she broke its laws, hoping to be exiled to Earth, so that she could experience a mortal life. Having heard her prayer, the Moon will reclaim her during the next full moon. However Miyatsuko swears to protect Kaguya and begins assembling defensive forces.
The film was drawn, over eight painstaking years, in an unfinished-looking freehand and the animators have done their job very well. Landscapes fade towards the edge of the frame, and whole watercolor and charcoal drawn smudgy effects can be seen, brilliantly done!! Not judging on other creations of Takahata, this movie can capture your heart with pretty “Awwwh “moments, to “Frown” moments where you wished something better could have been done.