It'd been a while since I saw this last. It was the first of a new wave of Miyazaki to flood our shores, purchased by Miramax and getting all Billy Bob Thorton-ed up. I was surprised by how mature the movie can be at times. In fact, it's depiction of the pull and pull of mankind between nature is particularly done well, lacking any definitive victor, it leaves us to see that this is an ongoing process. It doesn't exactly feel emotionally uplifting when you want the antagonist to be punished, but I suppose that's where the maturity comes in. We can always beat up the bad guys. The "bad guys" aren't even that. There are clear evil acts but rarely are there outright evil characters (although Jigo is a real prick). Often times, Nature acts just as badly Man. But none of them act as badly as the American dub cast (A HA!). Especially Billy Bob Thornton. Probably, I would say that Billy Crudup and Minnie Driver are the bright spots which is thankful due to the size of their roles but despite the "star-studdedness" of the main cast it sounds mostly like a lot of phoning it in. I especially struggle with Anderson and the Wolf although I can't tell if it's her acting or just her voice clashing with the strange movements of wolf's mouth. But whenever she spoke I was immediately distracted. It's a modern classic of anime, with strong storytelling, and even paced well considering its length. It's accessible enough for anyone who isn't well versed in anime and can still please the well-initiated. And what anime would be complete without a giant blob creature?! NONE.
Ordinary life in Muromachi Japan