Years ago, I was completely fascinated with the anime film, Spirited Away. If you’ve never heard of Studio Ghibli, I highly recommend you check out their work. I was encouraged to watch Princess Mononoke by a friend the other day (after divulging my love for the more famous sibling), and having 2 and a half hours of free time this weekend, I decided to take the plunge.
Spirited Away was a visual masterpiece. So I had extremely high hopes for this film. And honestly, Princess Mononoke was even better for me. I’ve mentioned before how I’m not a huge environmentalist. But, as a somewhat self-aware human being, I tend to fall into a category of worldly conscientiousness.
The film surrounds a protagonist that falls upon a world in which the industrious Iron Town is furiously pitted against the gods of the Forest. The heads of both sectors have their own thoughts in mind, almost completely unaware of the others peril, let alone well being (or intentions).
Iron Town represents human expansion, technology, and self-proclaimed dominance. The Forest represents land, nature, and the purist idea that humans are only there to destroy.
Without getting too political, it seems in the current age of power-hungry individuals/organizations who only seek their own agendas, this movie is still a perfect illustration (no pun intended) of the world some 20 years later. The protagonist is seen fluctuating between the sides: he is completely neutral, and can see the negatives and positives of both industry and nature. He urges each side to truly see the other – encouraging conversation, peace, and coexistence. Each side is stubborn, as you can imagine.
And as a consumer, I often forget about the world, and my (inevitably negative) effects on it. When in nature, I tend to feel I’d be perfectly (naively) content living off the grid, away from humanity. The two are inherently poised against each other. And yet, the movie shows that, in the perfect system, we could be closer to a world in which, awareness and symbiosis could be achieved. Amazing how art can cut so deep, in the most beautiful way possible.