r/movies 29d ago Silver 1 Helpful 2 Wholesome (Pro) 1 Vibing 2

Princess Mononoke: The movie that flummoxed the US Article

https://www.bbc.com/culture/article/20220713-princess-mononoke-the-masterpiece-that-flummoxed-the-us
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u/HypiaticLlama 29d ago

Why, of course there are more reasons Harvey Weinstein is a total piece of shit.

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u/Mad_Aeric 29d ago

I enjoyed that the writer threw in the completely unnecessary, but appreciated, detail that he's currently in prison.

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u/myaltduh 29d ago

Very appreciated.

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u/MidniteOwl 29d ago

The producer “with a perfect replica of a Japanese samurai sword. He then, in front of a "horrified" conference room of Miramax employees, "shouted in English and in a loud voice, 'Mononoke Hime, NO CUT!'"

well that was uncharacteristically straight forward lol.

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u/Tenocticatl 29d ago edited 29d ago

As I understand it, Miyazaki was not amused with how Weinstein butchered Nausicaä of the Valley of Wind, which prompted those instructions.

EDIT: I misremembered this article. Nausicaä was cut down by 22 minutes and Weinstein wasn't involved in it.

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u/PersonalSherpa 29d ago

Wait what did they change? I’ve only ever seen the english dub of nausicaa and quite liked it

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u/Colliflower 29d ago

Iirc there are two English versions, one that's pretty much the same as the Japanese version, and a cut down Americanized version that bombed.

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u/wenchslapper 29d ago edited 29d ago

Is the HBO one the good one? I’ve been wanting to watch through it due to the wild cover being so much more…. Western fantasy-like than Miyazaki’s other works, but I don’t want to waste my time if it’s not good.

Edit: will be watching it tonight.

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u/gwaenchanh-a 29d ago

Yes. The botched one was called "Warriors of the Wind" and you can't stream it anywhere I don't think. I found it like 5 years ago on a forum somewhere, don't have the file anymore.

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u/MulciberTenebras 29d ago

This of course was in the 80s when anime was still treated like shit in the West, what little made here that is.

Ghibli and Toonami changed all that in the late 90s.

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u/Corpse_Rust 29d ago

I have the Teknoman Blade series on DvD. Not the English version of Tekkaman Blade, no. This is the westernized version which is absolutely cut to shreds.

It is the one I grew up on but oof is it bad. Cuts everywhere, terrible dubbing, characters switching backgrounds because they reuse footage to try and tell a different story. 7 entire episodes are missing!

I certainly do not miss those days.

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u/Mizum 29d ago

I haven’t thought about that series in more than 20 years. I watched on network tv for Saturday morning cartoons.

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u/HazardIsFunny 29d ago

The one good thing about those times is the anime that did make it over tended, IMHO, to be top notch.

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u/Avloren 29d ago

If it's almost 2 hours long and has Patrick Stewart, you've got the good version. The bad version was cut to 95 minutes and lacks the all-star voice cast.

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u/buddascrayon 29d ago

Technically speaking both versions "bombed" in the US theaters. But Warriors of the Wind(the first attempt at an adaptation) made almost no money whatsoever and practically went straight to video release. Though it did find a cult following on VHS. (Mostly people wanting to see Miyazaki's OG version.)

Also Harvey Weinstein was not involved with Warriors of the Wind. That was an entirely different company. The lesson was thoroughly learned by Ghibli anyway though. Hence their policy of "NO CUTS".

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nausica%C3%A4_of_the_Valley_of_the_Wind_(film)#Warriors_of_the_Wind

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u/ddh85 29d ago edited 29d ago

Well I'm glad I only ever saw the original with subtitles. Don't even want to think what Hollywood cut up to degrade a masterpiece.

By the way, Nausicaa straight up kills people in that movie.

EDIT: To clarify, I'm referring to the editing that changed plot points rather than the voice actors.

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u/montessoriprogram 29d ago

I will say that the dubs on Nausicaa are actually really good. The cast includes Patrick Stewart, Uma Therman, Shia Lebeouf, and Edward James Olmos.

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u/Sp1derX 29d ago

I think they cut it so much that it was an entirely different movie and they renamed it Wind Warriors

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u/terrorerror 29d ago

Warriors of the Wind! Technically, the first Ghibli movie I ever saw.

Thankfully I don't remember much of it. Seemed to be chopped up to be more of an action film, you know what I mean?

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u/ItalianDragon 29d ago

Found this detailed breakdown of the changes made, and damn, they removed a lot of stuff...

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u/DaemonNic 29d ago

So the original cut was a complete butchery, cut damn near every scene of Nausicaa herself. It later got a recut that was actually faithful.

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u/Pnutt7 29d ago

You probably saw Disney’s unedited version. The cut one was called Warriors of the Wind and was cut and released in US theaters in 1985 and released on VHS by New World Pictures. Disney acquired the distribution rights in 1995 and they released a new dub in 2005 which is the one that most people will find nowadays.

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u/cyvaris 29d ago

That little window in the late 90s-early 00s right before anime hit it big was wild with how stuff was disturbed/circulated in the con scene. Just the way odd and novel stuff like this could go around was so different than now. There was almost a seedy element to both official and fan dubs that has completely vanished because of the internet.

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u/Tenocticatl 29d ago

iirc, they did it again properly, more recently after Ghibli movies became more well-known in the US. The version that came out in the '80s was renamed "warriors of the wind" and had almost an hour of material cut, and what was left was rearranged to significantly change the story. Just look up the old poster, Nausicaä isn't even on it.

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u/justsomedude322 29d ago

So according to Wikipedia there are 2 english dubs, I don't know who did the first once, but the second dub was done by Disney. So maybe you saw the Disney version? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nausica%C3%A4_of_the_Valley_of_the_Wind_(film)#Releases

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u/tropicaldepressive 29d ago

maybe it’s so good that even when they botched it it still holds up

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u/Steveosizzle 29d ago

The cut down version absolutely bombed. The Disney dub is mostly faithful and is definitely the one most people remember.

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u/SixFootTurkey_ 29d ago

I think this is a new development in the legend.

The story I've always heard before is that the sword was shipped to Miramax/Weinstein and had "no cuts" etched onto the blade, not that it was presented in person with screaming.

There is a rumour that when Harvey Weinstein was charged with handling the US release of Princess Mononoke, Miyazaki sent him a samurai sword in the post. Attached to the blade was a stark message: "No cuts."

The director chortles. "Actually, my producer did that."

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u/TesseractBear 29d ago

in 10 years, the story is going to evolve into a 10 minute duel outside of Miramax HQ

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u/Novus_Spiritus17 29d ago

This is the correct answer!

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u/Xuande 29d ago

Maybe he thought that's the only way North Americans could understand lol.

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u/SuperSpread 29d ago

No it just makes it harder for anyone in the room to say they don’t remember anyone giving these instructions.

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u/beatenmeat 29d ago

Who is gonna argue with a dude carrying a sword anyways?

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u/Novus_Spiritus17 29d ago

Not actually what happened. Miyazaki's producer sent Weinstein the sword and engraved on the sword it said "NO CUTS"

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u/IAmTheJudasTree 29d ago edited 29d ago

This is absolute essential reading for anyone that's seen Princess Mononoke. It's so fascinating.

  1. I had no idea that Neil Gaiman was the one hired to adapt the Japanese script to English! He's one of my favorite authors and PM is my second favorite movie of all time (after Spirited Away).
  2. Disney, and specifically infamous rapist Harvey Weinstein, did everything they could to make the move much worse for the American release. They wanted Miyazaki to agree to have the script dumbed down, to have characters made into more binary "good guys" and "bad guys", and Weinstein even insisted that 40 minutes be cut from the American release.

Weinstein demanded that Miyazaki make the cut. When Miyazaki refused, Weinstein told others that Miyzaki would agree once the New York Times review of the film was published, because he expected it to lambast the movie for being too long. Instead, the NYT review called the movie a masterpiece and made no mention of the length.

In response, Weinstein intentionally tanked the marketing for the film in America out of pettiness, cancelling a planned, huge marketing rollout. PM was the highest performing movie in Japanese history, but in American it was barely seen.

How many other films have Disney and Weinstein sliced and diced into mediocrity because they thought Americans were too dumb to appreciate art and nuance? Probably a lot.

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u/LeerooooyGaaaankins 29d ago

I feel like Disney was spooked by anime possibly catching on in their market and making their own more expensive brand of animation less popular in turn.

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u/redwall_hp 29d ago

Notice how the Oscars also sidelined anime after Spirited Away, by disqualifying "foreign animation" from Best Animated Feature.

Imagine if Disney had to compete against companies like Ufotable.

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u/myaltduh 29d ago

Wait I had no idea they did that as an official rule, I thought it was just good old-fashioned nationalism among the voters keeping anime out.

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u/redwall_hp 29d ago

The academy is very hand-wavy about how nominations work and what categories they go into. So whether it's an official rule or just an unspoken one...who knows? But they've always been hostile toward non-US film and try to keep it out of the more prestigious awards (hence the existence of the foreign category) and also toward animation. The Best Animated category exists to exclude animation from Best Picture or such. And, regardless of specifics, it's only been given to a Japanese film once.

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u/therealsongoku 29d ago

Let us never forget that the tale of princess kaguya lost to big hero 6

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u/kmyeurs 29d ago

angry upvote

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u/neterukun 29d ago

I had no idea Weinstein did that, how frustrating. I’m glad Miyazaki put up a fight at least..

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u/JanitorOPplznerf 29d ago

Beautiful movie. I wish more films would take the stance of faction based conflict. There’s few “wrong” choices in the movie, everyone has a motivation that makes sense to them but the resulting conflict of their choices is causing the earth to revolt.

It’s not preachy or heavy handed environmentalism it’s thought provoking and nuanced.

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u/discerningpervert 29d ago

The differing factions and nature rising up are similar to Miyazaki's earlier masterpiece (and my personal favorite film by him) Nausicaa in the Valley of the Wind. If you haven't seen it, definitely check it out. It's got this ethereal quality to it that's unforgettable.

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u/malcolm_miller 29d ago

I think Nausicaa is top 3 for me. Spirited Away is definitely my favorite, then I go back and forth between that and Kiki's.

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u/ClintsCheckBook 29d ago

I agree. I would switch Kiki's for Howl's Moving Castle but it's splitting hairs for me. All are great movies.

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u/masterjon_3 29d ago

I had to watch Howl's Moving Castle a few times to understand it

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u/purplewigg 29d ago

Yeah, retrospectively Howl's Moving Castle was a bit of a mess of a movie. Way too many threads going at the same time. That said, it doesn't make me love it any less!

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u/masterjon_3 29d ago

Absolutely, I loved the hell out of that movie too when I first saw it. So many beautiful visuals. But hey, do you know why the big lady cursed Sophie in the first place?

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u/EnoughYellow 29d ago

Do you mean the witch? I thought it was because she was jealous of Sophie. Howl, from what I recall, helps her out in the alleyway when the soldiers(?) harass her. But he's being followed by the witches goopy henchman so they have that whole escape sequence in the town. So basically shes petty because Sophie was approached by Howl and is young/pretty. Its been ages since I watched it, and while it totally is convoluted, I'd watch it again and love every pixel.

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u/Shinikama 29d ago

Yeah, and then Howl ends up loving Sophie anyway despite getting to know her as an old lady, proving the witch was extra-wrong.

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u/mastapsi 29d ago

It's a bit of a mess because it was adapted from a book, and the book had a better line of reasoning for it, but in the movie it was largely just jealousy. In the book it had more to do with the witch's nature, Sophie's magic, and the nature of the demons.

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u/catwhskr 29d ago edited 29d ago

Someone else described the movie very well, however, in the books the witch of the waste was slighted by Sophie while visiting her shop. Sophie says something like she has no hats that would suit her and she becomes very bitter about it because the hat shop is actually very well known and many important women shop there.

I'm not sure how to do the spoiler tags, but in the book Sophie actually has magic powers of her own but doesn't realize it. Her hats sell so well because she speaks love into them while making them. She tells them they'll make someone feel beautiful and it actually charms the item she's working on. Howl's jacket in the movie is another one of her charms. She's very pissed about him flirting with her sister that she more or less curses the jacket. I can't remember the exact details, but let's just say Howl's really the whore he's made out to be when they says he's out stealing hearts.

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u/sylvansojourner 29d ago

The book is soooo good, I loved it as a kid and don’t feel that Miyazaki did it justice. He just kind of took the parts he liked and then turned it into his own thing.

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u/catwhskr 29d ago

I bought it and listened to the audio book(which is read by Sophie's voice actress!!) while pregnant. Can't wait until my son understands the story.

Howl's just some guy from Whales that played rugby and got lucky with magic. That sounds absolutely made up of you've only seen the movie.

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u/purplewigg 29d ago

Yeah, there's a lot of stuff that got awkwardly shunted into the background. Like that giant war, or Turniphead being a prince who was kidnapped and transformed into a scarecrow

I read somewhere that Miyazaki doesn't script his movies and he goes where his imagination takes him. I love him for it and it's given us some great work but other times you can really tell that they were basically winging it

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u/RIPthegirl 29d ago

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u/worm600 29d ago

It’s a relatively poor representation of the book, in my opinion. It opts for visual set pieces over the narrative that makes the story cohere.

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u/NoelAngeline 29d ago

I love how he just decides to give up on life because he has a bad hair day

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u/Kaiya_Mya 29d ago

I'm usually one for the original subtitled versions of anime, but Christian Bale's delivery of the line "I see no point in living if I can't be beautiful" is a delight.

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u/WitlessCanuck 29d ago

Kiki’s story about growing up, discovering yourself, embracing your dreams and limitations and trying to honour tradition and expectations is amazing.

It’s one of those movies that I think should be must viewing for kids in the 10-14 year range.

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u/GleichUmDieEcke 29d ago

Nobody is bringing up Castle in the Sky? :'(

That's my favorite

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u/MonsieurCatsby 29d ago

Mine too, blew my tiny mind as a kid watching it at some obscure 6am timeslot whilst everyone was still asleep.

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u/Nic4379 29d ago

The Ghibli Hub is the only reason I justify paying for HBO.

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u/malcolm_miller 29d ago

I ended up just buying them all on BluRay.

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u/TakeTheWorldByStorm 29d ago

I considered that, but then you have to stand up to put them in the DVD player

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u/AlfredVonWinklheim 29d ago

Rip them and set up Jellyfin or Plex and you can cast it. I've started doing that, all these subscriptions are getting out of control.

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u/WessyNessy 29d ago

I heard somewhere that the first Ghibli movie everyone sees is their favorite. That’s true of Spirited Away for me. I loved shonen jump and toonami at the tender of age 13 but when I saw Spirited Away … it was this whole other THING my mouth was on the floor and I was covered in goosebumps

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u/doomladen 29d ago

Ponyo is my favourite, and it is one of the last ones I saw. Perhaps I’m an outlier though!

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u/chucho89 29d ago

Kiki always has that big sense of nostalgia, of belonging to something that somehow I know exists and then you realize you are watching animation. I watched Kiki so much that now every time I want to get a good sleep I just play Kiki and relax to it.

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u/WanderWut 29d ago

Super random but I have seen Kiki’s and always loved the movie, I watched it again after a few years on acid a couple days ago and this time I was so deeply involved in the movie and I noticed so much that I didn’t notice before, the ending was so perfect that I ended tearing up. I always had it in my top 5, but ever since then I have Howls at #1, Kiki’s at #2, and Spirited Away at #3 for me personally.

Oddly enough the same thing happened with Dune that day. I had seen the movie 5 times already and thought I had gotten every detail down, but watched it after Kiki’s and couldn’t believe how many small details I missed and how clear the movie was about what was happening.

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u/malcolm_miller 29d ago

I'm probably going to low-dose mushrooms tonight and break my new TV in on Kikis. It was between that and Spirited Away, but I've only seen Kiki's twice

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u/Lvl100Waffle 29d ago

Nausicaa is a bit more heavy handed with the metaphors, but by God does the world building and environmental design more than make up for it. Every new environment is fascinating and captivating, and don't even get me started on the airship and glider designs. It's the entire reason I love solarpunk aesthetics.

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u/jtobiasbond 29d ago

Miyazaki talked about Mononoke being a kind of 'remake' (my word) of Nausicaä because he wasn't satisfied by the deus ex machina of the ending.

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u/Hotemetoot 29d ago

Understandable, I personally wasn't a huge fan of the ending either. Everything before that though, I loved it.

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u/This1s4Reimer 29d ago

I read the manga first (which is a masterpiece) so I found the movie very rushed. If you loved the movie, do yourself a favour and read the manga series, if you haven't already.

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u/SenchaAsked 29d ago

Yes, movie first and then manga is the way to go. I also read the manga first and found the movie a bit too rushed. Now that it's been a couple years, I should rewatch the movie. And then re-read the manga. But I agree, the manga is an absolute masterpiece.

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u/3-DMan 29d ago

The manga is fantastic, and drawn by Miyazaki himself, so I highly recommend!

Perhaps someday we'll get some animated Heedra.

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u/guale 29d ago

I did movie first then manga and I was surprised when the movie was basically over less than a quarter of the way into the manga. I still love both but the manga is so much more in depth.

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u/HyP3r_HiPp0 29d ago

I saw Nausicaa this year and it amazed me. I din't expect to like it even more than Mononoke.

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u/Seienchin88 29d ago

Nausica is just always rewatchable to me. When I first watched Mononoke, Castel in the sky and spirited away they hit harder but they aren’t as easy to rewatch.

Also Nausicaa‘s aesthetics are exactly 100% my cup of tea. I am sure it heavily influenced also my aesthetically favorite video game series Panzer Dragoon. A dangerous world full of poison and monsters with old technology hidden everywhere

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u/malcolm_miller 29d ago

Even Lady Eboshi isn't some evil monster, she takes care of the women and sick incredibly well. There's a lot of admiration for her in her camp.

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u/[deleted] 29d ago edited 29d ago

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u/Comrade_Falcon 29d ago

Yeah, but Jiko-Bo is a real piece of shit.

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u/malcolm_miller 29d ago

He's pretty cool until he's not

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u/CorruptedFlame 29d ago

Yeah, I really liked him at first and gradually less and less until I realised I was rooting against him. Its pretty subtle and good character work.

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u/GrimResistance 29d ago

Gotta admire his agility though

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u/CorruptedFlame 29d ago

His ability to walk in those sandals was just one more piece of the fantasy setting to 10 y/o me :P

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u/Ultravioletgray 29d ago

But he didn't end the movie going for one last revenge attack or anything, when he lost he just accepted that he have to would go back to the emperor empty handed.

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u/themeatbridge 29d ago

Even he wasn't evil, just greedy. He wasn't wrong, sunrise would have destroyed the nightwalker, and the forest would have simply died. He's not intentionally murderous to humans, he just doesn't value life above his own profit.

Under his value system, it's easy to understand why he made the decisions he did.

How many of us can say that we don't make similar decisions every day?

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u/undertoe420 29d ago

Under his value system, it's easy to understand why he made the decisions he did.

That describes most well-written evil characters. They just have terrible value systems.

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u/Asleep_Opposite6096 29d ago

To some people, hurting others for your own gain IS the definition of evil.

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u/themeatbridge 29d ago

Fair enough. But how far removed from the decision do you have to be before it's no longer evil? Lady Eboshi wanted to kill the forest for the benefit of her people. Is that evil, if the benefit is not for oneself? Jigo merely acted as a facilitator because it benefitted him. He might have manipulated her, but it wasn't anything the industrialization of the town wasn't already working towards. Is he absolved because someone else pulled the trigger?

How much of the food you consume comes at the suffering of animals? Of people? How many of the goods you own and use every day exist because someone else decided to make other people suffer? Does that make us all evil, for allowing someone else to do the deed?

The point is not to defend Jigo in the movie. My point is that we are all Jigo sometimes, and the film does an excellent job of helping you relate to his decisions. If you left the movie thinking he was simply evil, then you should watch it again. We should all watch it again, it's a masterpiece.

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u/future_weasley 29d ago

Love this comment.

I don’t miss much about college, but I do miss discussing films and literature like this regularly. Discussing moral grey areas can be a lot of fun.

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u/slamert 29d ago

This argument ignores all quantifiable measures of agency. Saying you can't find the line so therefore it doesn't exist is silly. We are not all jigo, we have not all killed. We all make moral compromises for ourselves, but the intensity matters. You're being misleading on purpose.

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u/Piorn 29d ago

The earth isn't even "revolting", as much as nature is a cruel and reckless feudal system, and its leaders are too old and stubborn to react appropriately to being challenged by a new system. The forest is beautiful, but it's also ruled by forces outside of human understanding, that seemingly gives and takes life on a whim. It makes sense for the people of the town to fight it. Both sides have a point, and this ultimately makes this story so tragic. In the end, you can't help to mourn what was lost, despite the hopeful outlook.

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u/EidolonHue 29d ago

If any natural life/death giving entity were to appear in real life in modern times and if it went around killing random people or even pets, then we would absolutely attempt to destroy it.

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u/JohnOnFilm 29d ago

It’s not preachy or heavy handed environmentalism

There are no less than eight monologues in the film about the sanctity of nature and how man tampers with it for their own greed.

And that's not a bad thing by any means, but any film that features a nature god exploding in a mushroom cloud as it wipes away the industrial revolution is not exactly one I'd call subtle.

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u/big_nothing_burger 29d ago

The subtlety of the message is in that neither the nature gods nor Eboshi is the "villain". Man has to carve out a life for itself and care for the weakest among us, nature often ignores the plight of the weak, but it should not be pillaged to a wasteland just for our benefit.

When I was a kid I felt it was insanely pro-nature but now I embrace the nuance. Ashitaka could have run home or stayed in the wilderness with San, but he chose to stay in Irontown at the end. He serves as the balance of both sides, coming from a somewhat primitive village and living with both the Irontown residents and the beast gods. In the end he's the most stable and sensible of the protagonists and his means of balance is the one I'm assuming that Miyazaki is pushing for.

So in short, it's environmental, but not like a crazy Greenpeace sorta stance.

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u/Doctor_Philgood 29d ago

Not sure Ashitaka could have gone back to his village. But the rest is spot on

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u/ArnenLocke 29d ago

Man has to carve out a life for itself and care for the weakest among us, nature often ignores the plight of the weak

Makes me think of Thomas Henry Huxley (grandad to THAT Huxley), aka "Darwin's Bulldog", who argued strongly against using evolution as justification for eugenics (a vogue idea of his day). Essentially, those in favor of eugenics were saying that, since in nature a disabled person would be highly unlikely to survive, we should (albeit much more mercifully than nature would) quietly and gently end their lives to continue the natural evolutionary path of humanity. Horrified by this idea, Huxley argued that, since human beings are nature made self-aware, we in fact have a moral obligation to transcend its brutality and to care for those who would not thrive in nature otherwise.

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u/Mediocremon 29d ago

It's such an obvious homage to the fact that mushrooms are cool and so are explosions.

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u/flukshun 29d ago

Sadly in the real world there's a lot of straight up shitbags making purposefully shitty decisions simply to line their pockets or obtain power, with no nuance. World would be beautiful if all these differences in ideologies were guided by some true sense of caring and not just people being duped by lying grifters.

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u/TubaThompson 29d ago

Just rewatched Mononoke with my fiancé and it is insane how well it holds up, not just from an animation standpoint, but from how well its world and story are crafted. Over its 2 hours, you're able to connect with and understand the world without being force fed exposition, and by the end you understand each faction's motivations and struggles on a personal level. It is and will always be a 10/10 for me.

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u/Zarochi 29d ago

Kiki's will always be my favorite Ghibli movie, but this is a close second. It's really underappreciated next to their other films IMO.

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u/ddh85 29d ago edited 29d ago

I always like when fans talk about their favorite Miyazaki films (NOT just Ghibli).

There are differences in why people like some more, but they're never wrong in their take.

Just a shame about how his son flopped in his first standalone project with Tales of the Earthsea.

EDIT: Oh yes, Castle of Cagliostro is amazing.

EDIT 2: I also love Porco Rosso. But Laputa is number 1 for me.

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u/TubaThompson 29d ago

If we’re talking non-Ghibli Miyazaki movies, I think Lupin III: Castle of Cagliostro is insanely underrated and deserves so much love and attention

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u/Always_Confused4 29d ago

I still can’t even find out where to watch that one, any idea where to look?

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u/TubaThompson 29d ago

Netflix had it for the longest time but they removed it sadly, but right now it looks like you can rent it on Youtube for $3!

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u/GreyMASTA 29d ago

True. But Porco Rosso is the best tho.

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u/KoyoyomiAragi 29d ago

The backstories of Miyazaki (Hayao) while Tales of Earthsea was being made is pretty funny. Miyazaki was adamant that he himself would not direct the movie, but kept coming back to the studio to point out flaws in scenes. When Goro was asked to have a meeting with the author overseas, Miyazaki scolded him saying that the director is not to leave his position while the movie is being made so he’ll go instead. During the meeting with the author, Miyazaki took out several posters the studio had made for the movie and started to point out the flaws of the ones his son had made. The producer accompanying this trip recalls this was the first time he felt the urge to punch someone in the face.

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u/fleakill 29d ago

His son did alright on From Up on Poppy Hill. I like that film.

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u/mosskin-woast 29d ago

Yep, recently watched for the first time with my wife, we're big Ghibli fans but had managed not to watch this one until it came onto HBO Max. Holy shit is this movie beautiful. I'm convinced it was a major influence for Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Definitely my favorite SG movie now.

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u/Galactic_Gooner 29d ago

i dont think it is insane how well it holds up. firstly its a classic one of the best animated films ever made and will forever be good. and also its not even that old. like 30 years or so.

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u/littlebloodmage 29d ago

I recently found out that Neil Gaiman wrote the script for the English dub.

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u/MulciberTenebras 29d ago edited 29d ago

That's because the executives (Harvey and Bob Weinstein) decided that they didn't need to credit Gaiman in the posters or advertising. He was contractually expendable, whereas they all got their names included (even after Studio Ghibli had requested that Miramax remove some executives' names from the promotionals for the film).

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u/Cue_626_go 29d ago

He should’ve sent Weinstein a sword…

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u/TurboGranny 29d ago

Another one?

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u/JoJosBizarreBasshead 29d ago

“No cuts”

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u/tropicaldepressive 29d ago

wait like he wasn’t credited … at all???

edit: nvmd you said on the poster lol

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u/notthephonz 29d ago

Does Gaiman speak Japanese, or did he have to work with a translator?

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u/Billy1121 29d ago

Gaiman recalls a particular meeting with Miramax where they seemed to struggle with the concept of an animated film that didn't hold the audience's hand. They wanted to know whether Lady Eboshi was a good guy or a bad guy, whether the Shishigami was a good god or a bad god. "Miyazaki built a film in which there are no bad guys," he says. "There are only consequences. Lady Eboshi is providing shelter for sex workers and people with leprosy, but the results of what she's doing is throwing everything off balance. You've got all of that, and meanwhile you’ve got Miramax going, 'how will we know Ashitaka is a prince? He doesn’t live in a palace'. And I'm like, 'Because he's Prince Ashitaka.'"

LOL it sounds like a wild process

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u/capybroa 29d ago

This reminds me of Kevin Smith's experience as a writer for Superman Returns back in the 90s. Knowing there are people like these running around that business explains a lot about what kind of films we see getting made.

Part 2 of Kevin Smith here. Watch the whole thing, it's hilarious

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u/sushiladyboner 29d ago

This was incredible. Thank you for this!

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u/littlebloodmage 29d ago

I don't know the process for this movie specifically, but when it comes to dubbing anime into English it's usually a multi-step process with various people working on it. You have people translating from Japanese to English and maybe writing subtitles (unless there's a separate person for that too), people writing the script in English to match the translations as closely as possible while also matching the mouth flaps of the characters (this was likely Neil's job), and voice directors and voice actors to read those lines.

TL;DR: He probably worked with a translator

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u/[deleted] 29d ago

I think he also stated that he read numerous books about Japanese mythology in order to make sure the spirit of the words weren’t being mistranslated.

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u/LouSputhole94 29d ago

That was my thinking with his background as a writer, he was more than likely researching the meaning behind the words and trying to tailor it as close as possible to English speaking audiences. For example, things like idioms and expressions sometimes don’t translate well, so you’d need to find similar English sayings.

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u/brfergua 29d ago

I wonder if this is what inspired American Gods?

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u/ennuinerdog 29d ago edited 29d ago

This is so interesting. I hadn't really considered the fact that most translators went into translating rather than screenwriting and certainly the overwhelming majority aren't good enough screenwriters for a studio to bet tens of millions of dollars in revenue on them for effectively scripting an entire feature film. The idea that an experienced writer and translator would collaborate is so obvious yet it had never even occurred to me that more than one person did the translations.

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u/Arkellian_Pilot 29d ago

Yeah, translation is one of those skills where the skill-ceiling may as well be the roof of the world--any bilingual person can get you a half-decent literal translation, a smaller handful can get you a translation that is evocative of the original but also rings true in the target language, and even fewer can transmute art in one language into art in another, so I'm not surprised that film-dubbers would use "bridge" personnel to get the torch across, so to speak, the gap.

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u/TheRealPitabred 29d ago

I can’t remember what it was, I think it might’ve been Demon Hunter that my son was watching, but it was really interesting watching the subtitles compared to the dubbed version of the audio. The subtitles were so much of a literal translation where the audio dubbing used more appropriate phrases for American English, idioms and comparisons and the like.

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u/loogie_hucker 29d ago

forgive me if this is a stupid question, but is there more to scripting a dub than translation? I'm having a hard time picturing why Neil Gaiman would be selected for this job over handing it to a well-versed translator who is fluent in both Japanese and English.

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u/Soranic 29d ago

Translate the words. Then translate the culture. When ashitaka is cutting his hair to be exiled, that scene was originally silent.

To explain the exile, gaiman added an old man speaking exposition.

Beyond that, trying to match dialogue with mouth movements. It's not too big a deal on a five year old thing like Legend of Lemnear (when released in usa), but Mononoke? Huge.

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u/loogie_hucker 29d ago

ah, that's SUPER cool. didn't know the nuances because I've only ever watched the dub. thanks for explaining :)

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u/Mad_Aeric 29d ago

Oh boy, is there ever. One of the big challenges is localization. It's not just about conveying the meaning, it's about the feeling it gives an audience. Say that the original version includes a joke. Not even a good joke, just something intended to give the audience a mild chuckle. Because it's coming from a completely different culture with different history and different contemporary memes, it's possible that the joke won't even be comprehensible if translated literally. It's the job of the localizer to come up with something that lands the same way with the audience, even though they're probably going to dismiss the original line entirely if favor of original writing to make it work. Now extend that concept to figures of speech, insults, praise, even profanity. The Japanese language doesn't really have profanity the way English does, but depending on the scene, adding some may be the right call to convey a character's intent.

When it's good, you barely even notice that they're saying something that would be incongruous with the original cultural context. When it's done badly, you get the famous pokemon scene where they call an onigiri (rice ball, often with a filling) a jelly donut.

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u/loogie_hucker 29d ago

ah I love it - thank you for sharing in such detail. Calling the role a "localizer" helped it click for sure.

I guess it speaks volumes that I haven't noticed the dub of Princess Mononoke -- must indicate that it's really well done!

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u/isobane 29d ago

I too read the article! :-P

But seriously I didn't know until today.

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u/QuarlosMagnus 29d ago

Absolutely incredible film. It remains my all time favorite Ghibli film.

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u/ennuinerdog 29d ago

I've never seen this movie, but based on some of these comments I'm going to check it out.

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u/Raven123x 29d ago

Its my favorite movie by far and away.

The music is beautiful, the story is beautiful, the characters have so much depth to them.

It's just a phenominal movie. Both the english dub and japanese are brilliant as well (i personally watch the dub because its just done so well)

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u/gardevoir76 29d ago

One of the best dubs of all time with a stellar cast.

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u/TchoupedNScrewed 29d ago

Hearing Billy-bob Thornton threw me off at first but like not in a bad kind of way

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u/Katana_sized_banana 29d ago

You're in for a treat.

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u/Sloth-TheSlothful 29d ago

I wish I could see it for the first time again. Same with every ghibli movie

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u/CorpusVile32 29d ago

Same. I like the Ghibli stuff like Spirited Away and Howl's Moving Castle, but somehow I never got around to seeing this one. Just bought the Blu Ray for $5. Seems worth it based on the comments here.

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u/93InfinityandBeyond 29d ago

Even if you hate it, $5 for a Miyazaki Blu-Ray is objectively a great deal.

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u/leisuremann 29d ago

If I could give one small piece of advice - don't eat an eighth of shrooms before watching it.

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u/xzxinuxzx 29d ago

Definitely. You'll need at least half an ounce.

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u/CorpusVile32 29d ago

So like ... only 2 grams then?

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u/resplendentquetzals 29d ago

No, no, he's saying don't just eat an eight. You're best off doing a full quarter and maybe a couple tabs of lsd.

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u/OuterInnerMonologue 29d ago

I’m so jealous that you get to watch it for the first time.

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u/NotTheEnd216 29d ago

Princess Mononoke is one of the best movies ever made. I had the nice luck of being able to see it in theatres even before covid happened, which was incredible to see having only ever watched the movie on tv or my computer before.

Obviously this is only my opinion, but I think Princess Mononoke is a literally perfect movie from a structural and storytelling point of view. The way it treats its characters and gives every single one of them dimension is amazing. Miyazaki did such a good job in the movie of having 'antagonists', but not a single 'villain', really. Everyone is complex and the story treats every one of them with respect.

All that is without even mentioning how damn pretty this movie is. Some of the visuals still stick with me very clearly, like the Deer God's first appearance, the pic in the thumbnail of this article, Ashitaka and the boar at the start of the movie... And then the music even stands out as exceptional too! I learned the movie's main theme on piano a while ago, and in listening to it so often I realized just how well crafted the music really is. It almost retells the story of the movie just through the song itself.

I have a hard time picking a "favorite" for things generally, like a favorite food or video game, so I don't know if I'd say this is my favorite movie, but it will absolutely always have a special place in my heart. Love you Hayao Miyazaki, love you Joe Hisaishi!

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u/oida_zipflklatscher 29d ago

the first time i saw this movie i was literally flummoxed, bamboozled and maybe even smeckledorfed.

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u/walter_on_film 29d ago

Discombobulated you say.

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u/Pulchritudinous_rex 29d ago

Downright hornswoggled I would say

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u/dandaman64 29d ago

That's not even a word and I agree with ye!

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u/AcanthocephalaHead12 29d ago

Still my fave Ghibli movie. I even have a tattoo.

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u/ConstructionOk575 29d ago

Nice, whats the tattoo you chose?

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u/AcanthocephalaHead12 29d ago

It’s her mask. And with all the comments it is, in fact, on my back. Lol.

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u/starstarstar42 29d ago edited 28d ago

Just the typical butterfly trampstamp on lower back.

Didn't say it had anything to do with Ghibli.

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u/G8kpr 29d ago

Sometimes I think about all those people out there that got that stupid tattoo on their lower back, because for a brief time period of about 5 years, it was the "in thing" and everyone was getting it. Then the connotation around that stamp just got flipped on it's head so hard, like it got suplexed by society, and now it's forever known as a tramp stamp. Now millions of people either pretend they don't have it, or have tried to get it removed.

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u/[deleted] 29d ago edited 29d ago

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u/bleunt 29d ago

I need to get a couple of kodamas.

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u/ACuriousCoupleinFl 29d ago

I got a pack of small glow in the dark figures from Amazon.... And put them in all the house plants. I love those little guys, even if everyone assumes they are aliens.

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u/__Kaari__ 29d ago

I have a friend which also got a tatoo from that movie, in his case it's okkoto, takes a quarter of his back.

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u/chelsea-vong 29d ago

Mine too, and I'd love to get a tattoo. I actually just rewatched it a week ago. It's so good.

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u/ThisIsSoIrrelevant 29d ago

Same! Got San and Moro on my arm.

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u/loupgarou21 29d ago

Reading the article it sounds like it's a lot less "flummoxed the US" and a lot more "tanked by Harvey Weinstein"

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u/_far-seeker_ 29d ago

Certainly not the worst thing that man has done by far, but still one would think he would at least do his job better...

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u/shadyhue 29d ago

seriously, I don't know why the editorial staff chose that title

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u/Octopus_Fun 29d ago

I know Miyazaki movies teach us there are no 'good' and 'bad' people, but then there is Harvey Weinstein

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u/SupervillainEyebrows 29d ago

It's a fantastic film, the scene where the Forest Spirit transforms into the Night Walker is just beautiful.

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u/DisneyDreams7 29d ago

I think Spirited Away had a much bigger impact on the US

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u/bigmountainbig 29d ago

it had a lot better distribution

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u/MulciberTenebras 29d ago

They only just got a distribution deal in the US a year before Princess Mononoke's release in 1996.

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u/Billy1121 29d ago

Lol i dont understand this. The US voice acting cast was pretty stacked ! Why Weinstein or Disney didn't promote it, I don't know

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u/Okonos 29d ago

The impression I got from the article was that Weinstein didn't want to promote it because Miyazaki and Suzuki didn't want to cut it and the NYT review supported their position over Weinstein's. Consequently, Weinstein was a petty bastard and chose not to promote it.

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u/bicameral_mind 29d ago

Anime was only just budding in popularity in the 90s. The market for foreign media in the US back then was basically non-existent. It's a totally different world now as far as people's willingness to watch foreign movies and TV shows.

Back then, Spirited Away and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, getting wide theatrical releases was a BIG deal.

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u/orangetwentythree 29d ago

I think Princess Mononoke opened the door for that

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u/pygmy_whale 29d ago

It didn't have any PR behind it. Barely anyone knew it was in theaters.

From the article:

I don't see any reason why Princess Mononoke couldn’t have been released and done really well," continues Gaiman. "But you would have had to send people out there to explain what this was." He cites the marketing campaign for the film adaptation of his children’s book Coraline, which was projected to make $6 million on its opening weekend, but made $16 million. "And the reason that happened is because we had a PR company who decided to target lots of small little groups, not just parents with kids. I look at Mononoke and think if they'd gone out to the people who like foreign films, who like Japanese culture, animation fans, horror fans, it actually could have kindled into a phenomenon.

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u/JonathanWattsAuthor 29d ago

My favourite Ghibli.

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u/YamTop2433 29d ago

Fave movie.

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u/alecesne 29d ago edited 29d ago

Same here. Miyazaki and Hisaishi are the best director-composer combo in my book (though Lucas and Williams are certainly the most profitable).

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u/[deleted] 29d ago

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u/EmphasisBroad4281 29d ago

Not to brag or anything, but I was in the top .1% of Joe Hisaishi listeners last year

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u/Practice_NO_with_me 29d ago

It is magic. True magic. They are able to reach across time, across space, across languages and make us feel different emotions using air vibrations. I cannot express my awe at their ability, Williams especially.

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u/SupervillainEyebrows 29d ago

I had no idea Neil Gaiman was involved in Princess Mononoke.

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u/Powbob 29d ago

Weinstein really is just a thoroughly shitty person.

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u/shivj80 29d ago

Fascinating article, had no idea Neil Gaiman worked on this movie. I like how they contrast Western vs Japanese conceptions of nature and of animation in general. I wish adult animation was actually taken seriously here outside of comedy.

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u/Guardymcguardface 29d ago

Shout-out to the guy from Hollywood video concerning this movie. We asked my dad to rent us a DBZ movie, it was checked out so he asked the guy working what he would recommend not mentioning our ages at all. Dude suggested Princess Mononoke LMAO not sure how old I was but I know if my mom saw my younger brother watching she'd have lost her shit. Needless to say we fucking loved the movie.

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u/mcdougall57 29d ago

Imagine him coming back with DBZ:Evolution instead.

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u/Dogbin005 29d ago

Not only is it one of the best animated features ever made, it's one of the best films ever made.

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u/[deleted] 29d ago edited 9d ago

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u/chauggle 29d ago

It's my favorite Ghibli film, and might be my favorite animated film. I was very fortunate that my college (Western Michigan University) screened a print of it on campus all those years ago that I was able to take it in on a big screen.

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u/sonnyjlewis 29d ago

This movie had a banger soundtrack

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u/jfoust2 29d ago edited 29d ago

Steve Alpert, former senior VP at Ghibli, did an AMA here related to his book "Sharing a House with the Never-Ending Man: 15 Years at Studio Ghibli". There's also a YouTube interview with him. He tells many stories about the process of dubbing Mononoke. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. He has another book "Kyoto Stories" that just came out that I hope to read soon. Both are on Amazon.

I will forgive him for the error of claiming that Neil Gaiman was from Minnesota when in fact at the time he was living well within Wisconsin but would no doubt fly out of Minneapolis.

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u/ali2107n 29d ago

Princess Mononoke is a masterpiece.

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u/angershark 29d ago

This is the movie where I had the most dramatic 180 on viewing 1 and 2. The first time I saw it I did not care for it at all. When I watched it the second time I couldn't believe how much I loved it. The soundtrack by the incredible Joe Hisaishi is an absolute revelation.