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Pom Poko

Animation movie directed by Isao Takahata

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A little longer than the average Studio Ghibli film, but it's still a good film

  • Nov 17, 2009
Pom Poko is a film produced by Studio Ghibli and directed by Isao Takahata that relies heavily on Japanese folklore. Pom Poko was released by Disney as part of the deal the company made with Studio Ghibli; the film was released in the United States on DVD in 2005. Pom Poko tells the story of a group of tanuki (called raccoons in the English dub and subtitles) who are trying to find a way to save their home the Tama New Town development that's being built and causing a decrease in living space and food for the tanuki.

The animation in Pom Poko employs at least two or three different styles, especially when it comes to the Tanuki. Not that this is bad, but it can be a bit disorienting at times. Personally, even though this film was given a PG rating, I don't think it's entirely appropriate for younger viewers. There are shots of a couple of the Tanuki being run over by automobiles, which could be disturbing to young children. Also, in at least one battle, the male Tanuki use their testicles as a weapon. Personally, I would recommend Pom Poko for anime viewers who are thirteen or fourteen years of age and older.

Pom Poko was released as a two disc set. There is only one special feature included on the first disc. The feature is the trailers and TV spots for Pom Poko, and this runs for about eight minutes. There are four promotional spots in all, which have the original Japanese audio with English subtitles. The second disc only has the storyboard version of the film included on it.

Pom Poko has an interesting premise, but it is one of the longer films in the Studio Ghibli catalog. The pacing of the film is also a little slower than the other Studio Ghibli films, which is another thing that younger children wouldn't appreciate about this film. However, if you are a fan of Studio Ghibli or Isao Takahata, then you should add this DVD to your collection.

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More Pom Poko reviews
review by . August 16, 2005
posted in Movie Hype
This is another indication of how surprisingly wonderful the Studio Ghibli films can be. This film brings ancient Japanese traditions to life in a remarkably modern story, told after the fashion of a nature documentary. I loved to see the racoons monkey-wrenching a new development in Japan that threatened their habitat. For open-minded children of all ages, this is a magical ecological fable. For children too young to understand the, um, transforming body parts, or for parents too uptight to acknowledge …
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Lesley Muir Aeschliman ()
Ranked #2
I'm a freelance writer whocovers anime and manga on her blog, Lesley's Musings... on Anime & Manga. I also have a music blog called AeschTunes that I post at every once in a while.   … more
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Isao Takahata's outré ecological fablePom Pokowas the no. 1 domestic film in Japan in 1994, and the first animated feature to be submitted for the Oscar for Foreign Language Film. In 1967, the raccoons in the Tama Hills find their homes are threatened with destruction when developers turn the rural area into suburbs. Under the leadership of their tribal elders the animals fight back with every resource at their disposal. Raccoons are shape-shifters in Japanese folk tales, and the members of this tribe can transform into objects, other creatures and even humans.

Unlike Takahata's deeply moving The Grave of the Fireflies, Pom Poko (the sound made by thumping the tummy of a comfortably full raccoon) is a broad comedy. The raccoons' efforts to understand humans, their evocations of traditional ghost stories to frighten construction crews, and their internecine quarrels offers plenty of laughs. But the story rambles, and the characters lack the depth needed to sustain the audience's interest until the film's belated, downbeat conclusion. The extras include Takahata's storyboards, which are interesting, but lack the magic of Hayao Miyazaki's drawings on other Studio Ghibli discs. Note: male raccoons have prominent testicles, which are shown in Japanese art, including the designs for Pom Poko. When the characters grow desperate, they swell their scrotums to enormous size and use them as weapons. (Rated PG, Parental Guidance Suggested: violence, scary images and thematic ...

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Director: Isao Takahata
Genre: Animation
Screen Writer: Hayao Miyazaki, Isao Takahata
DVD Release Date: August 16, 2005
Runtime: 119 minutes
Studio: Walt Disney Home Entertainment
First to Review

"Monkey-wrenching racoons!"
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