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Spirited Away vs. Princess Mononoke in the U.S.


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Animegal999



Joined: 19 Aug 2008
Posts: 14

PostPosted: Sun Sep 28, 2008 11:41 am Reply with quote
Personally I like Princess Mononoke better because of its deeper storyline. Spirited Away is still a good film but I thought that it was a little too random. And the fact that kids were the main characters didn't really make it any better. I'm not a fan of childish romance. But Princess Mononoke had a deeper and more thourogh storyline and I liked how they had all the tree spirits and those wolves. that was cool. The beginning was a little weird the first time I saw it but once I got used to it I really started to like it. I think Miyazaki's best films are: Very Happy
Princess Mononoke
Nausica of the Valley of the Wind- unique story. really cool setting
and style of clothes
Castle in the Sky- I just love the idea!! the music was awesome and so was the Dola gang. The more kid romance was good in this one because they seemed a little more grown up than the characters from Spirited Away.
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tarheel91



Joined: 28 Sep 2008
Posts: 128

PostPosted: Sun Sep 28, 2008 6:22 pm Reply with quote
A lot of people need to get past whatever supposed message they think Mononoke has and try to appreciate it as a wonderful piece of art. The situation is far too general for you to be able to take any specific message out of it beyond "greed can destroy the world around you." I don't know why people have issues accepting people and things that have values different from their own.
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noobles



Joined: 07 Jan 2007
Posts: 20
Location: Sri Lanka

PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2008 7:41 am Reply with quote
Murasakisuishou wrote:
... just thought that the message in Princess Mononoke was abrasive and too forceful in its presentation to really make one consider it positively. If you're trying to criticize the lifestyle of an entire civilization it's better to do it in a softer, gentler, more human manner and present the issues in question in more of a conversational environment instead of the "humans and technology bad, nature gods good, no compromise" deal used in so many of Miyazaki's more serious fims.


Princess Mononoke is in no way so black and white - in a different thread about anime and the environment, Dormcat gave an excellent explanation about what Mononoke is really about, so I'll just quote him (I added the bolding):

dormcat wrote:
Many people in this thread wrote:
Miyazaki and environmentalism blah blah blah

You guys made me laugh. Environmentalism is just a byproduct of the core of Miyazaki's thoughts: survival. Ironically, it is the same goal which is pursued by both the destroyers and protectors of the environment; the difference is only the time course, and both came from the same selfish desire of continuation.

Keonyn wrote:
Your take on Miyazaki's motives differ from others, that's fine, so be it.

Anime catgrin + sweatdrop I was expecting a response like this one, for what I said was like a slap on the face to most watchers of Miyazaki's movies.

Ever heard of slash and burn? In the eyes of environmentalists in developed countries, it is a myopic and potentially disastrous method of farming, yet for those farmers it's the easiest (and probably the only) way to obtain farmland. If they don't do so they might have to either move to cities and become hand laborers without skill, or starve to death. Likewise, for citizens of Tatara Ba, they have to keep pumping iron ingots in exchange for food and other resources it doesn't have; it was the necessary way to keep themselves alive, and mountain gods trying to stop them doing so for the same reason. Furthermore, although never clearly identified, it was strongly hinted that Eboshi and her girls had been spoiler[prostitutes]; Eboshi even took care of spoiler[leprosy patients, one of the most disgusted disease even in 20th century.] The town of Tatara Ba symbolized a group people who used to be at the lowest level of social caste trying to make themselves useful; you can't really blame them for destroying the forest, for it was the only way to keep themselves above the poverty line. At the end of the movie, spoiler[Eboshi realized that a parasitic lifestyle couldn't withstand forever, and a mutualistic relationship with the nature had to be established anew, but this was achieved by a significant reduction of Tatara Ba population] -- which is very true for us as well.

As far as I know, Miyazaki is actually quite pessimistic to the future of mankind (I'll dig up references if I can), but in order to entertain general audience he has to make compromises and keep elements of hope at the end of each and every movie he makes.


As for reasons why Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away faired differently, here's a quote from wiki regarding Mononoke's theatrical release:

Wikipedia - Princess Mononoke, Theatrical Run wrote:
Disney's Miramax subsidiary purchased U.S. distribution rights, but wanted to cut the film for American audiences (and for a PG-rating). However, Miyazaki balked at this, and the film was instead released uncut with a rating of PG-13. Miramax also chose to put a lot of money into creating the English dub of the movie with famous actors and actresses, yet when they released it in theatres there was little or no advertising and it was given a very limited run, showing in only a few theatres and for a very short time. Disney later complained about the fact that the movie did not do well at the box office. In September of 2000, the film was supposed to be released on DVD in the U.S., but Miramax announced that only the English dub would be included on the disc. Outraged fans demanded the Japanese track be put on the disc as well, and the threat of poor sales prompted Miramax to hire translators for the subtitles, which held the DVD release back by almost three months. When the film was finally released on DVD it sold very well, due to no limitation in availability.


In the end however, Mononoke is a dark, complex animated film with violence and Spirited Away is a lighter, family film - and family films will always have an edge in terms of numbers. Also, Spirited Away's Academy Award played a big part as well in getting extra publicity (there wasn't a separate Animation award during Mononoke's time). But even Spirited Away's distribution still wasn't handled as well as it should have, as this article from the San Francisco Chronicle about the marketing of Asian films points out:

VIEW - Worldwide, Asian films are grossing millions. Here, they're either remade, held hostage or released with little fanfare. (2005) wrote:
In 2002, Disney acquired the rights to "Spirited Away," an animated movie by the Japanese master Hayao Miyazaki. The highest-grossing movie in Japanese film history, "Spirited Away" became the first animated film to win the top prize at the Berlin Film Festival and the first movie to have earned $200 million at the worldwide box office before opening in the United States.

Yet Disney, which reportedly had bought the picture at the urging of Pixar director John Lasseter, dumped an English-dubbed version into theaters without much of an advertising campaign, effectively killing any chance at the U.S. box office. The lack of promotion prompted an open letter of protest to Disney from Newsday critic John Anderson.

When "Spirited Away" earned a surprise Academy Award nomination for best animated film, Disney declined to mount the usual Oscar campaign or rerelease it because it was up against two of the company's own movies: "Lilo & Stitch" and "Treasure Planet." After an even bigger surprise -- "Spirited Away" won -- Disney dropped it back into theaters for two weeks before the DVD release. Without marketing, "Spirited Away" struggled to gross $10 million.


Though now that John Lasseter (who's a friend and fan of Miyazaki) is in charge of Disney and Pixar, Ghibli's future films will probably get better marketing.
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Kelly



Joined: 17 Nov 2003
Posts: 866
Location: New York City

PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2008 9:52 am Reply with quote
tarheel91 wrote:
A lot of people need to get past whatever supposed message they think Mononoke has and try to appreciate it as a wonderful piece of art. The situation is far too general for you to be able to take any specific message out of it beyond "greed can destroy the world around you."


I'm with you right up until the "greed can destroy the world around you" comment. Mononoke is much more complicated than that. The point is made that the Irontown residents literally have nowhere else to go, and are literally going to die if they don't fight the forest residents for the resources available. They're not trying to get rich - they're just trying to survive. One of the things I like about Mononoke is that it doesn't give us a neat, pat solution to that problem, because there isn't one - just as there isn't one in the real world right now.
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Priestess94



Joined: 29 Oct 2008
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2008 12:07 pm Reply with quote
I do agree that Princess Mononoke is more violent that Spirited Away and that Spirited away is more kid friendly. But one other point i would like to make is that, at least to me, Princess Mononoke had more Japenese and historical points in it, things that younger children might not understand. Such as why the men have on strange underwear, what lepersy is, the clothing and hairstyles. The only thing that you could really tell was Japenese in Spirited away was the names and probably the whole "bath house" thing. It might be a little off but this is the main reason Mononoke didn't do so well in the U.S.
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Zin5ki



Joined: 06 Jan 2008
Posts: 3481
Location: London, UK

PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2008 2:49 pm Reply with quote
noobles wrote:
Princess Mononoke is in no way so black and white - in a different thread about anime and the environment, Dormcat gave an excellent explanation about what Mononoke is really about, so I'll just quote him .

In light of this explanation, I still cannot enjoy this film. The environmentalism may be but a byproduct of a deeper theme, but it is still present in the screenplay. This being a fantasy film, other methods of presenting the conflict that arises from the desire to survive could have been used, but the relationship between mankind and nature was chosen nonetheless.
The fact the film ended with spoiler[the Irontown residents choosing to adopt a more environmentalistic stance] is one of the main things I dislike. Being so late in the film, it felt as if I was to interpret this choice as guaranteeing their future survival, conflicting with Miyazaki's aledged pessimism.
Had the film suggested spoiler[that caring for the environment may nonetheless not in fact allow them to prosper and go on living], then I'd have found it a far more challenging and memorable note to end on.
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TurnerJ



Joined: 05 Nov 2004
Posts: 281
Location: Highland Park, NJ

PostPosted: Sat Nov 01, 2008 4:09 pm Reply with quote
Animegal999 wrote:
Personally I like Princess Mononoke better because of its deeper storyline. Spirited Away is still a good film but I thought that it was a little too random. And the fact that kids were the main characters didn't really make it any better. I'm not a fan of childish romance. But Princess Mononoke had a deeper and more thourogh storyline and I liked how they had all the tree spirits and those wolves. that was cool. The beginning was a little weird the first time I saw it but once I got used to it I really started to like it. I think Miyazaki's best films are: Very Happy
Princess Mononoke
Nausica of the Valley of the Wind- unique story. really cool setting
and style of clothes
Castle in the Sky- I just love the idea!! the music was awesome and so was the Dola gang. The more kid romance was good in this one because they seemed a little more grown up than the characters from Spirited Away.


The protagonists from Castle in the Sky also seem more grown-up as a result of the Disney dub, which cast them as kids in their late teens rather than their pre-teens. To this day, the controversy over that decision hasn't died down, but personally it's no big deal to me; while the leads are indeed the main characters (and I have nothing against Van der Beek or Paquin's acting as the characters--they were fine IMO, just not as good as the others), Castle is more of an ensemble piece, which is why characters such as Dola and her pirates, and of course the bad guy Muska (a role that Mark Hamill absolutely nails in the dub) get a chance to stand out. Purists will probably crucify me for saying this, but I personally like watching this film better in English, because it has lots of fun voice actors and I thought they made some clever choices in terms of casting (the leads were less so, but not the worst I've heard).

Anyway, I don't think audiences were really ready for Mononoke, what with its dark storyline and occasionally shocking violence; it would've had trouble in U.S. theaters either way. Spirited Away is similarly rooted in Japanese culture, but it did (marginally) better, partially because it was more kid-friendly and had Lasseter's backing.
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Michiko_ross



Joined: 26 Nov 2008
Posts: 8
Location: Manila, Philippines

PostPosted: Thu Nov 27, 2008 12:47 am Reply with quote
Hi to everyone!!!

I think Spirited Away has a more appealling and understandable story line than that of Princess Mononoke, although i like both of them, Princess Mononoke's story line is a bit way out there...
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