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A photo still from Princess Mononoke. It shows the titular princess with blood smeared across her face standing next to a giant white wolf.

Daily Helping for July 26th, 2023 – Princess Mononoke

So once again you’re getting a double helping today, because once again life got in the way yesterday. Apparently working 14 hour days is not conducive to having hobbies. Who knew? But I’m back today, and your first daily helping is the Studio Ghibli film Princess Mononoke.

Yes, I know what you’re thinking. How is it possible that I’ve never seen a Hayao Miyazaki film before? He’s only widely considered to be one of the master storytellers of cinema, and he is easily one of the most accomplished filmmakers in the history of animation. And yet, here I am, finally experiencing one of his films, nearly 40 years after his first production at Studio Ghibli. Better late than never, right?

I watched Princess Mononoke specifically because earlier this year I visited Yakushima Island in Japan, where I hiked through the Shiratani Unsuikyo Ravine. This stunningly beautiful forest was the inspiration for the setting of this film, and it is actually now known as the Princess Mononoke forest. The film tells the story of the struggle between the gods, or kami, of a forest, and the humans who want to exploit nature’s resources. It is a lush and fantastical story, and a beautifully animated film. After visiting the Shiratani Unsuikyo Ravine, I completely understand how this magical place inspired such a magical film.

One last note. Princess Mononoke was distributed in the US by Miramax in the 90s. Studio Ghibli famously sent Miramax executives a katana sword with the note “No cuts” attached. Legends.

Suggestions for artists I should check out? Please contact me with your ideas. I hope you enjoyed your daily helping of art!