Studio Ghibli Is A Universe Apart

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Studio Ghibli is by many lazily known as the Asian equivalent to Disney, but the comparison only remains true in terms of box office sales. In terms of content, Studio Ghibli is a universe apart. Founded in 1984 by founder and world renowned director Hayao Miyazaki, Studio Ghibli has for decades since its establishment churned out iconic films known for their beautifully drawn frames and fantastical plots, nearly all of which star strong, intelligent, independent-minded female protagonists. This trend can be traced all the way back to Miyazaki’s first feature length animated film titled Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, which debuted in theaters in Japan May of 1984. This was the same decade Disney released The Little Mermaid (1989) in…show more content…
Another of Ghibli’s films, Princess Mononoke (1997), made emphatic this archetype. Mononoke is a movie about the warrior-princess San, who lives amongst wolf-gods and attacks the human villages that threaten her forest home; it is certainly not a film about a damsel in distress as are many Western films centered around a female lead. San is best described as an independent, ferocious, wild, but also virtuous individual. The prince and princess characters never enter into the realm of romance either in Mononoke, an occurrence very much contrary to the typical love-story arc that drives numerous other animated movies (Aladdin, Snow White, The Little Mermaid, etc). In fact when San first meets Ashitaka, the prince from a human village, she is sucking poison from the gunshot wound of a giant wolf and spitting blood into a river. She never swoons nor falters, but stares covered in blood and tells him to “go away.” Even later in the story when Ashitaka calls her beautiful, she recoils. "What is it, San?" asks one of the wolf-gods. "Want me to crunch his face off?" In her interactions with Ashitaka, San is indeed obstinate but later is forced to confront her human identity. This never comes across as him taming her however, but is a relationship of shared respect. This is seen in the conclusion of the film when- after the two characters have formed a strong friendship and have worked together

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