Movie Review: The Tale of Princess Kaguya

movie poster Princess Kaguya

“All life on Earth is cyclical — birth, growth, death, and revival…”

A bamboo cutter finds a tiny girl in a bamboo sprout and takes her home.
He and his wife raise the girl like a daughter of their own. They notice that she is something very special and call her “Hime” (princess). Hime grows up in a natural environment where she leads a happy simple life with her foster parents. In doing so, she establishes contacts with her neighbors’ children in a carefree way. She feels a special friendship with the boy Sutemaru.

One day, the bamboo cutter finds a gold treasure in the bamboo grove and regards it as a sign to offer Hime a comfortable and rich life in the city. From then on, the couple and Hime live in a palace with many employees and a lady-in-waiting who is supposed to teach Hime the appropriate etiquette. But Hime is unhappy and longs for the simple life back in the mountains and finds it difficult to get used to the new life. As the story progresses, it becomes clear that Hime is a divine being who originally came to Earth from the moon and must return there as well.

Princess Kaguya is based on one of the oldest Japanese fairytales: “The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter”, a fairytale of the 10th century. (Japanese: “竹取物語” Taketori monogatari. (link to English translation of the fairy tale and to the Japanese version).

“The Tale of Princess Kaguya” by Ghibli Studios is an artistic anime
with an unique impressionistic animation style. Osamu Tanabe is responsible for the character design, animation design, and the layout. Kazuo Oga created the artwork. Isao Takahata states in an interview given to Wired: “All life on Earth is cyclical — birth, growth, death, and revival — as in the songs I wrote for the film. I consider this to be the basis for everything.”

This is a wonderful and beautiful movie! My rating is: (5 of 5 stars) ★★★★★ (Review by Japan Kaleidoskop)

Genre: Animation, Fantasy, Drama
Year: 2013
Title (Japanese): かぐや姫の物語
Director: Isao Takahata
Writer: Isao Takahata
Screenplay: Isao Takahata and Riko Sakaguchi
Studio: Studio Ghibli
Length: 2 hours 17 minutes

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