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Anime Profile: Pom Poko

Fields
USA Info
Japanese Info
Image
Title
Pom Poko Pom Poko Pom Poko
Released
1 movie 1 movie
Dates
August 16, 2005 1994
Company
Buena Vista Studio Ghibli
Creator
   
Director
  Isao Takahata
Genre
Comedy, Drama Comedy, Drama
Related
View Image Gallery View Image Gallery
Characters
Gonta Gonta
· · ·
Gyobu Gyobu
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Hage Hage
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Hayashi Hayashi
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-- more listed below -- -- more listed below --

Last I checked, this anime was available on DVD at Amazon.

Anime Characters: Pom Poko

English Name
Japanese Name
English Name
Japanese Name
Gonta Gonta Otama Otama
Gyobu Gyobu Ponkichi Ponkichi
Hage Hage Ryutaro Ryutaro
Hayashi Hayashi Sasuke Sasuke
Kincho Kincho Seizaemon Seizaemon
Kiyo Kiyo Shokichi Shokichi
Koharu Koharu Tamasaburo Tamasaburo
Oroku Oroku Wonderland President Wonderland President
Osho Osho    

Anime Description: Pom Poko

Pom Poko The raccoons of Tama Hills have long lived the peaceful life, coexisting with humans, inhabiting the areas nearby the farmhouses, and enjoying the perks that humans provide them, such as convenient and tasty food. Their days were easy and carefree... and then one fateful season all the humans just left. Although the raccoons didn't know quite what to make of it, they eventually settled into the fact that they had all the land to themselves. At first it was actually kind of nice, as they got to move in to the comfy old houses that were no longer occupied. Ah, but soon they realized exactly what was happening... it all became clear on that day in which the humans' giant machines started tearing down the old houses and tearing up the forest.

Pom Poko The humans were starting to develop the land, destroying the raccoons' forest home, transforming the once quaint rural area into suburbs for which many more humans would occupy. As the land shrank and food became more scarce, the raccoons began to fight amongst themselves... but eventually, thanks to a wise old raccoon, they realized that if they continued in this manner, they would wipe themselves out. The raccoons knew that something had to be done to stop the humans' development, not just to protect their homes, but to ensure their survival. And so they held a meeting, and together with the village elders they came up with a five year plan to stop the humans from destroying their habitat.

Pom Poko The meat of their plan involved resurrecting their ancient technique of transformation, in which the raccoons can morph themselves into anything they wish, pots, trees, foxes, and even humans. They figured that by mastering this technique, they could easily convince the humans to move on to other places. And so the elders began the hard task of training all the raccoons in this art form. It soon became clear, however, that not every raccoon could learn this technique, and not everyone who could learn it could do it well. But there were those who did, and they practiced hard, fueled by the determination that they would be able to help save their home as well as future generations. However, the humans' development moved faster than expected, and so after only a year, they raccoons had little choice but to start taking action.

Pom Poko And so they began. It was a dark and stormy night, and they used it to their advantage, by transforming into things such as a falling trees and false roads which caused the truck drivers to wreck their vehicles. Several humans were killed, but to the raccoons it was a glorious success which warranted a celebration, because raccoons love to celebrate! But the tragedies only barely slowed down construction of the suburbs. And so, not wanting to hurt any more of the humans, the raccoons turned instead to playing pranks in order to scare them into thinking that the spirits were against the development of their land. But no matter how many people the raccoon scared off, more were trucked in.

Pom Poko Left with little choice, the raccoons had to go and seek out help from the ancient transformation masters, and so they sent two of their most adept shape-changers to find these masters and bring them back to the village. It will take a lot of endurance and more than a little luck to locate the masters in time, and even if they do, will it be enough to save the forest from the overbearing and determined humans? I know, I know, this sounds like some kind of heavy drama, but believe me, there really is a lot of comedy in here as well. I mean, just think about it, raccoons morphing into pots, ghosts, and even humans... how is that NOT funny, especially when the strain of holding the shape begins to take its toll and you see them start to revert to the normal shape.

Pom Poko Yeah, this film does have serious overtones, but it also has a lot of comedic characters and silly situations. For instance, when one of the major raccoon players was extremely upset and spouting on and on about how all humans need to be destroyed, all of them, no matter what, he soon becomes distracted by the thought of tempura and other human foods, causing him to recant his statement because he misses the food so much. Or during another part of the film when some raccoons user their transformation technique to enlarge their testicles to enormous proportions in order to squish people with them. Hmm, I think now would be a good time to tell a bit about the folklore that's used heavily in this film.

Pom Poko First off, the raccoons... well, they're not actually raccoons. They're really a creature called a tanuki (タヌキ) that's native to Japan and is very similar in many ways to raccoons. In Japanese lore, tanuki have two distinctive features, the first being the magical ability to shape-shift. There are many Japanese stories about tanukis transforming into all sorts of different things, like tea kettles, tree branches, or even monks. The second distinctive feature are their very large testicles, which in the US dub are called "pouches". You can see this in many of the tanuki statues, and even more so in character art where they will even have their scrotum flung over their shoulder like a pack or bang on them like they would their belly.

The Disney release of this DVD was done pretty well, as one would expect, except for one thing... the second disc is completely worthless. The first disc contains the movie, with both a well done English dialog track and a Japanese dialog track with English subtitles. The second disc contains "all" the bonus features, which are Original Storyboards, TV Spots, and Trailers. Yep, that's it. A whole entire second disc just for that. Where's the making of featurette people? I mean, they didn't even include anything on Japanese folklore! What's the point of including this second disc and driving the price up for no reason?! Bad Disney! Bad!

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