Why is Pom Poko an underappreciated masterpiece?

"Pom Poku" is an anime from Studio Ghibli that was released in 1994, tanukis (Japanese raccoon dogs) are the main characters. This anime has an allegorical atmosphere and touches on that part of Japanese local literature that is about these tanukis. In Japanese local literature, tanukis can be youkai (youkai are Japanese mythical creatures that have supernatural powers) and are able to perform magic such as creating illusions and shapeshifting, we see a lot of these magics in the movie.

BingMag.com Why is Pom Poko an underappreciated masterpiece?

"Pom Poku" is an anime from Studio Ghibli that was released in 1994, tanukis (Japanese raccoon dogs) are the main characters. This anime has an allegorical atmosphere and touches on that part of Japanese local literature that is about these tanukis. In Japanese local literature, tanukis can be youkai (youkai are Japanese mythical creatures that have supernatural powers) and are able to perform magic such as creating illusions and shapeshifting, we see a lot of these magics in the movie.

Many local stories from Japan have made their way into anime, many of which have been popularized by non-Japanese audiences. Many of them are based on stories about youkai. However, some of these stories are very strange for a foreign culture, to the extent that perhaps this strangeness is more interesting to the Western audience than the message behind them. For example, tanukis are mostly known for their fertility. For this reason, their testicles can be seen throughout the film. They even use them for magic. Although some audiences may like such an element, many could not connect with such an arrangement. This is why "Pom Poco" has an adult age rating on Netflix. This makes many audiences not go to it thinking that this anime has adult content.

Apart from tanuki, compared to other works of Studio Ghibli, "Pom Poku" shows Japanese culture in a richer way. show to others. This culture can be seen in the music, the temple the tanuki live in, the fox they talk to, the objects they transform into. This feature plays an important role in making this anime a masterpiece, and of course it's why it's so overlooked outside of Japan.

A gritty environmental story

BingMag.com Why is Pom Poko an underappreciated masterpiece?

Another reason Pom Poco is underrated is that it doesn't have a happy ending. Other Studio Ghibli products usually end on an optimistic note, but "Pom Poco" stands out. The Tanuki eventually lose the battle to construct humans. Many of them die, and those who survive have to adapt to the new world and its changes. For a casual audience, it's too sad to watch such bitterness, because the tanuki are really lovable characters. They are silly, playful, innocent and fun-loving and think more about filling their bellies than using their brains. There are characters that the audience would like to see win, but if they did win, the strong environmental message of this anime would not be as effective.

For many audiences, including Studio Ghibli fans, the end of Pom Poko is an experience. It is unpleasant. Most people don't like to watch movies to learn, they just want to be entertained. Some of Ghibli's other works also have these lessons, but this message is presented on a different level than "Pom Poko", because they have a happy ending, which makes the sad events in the anime be forgotten. Besides the strangeness of this local story for the non-Japanese audience, the sad ending was another important factor that caused this movie to be ignored.

Why is "Pom Poku" a masterpiece?

BingMag.com Why is Pom Poko an underappreciated masterpiece? It has not aligned with the society inside and outside of Japan. This anime has an experimental and risky overall choice. Studio Ghibli had gone to the bitter end in other works such as "Burial of Fireflies". Another challenging choice of this anime is that it makes tanukis the main protagonists of the story. Tanukis have been secondary characters in many animes, but they are rarely the main protagonists. Even more challenging is that This anime tried to convey a serious and important message with these funny and strange creatures.

Some important and familiar political messages and allegories are included in the film, so that the audience soon identifies with these non-human creatures. He thinks The tanuki create a solid framework to fight the humans, something like a civil rights movement. Although violence is condemned, both factions engage in it. The tanuki are given false suggestions to cooperate with the humans instead of fighting for their rights. It is very easy to find examples of this story in different parts of the world. Although this anime was a risky product, it turned out to be a fantastic work.

Like any other work from Studio Ghibli, a lot of love has been poured into the stage design and animation of Pom Poko. But the main love is the love of nature and simple life. This anime won the best animation award at the 49th Mainichi Film Awards and became the official representative of Japan to participate in the competition for the best foreign language film at the Oscars.

In the end, it should be said that despite the bitter ending of "Pom Poku" ", nowhere does it feel that the message of the story is presented in a preachy manner. The magic, characters and delightful moments of this anime make tasting its message not bitter. Aside from its message, this anime is a brilliant piece of art, and has plenty of funny moments you won't want to forget, from drunken tanuki to giant skeletons appearing in various hallucinations. As an element that has been a source of inspiration for animators, this anime shows the magic that if humans don't pay attention to it, it may disappear from our society.

Source: Game Rant

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