The Tale of the Princess Kaguya ★★★★½

Absolutely stunning. The Tale of Princess Kaguya is a simultaneously heartwarming and heartbreaking Studio Ghibli film. The animation is beautiful, and viewing the movie is like delicately flipping through an intricate watercolor storybook.

Princess Kaguya appears to a bamboo farmer as a small Thumbellina-sized sprite within a stalk. When he takes her home to his wife, the princess suddenly turns into a young human child whom they decide to raise as their own. 

Much like the symbolism behind the bamboo plant from which she appeared, the princess is strong, resilient and wild. She also grows extremely fast, as the houseplant does. She rapidly progresses through her life stages under the watchful eye of her new father figure, who attempts to contain her lively spirit and raise her as a “true princess.” Ironically enough, this is done in a similar fashion to which he trimmed and shaped the bamboo that he harvested for his profession. 

Ultimately, the film beautifully illustrates themes of class relations, as well as the relentless pace at which death approaches. It serves as a harsh yet comforting reminder that if we do not truly live for ourselves, our lives will flash by before our very eyes. Soon, whether we are ready or not, our time on earth will come to an end.

As morbid as it sounds, I would absolutely recommend this movie to any Studio Ghibli fan!

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