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Rosalyn Lim 林惠美

The Tale of Princess Kaguya (2013) Poster

The Tale of Princess Kaguya (2013) at a glance

The Tale of Princess Kaguya (2013) is an anime film directed by the co-founder of Studio Ghibli, Isao Takahata. Based on a 10th century Japanese folktale entitled The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter, it has won several film critics' award and the Best Animation Film at Mainichi Film Award. It is one of the nominee for Best Animated Feature Film at 87th Academy Awards.

Update: Read All Studio Ghibli Movie Review Here!

The Tale of Princess Kaguya (2013) Trailer

The Tale of Princess Kaguya (2013) Synopsis

Legendary Studio Ghibli co-founder Isao Takahata revisits Japan's most famous folktale in this gorgeous, hand-drawn masterwork, decades in the making. Found inside a shining stalk of bamboo by an old bamboo cutter and his wife, a tiny girl grows rapidly into an exquisite young lady. The mysterious young princess enthralls all who encounter her – but ultimately she must confront her fate, the punishment for her crime. From the studio that brought you Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro, and The Wind Rises comes a powerful and sweeping epic that redefines the limits of animated storytelling and marks a triumphant highpoint within an extraordinary career in filmmaking for director Isao Takahata.

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The Tale of Princess Kaguya (2013) Review

Mysterious girl in the bamboo.
Mysterious girl in the bamboo.

Although I have known The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter my whole life, I have not the faintest idea about the full story. Each time when I try to recollect this particular Japanese folktale, my visual memory would show images from Hello Kitty's TV adaptation; the bamboo cutting scenes and the grown up princess wearing the Kimono.

Princess Kaguya.
Princess Kaguya.

However, it is different now. Since the day I watch The Tale of Princess Kaguya (2013), all of the animated feature's impossible to forget details have permanently ingrained inside my head. The watercolor-like visuals are beautiful, the characters' expressions are genuine and the whole feature is just so captivating.


Not only you will be able to observe Japanese culture, you will also be able to watch helplessly hilarious and sometimes depressing traits of human beings. True that some of the scenes could be strange or even confusing but if we understand the underlying message of this Japanese folktale, we can learn invaluable life lessons from just watching this. Overall, you may find watching The Tale of Princess Kaguya (2013) a haunting experience due to the nature and the style of the this animated feature.

Will she be able to find true love?
Will she be able to find true love?

Nonetheless, I won't say The Tale of Princess Kaguya (2013) is perfect as there are several aspects I do not like, but there are certainly more aspects to like than dislike. Due to that, this animated feature is possibly one of the best retelling of Japanese folktale in films. Therefore, it is one of my favorite animated feature of all time.

She is destined to be a princess.
She is destined to be a princess.

As expected of Studio Ghibli's co-founder director Isao Takahata; The Tale of Princess Kaguya (2013) is unique in its own charm. I have seen the original Japanese version and I am pleased to report that this animated feature is definitely not your average flick. The ending is slightly weird but you will leave all sorrow behind after watching it.

Who will like this?

Fans of Studio Ghibli and Japanese culture enthusiasts will like this one!

Other Movie Reviews (from the same studio)

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984)
Castle in the Sky (1986)
Grave of the Fireflies (1988)
My Neighbor Totoro (1988)
Kiki's Delivery Service (1989)
Only Yesterday (1991)
Porco Rosso (1992)
Pom Poko (1994)
Whisper of the Heart (1995)
Princess Mononoke (1997)
My Neighbors the Yamadas (1999)
Spirited Away (2001)
The Cat Returns (2002)
Howl's Moving Castle (2004)
Tales from Earthsea (2006)
Ponyo (2008)
The Secret World of Arrietty (2010)
From Up On Poppy Hill (2011)
The Wind Rises (2013)
When Marnie Was There (2014)

Details of the movie

Director: Isao Takahata
Producer: Yoshiaki Nishimura, Toshio Suzuki, Seiichiro Ujiie
Story: Isao Takahata
Screenplay: Isao Takahata, Riko Sakaguchi
Cinematography: Not sure.
Music: Joe Hisaishi
Studio: Studio Ghibli
Starring: Aki Asakura, Kengo Kora, Takeo Chii, Nobuko Miyamoto
Full Credit: [IMDb]
Distributor: Toho
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Genre: Drama Fantasy
Running time: 137 mins
Budget: USD 49,000,000 est.
Box office: USD 24,153,513 est.

Official website(s)

This article is a part of Rosalyn's Animated Movie Marathon and MoviepilotU. Rosalyn can be contacted via email and facebook.

Stay tuned for more animated features!!!


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