The Tale of the Princess Kaguya (2013)

tale of the princess kaguya poster 2013 movie
8.5 Overall Score
Story: 9/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 10/10

Great looking animated film with a nice story

Too long

Movie Info

Movie Name:  The Tale of the Princess Kaguya

Studio:  Studio Ghibli/Dentsu/Hakuhodo DY Media Partners

Genre(s):  Animated/Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Family

Release Date(s):  November 23, 2013 (Japan)/ October 17, 2014 (US)

MPAA Rating:  PG

tale of the princess kaguya born frmo bamboo fairy tale

Man…I never find any magical princesses when I go to the woods!

While working in the forest, an elderly bamboo cutter finds a baby princess growing in a magical stalk of bamboo providing he and his wife the child they never had.  The girl ages quickly as riches come to the bamboo cutter and his wife.  Taking the girl to the city to make her a proper princess, the girl is named Princess Kaguya, and she begins to be courted by the richest men of the city.  With her fate being decided without her control, Princess Kaguya finds herself yearning for the simpler life which might mean abandoning her family forever…and in turn revealing her mysterious origins.

Directed by Isao Takahata, The Tale of the Princess Kaguya (かぐや姫の物語 or Kaguya-hime no Monogatari ) is an animated fantasy.  The movie adapts the 10th century Japanese folktale and was released in 2013 in Japan.  The movie received praise and was nominated for Best Animated Feature for the 87th Academy Awards.  The American version of the film was redubbed with voices provided by Chloë Grace Moretz in the title role with Darren Criss, James Caan, Mary Steenburgen, Lucy Liu, James Marsden, Beau Bridges, Dean Cain, Oliver Platt Daniel Dae Kim, George Segal, and John Cho among others providing their voices.

tale of the princess kaguya little bamboo teacher

You will be a proper woman who will be a slave to men

The Academy Awards put The Tale of the Princess Kaguya (sometimes just called The Tale of Princess Kaguya) in the crosshairs.  The far more popular The Lego Movie was snubbed for Princess Kaguya and Song of the Sea which many felt were undeserving.  You could argue that The Lego Movie should have garnered a nomination, but you would have a hard time arguing that this didn’t deserve one as well.

The movie is just nice.  It is a pleasant adaptation of the fairy tale and has a strange foreign feel to it that gives the movie its uniqueness.  I always have a detached feeling toward Japanese films, and it either can create something great or keep me from being involved in the film.  Here the movie does get me involved, and other than the basic concept of the story, I knew little of the fairytale.  This kept me from knowing where the story would turn out which always is a pleasant surprise (especially since it doesn’t end as you’d expect it).

tale of the princess kaguya returns to moon japanese fairy tale

Foolish mortals…the first step of our takeover is here!!!

The movie also features fantastic animation.  The style of the film is a wispy water color appearance that combines with classic Japanese animation.  Like his contemporary Hayao Miyazaki, Isao Takahata has created some great animated features that U.S. films really are challenged to rival.  Many write off Japanese animation because of this disconnect, but taking to seek out this film and other films of Isao Takahata are well worth the effort.

The Tale of the Princess Kaguya might not be for everyone…but it should be.  The nice story (though a bit long) is a great folktale with a strong willed female lead that can rival the female characters of Frozen.  I wish more people would see this movie before snapping to judgment over its validity simply because of a nomination.  I am glad (if nothing else) the nomination cast more attention on this little seen animated film here in the United States.

Related Links:

The 87th Academy Award Nominations

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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