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The Princess Who Came From a Bamboo, Princess Kaguya

It was December last year when I had my first time in a Japanese movie theater. The movie we watched was Studio Ghibli’s Kaguya-hime no Monogatari. Though my Japanese is limited, the movie never failed to amazed me somehow.

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The girl who came from a bamboo, Kaguya (Image from AC-Illust)

From The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter

Kaguya-hime no Monogatari(かぐや姫の物語) or The Tale of Princess Kaguya is based on the 10th Century Japanese folktale, Taketori no Monogatari (竹取物語, The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter). It primarily tells the story of a mysterious girl named Kaguya-hime, who was found inside a glowing bamboo by a bamboo cutter.

The Story

The story begins as Okina (竹取翁 literally means the old man who harvests bamboo), discovered a glowing shoot of bamboo in a bamboo grove. He then tried to open the bamboo and discovered a small girl, about the size of his thumb, inside the bamboo shoot. He believed that the girl was a divine gift and thus brought her home. Okina and his wife Ona, who don’t have any children, decided to treat the child as their own and named her Kaguya.

Kaguya, unlike other normal children, grew up so fast. As she was growing up, she befriended the children in the village and develop a close relationship with them especially with the boy named Sutemaru.

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Kaguya, unlike normal children, grew up fast into a beautiful fine lady. (Image from AC-Illust)

As Okina continued to work on the bamboo grove, he found again another mysterious bamboo. The bamboo gave him large amounts of gold and fine cloth. He took that as a sign that Kaguya is from a divine royalty and planned to make Kaguya a real princess using the wealth he found. He build a new house in the capital and eventually moved their together with Ona and Kaguya, leaving their life in the mountain. Thus begin Kaguya’s melancholy and sadness. Will Kaguya, Okina, and Ona discover what is true happiness?

Kaguya-hime no Monogatari is produced by Studio Ghibli, the same studio who brought classics like Spirited Away and My Neighbor Totoro. It is directed by Isao Takahata, the director who brought us Grave of the Fireflies.

The Soundtrack

One thing I can’t forget about this movie is its soundtrack, Inochi no Kioku (いのちの記憶, literally means Memory of Life) which is sang by Kazumi Nikaidō. It has a very soothing melody and even if don’t know the lyrics, it will get you hum into it.

The film was nominated for the Japan Academy Prize for Animation of the Year at the 37th Japan Academy Prize. It won the Animation Film Award at the 68th Mainichi Film Awards. last February this year, it placed 4th in both Kinema Junpo‘s Best Ten and their Reader’s Choice Awards.

International Release

The film is slated for release in North America on October 17, 2014. Chloë Grace Moretz (Kick-Ass, The 5th Wave) will star as the title character.

References:

1. The Tale of Princess Kaguya. Wikipedia.

2. Videos from Youtube

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