LGSI – Ep #17 – Studio Ghibli – The Tale of the Princess Kaguya

Steven is joined by Paul Salt of the podcast One Good Thing to discuss Isao Takahata’s beautiful and tragic watercolour masterpiece, The Tale of the Princess Kaguya.

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4 Replies to “LGSI – Ep #17 – Studio Ghibli – The Tale of the Princess Kaguya

  1. Good podcast. Thank you. This movie is a gem. It is really incredible. I have this feeling that Kayuga was banished to earth because of some misdeed she may have committed. Her punishment is the scant knowledge of what she forgot. The lost time and confusion could all be very painful I think. In regards to the bamboo cutter and his wife; I agree with you that what we want for people we love may not be what they want or need for themselves. Higher social status doesn’t always mean truth or honor. The suitors and the prince appeared to be foolish and cowardly. It appears that there is always a lesson or two in those ancient stories.
    Like you guys I think the nature scenes, the pastoral landscapes, birds flying, and insects buzzing, is all precise and wonderful. The dream-like sequences are clever. Kayuga escapes her suffocating party and runs to the countryside only to find that her friends have left. She collapses in the snow. Then we see the “moon fairies” appear and she is safely back in the city to sleep. A person has to think about the scene in order to decide if it’s real or not.
    One of my favorite parts (there are so many) is when Sutemaru and Kayuga meet in the pasture. As they started to fly I realized I was having a “Vanilla Sky moment”. I knew that Sutemaru was dreaming. My reading of the film is that they perhaps had never met. Kayuga’s discomfort at seeing the moon in the dream is likely something that she shared with Sutemaru in the past.
    The plight of women issue didn’t register with me at all. I guess I was involved with the singularity of the story and the old proverbs rather than anything else. Funny how I missed that.
    Now I’m interested to find out what the impression of the moon was to feudal Japan. Was it lush?
    Advanced? Beautiful even? Maybe Kayuga is actually a Princess on the moon. We don’t get to know.
    I have seen this movie only once (subtitled)and I never heard of it until you mentioned it was going to be the subject of one of the Ghibli podcasts. I am grateful. I will also have to check out the Takahata documentary.
    Looking forward to the next film…..

    1. Hi Dean, glad you enjoyed the podcast and the movie. I agree, there is so much to unpack here, and so many different way to interpret the story.

      1. I must check my spelling before posting. I gave the podcast another spin. Great stuff. I agree with the comments about Western attitudes towards animation. Too many people think that they would be watching cartoons rather than engaging in the art of a good movie. I love a good cartoon as well.

        1. Very cool. Kaguya really is a great work of art. I think Paul hit the nail on the head with a lot of his remarks. Thanks as always for listening.

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