The Cranky Critic® Guide to Hayao Miyazaki's

Meaning "Princess of the Gods" -- those being the Ghouls and Monsters and other Creatures of the Forest.
It is also the name given to an Avenging Spirit of the Forest, a human raised by the Wolf God, named San, who battles to destroy a human city which is growing too fast and destroying the Forest she loves.          
As Princess Mononoke begins, a monstrous creature attacks the vilage of the exiled Emishi people. Once the ancient Boar God, Nago, it was wounded by gunfire and transformed by pain and hatred into this thing, this "Demon God."

To protect his village from certain destruction, Prince Ashitaka (voiced by Billy Crudup) destroys the God, but in turn receives its curse, seen as an ugly snake-like scar on his right arm.

If no cure is found, the Curse will surely kill him, says the wise woman of the Emishi. It is decided that Ashitaka must journey into the forest to find the source of this Curse and, perhaps, its cure. But to do so, custom requires that Ashitaka shed his old life as a Prince, and begin anew. This is done, symbolically, by cutting off his hair.

On his journey, Ashitaka will meet . . .

Copyright © 1999 Chuck Schwartz except All images and music © 1997 Studio Ghibli.