The Cranky Critic® Guide to Hayao Miyazaki's

On his journey, Ashitaka will meet three people who actions will determine his Fate. One will try to manipulate him. One will try to kill him. One is the cause of his affliction, though Ashitaka will take revenge.
And then we've got two more, for comic relief . . .

Jigo the monk (voiced by Billy Bob Thornton), charged by the Emperor to bring him the head of the God of the Forest

Neil Gaiman:  Jigo is a a nasty, rough, evil little priest. He is coarse and crude and doesn't care what other people thought of him.

Jigo becomes a travelling companion of Ashitaka, telling tales about the mysterious and dangerous Gods of the Forest. While Ashitaka has no fixed destination, Jigo will meet with the Master of the Tataraba Ironworks, the Lady Eboshi, to plan his next move.

Lady Eboshi (Voiced by Minnie Driver) Master of Tataraba IronWorks. Enemy of the Forest Gods and hunted by Mononoke

Neil Gaiman: The best thing about Lady Eboshi is the thing I worked hardest at in the script to really get across to people. If I take pride in anything on this it's the fact that nobody's come out saying "Lady Eboshi is the bad guy." It's very clear to people that she rescued this village. If the iron is not dug, the people will die. She's looking after the lepers, the untouchables. She's buying the contracts of girls from brothels and giving them real work to do and husbands and respect. She also has her own history. She also has debts that are getting called in.

San, raised by Moro the Wolf God (voiced by Claire Danes)

Neil Gaiman: Princess Mononoke literally means "princess of the Gods" (the ghouls, the monsters, the creatures of the Forest) The Spirits. She is their Princess. She's a force of nature. The moment that encapsulates her is when San puts the full face mask over her face; she's like this little strange china doll creature and she's bounding through the village, going from roof to roof up the stockade with one intention. Which is to kill Lady Eboshi.

Princess Mononoke (aka San)

As Neil put it, Mononoke in full gear is the embodiment of the most powerful spirits of the Forest. She runs with the Wolves, leads the Boars into battle and is not frightened by the brutish Ape Gods

In her heart, she is of the Wolves. In Ashitaka's eyes, she is a human to be restored to humanity.

Toki (voiced by Jada Pinkett Smith).

A sharp tongued lady, whose contract as a brothel girl was bought out by Lady Eboshi, who provides honest work. Toki is one of the women who push foot bellows that help power the iron smelters (this ain't easy, as Ashitaka discovers) and is easily seen as the leader of these girls.

Kohroku (voiced by John De Mita).

Toki's husband, in charge of transportation for Lady Eboshi. During one of Mononoke's attacks, Kohroku was knocked off a mountain by Moro and was believed to be dead. He was rescued by Ashitaka, with the guidance of the Kodama. He lets Toki boss him around as he it truly and totally in love with her.

But it is in the Forest that the Gods and Creatures dwell . . .

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