Studio Ghibli: The Tale of the Princess Kaguya (かぐや姫の物語)

The Tale of the Princess Kaguya (かぐや姫の物語, Kaguya-hime no Monogatari) is a 2013 Japanese animated fantasy drama film produced by Studio Ghibli, co-written and directed by Takahata Isao (高畑 勲)

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A bamboo cutter named Sanuki no Miyatsuko discovers a miniature girl inside a glowing bamboo shoot. Believing her to be a divine presence, he and his wife decide to raise her as their own, calling her “Princess”. The girl grows rapidly and conspicuously, marveling her parents and earning her the nickname “Takenoko” (Little Bamboo) from the other village children. Sutemaru, the oldest among Kaguya’s friends, develops a close relationship with her.

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Miyatsuko comes upon gold and fine cloth in the bamboo grove in the same way he found his daughter. He takes these as proof of her divine royalty and begins planning to make her a proper princess. He relocates the family to the capital, forcing her to leave her friends behind. She finds herself in a mansion, replete with servants. She is also saddled with a governess who is tasked with taming her into a noblewoman. She struggles with the restraints of nobility, arguing that life should be full of laughter and struggle.

'Princess Kaguya' assures us that there will be a Studio Ghibli, even without Miyazake

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When the girl comes of age, she is granted the formal name of “Princess Kaguya” for the light and life that radiates from her.

(…)

On the night of the full moon, a procession of celestial beings descends from the Moon, and Miyatsuko is unable to stop it. An attendant offers Kaguya a robe that will erase her memories of Earth. Kaguya begs the attendant to grant her a last moment with her parents.

The attendant assures her that upon returning to the Moon, she will be free of Earth’s impurities. Kaguya rebuffs her, saying that Earth is full of wonder and life. The attendant then drapes the robe around Kaguya, and she appears to forget about her life on Earth. The procession ascends to the Moon, leaving Miyatsuko and his wife distraught, as Kaguya looks back one last time with tears in her eyes.

It’s a beautiful movie, and it will leave you at a loss of words…


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