Princess Mononoke FAQ






Why is Princess Mononoke being released in just 21 cities and not the whole U.S.?

Answer: Apparently Miramax (which is owned by Disney) is apprehensive about how well U.S. audience will accept Princess Mononoke (a PG-13 anime). Therefore, Miramax is doing a limited release and if Princess Mononoke performs well in big cities, Miramax could open in nationwide.


Question: Why is it rated PG-13?

Answer: The MPAA rated Princess Mononoke PG-13 "for images of violence and gore." For example, there are some scenes with close-ups of characters having their heads decapitated.


Question: How long is Princess Mononoke?

Answer: 132 minutes in length (2 hours and 12 minutes).


Question: Do any of the characters sing in Princess Mononoke?

Answer: No.


Question: Why were the voices redubbed in English instead of subtitles being shown?

Answer: When Disney secured the rights to distribute Mononoke Hime (which was renamed Princess Mononoke for U.S. audiences), it was determined that the dialogue would have to be altered for clearer understanding from U.S. audiences. "From the beginning, I felt my job was to make the dialogue sound natural, free-flowing, as much like contemporary movie dialogue as possible," says Neil Gaiman who was given the job of writing the English dialogue of the film. "I didn't want there to be any sense that this was a dubbed film and I didn't want it to sound like typical Japanese animation dialogue."


Question: Do any of the scenes in Princess Mononoke use computer generated images?

Answer: Yes. About 10% of the frames have computer generated elements included with the standard cel animation. (thanks to Marc Hairston of Team Ghiblink for his assistance with this question).


Question: How much of the movie has been edited?

Answer: No frames in the movie have been removed or edited. This was part of the agreement Disney made when obtaining the distribution rights to Mononoke Hime. Only the dialogue could be changed, but not any frames, scenes, or imagery.


Question: I heard there is a "Yakul" in the movie. What is that?

Answer: Yakul is the name of the loyal and noble red elk who accompanies the main character, Ashitaka, on his journey.


Question: Is this movie for kids?

Answer: That is debatable. It is rated PG-13 for violence and gore so descretion is advised. We recommend parents first view the film. The original director, Hayao Miyazaki, does state that his target audience for the film was "anyone older than 5th grade."


Question: How popular was Princess Mononoke in Japan?

Answer: Mononoke Hime (as it is called in Japan) was released in Japan the same weekend as Stephen Spielberg's The Lost World. Mononoke Hime not only slaughtered The Lost World in Box Office receipts, but it easily went on to become the #1 movie of all time in Japan. That is until Titanic came along...


Question: Why is the movie named Princess Mononoke instead of Ashitaka? After all, Ashitaka is the main character, right?

Answer: The movie is centered around Ashitaka, who is clearly the main character. Princess Mononoke is a strong supporting character in the film (that you don't see for almost 30 minutes into the movie). Therefore, your guess is as good as ours as to why the film is named Princess Mononoke.

One alert reader, Simu, has told us the following: " This is my understanding of why Hayao Miyazaki's film is called Princess Mononoke.

Ashitaka is certainly a protagonist of the film.  He provides the movie's main thematic emphasis: of "learning to see with eyes unclouded by hate."

However, Princess Mononoke is the embodiment of that struggle.  She is a creature of both the human world and the forest.  Her decision to make peace within herself, to reconcile the two conflicting sides of her being, is what Ashitaka is imploring the humans and the forest gods to do in a larger, worldlier way.  Princess Mononoke manifests, in a single character, the heart of Miyazaki's story."

Another visitor, Marc Hairston, shares this great insight:

" To answer your question about why it was named Princess Mononoke when Ashitaka is the main character: It was because the original version of the story was completely different and the 'princess' was the central character. See

Miyazaki wanted to change the title after the production started, but his Japanese producers felt Mononoke Hime was a more marketable title. When Miramax started on the US version, we've heard they did consider changing it to The Legend of Ashitaka (Miyazaki's choice for the title) but they ultimately decided that Princess Mononoke was still more marketable here, just as in Japan."

Thank you to Simu and Marc for sharing your insight.

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