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Pom Poko [DVD]

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Product details

  • Directors: Isao Takahata
  • Producers: Toshio Suzuki
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: Japanese
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: Studiocanal
  • DVD Release Date: 30 Jan. 2006
  • Run Time: 119 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000BW7I4S
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,632 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


As civilization draws ever nearer to their idyllic forest home, a group of mischievous Japanese raccoons try to scare humans away. But they soon discover that man is not their only rival in their struggle for their age-old territory. Released in 1994 as the Japanese economy slumped, but looking back to the sixties construction boom in Tokyo’s Tama Hills, Pom Poko questions the money grabbing ethics of yuppie Japan, and mourns the loss of the countryside. Drawing on Japanese myths and legends, writer and director Isao Takahata presents a satirical view of woodland spirits using every available magical ruse to take on modern developers: including transformations sabotage and trickery. Pom Poko is a unique window into Japanese folklore, a comedy of modern failings, and an elegiac tale of unlikely heroes fighting insurmountable odds.

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

50 of 52 people found the following review helpful By Fantasy Lore on 29 Mar. 2008
Format: DVD
`Pom Poko' was one of those Studio Ghibli films I decided to leave to last in my purchase of the entire collection on DVD, mainly due to the majority of reviews here on Amazon, which generally consist of less enthusiastic comments in comparison to other more commercially succesful features released by this renowned Japanese studio. But having finally watched the film for myself I'm even more surprised by the uncomplimentary reviews, because in both style and story I found `Pom Poko' to be absolutely flawless.

The film has magic galore and an original ecological morality tale at its heart, which is in the same vein as `Nausicaa: Valley of the Wind' and `Princess Mononoke' with their man versus nature overtones, but `Pom Poko' is a very different animal in its own right- a raccoon in fact! There's also a real intelligence to the script, which is aided enormously by its boundlessly playful and at times poignant sense of humour.

The story is also extremely well plotted and has a sublime narration throughout that helps to make `Pom Poko' one of the most engaging Ghibli films I've yet seen. The narrator's voice and a couple of the other characters are recognisable as being provided by American actors, albeit lesser known ones than the customary band of A-list celebrities Studio Ghibli usually employs. But the characterization never suffers and being an ensemble piece I'd have to say that I think it's actually preferable, so that the audience sympathises with all of raccoon-kind, as they band together to thwart humanity's encroachment into their forest with increasingly inventive plans of attack.

Once again I'm moved to award five stars to this uniquely enjoyable Studio Ghibli release, not because it's as accomplished as the very best that Ghibli has to offer, but because in its own right `Pom Poko' succeeds and then some! Superb.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By MLA VINE VOICE on 31 Dec. 2007
Format: DVD
This is not the sparkling standard Ghibli fare of Spirited Away or Princess Mononoke but it is a strong outing that brings in extra quantities of Japanese cultural references and plentiful simple messages on the encroachment of urbanisation in what is an exceptionally overcrowded nation.

Pom Poko features a playful and celebratory Tanuki (raccoon) society under threat from the extension of urbanisation on the outskirts of Tokyo. The Tanuki's response to this threat is initially that of the wild animal - to combat their own kind over access to the diminished resources. Eventually they take to combat with the human population who are building over the rural areas to meet the housing needs of their expanding and densely populated mega-city. The Tanuki fight back is built on their mystical ability fo shape-shift, harkening to pre-industrial beliefs and fears in their battle to persuade the humans to cease their destruction of Tanuki lands.

The Tanuki are an entertaining and joyful society who revel in song and dance, a cultural reference that could be applied anywhere and not just the Japanese context. That society is riven with indecision and the need for strong leadership, the subtle subtext of local politics and conflicting interests chuntering along throughout the film but never intruding on the main plot that sees the Tanuki deploy ever more colourful and imaginative demonstrations to oppose the human actions.

The characterisation within the film is simple and effective. The Tanuki are shown in raccoon, human, and comic form but their personality traits remain in place and they are a consistent and endearing presence.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Mr. S. E. C. Norman on 14 Nov. 2006
Format: DVD
It's not Spirited Away, but for likers of Ahime it's a good choice. Beautifully drawn with some absolutely breathtaking, wonderful scenes of glittering colour it's very watchable to any anime fan and many others too; children in particular will enjoy this. Moreover it's largely free of Disneyfication;it's cheesy but more original than most Hollywood cartoons and has a freshness about it that makes it accessible to more than just kids. The issues are often adult-I won't list them because such breakdown of this kind of film defies the entire point of it, and the characters are sympathetic and engaging, often humorous, while the plot is at times playful, at times sad and at times bleak and dark in a way that Hollywood just isn't. On the other hand, its greatest attribute is its ability to make one believe and hope that there is more to this world than meets the eye and that our lives may be touched by something outside our senses, by different experiences and by things beyond the realms of the physical.

All in all, a beautiful experience, albeit one that is full of gaping plot holes where the director's message about environmentalism isn't all that clear, and very worth watching, particularly if you can get it in Japanese with subtitles.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By burninsnikers on 19 Aug. 2014
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
About the film.
The movie by itself is based on popular Japanese folklore about Tanuki (raccoon dogs) as they struggle against the urbanisation of countryside regions of Japan, especially Tama Hills. The director Isao Takahata is famous by his unusual approach to animation, he always experiments with something new in his films. In "Pom Poko" he uses at least three different styles of animation according to situation on the screen: realistic portrayal of animals in their real life, animated humans traditional to anime, and comical representation of emotions more inherent to manga. Nevertheless this strange blending of different styles brings unforgettable feelings of tragicomedy.
About the European Blu-ray ediion.
It's just the movie. Nothing more (we not count the trailer reel and Storyboards). It's a shame it does not feature the original Extra from Japanese edition - Rakugo about the Tanuki, on which this movie is partially based. Rakugo is a Japanese "one man theatre" where one actor on scene tells and shows long anecdotes about different comical situations.
Overall it's a "must see" for all fans of Studio Ghibli and Isao Takahata, it's one of his best works. Moreover visual design for this movie was created by Kazuo Oga, the man who established visual look for all Ghibli films starting from "My Neighbor Totoro" in 1988. You definitely will n otforget its stunning backgrounds and fanciful animation approach.
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