Monday, 5 April 2010

Pom Poko

Although I am an enormous fan of Hayao Miyazaki, I am not enchanted by all Studio Ghibli productions. One exception to this rule is Isao Takahata's Pom Poko.

The film concerns a group of tanuki (Japanese racoon dogs) who are famous in Japanese legend for being mischievous and magical shape-changing creatures. And for their enormous ballsacks.

After a practical joke of this calibre, the plot loses its importance. But anyway, in typical Ghibli style, the humans are destroying the tanukis natural habitat, and they decide to fight back. They are led in their struggle by "Old Fireball" who teaches them how to transform into humans.

Sometimes, they also use their pliant scrotums in order to combat the human invasion, turning into bridges for the mechnical diggers to cross on, then changing back and letting the humans fall into ravines while the tanuki all cheer and laugh.

They have a celebratory song too, part of which is about Old Fireball:


One of my favourite transformations is when the elders come to town.

There are many more metamorphoses, including one where the tanuki turn their scrotums into parachutes (surely referred to in Cheryl Cole's Parachutes???) and then enormous weights which they use to crush the policemen.

The final metamorphosis is the most moving, as the remaining tanuki turn themselves into humans. It is heartbreaking. And hilarious. And has more scrotums than in all the Disney films put together. Highly recommended.

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