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Pom Poko (1994)
"Heisei tanuki gassen ponpoko" (original title)

7.4
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 10,179 users  
Reviews: 44 user | 38 critic

A community of magical shapeshifting raccoons desperately struggle to prevent their forest home from being destroyed by urban development.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Shinchô Kokontei ...
Narrator (voice)
Makoto Nonomura ...
Shôkichi (voice)
Yuriko Ishida ...
Okiyo (voice)
Norihei Miki ...
Seizaemon (voice)
Nijiko Kiyokawa ...
Fireball Oroku (voice)
Shigeru Izumiya ...
Gonta (voice)
Gannosuke Ashiya ...
Inugami Gyobu (voice)
Takehiro Murata ...
Bunta (voice)
Beichou Katsura ...
Sanshi Katsura ...
Yashimano Hage (voice) (as Bunshi Katsura)
Kosan Yanagiya ...
Abbot Tsurugame (voice)
Akira Kamiya ...
Tamasaburô (voice)
Rei Sakuma ...
(voice)
Tomokazu Seki ...
Male Tanuki B (voice)
Minoru Yada ...
(voice)
Edit

Storyline

As the human city development encroaches on the raccoon population's forest and meadow habitat, the raccoons find themselves faced with the very real possibility of extinction. In response, the raccoons engage in a desperate struggle to stop the construction and preserve their home. Written by Kenneth Chisholm <kchishol@execulink.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG for violence, scary images and thematic elements | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

16 July 1994 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

Pom Poko  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Creatures shown in order of appearance during project poltergeist: - Shadows of hungry spirits. - Inari upon fox. - Foxes (Kitsune) performing Fox Wedding. - Lantern-spirit. - Skeleton. - Umbrella. - Fire breathing tiger. - Oni. - Shoki the Demon Slayer. - Agyo. - Tiny people performing funeral rights. - Raijin (God of Rain). - Fuujin (God of Wind). - Various squids and a fish. - Lantern. - Tengu. - Bulbs. - Bowing child-like samurai. - Maneki neko faced bowing samurai child. - Goblins. - Colorful beetles. - Wife spirit. - Spider. - Multi-headed woman. - Flame. - Skeleton. - Monkeys. - Rabbits. - Frogs. - Ryuu (dragon). - Train. - Dancing flames of white. - Man with reversible face. - Further indiscreet goblins. - Blue goblin. - Snake-like creature with man's face. - Purple spirit. - Camel-faced woman. - Four-legged cyclopic creature. - Mouth-creature. - Two oni. - Seven lucky gods (Benzaiten, Ebisu, Fukurakujo, Hotei, Daikoku). - Blue and flesh-colored goblins. - Walking stone legs. - Animated telephone poles. - Skeleton. - Fire & Firemen. - Tops. - Pill-like structures with eyes. - Flood. - Flying tanuki in flames. - Skeleton. - Seven lucky gods with goblins. - Amida Nyorai with Bodhisattva attendants. See more »

Goofs

The English-dubbed version incorrectly refers to the tanuki as "raccoons". Tanuki are actually "raccoon dogs" - they are in the canid branch of mammals. See more »

Quotes

Narrator: They used their balls as weapons in a brave kamikaze attack.
See more »

Connections

References Only Yesterday (1991) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Less than the sum of its parts
24 April 2004 | by (Toronto) – See all my reviews

Isao Takahata, the man who brought us the good Only Yesterday and the masterful Grave of the Fireflies, is at his most bizarre here. This is essentially the same story about anthropomorphic animals being distressed that humans are destroying their home that has been told countless times before, but there's precious little here that will be tiresomely familiar. The movie is overflowing with creativity, humour, and invention; and in the end, that's probably why it's ultimately less than a masterpiece. There's so much here that too little attention seems to have gone into tying it all together coherently.

The first half is definitely the best, since the movie treads more carefully while establishing itself. The raccoons living in a forest that's scheduled to be destroyed to make way for a new Tokyo suburb unite to develop their shapeshifting powers and use them to save their home. The problem, however, is that these are not professional guerrillas or revolutionaries or anything of the sort. They are raccoons, and as such, equally concerned with partying and scavenging in the humans' trash as with getting rid of them. There's also a priceless plot point about the need to keep the population down by stopping all mating in spring -- a policy with obvious enforcement problems. The tone is kept mostly light, and things move briskly, making the movie a fun experience thus far. Particularly ingenious is how the raccoons are shown differently according to the dramatic needs of the scene/ sometimes they're drawn completely realistically, walking on four legs and with totally inexpressive faces; sometimes they're drawn like traditional bipedal cartoon characters; and other times they take on human form.

However, its two-hour running time may have been a bit much. There's no concrete point where it stops working, but somehow the second hour works less well than the first. Plot points become more and more dubious and underdeveloped. What kind of Spook War could so easily be mistaken for a parade? Why were they initially so reticent about talking to the TV reporter? Shouldn't they have tried to do something with that million dollars they stole? Also, the "turn back the clock" illusion at the climax is maybe too ambiguous for its own good. It's not that it couldn't have been effective -- Hayao Miyazaki fine-tuned it to be devastatingly effective in Princess Mononoke -- but it just seems a bit incongruous here. The very end tries to be bittersweet in its admission of defeat but continuance of hope, but with only nominal success.

Still, this one is definitely worth seeing. As with all Studio Ghibli films, it's more concerned with real emotions and issues rather than the spraying blood and female nudity of so much other anime, and the level of wit and invention is some of the highest ever. It's a textbook example of how to handle anthropomorphism of animals with a maximum realism and a minimum of sentimentality. And where else are you going to see balls used so effectively as weapons?


29 of 45 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Rated R! Orbzon
:-/ Why did they have to translate 'tanuki' as 'raccoon'? SilverMoonFox
Balls!!!!!!!!! jojopely
is this film any good? biker_brat
That NES like device emasterslake
REAL Tanuki balls? Ezel
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