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Pom Poko (1994)

Heisei tanuki gassen ponpoko (original title)
A community of magical shape-shifting raccoon dogs struggle to prevent their forest home from being destroyed by urban development.

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3 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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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)
Beichô Katsura ...
Kinchô Daimyôjin the Sixth (voice) (as Beichou Katsura)
Bunshi Katsura Vi ...
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)
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Storyline

As the human city development encroaches on the raccoon dog population's forest and meadow habitat, the raccoon dogs find themselves faced with the very real possibility of extinction. In response, the raccoon dogs 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 »

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Details

Country:

Language:

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Release Date:

16 July 1994 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

Pom Poko  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Official submission of Japan for the 'Best Foreign Language Film' category of the 67th Academy Awards in 1995. 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

Featured in AMV Hell 3: The Motion Picture (2005) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
folklore translation requires either background or research
31 August 2010 | by (Ipswich MA) – See all my reviews

(This review is of the Dusney Studios DVD via NetFlix in 2010, and may not exactly match some other releases.) While both the visuals and the storyline of Pom Poko are typical Studio Ghibli, the storyline doesn't completely translate across cultures to the U.S. readily.

There are an awful lot of references to Japanese folklore and quite a few to Japanese culture, so many that the storyline only makes moderate sense to a naive viewer. For one example midway through the film there's a highly varied and lengthy parade of goblins. Every goblin shown is real in the sense that it has its own back-story in Japanese folklore. Although you can enjoy the display without knowing the details of each character, it's just not the same. For a second example, years are referred to in what at first appears to a U.S. viewer to be a rather strange construct about "era"s, something that's typically assumed to be specific to the characters in the film and somewhat random. In fact, the "era" construct for naming years is standardized and is used throughout Japanese society.

Translation across cultures is a particular problem when it's not just secondary things but is the main characters. The main characters are "Tanuki", sometimes translated as "Tanuki" again, sometimes as "Racoon dog", and with a possible reference to something that would be called a "badger" in the U.S. While real, these creatures also have a central place in Japanese folklore. Particularly important are their "balls", which are displayed prominently, contained in a scrotum reputed to be as large as eight tatami mats. While the original is already a part of Japanese culture, is known by everyone, and is the source of quite a bit of gentle humor; American attitudes probably vary from some finding it a bit "odd" to the prudish finding it just plain "objectionable".

Disney has done new/dubbed soundtracks for all the U.S. releases of Studio Ghibli material. Generally they're excellent, translating not only the words but also the most important cultural references. But here the Disney soundtrack has had difficulties (not blatantly obvious on first viewing, but clear enough on the second viewing); there are too many cultural references to translate, yet translating just the words results in a story that too often doesn't quite make sense. Even the earlier subtitles make obvious trade-offs that are not always successful, for example calling the main characters "Racoons" rather than "Tanuki" even though doing so risks changing the meaning of the story significantly.

Both the old Japanese soundtrack and the new/dubbed Disney soundtrack are present. (As usual, the mouth movements of the anime characters don't quite match the English soundtrack, but the effect is not at all jarring and is in fact quite easy to just ignore.) More importantly, both the old subtitles that try to match the literal Japanese very closely and the new subtitles that exactly match the Disney soundtrack are present. Not being able to understand Japanese, I of course resorted to the English translations, but found neither the Disney soundtrack nor the original subtitles to be completely adequate. What worked better for me was a combination of the two -Disney new/dubbed English soundtrack (audio track 1 of 2) and original English subtitles (subtitle track 2 of 3).


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