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

7.4
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 10,603 users  
Reviews: 45 user | 39 critic

A community of magical shape shifting raccoon dogs desperately struggle to prevent their forest home from being destroyed by urban development.

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Title: Pom Poko (1994)

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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
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Did You Know?

Trivia

As the tanuki fly off in a train of spirits and ghosts, immediately before beginning project "Poltergeist", images characters from other Ghibli works can be seen, including that of Kiki from Kiki's Delivery Service (1989), Porco Roso's Seaplane from Porco Rosso (1992), Totoro on his top from My Neighbor Totoro (1988), and young Taeko from Only Yesterday (1991) can be seen flying just above the winged skeleton. 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

Osho: [Osho is patiently teaching a class to the young raccoons] A raccoon fell out of the tree! Yes, that's right. Who can tell me *why* the raccoon fell out of the tree? Gonta?
Gonta: [grunts] He was a loser.
See more »

Connections

References Ocean Waves (1993) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
an underrated masterpiece
30 December 2005 | by (USA) – See all my reviews

I just had the opportunity to finally see "Pom Poko," thanks to Disney's stateside DVD release. Fortunately, the dub is fantastic -- any qualms about "confusing" Japanese folktales and such seem to have been taken care of with the quality translation. The voice actors (only one "name" actor, a very fine/unrecognizable Jonathan Taylor Thomas) acquit themselves quite nicely, and it might be one of the best dubs I've ever heard.

The infamous enlarged scrotums, I'm happy to report, are such a small part of the entire experience that the fact that it was so dwelled on by dozens upon dozens of people for years prior to domestic DVD release is saddening. At first, yes, when a "pouch" is magically (and humorously) transformed into a red rug, it's amusing and a bit shocking. But that feeling wears off almost instantly.

Even though they changed the references of "scrotum" to "pouch," I'm still surprised Disney had the balls (pun intended) to release it, given their standards for "family"-esque (safe and arguably predictable) entertainment. There are a couple glimpses of actual nudity (breasts) and some humans die in rather morbid ways. I'm not inferring that I wish they hadn't released it, for if they had not I would have never seen it. I'm just happy with their decision. For once, at least in recent times, I feel the need to thank Disney whole heartedly.

The film itself is such a pleasure. It moves briskly, contains *beautiful* images and is endlessly entertaining. A large part of it's success is due to the constant narration; as others have noted, it almost seems like an exquisite documentary at times.

The story is simple yet effective: humans are destroying a community of tanukis, and the tanukis do everything they can to help preserve their home in way of transformation. It's often funny and adorable, but what's somewhat unexpected is the amount you'll be moved by their struggle. The ending, criticized by some, almost moved me to tears. I won't explain what happens, but some wise things are said.

As you probably know, the tanukis are somewhat distractingly called "raccoons" in the dub. I'm willing to forgive Disney for this obvious error, though, as they resemble the latter to a pretty high degree. And I'm sure it made it easier on the translators for lip synchronization (two syllables).

Not so surprising: "Pom Poko" was the top box office smash in Japan the year it came out (and Japan's own submission for best foreign film Oscar). Regardless of the minor violence/nudity/inflated scrotums (ahem), this film will appeal to anyone with a heart and a brain. It's not some minor little piece about tanukis humorously fending off humans, even if it sometimes appears to be. It's a major statement about man vs. nature, and it's often beautiful and witty and intelligent, the sort of thing most non-animated films aspire to be.

I know this might sound rash and pretentious, but I watched two films tonight: "Laputa" (Japanese with subtitles) and "Pom Poko" (English dub). Oddly, I liked this film more. Here's hoping that master director Takahata's underrated treasure will win over more viewers, thanks to Disney's recent bare-bones DVD release and the eventual airing on Turner Classic Movies this January.


29 of 35 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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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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