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Kaguyahime no monogatari
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Reviews & Ratings for
The Tale of the Princess Kaguya More at IMDbPro »Kaguyahime no monogatari (original title)

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119 out of 131 people found the following review useful:

Very good reputation in Japan

10/10
Author: labelleequipe25 from Japan
5 December 2013

I've already watched this film 3 times! I was deeply moved and couldn't stop crying every time.

I believe that "Princess Kaguya" is the best Ghibli film in the past 10 years because of the beautiful hand-drawn animation and touching story.

Japanese audience and critics are also very positive for this film, compared to other Ghilbi films.

Hayao Miyazaki is a genius but his recent films are always controversial since "Haul's Moving Castle".

One of the reason is that he relies on his imagination and makes light of a script. That's why quite a few people can't fully understand his recent films and sometimes blame them. ("The Wind Rises" was a tragedy in this meaning.)

Isao Takahata, the director of "Princess Kaguya", is a very good director known for "The Grave of Firefly" but not so active since "My neighbor the Yamada".

His philosophy is very different from that of Hayao Miyazaki. Isao Takahata thinks the scenario is very important and he prefers realism to fantasy.

"Princess Kaguya" is based on the Japanese oldest folklore "The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter". But Isao Takahata transforms it into a universal humanistic story by describing Princess Kaguya as a realistic girl.

This film contains many fantastic scenes and they play as good eye candies. But the brilliantly illustrated life and emotions of the heroine is the most important part in this film. And that's what the director wants us to try to sympathize.

The beautiful and artistic style of this animation is suitable for this theme. Because this apparently unfinished animation gives us the room to imagine by ourselves.

Isao Takahata says, "The animations tend to deprive children of their own imagination by pushing them someone else's fantasy. We have to make another animation which let them imagine by themselves".

I can't wait to see the responses from the worldwide audience! Hope you will like this film too!

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57 out of 62 people found the following review useful:

A Triumph

9/10
Author: Josh Friesen from Canada
29 September 2014

With the exception of the energetic The Lego Movie, this year has been a disappointment for the animated genre. What a relief then it is that Isao Takahata's (Grave of the Fireflies) new film is a triumphant success.

Based on a 10th century Japanese folktale, The Tale of Princess Kaguya is a bittersweet coming of age story. Our protagonist is Kaguya-hime who is discovered as a baby in a bamboo stalk by an old peasant man. He and his childless wife raise her as their own, providing the best they can as she rapidly ages. While her mother is fearful of change and just wants a comfortable life for her adopted daughter, her father envisions great things. He sees Kaguya as part of a divine plan and after fine clothes and gold come shooting out of bamboo stalks he concludes that the heavens want her to become a proper princess. He assumes this is the best way to make his daughter happy instead of asking her what she wants.

A sharply observed feminist critique of traditional Japanese culture as well as a cautionary tale of the burdens we place on our children, The Tale of Princess Kaguya has a wealth of complex themes and archetypes hidden beneath the surface of its fairly straight- forward story. This is one of the rare films that are both easily accessible to a young audience and one that film students can write thesis papers on.

The final word should be reserved for Studio Ghibli's animation. The style used invokes something between impressionist paintings and water-colours while employing a muted palette. Ghibli moves away from traditional anime and the results are breathtaking. The hand drawn frames could each stand alone as a portrait and yet the film feels fluid. At times the animation blurs into expressionism; the brush strokes matching the characters inner- turmoil.

Easily the best animated film of the year, it's a must see for fans of the genre. Luckily North America will get a theatrical release; the English-dubbed version will be out October 17 and will star Chloe Grace Moretz as Kaguya.

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70 out of 92 people found the following review useful:

perfect

10/10
Author: jurgen-lottermoser from New Zealand
7 August 2014

what an amazing experience.

probably the best movie i will ever see.

gorgeous animation, great storytelling, what a pity it had to end.

there isn't really much more to say about it.

forget about people's problems with it.

just go and see it.

i'm probably biased since i love the style and am interested in Japanese culture and Buddhism.

if you even have an inkling of interest in these you will probably love it.

PS: IMDb, your criteria for review submission are ridiculous to put it mildly.

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42 out of 48 people found the following review useful:

A beautiful version of the old Japanese folk tale. A must see!

9/10
Author: davidrobertson12345 . from Japan
7 December 2013

Like many other Ghibli fans I didn't like the Yamadas back in the day but Takahata Isao has returned with a blast.

The film is beautiful. The animation is simple yet exquisite, reminiscent of old Japanese watercolours. Special kudos go to Joe Hisaishi for his superb soundtrack - the final scene and its music left me almost in tears.

The only problems lie in the sometimes slow development of the plot and a few loose ends. There are also tiny deviations from the original story, but I felt that it was as true to it as possible. All in all a beautifully drawn, beautifully crafted movie, solid voice acting (for a Japanese movie at least) and, again, the beautiful music. Excellent job, Ghibli.

Hats down to Mr. Takahata as well.

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37 out of 43 people found the following review useful:

Incredible Art-Style and Profound Story

10/10
Author: marcvalenzuela from California, U.S.A.
13 November 2014

The Tale of Princess Kaguya was certainly a story that I was fully intrigued with. Because of its limited release in theaters, it wasn't easy trying to find it, but when I finally caught it at a local art house theater, I was further interested in the story that had yet to unfold. Since it was based on the centuries-old Japanese folktale, I know it has been told differently many times by various writers in literature, theater, even film. Nevertheless, I had to check out Studio Ghibli's take on the classic story.

It's about an elder bamboo cutter named Okina who discovers a young, tiny girl in a bamboo shoot and decides to adopt her as his own along with his loving wife Ona. As years progress, the tiny girl begins to grow rapidly to normal size like the other children of their village, eventually having to leave since her adoptive parents decide to have her raised among the nobles. From there, she is given the name "Princess Kaguya" and things become further complicated when so much is offered to her so suddenly.

When comparing this movie to past Studio Ghibli efforts, it's obvious that the animation style is nothing like its preceding films. And with studio founder Hayao Miyazaki having stepped down and no involvement with this current project, I have to say it's a drastic, yet vibrant change in what Studio Ghibli is widely known for. I loved the story and it had an ending that was rather heartwarming and enough to tug anyone's heartstrings. With the English dub voice of Kaguya done gracefully by Chloe Grace-Moretz (Let Me In, Carrie, If I Stay), she actually stands out well as the title character, like it wasn't forced.

The animation technique was rather intricate, but it was reminiscent of an old Japanese art painting I've once studied about in Art History classes at my local college. American animation studios have believed traditional 2-D to be a dying art form in the film industry these days, but I can tell Japan does not acknowledge it in that way at all, whether it's TV or film. The concept I started believing for the entire film felt like "a timeless painting" and it's quite a stroke of genius, in my opinion.

The music and underscore of Joe Hisaishi has left me engaged that it flows evenly well with the scenes as they play out. But most notably, director Isao Takahata really stepped up following his involvements with titles like "Kiki's Delivery Service," "My Neighbor The Yamadas," and even the touching "Grave of the Fireflies." This entire movie has earned its rightful place in the Studio Ghibli library. This is another example of a Ghibli film where you don't have to be an avid Japanese Anime fan to enjoy it, what matters is that such themes existed in various genres, not just in one medium or one genre alone.

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30 out of 35 people found the following review useful:

Masterpiece

10/10
Author: Zobras from France
10 December 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The Tale of Princess Kaguya's is Takahata's final work to end his prolific career at Studio Ghibli. The motion picture is not only based on the famous Japanese folktale but also a story about Takahata's own retirement and vision of death. Behind the facade of a girl that grows up to become a princess and eventually leave earth for the moon, is the author's own perceptions about the cycles of life, happiness, disappointments and afterlife. It's also a message about family values, and the lapses of time and age. The tale of princess Kaguya is probably my favorite Ghibli movie visually-wise. The water colors, reminiscent of ancient Chinese ink and brush techniques are masterfully used here, and bring out all the emotions from the movie's main protagonists. It really doesn't get any better than this. From the landscape canvas of rural Japan, to the magnificent character artwork, everything moves fluidly. The story is both hopeful and tragic, and the excellent dialogue adds up to it. The soundtrack from Joe Hisaishi is masterful and the Japanese voice overs are absolutely brilliant. To summarize without giving away too many details, this 140 min animated picture is a masterpiece from all angles, one of Studio Ghibli's finest releases and arguably one of the greatest animated movies ever made.

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31 out of 37 people found the following review useful:

One of Ghiblis Best Movies

10/10
Author: PBbelongsMe .
21 December 2014

I was a bit anxious before seeing this movie because it is not from Miyazaki but after seeing it I can say that there was no reason to be anxious about this movie. It's probably the most beautiful movie I've ever seen and it is equally as good, if not even better as spirited away and princess mononoke. The story is wonderfully told and it has some extremely sad moments. But probably the best thing about this movie is the breath taking animation. It's just incredibly beautiful and just so unique that you just won't forget it. As always for a Ghibli movie the movie has an eye for detail and you just feel the passion which was put into this movie. This movie was one of the best anime I have ever seen and probably also one of the best movies I have ever seen.

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34 out of 48 people found the following review useful:

This is not a mere Animation this is an experience

10/10
Author: ramkoil from Australia
5 December 2014

I watched the movie in Japanese with subtitle, and found it moving, touching and entertaining. Like other Ghibli productions these are not mere animations they are experiences. A kind of the movie that remains with you for a long time. Unlike Hollywood movies and animation that once the credit roles you have forgotten it. This animation takes you away from artificial shallow and politically correct world of ours that everything has a motive and or lobbied by some interest group, where humanity is sold to some faction or interest group. One of the reviewers had the temerity to mention this movie in the same sentence as Lego movie please don't. This is an accomplishment and the latter is a travesty. Don't even mention the Fem. Word in this vicinity.

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26 out of 33 people found the following review useful:

animation of the decade

10/10
Author: chuck-526 from Ipswich MA
24 January 2015

The animation masterpiece of the decade. Takahata is going out on top. The fabled north American distribution deal between Disney and Studio Ghibli (apparently) applies only to the works of Myazaki; north American distribution of this is being handled by GKIDS. So the heavyweight marketing of Pixar/Disney isn't behind it. But don't be fooled by its "art-house" distribution or its relative obscurity - this is a really big deal.

It's an "epic", having taken eight years to produce and clocking in at well over two hours. I haven't seen the words "production committee" in credits since 'Akira' - that means it was too big for any one normal producer, so several companies had to form a "consortium": Studio Ghibli itself, a TV network, a foreign corporation, a movie studio, and three others. And the animation work itself was so large that parts of it were farmed out to _nine_ other studios.

There are two versions: an English dub of the soundtrack with most things written in English characters (although in general dubs suck, animation is often an exception); and a Japanese soundtrack with written English subtitles and most things (including virtually all the credits) written in Japanese characters. If the names of the voice actors you hear sound vaguely familiar, that's the English dub version. In fact, if you're viewing this in a theater, unless the theater is pretty sophisticated, you won't even have a choice - you'll see only the English dub version. And that's okay.

You get what you're used to from Studio Ghibli: powerful and independent women characters, a strong bond with the natural world, seamless switches back and forth between reality and fantasy, rootedness in tradition and folklore, and the music of Joe Hisaishi. Add to that some themes I associate specifically with Takahata: portrayals of "reality" even when it's quite sad, nostalgia, an acceptance and open portrayal of the concept of the "cycle of life", and ambivalence toward tradition and especially patriarchy (respecting and illustrating the good, while at the same time poking fun at the bad). Finally add a new twist I haven't seen in animation before: whole scenes where all the dialog, the visuals, and even the music, point to one interpretation ...only to recast the whole thing in a different light at the end to reach a totally unexpected conclusion.

The animation is 2D and very intricate, but still appears hand-drawn. Outlines vary in thickness and density, and colored areas don't always reach exactly to an outline. It could be computer-drawn (as many apparently hand-drawn animations actually are these days) only if the computer made an awful lot of "mistakes". Interestingly, the figures and the backgrounds look exactly the same (not different styles of animation as is often the case). It's all colored with pastels. The end result looks somewhat as though 'My Neighbors the Yamadas' had been used as starting sketches which were then finished.

I thought my evaluation of "hand drawn" was vindicated when a whole screenful of the end credits was occupied with the names of all the in-betweeners. But then just a bit later the whole screen was again filled with one category of names, this time all the digital ink and painters. Sometimes what you'd expect to be computer-generated is in fact clearly hand drawn, as when shadows move just a bit awkwardly between the beginning and the end of a scene. Other times the effect really seems computer-generated, as when a character is seen in a side closeup crashing through vegetation with lots and lots of branches flying much faster than anyone could draw them, or as when there's a cross-fade between scenes. I could never even guess though how it had been done when occasionally I could see what was behind a bit of translucent cloth.

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16 out of 21 people found the following review useful:

Awesome fairy tale

9/10
Author: bbickley13-921-58664
10 November 2014

Based on real Japanese folklore, the animation takes its tone from those original artworks I've seen on Japanese scrolls, and mixes it with contemporary anime.

I love the way animation can take such simple things as eating a melon or watching birds fly into a tree so much more exciting. By using traditional animation (although I need notice some computerize layouts),The Japanese have done it again with their personal approach to the detail of animation you can only get from 2D.

Adding to my enjoyment, this English adaption of the film includes the voice talent of Chloë Grace Moretz as the princess, who I've become a fan of.

It was very beautiful artwork moving across the big screen.

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