Miyori is an 11 year-old girl from Tokyo whose parents are undergoing a messy divorce and, rather than being willing to stay together for the sake of giving her a stable family life, they dump her on her father's parents. If that wasn't bad enough, from Miyori's perspective, her grandparents live in a remote mountain village with none of the mod. cons. that Miyori was accustomed to.
All but forgotten in her memory was a strange incident far in Miyori's past, when she was a toddler and could barely walk. A picnic in the hills by her grandparents' house with her parents, wandering off by herself and climbing an ancient, sacred cherry tree. And there, in the tree, what seemed like bizarre forest spirits who welcomed Miyori until her worried parents found her.
Life with her grandparents isn't as bad as Miyori expected, and she's pleased with having the run of the lower attic of the farmhouse, but mystified by the upper attic and its strange collection of mysterious artifacts. And finding out that her grandmother is actually a witch, albeit the good kind, comes as a surprise, but not as much as meeting the forest spirits once again.
Then one day she finds out that the forest is in danger of being submerged, as construction scouts from the city are looking to build a dam to divert water to the city. The only thing that can stop them is if there happen to be any wild animals of endangered species living in the forest, but these men aren't above shooting anything -- or anyone -- who gets in their way.
Miyori of the Forest is very much in the vein of Miyazaki's wonderful "Princess Mononoke", "Spirited Away" and "My Neighbor Totoro", the excellent "Earth Maiden Arjuna" and the equally excellent series "Mushishi" (AKA "Bugmaster"). Although the plot isn't quite as well thought-out as these, it matches it for realistically developed characters, ecological wisdom and lush animation.
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