Movie Review: The Tale of Princess Kaguya

“The Tale of Princess Kaguya” is based on the Japanese folktale, “The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter” and was nominated during the 87th Academy Awards for Best Animated Film.

Here’s a short review I wrote of the English dub (starring Chloë Moretz) back in January:


After watching the movie, I felt at loss for words. It took a while for me to snap out of it and get back to reality, hence my delayed short review. It’s one of those films that sucks you in and makes you feel a part of its world.




One of my first thoughts before seeing the film is that I was worried that the sketch-like art style would be hard to watch. After watching it did I realize I was wrong though. The animation is one of the BEST things about this movie. The strokes, colors, and the movement- especially in Princess Kaguya’s growing up scenes, were smooth and had a very dreamy quality to it…

The story, meanwhile, was quite interesting. I won’t spoil anything but all I have to say is it was slow in some parts and quite fast-paced in some. It also covered a variety of emotions- shifting in different paces. I’d like to think this film and its story as an ode to life. Just like life, things and events occur with different and unpredictable lengths. We don’t know what’s going to happen and sometimes we do, but end up not accepting the reality of things. This is why watching “Princess Kaguya” made me learn to appreciate and cherish life more and appreciate every little detail that goes with it, along with every imperfection.






Overall, seeing it was a very magical experience for me. The detailed art was a treat to watch and the beautiful music that went with it added a lot to the mood and feel of the story. It’s these three- animation, story, and music that sell “Princess Kaguya” for me. I had a lot of feelings after and I couldn’t help but sit and replay some of the most beautiful scenes in my head: Princess Kaguya’s growing up days and the unforgettable end scene.

The Feel of the Film: “Wolf Children” + Disney’s “Brave” + a little bit of Satoshi Kon’s “Paprika” (though “Princess Kaguya” is STILL a film of its own)

How I would sum it up with adjectives: Magical. Beautiful. Bittersweet. Heartbreaking. Uplifting. Dreamy. Haunting.

Watch this if: You’re into the traditional Japanese culture and its folktales

How it will do in the Oscars: I doubt it’s going to win. As beautiful as it is, “Princess Kaguya” isn’t something that General American audiences will usually appreciate as it is VERY Asian (and is far from the culture they are used to). It also doesn’t follow the traditional formula that other animated films in the same category offer. (Spoiler Alert: My January 2015 Predictions were true)

My Personal thoughts: I would not call this my favorite Studio Ghibli film, but I have to admit that it’s one of their finest. A “masterpiece” is one thing to call it.

Would I watch it again: Not anytime soon though. It’s something that I wouldn’t watch over and over. There were particular scenes that were very haunting and I still can’t get the images out of my head.




Kaela is an Illustrator and Graphic Designer who draws inspiration from her quirks, childhood nostalgia, and pop/sub-culture.

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