[[caption-width-right:350:Enjoy this rare view of the tanuki with their magic scrotums covered. It will not last.]]

''Heisei Tanuki Gassen Ponpoko'' (Heisian Tanuki War Ponpoko, 1994) is Creator/StudioGhibli's 8th film. It is the story of a rag-tag group of magical animals engaged in a desperate battle to prevent the destruction of their forest.

Directed by Creator/IsaoTakahata, ''Pom Poko'' deftly fulfills Ghibli's dual missions of advocating for the environment and preserving traditional Japanese culture by presenting a cautionary environmental story ''and'' a raucous exploration of Japanese folklore all wrapped up a bittersweet tale of the costs of urban sprawl told from perspective of the displaced animals.

The {{Tanuki}}, known as the "raccoon dog" in English (which is ''not'' related to the North American Raccoon, as much as it might resemble one), occupies a very important place in Japanese traditional and popular culture. ''Pom Poko'' takes full advantage of this by working in just about every Tanuki reference available from fairy tales, folklore and even nursery rhymes. Needless to say, most of these references are lost on non-Japanese audience. Unfortunately, as Takahata's partner Creator/HayaoMiyazaki has been known to lament, nowadays many of these things are lost on the increasingly urbanized Japanese as well.

Well noted for the scene where defiant tanuki use one of their most prominent fairy tale features (their extraordinarily large testicles) as clubs to attack the police. And it shouldn't surprise anyone that the art is incredible, seeing as it's a Creator/StudioGhibli film.

'Ponpoko' is a reference to the sound the tanuki of legend were supposed to make using their bellies as drums.


* AllMenArePerverts: Zigzagged. When the Tanukis' self-imposed restriction on breeding first goes into effect, the females literally have to beat the males away. When the next mating season comes around, however, they cheerfully chuck the rules along with the guys.
* AllPartOfTheShow: An uinintentional version. To try and frighten the humans out of New Tama, the tanuki enact "Operation Specter", a massive parade of {{youkai}} and monsters. However, it merely amazes the humans, and a nearby amusement park takes credit for the show as a publicity stunt.
* [[FunnyAnimal Anthropomorphic Animal]] (see below)
* ArtShift: The tanuki shift from realistic to anthropomorphic to cartoonish and back again as the story requires.
* AnimalsLackAttributes: Averted. ''MAGICAL. TANUKI. TESTICLES.''
* BittersweetEnding: [[spoiler:The tanuki's home is destroyed, save for a few parks and preserves, and those who can transform are forced to join the human world, abandoning those who can't. However, their fun-loving, easy going spirits survive. The end of the movie finds them dancing and singing joyfully in a grassy field. . .the camera cranes back to reveal that it's a golf course.]]
* {{Bowdlerise}}: Japanese culture (even children's songs) is full of earthy references to the Tanuki's most outstanding anatomical feature--unusually large testicles. Not surprisingly, Disney changed "scrotum" to "pouch" for the English dub -- but not the subtitles on the dvd version. On the Blu-Ray version, they don't use Japanese translated subtitles. Whether or not they fooled anyone is unclear. (Actually, given all the sight gags on that topic, the real surprise is that Disney did the release at all.)
** With Ghibli films at least Disney tends to bow down to the sub watchers with the subtitles. The subtitles match the original dialogue closer, on average, than the dub.
** Part of Disney's contract with Studio Ghibli was that they wouldn't edit any of the studio's films. This after the terrible fate of ''Manga/NausicaaOfTheValleyOfTheWind'' at the hands of New World Video. So, Disney released ''Anime/PomPoko'' unedited and hoped that nobody would notice.[[note]]That being said, Disney neglected to release Isao Takahata's ''Anime/OnlyYesterday'' and Goro Miyazaki's ''Anime/FromUpOnPoppyHill'' in the US (though they have been released by GKIDS) because of "unacceptable" content - a discussion about menstruation in ''Only Yesterday'' and implied incest in ''Poppy Hill''.[[/note]]
* BreakingTheFourthWall: A rare serious example, at the end of the movie, to ask the viewers to protect the tanukis, the foxes and all the non-transforming animals.
* CulturalTranslation: Largely averted, aside from the bowdlerisation noted above and the mis-translation of "Tanuki" as "Raccoon" for North American audiences. Other Japanese cultural references are either explained or ignored.
* FauxDocumentary: The movie is presented in this format with the narrator being a tanuki who has assimilated into a human lifestyle, though this only becomes apparent in the epilogue.
* FunnyBackgroundEvent: Behind the two elderly dudes drinking all the ghostly parade through without noticing (bordering on UnusuallyUninterestingSight / WeirdnessCensor)
* GagPenis: Sort of. The Tanuki's traditional distinguishing feature is played for laughs throughout the movie.
* GhibliHills: Massively subverted as this film depicts the ''destruction'' of the Ghibli Hills by developers.
* GroinAttack: [[InvertedTrope The groin attacks you.]]
* HotBlooded: Gonta's loud answer to everything concerning humans is to go to war with them.
* HumansAreBastards: Subverted: The humans aren't evil, they just need the room, and when the Tanuki finally reveal themselves to the media, humanity proves to be willing to some degree of compromise, if only because people like to live among green spaces too.
** But there's also the owner of that amusement park that sabotaged Project Spectre by saying it had been his doing as a publicity stunt, thereby breaking the tanuki's morale.
* HumanityEnsues: The shape-changing tanuki eventually give up and start living as humans themselves, just as the foxes did before them.
* ItCantBeHelped: The tanuki have to "accept the unacceptable" and conform to humans' encroachment on their territory. Some turn into humans and adapt, others weather on as tanuki, but their golden days will never come back.
* KickTheDog:
** Many of the Tanuki celebrate after Gonta's resistance brings the deaths and injuries of three humans. The elders' calling them out with a WhatTheHellHero gets mostly drowned out.
** The ex-leader of the Blue group is implied [[spoiler: by the epilogue to have taken up real estate in his human form and had already sold some of the Tanuki territory by the ending.]]
* LampShadeHanging: The Tanuki constantly reference the songs, stories, and nursery rhymes about them.
* MoodWhiplash: In the climax, images of mass Tanuki genocide are cross-cut with wacky ball gags.
* NoSexAllowed: The Tanuki invoke a temporary case of this in order to keep their numbers small and protect their dwindling food supply. [[spoiler:It works for a while.]]
* RedOniBlueOni: The impulsive and aggressive Gonta wears red clothes, contrasting with the calmer Seizaemon, who wears blue-ish ones.
* RefugeInAudacity: When some of the Tanuki decide to go public on TV to plead their case to save their habitat. To the typical viewer (and the in-universe ones too), you will reflexively think this stunt [[ReedRichardsIsUseless will never happen]] as fantasy folk in these stories are ''never'' openly revealed and no one will believe they are seeing the real thing. However, after a moment's hesitation, the Tanuki find the courage to do the unthinkable and appear right on camera to make their address and, to a degree, ''it works''!
* RidiculouslyCuteCritter: The tanuki. Especially in their "intermediate" form, in which they look like teddy bears. ''So'' much so.
** Also a ''delightful'' case of TruthInTelevision. For people who've never seen an actual tanuki or wasn't aware they even really existed, [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l-vGu6cCtxM&feature=fvw this is one of the most popular videos of one]].
* ShoutOut: [[Anime/MyNeighborTotoro Totoro]], [[Anime/KikisDeliveryService Kiki]], [[Anime/PorcoRosso Porco Rosso]] and [[Anime/OnlyYesterday Taeko]] all appear in the Tanuki's "Ghost Parade".
** Also, in a scene where a group of Tanuki are trying to scare away a person from buying some property, they use the signature pose of the original Series/KamenRider to transform.
* {{Tanuki}}: This movie is all about them. There are plenty of references to fairy tales, songs and nursery rhymes about tanuki throughout the film.
* ToiletHumour: In a scene where the old Tsurugame is talking to the huge and loud tanuki crowd, one of them accidentally and quite hilariously rips a gigantic fart.
* TheUnmasquedWorld: Some of the tanuki go public to plead their case to save their habitat. It's effective to a degree.
* WhatHappenedToTheMouse: [[spoiler:Kiyo and Shokichi's cubs.]] We're treated to an adorable montage of their parents lovingly raising them, and then come fall, they're never mentioned again.