If the curse started and spread from Ashitaka's arm, why couldn't they just cut it off?
I imagine that the Wise Woman asked her magic rocks that very question, and the answer was "Nope. It doesn't work that way." The curse is probably in his blood by that point. (Also, it's magic. It doesn't need to make sense.)
While it is stressed that San sees herself as a wolf, an equal to her siblings, she treats them an awful lot like house dogs with all the scratching behind the ears bit. It seems like she sees herself in the dominant side of the master/pet relationship.
This Troper saw it more as a sign of affection, after all- it doesn't seem like they dislike the feeling, and if they like it, well... Honestly, I saw it more like when you give your friend a back rub or something. (Okay, bad example, but still...)
Friendly touch is very important for most mammals. Wolves constantly nuzzle and rub each other. San is doing the human equivalent to them. Not to mention that they must be really grateful that she can so masterfully scratch them in places they have really hard time reaching.
They might see her as an older sister. Even among siblings it is not uncommon for one to be more dominant and assertive than another, usually along age or gender lines.
I saw it that way too. I mean she does even tell them what to do at times (like not killing Ashitaka or eating his elk, leaving those monkeys alone and other parts of the movie.) I didn't see it as her being their "Superior" or something. Just an older sister. She was very affectionate with them, and they do respect and cherish her.
This is very much in line with natural wolf behavior. Wolves are matriarchal with an alpha pair and seniority usually passing to the eldest daughter. San's "brothers" would instinctively defer to her, especially if she's older than them and her place reinforced by discipline from their mother.
I realize that there's a whole lot of gray in this movie, but I need to know whether or not there was any one side they wanted us to root for. It wasn't like Avatar where the Na'vi were supposed to be the heroes, I just rooted for the humans of Iron Town to come out on top.
The fact that the protagonist, Ashitaka, steadfastly refuses to pick sides indicates which side Miyazaki wanted the audience to take as well.
I don't think there was a side you were "supposed" to root for, no. And I liked the movie all the more for it.
As far as I can tell, the point of the story is that it is entirely possible for different cultures to live in harmony with each other, without war to determine a 'winner.' In that sense, I don't think you should root for anyone. The closest thing to a villain is Jigo, and his motives are understandable...
No, you weren't suppose to root for either side. Everyone is portrayed as having the potential to be bloodthirsty or have an ounce of kindness. Even the forest harbours irrational (but somewhat understandable) hatred for the humans. This explains how even the merciful Boar who pardoned and thank the protagonist for the truth becomes consumed by his demons. Even so the forest reveals it kind side when it willingly guides the protagonist and two wounded man across. Note the scene where two woman are willing to meet Princess Mononoke to avenge their fallen husbands. Everyone can have a sympathetic side.
Out of curiosity, why does someone have to be the villain? Why does someone need to be the cut-and-dry bad guy with a big neon sign over their head flashing VILLAIN? The vast majority of real people don't fit that mold. There are good and bad people on every side of the line. Most people are on the side they're on because they believe, for whatever reason, they're in the right. Soldiers don't fight in wars because it's fun, they fight because they believe they're on the right side. And, sort of related, I'm also curious as to why you decided that the people to root for were the ones who deliberately started a war and knowingly attempted to commit genocide.
Who said that someone needs to be a cut-and-dry bad guy? Reminding us that the real world isn't like that is kind of Hayao Miyazaki's thing.
Don't forget they successfully attempted deicide!
Close - what they DID was trap the Shishigami halfway between its normal form and the Daidarabotchi form. This turned it into a Tartarigami, who killed and destroyed everything in its path seeking out its head. By the time Ashitaka returned its head, the forest that sustained it was dead - killed off not by the humans, but its own rampage, and it self-destructed.
Um, pretty sure they weren't talking about that. Are you forgetting that they killed the wolf?'
It could be said that Moro (and Ottoko, and their people) were actually "minor spirits", different from the Shishigami (Who, in turn, shows actual godly powers). That's because the word "kami" can be used either to name spirits or to name gods.
There's a difference between "I want to divide the entire world into good guys and bad guys!" and "I want to understand the shape of this conflict." FWIW, I think that what Miyazaki was trying to get across was that the humans started the conflict, in over-hunting the spirits and over-exploiting the earth, but that the spirits' escalation and increased depravity was also to blame.
After viewing the movies a few more times, I made this interesting observation: Irontown doesn't seem to have children. I suppose the reason behind it is that the men and women are too busy with their jobs whether it's in the industrial town or outside and there were higher priorities, and Lady Eboshi built her town by recruiting so there wasn't a need to reproduce (or because it would just be a burden to them). What do other tropers have to say or speculate about this?
Despite the fact that it was well-developed, Irontown seemed to me to be a very young town, with little security. Note how they were constantly under the threat of invasion due to their iron supply, to say nothing of the constant attacks on their husbands by Moro and her children. There probably wasn't really much of a chance for anyone to settle down and have kids. When their town gets rebuilt, perhaps... Of course, this may also be a case of Hide Your Children, as many children would probably inevitably have been killed by the Forest Spirit's toxic ooze, and that probably would have made the movie even darker than it already was.
San sees herself as a wolf, but that cape she wears and the fur on her mask look awfully like wolf fur. To her, wouldn't that be the equivalent to Genuine Human Hide?
It probably is wolf fur... that her mom, brothers and other wolves shed and had it made into the cape and the mask somehow. So it's more like wearing a wig.
Well, San was literally Raised by Wolves so her values would differ from a human's. What would be the equivalent of desecration of the dead and Squick to humans, San would see as being pragmatic and using fur and skin that would otherwise rot away. She may even see herself as carrying the dead wolf's spirit on, especially if the wolf was killed by humans.
Ashitaka shouts that the Shishigami's head "must be returned by human hands." How does he know this? Did he major in Things That Have Never Happened Before 101 at Indigenous Peoples University?
First: thank you for making me laugh. Second: I'm assuming that he just kind of went with the idea that because human hands took the head, human hands had to return it to calm the spirit down, as an apology and a symbol that they realized that they had done wrong and wanted to make up for it. Maybe it was necessary, maybe it wasn't, but it seems like a probable assumption and the end of the world isn't something you want to take chances with.
Well, to be fair, his tribe does seem to know a bit about that sort of esoteric knowledge. Hiding for 500 years will do that.
It depends on what he meant. He could have meant it in a moral sense; humans created this problem so now humans have to solve it. And if he meant it in a magical sense (i.e. if human hands don't return the head then it can't be reattached), then in that case he didn't "know" anything. He was just guessing.
Do San's siblings have names? It's kindof odd that I always have to refer to them as "that wolf" and "that other wolf".
San actually means "Three" in japanese, so I go with the idea that they are named "Ichi" and "Nii" or "Yon" an "Go" if they're younger.
Ashitaka is riding on a wolf in the forest when he comes across Eboshi. He gets off and tells the wolf to run ahead and find San. Ashitaka talks to Eboshi for awhile and then runs off to find San on foot. Somehow he gets to San before the wolf does. How does that happen? It's already been established that the wolf is faster than he is, and the wolf surely has a better sense of smell so it shouldn't get lost along the way.
San and Ashitaka are riding wolves to confront Jigo and get the Great Forest Spirit's head back. They get off the wolves and San tells the wolves to run away. Why does she say that? You're trying to save the world here; don't you want all the help you can get? Those wolves could've eaten Jigo or whatever.
Considering how close San and the others all were to getting engulfed by the Forest God's Ooze; San was probably right to send them off. That rock wouldn't have held them all.
Why doesn't Ashitaka go back home when he's healed, if he's the last prince of his tribe. Then doesn't he have a duty to be with them and such?
It appears that he can't. Cutting off his topknot signifies the finality of his exile.