Reviews: Pom Poko

No Japanese translated subtitles.

I will admit that I have always loved Pom Poko and I recently just bought the Blu-Ray of it because I enjoyed it so much. But when I watched the Japanese Blu-Ray version of it, I noticed that something was off with the English subtitles. It had the subtitles, but they only showed the subtitles for the English version of the movie. They didn't have the subtitles for the Japanese version. The subs were literally just the same lines from the English dub version of the movie.

I knew this also because I had seen the movie on DVD and the DVD version has the subtitles translated from the Japanese version. Now I'm not saying that I hate the movie because it's one of my favorite Ghibli movies, but seriously Disney? You guys could at least have the subtitles for the Japanese version instead of just for the English version. Ironically though, the DVD that comes with the Blu-Ray combo pack still has the subtitles for the Japanese version intact including all of the references and the references to their testicles. So I can technically watch it with the original Japanese subtitles, but only on the DVD version because Disney was too lazy to put it on the Blu-Ray version as well.

Not for everyone, but affected me personally

Pom Poko is easily Studio Ghibli's most maligned film, for self-evident reasons (MAGICAL RACCOON TESTICLES). And while it's a very, very strange movie... it deeply affected me.

Director Isao Takahata is like if you took Hayao Miyazaki, upped the Japanese factor 500%, and removed any shred of subtlety. His movies skip the sentimentality and hammer you with the point, and unlike the more worldly Miyazaki, his work is deeply, profoundly Japanese, sometimes to the point of incoherence to foreign viewers. He also has a tendency to tell, not show - Pom Poko is largely narrated via voice-over when it could have shown what was happening instead.

But that's not criticism. I still loved Pom Poko. For a lot of American viewers, the "magic scrotums" thing is a deal-breaker, and I can understand. But the movie's theme of impermanence is something that touches me personally, and by the end it left me very emotional.

Last year, some woods near my home were razed, forcing a lot of animals (including raccoons) into my neighborhood and conflict with humans. Dead house pets and roadkill have ensued. I'm kind of a tree-hugger to begin with, but the theme of habitat destruction, the idea that nothing lasts forever (not just woods, but homes, loved ones, and so on), well, it hits home. Pom Poko means something to me personally.

Concerning "raccoons"