- Angst? What Angst?:
- In the past, Kiyo's grandfather was shot and killed by a hunter who then sold his pelt. She's surprisingly undisturbed by this.
- Many of the Tanukis can barely contain their laughter after accidentally killing several people.
- Anvilicious: The ending features a character essentially breaking the fourth wall to restate the moral of the story.
- To the environmentalist movement. Disagreements between factions, a lack of comprehensive strategy, poor grasp of tactics and the simple fact of being heavily outgunned by industrial and corporate interests hamstring many well-meaning groups in Real Life.
- More subtly, to colonialism, displaying the internal struggles and conflicts in resisting the conqueror and maintaining the invaded culture while considering the invaders cultures benefits, and finally considering the issue of forced assimilation. In what is probably an accidental example, one of the bulldozers has KKL written on it.
- Best Known for the Fanservice: Not quite "fanservice", since we're talking about fuzzy, chubby animals, but just try to find a discussion of the film that doesn't lead to "magic testicles".
- Heartwarming Moments: It IS a Studio Ghibli film, after all.
- The song the Tanuki sing at the ending and over the credits, roughly translating to "Always Someone Will." Especially poignant considering what they've just been through.
- Moment of Awesome: Project Spectre and the Tanukis' last stand. To a lesser extent when they rob the theme park owner who stole the credit for Project Spectre.
- Never Live It Down: Magic. Raccoon Dog. Testicles. It makes sense in Japan, and yet viewers anywhere else are left dumbfounded.
- Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped: Naturally the movie encourages the nature be preserved, but in contrast to most movies with environmental messages Pom Poko does not portray the side destroying the environment as wicked. The humans are tearing down the tanukis home but they sincerely need the space and they arent at all ruthless or corrupt about it, they are even willing to listen to the tanuki once their existence is clear. This lack of demonization helps the environmental message and prevents it from becoming hamfisted, portraying industry and urban development as things that can be misused rather than straight up evil.
- Tear Jerker:
- Most of the Tanuki who cannot transform form a dancing cult and then "sail away" to paradise, i.e. certain death.
- In the epilogue, some of the Tanuki and Gonta's wife (in human form) pay their respects at Gonta's grave.
- The Tanuki making one last stand, when it's already too late, combining their magic to turn their home back to the way it was for just a moment.
- Adding on to this scene is when the tanuki see themselves as cubs and for a moment fall for their own illusion, driving home that their old way of life is really truly done once and for all. The scene can be a bit of surprise considering the more comedic first half of the film.
- What Do You Mean, It's Not for Kids?: The film not only has some surprisingly sexual content ("Gentlemen club" hostesses, schoolboys leering at a nudie magazine, the aforementioned tanuki power we've already talked about more than enough), but loads of dark material (most tanukis are killed, some on screen, with their home completely destroyed) and a particularly tragic bittersweet ending.
YMMV / Pom Poko