Based on the classic Japanese folktale, “The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter,” the film follows a bamboo cutter who finds a small, skinny girl living inside a plant in a forest. After taking her to his house, the magical doll-like girl transforms into a baby human, who rapidly grows and starts playing with other kids who call her “Lil Bamboo.”
The happy Lil Bamboo suddenly has to face a huge change, as her adoptive father strongly believes she must be treated as royalty, an idea that prompts him to buy a castle in order to transform his daughter into a true princess. She is later given the name “Kaguya.”
Forced to deal with her new life, Kaguya has to entertain a group of noble suitors against her will, while hiding her feelings for the people she loves, something that gets even more complicated once Kaguya finds out who she truly is and has to face her own fate.
Directed by Studio Ghibli’s co-founder, Isao Takahata, The Tale of The Princess Kaguya is a superb visual spectacle, which incorporates minimalist elements and an old-school animation style akin to sketches in motion, with beautiful pastel colours and a poetic narrative that will touch the heart of every viewer.
Every single frame of the film is astonishing. You could even turn off the volume and still be immersed in this fairytale, which shows that with simplicity, passion, and attention to detail, an animation can still break cinematic boundaries and reach international markets. No wonder it got nominated for an Academy Award, that was sadly scooped up by the also excellent and perhaps more mainstream Big Hero 6.
The Blu-ray gives you the option of seeing the film with Japanese audio (which we strongly recommend) and an English version with Hollywood stars Chloë Grace Moretz, James Caan, James Marsden and Lucy Liu behind the microphone bringing life to the characters in a very respectful way for English-speaking markets.
Overall, The Tale of The Princess Kaguya is a work of art that deserves to be seen and a new Ghibli instant-classic, which is sure to become a topic of study and discussion in many animation schools around the globe.