Anime Battle (Mononoke Hime vs. Spirited Away)

Greetings everybody and welcome to another anime battle here on World of Anime Girl. For those of you who are not familiar with this kind of post, it is some kind of detailed discussion in which I compare two anime in categories like: plot, story line, animation and characters. In the end I pick a winner between the two according to the results in each round.
This time I prepared for you the ultimate battle between two of the most incredible and most famous movies in anime history. They are both Studio Ghibli productions created by the one and only, Hayao Miyazaki. Now without further talk, let's get it started. Today's ANIME BATTLE: Mononoke Hime vs. Spirited Away. Enjoy!


When I write this kind of post it usually ends up as a really long text, which most of you are probably just too lazy to read. So, this time I'll try to make it somewhat shorter.

Firstly Mononoke Hime. It is a fantasy movie that tells the adventure story of Ashitaka, young prince of an Emishi village. After it's been attacked by a demon, Ashitaka puts his life on the line to save his tribe but in doing so gets cursed by the demon. In order to find a cure he travels westward and eventually arrives at Tatara, the Iron Town, where he encounters a fierce conflict: Lady Eboshi of Tatara, promoting constant deforestation and pollution fights against Princess San and the sacred spirits of the forest who are furious at the destruction brought by the humans. While battling the demon inside himself, Ashitaka tries to stop  the conflict between the spirits and humans and finally create harmony.
Mononoke Hime is without any doubt an extremely interesting story that is both exciting and emotional. It is an extraordinary story that tackles one of the greatest issues of our age and simultaneously conveys the idea of a harmonious life between humans and nature. If we don't learn to live in harmony together, we'll soon face mutual destruction. 

Spirited Away is on the other hand a supernatural anime movie that follows Chihiro, a stubborn, naive and spoiled little 10-year-old girl. While moving to their new house, Chihiro and her parents come across an amusement park, but she would soon realize it is not the place she expected it to be. As dusk falls strange things and creatures come alive and even the food becomes dangerous after it turns her parents into pigs. Now trapped in the Spirit World, Chihiro has to find the courage to live and work among spirits, with the help of her new friend Haku and other people she meets along her way.
Spirited Away tells an exciting and intriguing story about a girl's journey in an unfamiliar world that is all but a story for little kids. Even though it might not have a clear message on first sight, Spirited Away hides a really serious topic regarding prostitution which is, according to Miyazaki, still a problem in Japan. Not to get into detail, Miyazaki himself revealed more details about this topic in one interview, and if you want to find out more about it follow THIS LINK

Both these anime movies are as said Ghibli masterpieces that deserve the limelight more than any other (Your Name does come close but these two are still classics). And even tough most of us have seen them when we were kids, it is now that we actually understand what they are really about. Both Mononoke Hime and Spirited Away convey serious society issues, some being more obvious than the other. With a hint of romance in each, the movies relieve the tension from time to time and so move us with a touching 'love' or at least 'romantic friendship' story as well. 

It was hard to pick a winner for this round. Spirited Away is definitely more enjoyable to watch considering the slower plot development in Mononoke Hime, but the fights and action in Mononoke make the movie really exciting. When it comes to the messages that they convey, Mononoke has a clear message that can be easily understood, while Spirited Away has just a hidden meaning that tackles a serious society issue. So even though Mononoke was a bit harder to follow due to its length and slow development, I consider it as the winner of this round. 


Well what can I say, characters are the ones that carry the story and if the stories were so amazing then the characters were too. Without superficial, boring or annoying characters both anime did a great job with the protagonists as well as with the antagonists and side characters of the story. If I were to decide which movie had the better villain, I couldn't pick one. With Lady Eboshi at one and Yubaba at the other side, I wouldn't want to find my self in conflict with any of them. The leading males, Hak and Ashitaka are both brave and caring characters that were vital parts of the story but kinda played something like a sidekick for our heroines San and Chihiro. 

"Many of my movies have strong female leads-brave, self-sufficient, girls that don't think twice about fighting for what they believe in with all their heart. They'll need a friend, or a supporter, but never a saviour. Any woman is just as capable of being a hero as any man." 
I think that this Miyazaki quote explains it all. Both San and Chihiro are brave, strong and independent female characters that fight for what they love with all their might. They are both the kind of characters I love and that motivate me to do great. I might be a greater fan of San, but when it comes to all the characters, I think that we have a tie in this round. 


Even though the quality of animation didn't change much from 1997 (Mononoke Hime) to 2001 (Spirited Away) I still think that Spirited Away has a slightly better animation. Mononoke Hime has some really beautiful scenes, especially the ones in the forest with all the spirits. Spirited Away on the other hand had also many, and one of them nearly got into my Top 5 Most Beautiful Anime Moments (click on the link to see the full post). So on the whole, Spirited Away is the front runner in this round. 


I think we have a tie which is not a surprise considering the fact that these movies are both masterpieces made by of one of the greatest anime makers in history, Hayo Miyazaki. His art work is unique, his stories are incredible and each of them conveys a special message in a way only Miyazaki can do. These movies, that most of us remember watching as kids, are everything but childish because they picture some really mature content and serious topics regarding our society. These classics of anime cinematography should be part of everyone's 'completed' part of their anime list because they'll never get old. And no matter what happens, San will always be our Mononoke-Hime and Chihiro will always be the girl who got Spirited Away. 


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