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Pom Poko(平成狸合戦ぽんぽこ)

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Japan · 1994
Rated PG · 1h 59m
Director Isao Takahata
Starring Shinchou Kokontei, Makoto Nonomura, Nijiko Kiyokawa, Shigeru Izumiya
Genre Adventure, Animation, Fantasy

A community of magical racoon dogs are forced from their forest home so the land can be used for urban development. Threatened with extinction, they decide to fight back, using their shape-shifting powers in a variety of hilarious circumstances. The humans are in for quite a surprise…

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What are critics saying?


Time Out by

Thankfully, the proceedings are carefully anchored in what are palpably human concerns, namely the cohabitation of humans and wildlife and the environmental cost of widespread urbanisation, and while this is not quite up there with best of the studio’s output, it’s still a striking and universally pleasurable experience.


Slant Magazine by Chris Cabin

Takahata’s wondrous film is itself at constant interplay between the unsentimental realities of human progress (and expansion) and the unbound thoughts and creative perspectives that fantasy can entertain without necessarily being reduced to mere entertainment.


The New York Times by Mike Hale

The best film by Isao Takahata, who started the studio with Mr. Miyazaki, this is a comic allegory about battling packs of tanuki (Japanese raccoon dogs) joining forces to fight human real estate developers. It’s earthy and rollicking in a way that his co-founder’s films aren’t.


Austin Chronicle by Richard Whittaker

At its best, there's an undoubted thrill and wonder to Pom Poko, like the massive parade of phantoms the tanuki conjure up as one of their harebrained schemes. Takahata's misfire at least provides some wonderful sparkles.


The A.V. Club by Tasha Robinson

For all its goodhearted cheer, Pom Poko is a glum indictment of modern Japan's disjunction from the natural and spiritual world. But it strikes a positive final note by implying that those worlds still exist, just out of sight, waiting and flourishing.

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