Heisei tanuki gassen ponpoko (1994)
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It's hard to believe Grave of the Fireflies' Isao Takahata also made Pom Poko, a ludicrously silly ecological fable about shape-shifting tanuki with giant battle testicles, but there you have it. The film chronicles the war between encroaching suburbanites and bands of Japanese raccoons, using a narrator and point of view that takes a higher plane view of the story while still managing to zero in on certain raccoons. The animation is quite inventive, with the creatures seen in various stages of realism and cartooniness according to the scene, metaphorical scenes of human destruction, and very weird "hauntings" and transformations. It takes no prisoners, and people die on both sides. Even so, it's delightful fun and I desperately wanted a happy ending though I couldn't imagine what it could be (I know people better than the raccoons do). In the end, I got a wistful, nostalgic one rather than a truly happy one, and that's the best I could have hoped for, I guess. Don't look for subtlety in the environmental message, this one puts its balls right in your face.
Further proof of the genius of Isao Takahata. An incredibly creative and fun film.
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In 2 official lists
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This movie ranks #14 in Paste's The 100 Best Anime Movies of All Time
This movie ranks #729 in Time Out's 1000 Films to Change Your Life