Movie Review: The Tale of Princess Kaguya

The Tale of Princess Kaguya is a funny and moving allegory that is as whimsical as its gorgeous drawing.

The animation is simple yet impressionistic and distinct. It looks as if you’re watching a book with line art and colors that becomes increasingly detailed and gains texture as its story unfolds.

It has a well written and developed female character at the center. Unlike Pixar’s MO, there’s no perfectly staged moment to make you cry. A supporting character isn’t fridged to develop the protagonist. There is no simplistic villain.

Princess Kaguya is gradually subjected to adult realities of mortal life. She has to deal with parental and societal expectations, contend with growing apart from her childhood friends, and ultimately discover her own happiness.

The film tackles mature themes that can also double as a social commentary. The Tale of Princess Kaguya is also an allegory on materialism, while subtly touching on classism and patriarchy.

The bamboo cutter loves his daughter, but his misguided intentions throw her into a lonely existence of stifling traditions, objectified by men and shut in a superficial world. The heroine comes to terms with adulthood and strives for her own individuality.

This narrative has universal lessons that are honestly depicted without resorting to sappy melodrama. The funny and joyful moments of the film balance out the devastating turn of events.

As a result, The Tale of Princess Kaguya is a timeless film that you need to keep in your collection for you and your kids.

Studio Ghibli has taught us a lot of things, but it has consistently illustrated one prominent lesson that doesn’t need expensive dead-eyed CGI characters to teach it – the wonders of everyday life can be magical by itself.

The Tale of Princess Kaguya tells the story of an extraordinary girl who discovers the joy of ordinary life and in the process, creates a compelling tale about human folly and mortality.

The Tale of Princess Kaguya


The Tale of Princess Kaguya is a timeless tale about human folly and mortality with narrative depth, honest lessons, and exquisite visuals. 

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[…] The Tale of Princess Kaguya is a series of watercolor images – a bamboo cutter’s daughter is confined by misguided intentions and superficial trappings of life. Through this, she also discovers the bittersweet joy of mortality. The plot employs clever storytelling where the drawing gradually evolves as the narrative goes deeper, delivering a complex animated movie. Serving as both folklore and commentary on the plight of Japanese women in history, this unconventional Studio Ghibli offering is essential viewing. […]