Pom Poko Review: Studio Ghibli’s Weirdest Film?

3 and a half stars
Imagine that you’re on Netflix and then an ad for a Studio Ghibli movie pops up.
You’re intrigued so you watch and see a police officer comforting a crying woman… only for her face to disappear.
As the police officer runs away from the faceless woman, she begins to follow him on a bike until he fires his gun into the air in terror, frightening the woman and turning her into… a raccoon?
Well, after seeing this bizarre ad, I knew I had to watch Isao Takahata’s 1993 film Pom Poko. 
Now that I have watched it, I can definitely say that it is Studio Ghibli’s weirdest film by a wide margin.
Pom Poko follows a group of shape shifting raccoons voiced by Makoto Nonomura, Shigeru Izumiya, Nijiko Kiyokawa, Kosan Yanagiya and many others.
These raccoons are trying to stop their homes being destroyed by invading humans at any cost, including eco-terrorism, putting on a parade to scare the humans, and inflating their testicles to attack… wait, what?

balls attack
I expected some strange things going into Pom Poko but not attack by testicle inflation.

Seriously though, if you think the testicles technique is the weirdest thing this movie can come up with your mistaken.
Pom Poko has so many outlandish concepts and throughout the film I honestly wasn’t sure if I was liking what was happening or not.
I did go from disliking the raccoons to actually sympathizing with them by the end though, but I wasn’t incredibly attached to any of them.
One thing I can say that I really enjoyed was the creativity with the raccoons shape shifting abilities, which is on full display during the parade scene.
You can see that the writers and animators just let their imaginations go wild during here and it’s really enjoyable.

The parade scene is the best scene in the movie because of how creative it is.

Like most Studio Ghibli films, it also contains an environmentalist message that is well handled, especially with one act the raccoons take at the end.
Although, I will say that there are some plot points that don’t really go anywhere and the movie does feel a bit too long.
All of that said, Pom Poko is still an enjoyable film, despite its low points, with scene after scene of weird concepts.
It is definitely worth seeing for that weirdness factor alone.


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