Between the Worlds: Liminality and Self-Sacrifice
in Princess Mononoke

by Christine Hoff Kraemer


1. For Mononoke statistics: McCarthy, Helen. Hayao Miyazaki: Master of Japanese Animation. Berkeley: Stone Bridge Press, 1999, p. 186. For Spirited Away statistics: Hollis, Kim. "Spirited Away (Sen to Chihiro no kamikakushi)," Box Office Prophets. 3 Feb 2003.

2. A note on the context of the word 'gods:' the gods of the forest range from sentient animals to the uncanny shishigami (translated as Deer God or Forest Spirit), who seems to rule over life and death itself. They are examples of kami, the ancient traditional gods of the Japanese who are linked to or embody the forces of nature. Napier, Susan J. Anime from Akira to Princess Mononoke. New York: Palgrave, 2001, p. 177.

3. All quotes from the dialogue are taken from the English subtitles of the U.S. DVD release. Princess Mononoke (Mononoke Hime). Dir. Hayao Miyazaki. 1999 (orig. Japanese release 1997). DVD. Miramax, 2000.

4. San shares Ashitaka's liminal status in that she is a human being who has been adopted by the forest and who considers herself to be a wolf. Her denial of her human origins for the majority of the film, however, prevents her from playing a peacemaking role until the stakes involved have grown truly apocalyptic.

5. Napier, p. 192.

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