Princess Mononoke: San’s Tattoos and Other Details Revealed by Studio Ghibli

In a recent Q&A, Studio Ghibli answered questions about Hayao Miyazaki's Princess Mononoke, providing fans a behind-the-scenes look at the anime classic.

As reported by Sora News 24, Studio Ghibli responded to fans' questions on Twitter during a recent television broadcast of Princess Mononoke in Japan. It was revealed that the sound team used wooden castanets to create the unique rattle of the forest spirits and that they went to great lengths to make sure the various weapons in the movie had their own sound.

Princess Mononoke features some of the most breathtaking imagery and intense battle sequences in the Ghibli canon. One question asked, "What was the hardest scene to animated?" The studio answered, "It's hard to pick just one as the most difficult, but for the scene right at the start of the movie where the Tatarigami attacks the village, aside from a few CG parts, all of it is hand-drawn. Drawing the snake-like tentacles on the creature’s body, which are on-screen for two minutes and 10 seconds, took one year and seven months."

Many fans were also interested in finding out new details about the film's characters, and Studio Ghibli had plenty of tidbits to share. For example, it was revealed that the red makeup female lead San wears throughout the story isn't actually makeup at all; the markings are in fact tattoos. The studio also confirmed that Yakul, male lead Ashitaka's mount, isn't a deer nor an elk; instead, it's a fictional sub-specious of antelope called an akashishi.

Moreover, Studio Ghibli provided a deeper insight into the background of San's nemesis Lady Eboshi. "In interviews and symposiums from the time when the movie was in theaters, Miyazaki has said that Eboshi was sold as a slave and became the wife of the leader of a band of Japanese pirates," the studio tweeted. "After she became a skilled fighter, she killed him, stole his treasure, and returned to mainland Japan."

Many of the questions focused directly on Ashitaka. One fan asked, "Why is Ashitaka so cool?" Studio Ghibli responded, "[About Ashitaka], during production Miyazaki said 'I'm drawing a once-in-a-generation beauty.'"

Another fan questioned why Ashitaka's body still shows signs of his curse at the end of Princess Mononoke after the Great Forst Spirit seemingly healed him. The studio explained, "The reason you can still faintly see his bruises is because the curse hasn’t completely disappeared. Talking about the film, Miyazaki said 'Young people today won’t accept a happy ending. I think having the bruising not completely disappear, showing that the curse is something that could return at any time, but that Ashitaka still goes on living, feels truer.'"

Like many of Studio Ghibli's films, Princess Mononoke can be streamed through HBO Max.

Source: Twitter, via SoraNews24

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