Rating: (man, I wish I could go higher...)
Ashitaka is expected to be the next leader of his clan. However, a possessed Nagonomori (giant Boar God) terrorizes the land and attacks three girls on their way back to the village and Ashitaka has no choice but to attack the creature. Attacking a Tatari-gami (godís curse), however, is never a wise idea and as punishment by the Tatari-gami, Ashitaka is marked and fated to die. Determined to meet his fate and spare his village any potential harm, Ashitaka sets out on a journey with Yakuru (his mount) to determine the source of the unusual lump discovered in the disintegrated remains of Nagonomori.
Tatara village is an unusual place where primitive firearms are being developed. The surrounding land's trees have all been cut down to make space for further development, and this development has encroached upon the mysterious and sacred forest of the Shishigami (the god of the forest). The Shojou, Shishigami's creatures, are trying to replant the trees which were lost. Eboshi, the leader of Tatara, uses her firearms to scare away the Shojou from performing their duty and replanting the trees.
San, a young girl who was raised by Mono-no-kimi (a giant white wolf, and one of the forest gods) is outraged by the destruction of the land by Eboshi and is determined to kill her. With the help of Mono-no-kimi and two Mononoko, San attacks the village in an effort to kill Eboshi. Ashitaka, currently passing through the village (which was also the source of the unusual metal lump (a primitive iron slug) in Nagonomori's body) interferes in the fight between Eboshi and San and claims San's life as his in exchange for sparing Eboshi. Ashitaka is mortally wounded when saving San, who in return takes him to the place where Shishigami comes down to the earth during the new moon. Shishigami heals Ashitaka of his wound but does nothing about the curse infecting Ashitaka.
Eboshi, determined to go ahead with her village's continued industrialization, determines to kill Shishigami in an effort to show the people that the God has no true power, and in order to keep Shishigami's servants from working against her plans. Aided by Jiko who wants Shishigami's head for personal reasons, Eboshi learns the location where Shishigami walks on the earth. Stripping her village of the warriors, Eboshi leaves a group of determined women to guard the town while she tries to kill Shishigami. However, a group of Samurai from a neighbouring town attack and Tatara is in dire straits...
...Wow. Now, you all know that I revere everything by Miyazaki-sama, but this just blew me away. Utterly gorgeous art, a powerful story of manís effect on nature, great music and excellent characters make up this masterpiece that has quickly become the highest-grossing Japanese film of all time. This is a sophisticated, adult tale about how decisions are never easy and there is seldom a "bad guy". Currently owned by Miramax Entertainment, and opening in theatres across North America in October 1999.