Princess Mononoke combines animist myths, Japanese folklore, a matriarchal heroine, and a “green planet” ethos for an epic cinematic experience. It achieves one of animation's-and cinema's-most wonderful effects: to fabricate a world, immaculately realized, that is at once unbelievable and believable. In a long-ago Japan, a war is raging for the future of the earth, one that sets the animal kingdom against humanity, nature against pollution, and harmony against chaos. Two humans stand between the worlds, and amidst the bloodshed: San, a feral child raised by wolves, who considers herself animal and humans her enemies; and Ashitaka, a man whose peacefulness hides a great power, and an even greater curse. Inspired by Asian folklore and medieval Japanese legends (as well as the Epic of Gilgamesh), Princess Mononoke may have its roots in tales past, but Miyazaki invests it with a refreshingly modern (and progressive) agenda.