Synopsis by Jonathan Crow
Renowned animation director Isao Takahata spins this tale about a pitched battle between Japanese folkloric figures and housing developers at the edge of the Tokyo sprawl. The tanuki -- a badger-like creature often portrayed with big round eyes, a large Buddha-like belly, and long pendulous testicles resting by its feet -- is a beloved figure in Japanese myth, viewed both as a fun-loving bringer of fortune and a shape-changing trickster. Pom Poko opens with a group of tanuki fighting amongst each other for the increasingly scarce resources of their forest. Soon the group realizes that the real enemy is not their fellow tanuki, but suburban sprawl. Lead by their tough-talking matriarch, Oroku Baba, they use their lycanthropic abilities in a campaign to thwart the developers. Suddenly tarps fall on windshields and obstacles appear before bulldozers, sending the lot careening off the road and into a gulch. Unfortunately, the tide of progress is not that easily turned. Will the plucky tanuki keep their pastoral idyll?
forest, land-rights, real-estate