Princess Mononoke (Japanese: もののけ姫 Hepburn: Mononoke-hime, “Spirit/Monster Princess”) is a 1997 Japanese animated fantasy film written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki, animated by Studio Ghibli for Tokuma Shoten, Nippon Television Network and Dentsu, and distributed by Toho. The film stars the voices of Yōji Matsuda, Yuriko Ishida, Yūko Tanaka, Kaoru Kobayashi, Masahiko Nishimura, Tsunehiko Kamijo, Akihiro Miwa, Mitsuko Mori and Hisaya Morishige.
Princess Mononoke is set in the late Muromachi period (approximately 1336 to 1573) of Japan with fantasy elements. The story follows the young Emishi prince Ashitaka’s involvement in a struggle between the gods of a forest and the humans who consume its resources. The term “Mononoke” (物の怪) or もののけ is not a name, but a Japanese word for a spirit or monster: supernatural, shape-shifting beings.
The film was released in Japan on July 12, 1997, and in the United States on October 29, 1999. It was a critical and commercial blockbuster, becoming the highest-grossing film in Japan of 1997, and also held Japan’s box office record for domestic films until 2001’s Spirited Away, another Miyazaki film. It was dubbed into English and distributed in North America by Miramax, and despite a poor box office performance there, it sold well on DVD and video, greatly increasing Ghibli’s popularity and influence outside Japan.