A community of magical shape shifting raccoon dogs desperately struggle to prevent their forest home from being destroyed by urban development.


“Pom Poko” was the movie that made me realize that the Japanese aren’t that great at drawing animal scrotums. That desire to show true anatomy caused the film to not get a wide release in North America. Hell, most viewers didn’t check it out until Disney first released the film to DVD in 2005. The film is two hours of shape shifting raccoon dogs (Tanuki) using their powers to infiltrate the Tokyo suburbs to save their forest. I can’t call these things Tanuki without evoking images of Super Mario Brothers 3, so I’ll stick to what they are.

Raccoon dogs are cute, but I’m not sure if they could carry a movie. The film suffers from what impacted director Isao Takahata’s work on “Only Yesterday”. Too little story and too much time to tell it. The end result is a beautiful movie with fun characters that exist in a world that just meanders and never finds full resolution. The reveal that humans were once Tanuki comes out of nowhere, as the film believes you understand more of the mythology than it is willing to share. The result is a film that insists upon a world that it fails to build, but expects complete devotion from its viewers. A jumbled mess at best, but entertaining enough for the first hour.

The Blu-Ray comes with storyboards, trailers and a DVD copy as the special features. The A/V Quality continues the amazing streak of Disney knocking the Ghibli releases out of the park. The 1080p transfer looks amazing for a film that got little fanfare in America. Plus, the DTS-HD 2.0 master audio track keeps it clean. In the end, I’d recommend a purchase to fans.

RELEASE DATE: 02/03/2015

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