Folktales are passed down from one generation to another, in a variety of formats. Studio Ghibli's take on the Japanese folktale The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter ensures the story will be remembered for many generations to come.
The Tale of Princess Kaguya begins when an elderly bamboo cutter discovers a glowing baby inside a bamboo shoot. He takes her home to his simple cottage, and he and his wife raise the child as their own. Later, the old man discovers gold in a bamboo shoot which he takes as a sign that the child is meant for better things.
He uses the gold to build Kaguya a palace in the capital so that she can learn to be a princess. News of the girl's stunning beauty spreads across the land, and suitors line up to win her hand. But Kaguya isn't happy, and she longs for her old life.
Princess Kaguya is visually less refined than past Studio Ghibli works, but it doesn't make the film any less stunning. In fact, the raw, incomplete look of the animation adds to the film's storybook feel.
While the movie is long, at 137 minutes, there's enough to charm even viewers who aren't long-standing Ghibli fans.