Pom Poko or how I learned not to laugh at testicle magic (at least not more than twice)
When Kelly and I decided to watch a Studio Ghibli movie neither of us had seen, I was expecting haunting imagery, gods and monsters just beyond imagination and animation that can bring one to tears.
Although Pom Poko has some of the elements one has come to expect from the world-renowned studio that has brought us such classics as Spirited Away and Howl’s Moving Castle, the tone of this movie forced me into unknown and slightly uncomfortable territory: the prominence of testicle magic.
What began as life or death struggle for survival by the raccoon-like Tanuki in their native homeland, ended with a kamikazi testicle magic attack that I tried, so hard, not to giggle through. After much research, we discovered that the shape shifting abilities of the Tanuki are well documented in the folk tales of ancient japan, and that the power, girth and magic of their testicles were as famous as the legends themselves. This is serious stuff. Serious historical stuff. Serious, ancient, cultural stuff.
Not funny. Not funny at all.
Except come on! Tiny, cute and animated raccoons launching a deadly and fatal attack on their enemies armed with nothing but their perspicacity and their testicles??? It’s funny.
I struggled the entire length of the movie to find maturity within myself, to act like an adult, and to respect an integral and culturally important part of Japanese culture. I felt shame that I could hardly compose myself at times, and that a fit of giggles would overwhelm me in the movie’s most climatic battle scenes. My western culture has taught me that testicles are funny and I could not rise above that. I admit it. I want to watch Pom Poko again for many reasons, as stated in this week’s podcast, but one of them being I would like to confront this culturally immature prone to laughter side of myself.
What did everyone else think of the movie? What it ballsy enough for you in regards to it’s commentary regarding the fragility of the environment?
Pom Poko from Studio Ghibli
Teas drunk while recording:
Kelly: White 2 Tea 2017 Lumber Slut Shou Pu Erh
Marika: Camellia Sinensis Tea Studio Nilgiri Kukicha Roasted
Teas drunk while geeking: :
Kelly: The Tea Practitioner Houjicha
Marika: David’s Tea Genmaicha