Princesse Mononoke
// Oomu / Ghibli / Princesse Mononoke / Book synopsis /
January 25th 1994 by Brad Lucido (with some help from my wife, Hana)

MONONOKE-HIME book synopsis (Brad J. Lucido, Jan. 26, 1994)

WRITTEN BY: Brad Lucido, with help from Hana Lucido, January 25, 1994 TYPED-IN & POSTED TO NAUSICAA@BROWNVM BY: Brad Lucido, Jan. 26, 1994
EDITED & RE-FORMATTED BY: Steven Feldman, July 16, 1994
FINE-TUNED BY: Steven Feldman, October 30, 1994

The following is a rough synopsis of the Mononoke-Hime book. Errors in translation are highly likely, but I hope it is written well enough so that the reader can get a good idea of the story. If there seems to be a lack of transitions, it is because the book itself is written that way.

The word Mononoke--approximately--means monster so Mononoke hime means Monster Princess.

La princesse et la bête
La princesse et la bête
Being defeated in battle, a samurai becomes separated from his friends and lost in a forest. After awhile, the samurai sees firelight and goes towards it. He finds a large dwelling carved in the side of a mountain. Inside, no one is around, but food is piled high. Famished, he stuffs himself like there is no tomorrow, until suddenly, he gets the feeling that he is being watched. The master of the dwelling has returned.

The house in the mountain belongs to the terrible Great Mountain Cat. In no time, the samurai is bound, immobile. The mountain cat says, "For you have eaten my food, this time it is you that will be eaten." Mononoke stops his dinner preparations and considers, "You are alone...? Ah, what does it matter?"

Later, atop the mountain, Mononoke says to the samurai, "Make sure you don't forget your promise." With that, it was decided that Mononoke would take the samurai back to his house. Jumping off the mountain with a glider wing on his back, the mountain cat strains, "Shit, you're a
heavy dude," and glides down the valley.

Back at the samurai's residence, some of the soldiers have returned from the battle. Upon hearing the news of the defeat, the mistress of the house becomes angry. Arriving at the samurai's residence, Mononoke says, "I will come to retrieve my bride on the night of the full moon," and drops the samurai from the sky onto his house. He lands on the roof and becomes caught on the roof ornament. A servant witnesses the plummet of the samurai and calls out, "The lord has dropped from the sky."

Upon re-entering his house, the samurai tells his story to his wife and children. "Not only did you loose the battle," cries the wife, "but you promised a daughter to a monster. You are pathetic." She proceeded to take the first and second daughters with her into safety to the countryside. Only the youngest, the kindhearted third princess, remained behind.

The enemy force was approaching the samurai's residence rapidly. It was certain that he would be doomed to defeat. Seeing a great opportunity, a spirit came out of the gargoyle on the roof and approached the samurai. "If you let me in to your body, I will make you a strong man," it said. Without listening to the protests of the third princess, the samurai accepted, not realizing that the spirit was an evil devil.

The samurai became a changed man. He began to consume incredible amounts of food, and donned the heaviest, and thickest armor. He took on the approaching enemy army single-handedly, and devastated the foe in one mighty attack. The surviving enemy soldiers fled for the mountains. The samurai's body had been changed into the form of the most fearsome warrior in the world.

Because the third princess knew the secret of the samurai's power, she began to become a nuisance to him. But the samurai found it easy to put distance between her and himself. The evil spirit knew that Mononoke would come soon.

Exactly as promised, on the night of the full moon, dressed in a disguise, Mononoke came to get his bride. Sending his daughter to the Great Cat, the samurai yells out to his daughter, "For you, being the wife of a monster is perfect." Worried for her father, the third princess climbs into the monster's
basket and is lifted up on his back. Riding on a single wheel pulled by a team of mice, Mononoke takes his bride-to-be away into the forest.

After arriving at Mononoke's lair, the princess became withdrawn.
The big cat said, "Eat, drink. You are my wife-to-be."
"Until my father once again becomes human," she said, "I cannot become your bride."

Mononoke became enraged by her reply. "If you are not going to listen to me, I'll eat you.". He puts her into a large kettle. "Don't come out until you are cooked," he says.

Despite threats and sweet talk, he couldn't convince her to submit to his will. So, finally, the Great Cat gave up.
"Argh! So what do you want me to do?" he says to her.
"Please help me rid my father of the evil spirit. If he is saved, I will by all means be your bride."
"Ah, what the heck . . . but don't forget your promise."

A hard journey was begun to visit a wise turtle that knew the secret of helping the princess's father. The turtle lived over many mountains. Mononoke expected her to complain and give up, but she said nothing and endured the harsh journey. After awhile, they found themselves in a forest that was as old as the Japanese islands were. And suddenly, they met the Great Turtle.

The Great Turtle told the third princess that her father's heart remained, even though he was possessed. He knew of a remedy, a special treasure that could work magic. She dived with the turtle into the deep waters, and found a treasure chest left in the bottom of the sea. The treasure was a mirror that shown brightly, even though it had been sitting under the sea for countless years and months. While they were preparing to leave, the Great Turtle said to her,
"After this, the strength of your heart will determine all."

The two travelers rapidly returned to her home town on a magic flying device. Far away, the evil spirit knew of the approach of the magic mirror. After her return, the princess was shocked to see the state of things back in her hometown. In only one year, her father's small mansion had been transformed into a giant castle. The power of the evil spirit had grown to a level of great strength. Many soldiers had gathered, and great cannons had been built. The peasant population suffered under the ungrateful lord.

The third princess tried to give aid to the suffering people, but was stopped by soldiers. Mononoke rushed in to protect her, and gave a great battle. He yelled, "Don't you dare lay a hand on my bride!" and knocked down many a man. But Mononoke was shot in the back as he was jumping off the mountain for safety with the princess. Even though he was injured, Mononoke continued to protect the princess as they fled for safety in the mountainside below.
"I am not going to ask you to be my bride if you think it is
unreasonable. Will you return to my mountain home with me?" he asked.

They had become good friends, and shared something together. While he fell into a deep sleep, she went out, taking the magic mirror with her. In the moonlight, she saw the face of a sleeping young man in the mirror. It was the true form of Mononoke. In the mirror, she saw the man running around catching chickens with the force of a wild beast. One day, while he was living like a beast, the young man suddenly awoke to find himself transformed into a beast. The third princess came to know his pain.

"But, I cannot keep the promise with you," she said. "I must return
to the side of my father. Please forgive me."
And she left him in the night while he slept. She returned to her father's castle alone. The soldiers recognized who she was, and allowed her to pass into the castle.

Mononoke woke up and realized that the princess was not there. He ran to the village and asked if they had seen her. Someone said that he had seen her going to the castle, alone. Mononoke charged towards the castle, forgetting to put on his disguise. Reaching the castle, he flew over the gate, not even pausing for the castle guards who were shooting at him. The third princess entered the castle, not being able to recognize anything because the place had been so warped and transformed. As she reached the demon's inner chamber, finally, father and daughter met. But
it seemed that it was too late. The spirit had already eaten into the body of the samurai. With the intent of killing the evil spirit, the third princess stood and faced him.

Mononoke was plowing through rows and rows of soldiers yelling, "Get out of my face!" as he made his way towards the father and daughter. The princess pulled out the mirror, and as she faced it towards her father, the evil spirit began to pause in fear. The princess ran forward and embraced her father and the evil spirit fled out of his body. The father snapped out of it, his body pale and weak.

The evil spirit flew into the heavy armor. He faced the father and daughter, and blew flame from the mouth of the face plate. Then, Mononoke appeared from behind and flew into the flames, forming a shield for the father and daughter. Despite the fire, Mononoke pressed his attacker. In doing so, the devil-armor retreated out the window and onto the balcony. Mononoke made a leaping attack, hitting the devil-armor square in the chest, and the pair flew over the edge onto the roof. The princess went out onto the roof, to see the burning pair with her own eyes. The devil-armor was burned to a crisp, and Mononoke likewise received mortal wounds from the flame. The princess ran to the cat, tears streaming down upon his fallen form. Because of the magic of her love that the tears conveyed, Mononoke once again began to breathe. He was alive!

"I am the best of the mountain cats. I survived to once again see my young bride. Wa ha ha ha ha!"
The princess returned to the side of her fallen father. While she held him tight, he took his last breath as a human. The people of the village came out into the street, and watched as
the huge castle burned to the ground. Mononoke took the princess up onto his back, and the two returned to the mountain.

The End