“Come round, call back to my heart.”

Based in the Japanese literary tale The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter, The Tale of the Princess Kaguya tells the story of a little princess born from a bamboo shoot. She is found by a bamboo cutter named Sanuki no Miyatsuko and rapidly grows under the care of him and his wife.

As the bamboo continues to provide blessings for the family, Miyatsuko decides that fate wants Kaguya to be a noble princess… whether she wants to or not.

From the start, Kaguya is a beautiful free spirit who enjoys the simple beauties of our world: nature, animals, and laughter. It’s only when her Earthly father is blindsighted by riches and fine fabric that Kaguya’s joy wavers. As she grows, she’s forced to leave the things she loves behind and become an eligible bride.

However, despite her circumstances, Kaguya finds ways to outsmart her suitors and find small pleasures like gardening. It isn’t until the Emperor himself physically harasses her that she begins to realize her time remaining on Earth is limited.

It turns out that Kaguya originally came from the moon! She wanted more than anything to come to Earth to experience human emotion, but while being assaulted by the Emperor, she silently begged for the moon’s help. Within days, Kaguya has to come to terms with the life she’d led so far before returning to her true home.

Studio Ghibli needs no introduction. The Japanese animation studio has a library of stunning classics ranging from family friendly films like My Neighbor Totoro and Ponyo to more adult films like Grave of the Fireflies (a personal favorite of mine). Princess Kaguya is somewhere in between. Children will be enamored with the unique art style, but teenagers and adults will be enthralled by this magical coming of age story.