As civilisation draws ever nearer to their idyllic forest home, a group of mischievous Japanese tanuki raccoons try to scare humans away. But they soon discover that man is not their only rival in the struggle for their age-old territory. Released in 1994 as the Japanese economy slumped, but looking back to the sixties construction boom in Tokyo's Tama Hills, Pom Poko questions the money-grabbing ethic of yuppie Japan, and mourns the loss of the countryside. Drawing on Japanese myths and legends, writer and director Isao Takahara presents a satirical view of woodland spirits using every available magical ruse to take on modern developers: including transformations, sabotage and trickery.
This really is family viewing. Prima facie it is a children's cartoon about raccoons who can metamorphose into apparitions some a little scary. The satirical element is not emphasised but is clear. Presumably familiarity with Japanese folklore would make this more relevant. I can well imagine that there is considerable commercial pressure on undeveloped suburban land in many parts of Japan. The plot however seemed to repeat itself too often. An interesting juxtaposition of cartoon and satire which has been under utilised, but not with this plot.