Princess Mononoke, an animated feature by renowned director Hayao Miyazaki, offers this argument in the film. Despite the film’s fantasy element, the story revolves around a time during feudal Japan when the realm of the supernatural lives side by side with the world of men. Conflict arises when men begin to destroy the environment by extracting natural resources excessively challenging the forest gods along the way.
The story begins with a warrior prince named Ashitaka who encounters with the boar god on a rampage and threatens the safety of the villagers. He battles the creature, eventually killing it. However the prince, who was injured in the process now bears the creature’s curse after it was revealed that the boar was one of the forest god turned into a demon by men’s weapons. Ashitaka's journey eventually leads him to a fortress-like city named Irontown. The people of Irontown, under the rule of Lady Eboshi, have been mining iron from within a nearby mountain. It is with this iron that they are able to manufacture early forms of rifles, crude by today's standards, but very devastating nonetheless. The mining, however, has resulted in the destruction of the forest, which once covered the mountainside. The creatures of the forest are not pleased with being driven from their homes, none more than Moro, a giant wolf god, and her adopted human daughter, San. San has been repeatedly attacking the humans of Irontown in an attempt to drive them away. Ashitaka, though, believes that the humans and animals can get along peacefully and this lands him squarely in the middle of the conflict.
Miyazaki presents the audience with a universe filled with difficult choices, which, very often, do not have easy answers. For instance, he makes it clear how actions that are morally praiseworthy when looked at from one perspective may be reprehensible when seen from another. He even manages to remind the viewer that an action's being right or wrong does not necessarily depend upon the supposed moral worth of the person towards whom that act is directed. A hurtful deed is shown to be as potentially reprehensible when committed upon a wicked person as it is when done to one who is virtuous. Such meditations are not, however, included in the film in a heavy-handed or overtly didactic manner but are, instead subtly incorporated into the structure of the narrative itself. In fact, the presence of such quandaries gives the movie a depth it would not have had without them.
Princess Mononoke reflects the anxiety that is felt not only in contemporary Japan but also in developing countries around the world that attempt to transform themselves to a modern societies in the presence of technological advancement that is constantly evolving. Although the story seems like a simple tale of humankind versus nature, there are many layers which complicate things. Multiple conflicts abound with humans against humans, humans against nature and even nature against itself. What the film offers is an alternative world that contrasts with the idealized myth of harmony, progress and unproblematic society, the film offers a vision of cultural dissonance, spiritual loss and environmental apocalypse.