Princess Mononoke (synopsis - page 3)
A Rocky Mountainside
Ashitaka rides Yakkul with San, but as San awakes, he has lost all his strength and falls off from Yakkul. Immediately, Two wolves jump onto him, but San stops them, saying that he is hers to kill.
Shuddering in her rage, San demands to know why Ashitaka interfered with her. Lying on the ground, Ashitaka answers weakly:
"I did not want you to die..."
His words enrage San more. She takes Ashitaka's sword from it's sheath, points it at his throat, and says:
"Who's afraid of death!? If I can make those human scum go away, I would gladly give my life! I'll cut your throat so that you won't talk such nonsense anymore!"
Ashitaka opens his eyes, look into San's, and with faint voice, says:
"Live... You are beautiful..."
His words startle San. She stands helplessly, not knowing what to do.
Suddenly, the Shoujous, the big Ape Gods, appear and demand Ashitaka to be given to them. They say that they would eat a human, so that they would gain the human's power to defeat humans. They have been planting trees to replenish the forests which humans have destroyed, but to no avail. Humans keep clearing the forests.
San tries to dissuade them, saying that eating a human would accomplish nothing, but only contaminate their blood. But the Shoujous say that why should San care, she would be fine even if all the forests are destroyed, since San is a human.
Their words hurt San. The wolves will not take such an insult towards their sister, and chase the Shoujous away. San says that she is fine, and tells the two wolves to return home. San will deal with Ashitaka alone.
Shishi Gami's Pond
San puts unconscious Ashitaka on Yakkul, and takes them to the pond where Ashitaka once took a rest. As she walks in the pond, many white bones break underneath her feet. She takes Ashitaka to an island in the middle of the pond, and lays him on the grass with his lower body immersed in the water. Then, she takes the reins off Yakkul, and tells it to go wherever it wants to go. Yakkul just stands still as if to watch Ashitaka, as San swims away.
Countless Kodamas appear on the treetops. They all face the west, as if they are expecting something. A half-transparent giant appears in the western sky, and slowly moves around the forest. The Kodamas rattle their necks as if to greet it.
Looking at the giant from his hiding place in the forest, Jiko Bou says to a hunter that it's Didarabocchi, the form which Shishi Gami takes during the night. He and the hunters have been hiding in the forest, searching for Shishi Gami.
Didarabocchi approaches the pond, and then transforms into Shishi Gami, a strange beast with a human face.
In his deep sleep, Ashitaka is floating in the water. He sees Shishi Gami approach. As it walks, grass and flowers sprout and die instantly underneath its hooves. As its muzzle touches Ashitaka's wound, the blood flowing out of the wound stops.
When Ashitaka wakes up, Shishi Gami is gone, and Yakkul is looking into his face. San appears and says that since Shishi Gami has decided to let Ashitaka live, she will help him. Ashitaka realizes that his chest wound has been healed. But the next moment, he is driven into deep despair, as he discovers that he still has the mark on his right arm.
San puts a piece of dried meat into Ashitaka's mouth and tells him to eat. But Ashitaka is too weak to chew it. Watching him struggle, San puts the meat in her mouth, chews it, and gives it to Ashitaka, mouth to mouth. Tears fall off Ashitaka's eyes.
A herd of boars appears. They say that they have come from Chinzai to kill the humans and protect the forest. They demand to know why humans are present here at the Shishi Gami's pond. Moro answers that San is her daughter, and San answers that since Shishi Gami healed Ashitaka, they will not kill Ashitaka.
San's answer angers the boars. Why did Shishi Gami help a human, while it let Nago no Kami be killed? Moro says that Shishi Gami takes life as well as it gives life, but the boars accuse Moro of monopolizing Shishi Gami and letting Nago be killed.
Moro says that Nago feared death, and ran away from it. She says that she will not run away, but will rather face her death directly as the poisoned bullet in her body slowly kills her. San urges Moro to go to Shishi Gami, but Moro says that she has lived long enough, and Shishi Gami will just take her life away.
The boars do not believe Moro, and keep accusing her. Still lying on the ground, Ashitaka tells them that Nago became a Tatari Gami, and Ashitaka killed him to protect his village. He shows the mark on his right arm to the boars, and says he had hoped that Shishi Gami would cure this curse, but it didn't. It told Ashitaka to live even though he has to suffer through till the curse kills him.
A huge white boar appears from behind the others. It is Okkotonushi, a 500 year old blind Boar God. He sniffs Ashitaka's hand to learn what happened to Nago, and thanks Ashitaka for the information. It is sad that one of them had become a Tatari Gami, he says.
Moro tells Okkotonushi that it's a foolish act to take full offensive against humans. They would just walk straight into the humans' trap. But Okkotonushi says that even if all the boars must die, he must make those humans suffer.
Meanwhile, Eboshi and her men and women have been fighting against Samurais. Lord Asano, who has mobilized these Samurais, demands one half of Eboshi's iron, and Eboshi has refused.
After Eboshi successfully drives back the Samurais with her new improved Ishibiya, Jiko Bou visits her. He tells her about the boars in the forest, and their imminent offensive against the humans. He demands her to fulfil her promise - hunting Shishi Gami. The rulers of the country want Shishi Gami's head, which is said to have the power of eternal youth. Jiko Bou shows Eboshi a letter from the Emperor.
Eboshi isn't impressed and is rather reluctant. She says that the power of the mountain gods are ever weakening, as she and her men keep clearing the forest. If they wait for a while more, the gods will be totally powerless and they can easily have Shishi Gami.
But Jiko Bou reminds her that the Shisho Ren, the organization for which he is working, lent her the Ishibiya Shuu so that she could build Tatara Ba. It is her turn to keep her end of the bargain.
Eboshi says that she will keep her promise. Jiko Bou calls his men, the Karakasa Ren and Jibashiri, into Tatara Ba. They and Eboshi's men are going to go to the forest.
The women are worried about Eboshi, and ask her to take them with her. But Eboshi tells them that they have to stay at Tatara Ba to defend it. She says that they have a lot more to fear from humans, than from Mononokes. Not only the Samurais are after Tatara Ba, but even the Ishibiya Shuu could turn against them.
- Chinzai is an old name for Kyuushyuu, one of the four major islands of Japan. Kyuushyuu is located to the south of the main island of Japan, where this story takes place. It is quite close to the main island, but it is not clear how these boars passed across the channel.
- By the time of Muromachi Era, Japanese emperors became mere figurehead, with little political power. Still, they commanded great respect and awe from people, and were considered as the ultimate source of power. Having an emperor on one's side legitimized his posision, and made his opponents as "national enemies". If you have a permission from an Emperor (often, the Emperor himself was unaware of the fact that he gave such permission), you have a god and justice on your side.