Originally published on November 9, 2017

PRINCESS MONONOKE was not only the film that first gained film director Hayao Miyazaki overseas recognition, but is also his darkest and most complex work. Out of thousands of films out there where sides are distinctly drawn and middle ground is anything but present, PRINCESS MONONOKE is a diamond among emeralds.

It’s only right that such a film has inspired other stories, and that even extends out into the STAR WARS universe; particularly the STAR WARS REBELS animated series. While there have been several think pieces and essays written over the years on the inspiration that came from PRINCESS MONONOKE, in the show’s current season, it has become even more obvious.

In what ways you ask? Here are just four elements from STAR WARS REBELS that were clearly inspired by PRINCESS MONONOKE:

  1. San served as Inspiration for the character, Ahsoka Tano

This is both the obvious realization and a confirmed fact from show creator and executive producer Dave Filoni himself. As explained at last year’s STAR WARS Celebration, both San and Ahsoka (of both REBELS and the CLONE WARS series) are strong, independent female characters who were taken from their parents when they were very young, and were trained in the ways of nature and the Force respectively. San has even inspired the animation for the way Ahsoka moves and fights. This is most obvious in her showdown with Darth Vader in the Season 2 finale.

Studio Ghibli Fighting GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

To hit the point of reference even harder, Filoni revealed how had CLONE WARS not been canceled, viewers would have seen how Ahsoka survived Order 66… and it was all thanks to the help of some very large wolves; one of which she would ride on the back of.

  1. The Presence of Large Wolves

This is a recent addition to the REBELS story, as the Loth-Wolves were introduced in two of the most recent episodes. It’s clear that because they were not included in CLONE WARS, Filoni would find a way to incorporate them into REBELS. While it might be easy to say that he made this decision because he’s a die-hard fan of wolves (it’s true, he is), the fact that we even see two of the characters, Ezra and Sabine, riding on one really shows the inspiration that is PRINCESS MONONOKE.

Not to mention that the Loth-Wolves find themselves in a similar position to that of Moro and her pups. Their home world of Lothal is under attack and being threatened by the Empire; similar to how the forest that Moro lives in is facing the possibility of being rid of for land development by Lady Eboshi.

  1. Ambiguity Between “Good” and “Evil”

One of the general qualities about REBELS that I really enjoy as a viewer is the fact that the show explores the gray area between the Light Side and the Dark Side of the Force in several different instances. As mentioned in the previously referenced article from Nerdist, the Loth-Wolves aren’t inherently good or bad, for it all depends on one’s perspective.

The balance between the two sides of the Force can be similarly found in Ahsoka (who, as mentioned earlier, was inspired by San) and the Bendu; a Force-sensitive entity that looks very similar to the Forest Spirit.

  1. That Moment Where the Loth-Wolves Travel Through a Cave Tunnel


If there was any doubt before about PRINCESS MONONOKE being an influence for STAR WARS REBELS, then this moment definitely proves otherwise. I’ll let the visuals speak for themselves.

I mean, COME ON… and this episode aired three days ago!

Studio Ghibli GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s