The Tale of the Princess Kaguya

The Tale of the Princess Kaguya

Isao Takahata (2013)

U Certificate


Our Score
Inspired by a folk tale about a magical princess found in a bamboo shoot, this Japanese film controversially made the shortlist for best animated feature at the 2015 Oscars when The Lego Movie didn't. It's actually no surprise that the tradition-revering Academy would favour this delicate, handcrafted work, which showcases the exemplary draughtsmanship of its director Isao Takahata (Grave of the Fireflies), a co-founder of Studio Ghibli alongside the more renowned Hayao Miyazaki (Spirited Away, The Wind Rises). Nevertheless, although some sequences are exquisitely rendered, it has to be admitted that this is also overlong and a little on the dull side, while the narrative may be somewhat alienating for Western viewers expecting neat dramatic arcs and comforting conclusions. Be prepared for a melancholy dénouement that's not suitable for younger children, but which grown-ups and older kids may find heartbreaking.


An elderly bamboo cutter finds a tiny princess in a glowing shoot, little realising she will grow up to be a beautiful, strong-willed woman. After receiving several marriage proposals, she sets her suitors a variety of challenges in an attempt to learn which of them deserves to win her heart. Animated fantasy, featuring the voices of Chloe Grace Moretz, James Caan and Mary Steenburgen.

Cast & Crew

Princess Kaguya Chloë Grace Moretz
Sutemaru Darren Criss
Okina, the bamboo cutter James Caan
Ona, the bamboo cutter's wife / Narrator Mary Steenburgen
Lady Sagami Lucy Liu
Inbe no Akita George Segal
Prince Ishitsukuri James Marsden
Prince Kuramochi Beau Bridges
Lord Minster of the Right Abe Oliver Platt
Great Counselor Otomo Daniel Dae Kim
Middle Counselor Isonokami John Cho
Mikado Dean Cain
Director Isao Takahata
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Other Information

Language: Japanese dubbedColourTheatrical distributor: Studio CanalAvailable on: DVD and Blu-rayReleased on: 20 Mar 2015