SF elements: mythical animal spirits
While protecting his village from a demon, Ashitaka is cursed by it. Told that this will soon kill him, he rides off into the west, to find the Spirit of the Forest, and beg for a cure. On the way he meets Jigo, a wily monk who isn't what he seems, Lady Eboshi, ruler of Irontown, who might be a villain to the forest dwellers, but is doing a lot of good for her people, and Mononoke, a feral human raised up by wolf-gods. His quest for a cure leads him to mediate the battle brewing between the spirits of the forest, the guns of Irontown, and several other factions.
Lots of action, a complex (and, given that it's anime, sometimes incomprehensible to me) plot, and great animation. (But the crystal dagger necklace seems to violate Chekov's law .)
reviewed 19 March 2011