Heisei Tanuki Gassen Pompoko (1994, JAP) C-119m. *** D: Isao Takahata. Starring (the voices of) Kokondei Shinchou, Makoto Nonomura, Yuriko Ishida, Norihei Miki, Nijiko Kiyokawa. Humorous yet sentimental look back at Japan of the 1960s, and its urban development that destroyed many forests. Story centers around a tribe of raccoons, who use their transforming skills to stop the destruction of their habitat. Slightly episodic fantasy drama contains some stunningly creative animation, especially in the transformation scenes. With its countless references to local folklore, this may speak most eloquently to Japanese audiences. Produced by Studio Ghibli. From the director of the acclaimed HOTARU NO HAKA (GRAVE OF THE FIREFLIES). English titles: POM POKO, and THE RACCOON WAR.

© Ron Altman