The material on this page is available to AustLit subscribers. If you are a subscriber or are from a subscribing organisation, please log in to gain full access. To explore options for subscribing to this unique teaching, research, and publishing resource for Australian culture and storytelling, please contact us or find out more.
'Informed by ecocriticism, this article conducts a comparative examination of two contemporary animated children's films, Princess Mononoke (1997) and Fern Gully (1992). While both films advocate for the prevention of deforestation, they are, to varying degrees, antithetical to environmentalism. Both films reject the principles of deep ecology in displacing responsibility for environmental destruction on to 'supernatural' forces and exhibit anthropocentric concern for the survival of humans. We argue that these films constitute divergent methodological approaches for environmental consciousness-raising in children's entertainment. The western world production demonstrates marked conservatism in its depiction of identity politics and 'cute' feminization of nature, while Hayao Miyazaki's film renders nature sublime and invokes complex socio-cultural differences. Against FernGully's 'othering' of working-class and queer characters, we posit that Princess Mononoke is decidedly queer, anti-binary and ideologically bi-partisan and, in accord with the underlying principle of environmental justice, asks child audiences to consider compassion for the poor in association with care for nature.' (Author's abstract)