Pom Poko (平成狸合戦ぽんぽこ Heisei Tanuki Gassen Ponpoko, lit. "Heisei-era Raccoon Dog War Ponpoko") is a 1994 Japanese animated film, the eighth written and directed by Isao Takahata and animated by Studio Ghibli.
Consistent with Japanese folklore, the tanuki (Japanese Raccoon Dogs, Nyctereutes procyonoides) are portrayed as a highly sociable, mischievous species, able to use "illusion science" to transform into almost anything, but too fun-loving and too fond of tasty treats to be a real threat – unlike the kitsune (foxes) and other shapeshifters. Visually, the tanuki in this film are depicted in three ways at various times: as realistic animals, as anthropomorphic animals which occasionally wear clothes, and as cartoony figures based on the manga of Shigeru Sugiura (of whom Takahata is a great fan). They tend to assume their realistic form when in view of humans, their cartoony form when they are doing something outlandish or whimsical, and their anthropomorphic form at all other times.
Prominent testicles are an integral part of tanuki folklore, and they are shown and referred to throughout the film, and also used frequently in their shapeshifting. This remains unchanged in the DVD release, though the English dub (but not the subtitles) refers to them as "pouches". Also, in the English dub and subtitles, the animals are never referred to as "raccoon dogs", the more accurate English name for the tanuki, but rather incorrectly as simply "raccoons".
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