I wanted to share this page of reviews by fans who were lucky enough to see early pre-release screenings of the Miramax-dubbed Princess Mononoke in 1999. I find this to be a very valuable tool, in that we are weeing initial impressions from dedicated Studio Ghibli fans back when they were truly the keepers of the flame. They were fierce defenders of Ghibli, but eager to see Hayao Miyazaki win mainstream acceptance. Anime during this time was still very much an underground, "alternative" thing, while greater America was indifferent, baffled or hostile.
Heck, Roger Ebert was pretty much the only major film critic in the US to openly champion anime, and do so on anime's own terms. This sub-culture appeared as counterculture as the beats of the '50s and the hippies of the '60s. Thankfully, we've come a long way in the years since, but that's because of the generational shift as younger people embrace the scene.
For me, I'm really enjoying these short essays. I haven't spent serious time with Mononoke in a number of years, so this really does feel like a rediscovery, one that gives me a greater appreciation not only of Miyazaki's vision, but the American version as well. Now if only I could get that nasty scratch removed from my R2 Mononoke DVD...
Fan Impressions of Princess Mononoke (1999, Nausicaa.net)