San (サン), otherwise known as Princess Mononoke (もののけ姫, "Mononoke hime") or the "Wolf Girl," is the main character, along with Ashitaka, in Princess Mononoke. She acts, behaves, and resembles a wolf due to the fact that she was raised by wolves themselves. San is the Princess of the Wolf Gods.
Role in the film
When San was a baby, the wolf goddess Moro attacked her parents, who were found damaging the forest. Her parents threw San to her feet and ran away. Moro raised San as her own daughter, and in turn San treats Moro as her mother and Moro's two natural pups as her siblings.
San's primary concern is protecting the forest and the animals she lives with. San rejects her own humanity and even thinks of herself as a wolf. She has suicidal thoughts and attempts to assassinate Lady Eboshi of Irontown many times, as San believes that Eboshi's death will result in the end of Irontown and human growth into the surrounding, untouched forest. It is only by Ashitaka's affection to her that she slowly comes to acknowledge her human side as well.
After the battle for the Forest Spirit's head, San tells Ashitaka that he is very dear to her. However, she cannot forgive the human race for what they have done to the forest and will continue to live apart from them. San returns to the forest while Ashitaka remains in Irontown. Before separating, Ashitaka promises that he will always be near and he will visit her in the forest whenever he can. San reciprocates his declarations and leaves.
Appearance and Personality
San is a beautiful young woman of average build who wears ragged clothing and a cape made of a wolf's fur, and has what appears to be amaranth red war paint on her face. She wears a head necklace with a single small gem in her front. She also bears short, straight, earthy green hair and has dark blue eyes with bangs slightly parted in the middle. She has a medium necklace with three fangs tied across her neck. She wears long, dangling, oval shaped earrings during the whole film. She is also very agile, fast, fairly strong and appears to be really good at using daggers and spears. She wears a mask which is her iconic feature. The mask is red with ears and white wavy lines and three sunshine yellow holes for a mouth and eyes.
Albeit a literal warrior-princess, San is fundamentally defined by her appreciation of nature. Being adopted by the wolf goddess Moro when she was but an infant, the "Wolf Girl", as expected, develops a wild personality. However, despite her (justified) coldness towards humans, she is highly capable of compassion.
This is initially a quality she only exhibits towards the inhabitants of the forest (animals, gods, and other beings), but as later shown throughout the movie, by the slow and gradual, but real progress of hers and Ashitaka's bond, she is also able to accept and develop admiration, and even affection for a fellow human - a process that also helps her accept her own humanity.
She is stubborn, short-tempered, courageous, and protective, her primary concern being to protect the forest and animals she lives with. At first, San rejects her own humanity and seems to be quite misanthropic, also thinking of herself only as a wolf. Despite this, she eventually falls in love with Ashitaka, who was the first to fall for her.
- Unknown parents (biological father and mother)
- Moro (adoptive mother)
- Moro's clan (adoptive brothers)
- Ashitaka (friend/lover)
I'm not afraid to die! I'd do anything to get you humans out of my forest!
- —San to the dying Ashitaka
- In the original concept of Princess Mononoke, San was the third princess of a kingdom that was sent off to marry a monster, hence her current name, San, meaning "three". However, it was later changed to the movie's current plot, San being the third "child" of Moro.
- San's tattoo's design was likely based on the tattoo of Kodowa appeared in Daijiro Moroboshi's Mad Men where Miyazaki deeply respects his works.
|Emishi Village||Ashitaka | Kaya | Ji-san | Hī-sama | Yakul|
|Irontown Denizens||Lady Eboshi | Gonza | Irontown Guard | Kiyo | Kohroku | Toki | Osa|
|Mononoke||San | Forest Spirit/Shishigami | Moro | Moro's clan | Apes | Kodama | Nago | Okkoto | Boar clan|
|Others||Jigo/Jikobo | Demon|
|Locations||Cedar Forest | Irontown | Emishi Village|
|Music||Soundtrack | Ashitaka and San | The Legend of Ashitaka|