As a young boy, Xu-Xian is forced to free his pet, a small snake. Unbeknownst to him, the snake is actually a young snake goddess named Bai-Niang and she is in love with him. Many years later, when they are both adults, the princess is magically transformed into a human and sets out to find her love. But the local wizard believes her to be a vampire, and banishes Xu-Xian from the village in order to save him. Xu-Xian's pet pandas Panda and Mimi set out to save him and bring him, in the process becoming leaders of an animal gang.
The story is a classic one, I believe it is based on a folk tale. Love between a human boy and a spirit girl, sadly to be disrupted from mankind's general intolerance of spirits. But ultimately, one where love triumphs supreme.
One can also interpret the story as a criticism of institutions (such as religion and society) and the sweeping, preconceived judgments they pronounce without any actual knowledge of the situation; but ultimately again, while a powerful and often disruptive force, one that is overcome by true love.
The subplot with the animals searching for Hsu Hsien is very funny and cute too! Especially when Panda challenges all the bandit animals.
For a 1958 show, the art was beautiful. Many of the backgrounds especially looked like paintings...thoroughly enjoyable! The festival scene was beautiful as well.
My only complaint would be that some of the animations for the fighting and spells were crudely done.
Sometimes the Japanese was hard to understand (maybe it's a dialect of some kind in places?). My subbed version also had poor subs, so regretfully I missed out in places.
But overall, the narrative voice was well done, especially in the parts where its half-sung, which was flowing and sonorous. Some of the voices quavered a lot, and generally the voice acting style is not my favorite; but it was suited for a children's folk tale I think. The music was generally high quality with traditional instruments.
A gem from the 50s. Classic folk tale story. Beautiful art and music. Nothing that makes the adrenaline rush, but peaceful and enjoyable. Highly recommended.read more
4/10? What is this guy thinking? It´s a classic! If you just want to know why I scored it so low, read my thoughts on the movie's pacing. Otherwise, this is how well the movie stacks up to current expectations. Consider this a modern review.
The backgrounds are fine and together with the music makes for a relaxing setting but as many works from this era the humans look creepy or somehow just "wrong". Sure, modern anime can be generic and we would all like to see more creativity. However, here it is more the case of animation in general being in it's infancy and less about creating a unique style. The art is primitive and crude but to it's credit has a lot of charm. I wish I had the nostalgia googles for this one (no joke).
DO NOT watch this movie with the English dub! This is coming from someone who normally prefers dubbed anime. The movie was marketed to children in U.S.A and as such the whole movie will be ruined for you by narration of every single little thing that happens throughout the movie. In fact, the English dub is so bad that it is actually becomes funny at times. But personally I do not enjoy laughing at movies, I prefer to laugh with them.
The Japanese voice acting, on the other hand, is decent enough but if you are a veteran anime watcher you might find it a bit distracting sometimes to have 50s over the top yelling in-between emotional scenes. This is only in some sequences though, for the most part the voice-acting and music successfully add to the laid-back atmosphere of the movie.
A lot of older movies have bad pacing. Every scene drags on for 3-5 seconds too long, but with this movie it is worse than usual. It really comes down to personal preference. The movie uses comedic relief in the form of an animal subplot, a festival and others. When it comes to the animals think "Tommy and Jerry" and you almost got it; a lot of running around and hitting each-other-type jokes. I normally do not find this kind of humor very funny but it goes deeper than that. I do not like comedic relief in my drama movies. It either takes me out of the experience or I keep waiting for the main plot to come back. If this is you as well, consider skipping this movie. I wish this movie was short & sweet, but it is not.
Looking past the bad pacing there is a charming movie hiding beneath it all. The mythical nature of the movie is also very interesting. I even got reminded of "Spirited Away" at one point. If folk legends, spirits and calm settings interests you, give the movie a try. That is, unless you (like me) know you dose off easily.read more
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