Dec 29, 2018
Unexpectedly good. This is an adaptation of Japanese folklore, dating back to the hazy distant past of many hundreds (if not thousands) of years ago - when the people were much closer to nature and interacted with the local supernatural creatures. A small impoverished village ekes out a living in the rocky mountains, so poor that they don't even know what rice is. Taro is a lazy child that would rather play with the animals than help with chores, until he is given the strength of a hundred men by a wandering tengu - with the condition he can only use it
to help others, not himself.
His ailing grandmother informs him that his absent mother was actually turned into a dragon, and Taro goes on a quest to find his mother. Along the way, he meets many other villagers, learns about growing and harvesting rice, and helps everyone along the way.
As far as the plot goes, it's a fairly straightforward "quest"/personal growth-type folklore tale. The artwork (especially the backgrounds) is reminiscent of classic Japanese artwork styles, down to the stylized crashing waves, swirling clouds, and watercolor mountains. Overall a nice little movie aimed at children but can be enjoyed by all ages.
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