Where do I even begin? This particular experimental piece is a real tough one for me to review as I consider myself a big fan of the great Osama Tezuka, but this film The Legend of the Forest, is a bit of a disappointment. Now keep in mind if your looking for a spoiler free review this inst for you, as for the rest of you read on. Honestly, judging by the poster, I thought this film was going to be a charming tale about a flying squirrel saving his girl from hunters and Hitler. Instead I got this rather mean-spirited film that at many times was needlessly cruel. Before I go into further detail I want to mention that there are going to be major spoilers, so if you do not want to be spoiled, go watch the film right now, it's only about 30 minutes long.
Now for those if you don't care, this film starts with a flying squirrel who was abandoned by his family after a hunter or lumberjack cut down their tree. We then follow his life in form of the evolution of animation which is probably the most visually interesting thing from Tezuka I've seen yet. The squirrel starts rather mean spirited till he meets the love of his life who shortly after gets shot by a hunter. Not to long after the squirrels story tragically ends with him getting struck by lightning and then we cut to suddenly fairies in the forest, weird right? now t this film's credit it's flat out unwatchable, if anything the animation alone warrants watching it at least once.
This should have been tezuka's last masterpiece but it comes off as to mean spirited to be something he'd make. His works were usually about hope and how important it is to have it but neither of these two things are present. I suppose this might be due to this film being made shortly after he found out he had stomach cancer so i can't blame his works tone changing. If I had to gauge this by a number I'd give it a 5. This is mainly due to the top notch animation attached to it. If you're curious to see a so important piece of animation history from Japan or are a die hard Tezuka fan take a look, if not I'd say skip it.