Dec 28, 2022
Hey kids! Remember an old anime called Tokyo Pig? I remember seeing a few episodes of it here and there on TV when I was a kid, but I'm pretty sure I only remember it because the character designs were permanently chibi. The thing is, Tokyo Pig, or its original title, Hare Tokidoki Buta, translated as Fair Then Partly Piggy, actually started off as a series of children's picture books. The 90s TV series is a little more well known, but the series actually had a feature-length movie produced in 1988 with a premise that was very different from how the series turned out. Discotek
even put it out on DVD and blu-ray a number of years ago, though that release is now out of print. It's streaming on Crunchyroll, for those who want to watch it. I saw it recently myself and...not gonna lie, this movie is pretty juvenile.
Third grader Noriyasu Hatakeyama is your average kid who unfortunately isn't very good at anything. He doesn't pay attention in class, he messes up the most basic tasks, and he's gotten the nickname Two-Bit because of his screw-ups. But one thing he does take pride in is that he writes in his journal every day. One day, he catches his mother reading his journal and he's not too happy about it. But rather than, y'know, tell her she shouldn't invade his privacy like a normal person, he assumes she's gonna try and read it again, deciding to write about really crazy stuff that could never happen in real life, such as raining pigs and eating pencils for dinner. To his surprise though, the crazy things he writes in his journal magically come to life, and weirder than that, everybody treats it all as normal! Things get even crazier when he tries to take a crack at making his own newspaper and writing fake news for fun, resulting in an apocalyptic pig holiday!
Yeah, that premise is as stupid and childish as it sounds, and no, the movie never explains how or why Noriyasu's writings come to life. I didn't really jive with this, as the whole movie very much screams "JUST for kids" with how juvenile its premise and its take on it is. It just expects you to believe that everything Noriyasu writes just magically comes to life. This isn't necessarily a bad thing by itself, but the movie seemed content to just abuse it for the sake of dragging the movie out, and honestly, the movie is pretty slow paced. A lot of it just consists of stuff happening and Noriyasu reacting to it while everybody else treats it as another day. The characters are pretty bland and one-note, too, both the main and side-cast. The soundtrack isn't much to write home about either, other than the fact that the kids singing the opening theme just can't sing for the life of them. The ending song is much nicer and easier on the ears, though.
That being said, the animation, for its time, is pretty good. The backgrounds have a lot of creativity put into them, a fun mix of both children's crayon drawings and watercolor, and the actual motion for the characters is pretty smooth. Since the characters are all deliberately drawn in the chibi style, this makes them easier to animate, and the creators really go buck wild here. But that's honestly about all that Fair Then Partly Piggy can offer in terms of positives. I wouldn't call Fair Then Partly Piggy a bad movie, but it was clearly made for the sole purpose of keeping kids eyes glued to the TV for a little over an hour and not much else. But if you want to put this on for your kids or for yourself, feel free! It's just not for me personally.
What did you think of this review?