A monkey, a dog, a pheasant, and a bear travel southward after resting in their villages at the foot of Mt. Fuji. A squadron flies to Onigashima under the command of Momotarou. Parachutes blossom in the sky. Momotarou and company will take over the island after a swift and successful mission. The village children pretend parachuting with glee as they run towards Mt. Fuji.
Momotarou: Umi no Shinpei is a war propaganda movie considered to be Japan's first feature-length animation work. It was produced with funding of 270,000 yen from the Ministry of the Navy. The movie was considered lost following the end of World War II, but its negatives were rediscovered in 1982. Shochiku's digital restoration of the film was screened at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival.
Alright, I can't exactly rate this fairly. This was considered the second anime in history, while the first being "Imokawa Mukuzo Genkanban no Maki."
This anime was made in 1945, when at that time they still didn't know much about colored film. So, for this anime, I'm not going to give it one of those complicated reviews, since it wouldn't be fair when I'm comparing it to anime in this decade.
It doesn't have good animation style, yet what do you expect. The animation style was creepy, but I can see why. It has an old school plot to it, very original.
The highlight, I'd have to say,
was the music. It had very nice music incorporated in the movie.
Overall, I can't really rate it. Not many people are going to want to watch this. If you ARE planning on watching it, however, then I can give you a few useful tips.
If you like poor, black and white animation style, then this is for you. Along with simple movements. If you like old school music, and louder than needed sound effects, then here you go. I can't really say anything more than that. I know this review might not have been that helpful, but it's the best I can give you for this particular anime.
Yes it's a wartime propaganda film, but one that spends as much time with cute animal soldiers packing and eating their bento lunches as it does with any fighting. It's only in the last fifteen minutes of runtime that there's any War at all. There are also extended scenes of singing alphabet songs, hanging laundry and feeding birds.
The animation is amazing, of course continuity is a little jumpy which considering the conditions of it being made make sense, so a lot of the scenes have little jumps and skips in the motion. Still the movement is remarkably three dimensional, and the characters have very expressive
When compared to the Disney wartime movies, these one lacks the coherent plots and punchy action and quick gags. It's all rather hallucinatory, slow moving and brilliant in its own way, but definitely not one for all tastes.
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