I suggest you grab the popcorn before starting the movie for it is quite short. Plus if you get an urge to go visit the toilet in the middle of the movie, don't worry: it won't last much longer.
Even though the film is merely some 80 years old, the plot has everything that a well written movie needs: a beginning, a couple of turning points and an ending. The story takes off at some random beach and I must say that the beginning got me really confused. Who is this weirdo? What has he come here to do? So unless you are familiar with
the folk tale, prepare to be dazzled, for the film doesn't give you much of an explanation. The plot advances at an alarming rate, so unless you are some sort of a rocket scientist it might be a little difficult to follow. Nevertheless, after the first few scenes you start get the hang of it and actually enjoy it a little. You can always rewatch it a couple of times if you really want to suck it dry.
The artwork is one of the strengths of the film: back then TV had just been invented and Urashima Tarou was one of the first anime ever created. The japanese chaps of that time called it fucking awesome. Just like all other fossils it is in black and white, which wasn't considered a flaw back then, but nowadays it sure sucks ass. The animation is glitchy, blurry, itchy, twitchy and everything between them, but it's surprisingly fluent. The drawing itself looks nice and detailed assuming it doesn't glitch for a second.
It is a silent film, so you can stop searching for an OST right now. But not having sounds is actually a two-edged sword, for you can listen to what kind of music you ever like while watching this. I made a few test runs: I watched the film while listening to j-techno pop, rap and folk metal. The first two didn't suit the film at all, even though the it looked pretty rad when the film twitched to the beat of the techno pop. Rap doesn't suit anything, but hey, I had to try... Folk metal suited the film surprisingly well, made it look pretty badass. Just imagine all the possibilities!
The story has only one main and a few side characters. The protagonist is pretty clever guy who makes the best of every situation he gets in. Always has this retarded smile on his face. It is quite easy to get attached to him, he's quite the personality. The few side characters that appear are pretty stiff and not that amazing, but some of them have their own charm.
I didn't really enjoy this movie. Most of the time I was wondering what the heck is going on, but after rewatching it a couple of times, I think I got a pretty clear understanding of what happened. I am not familiar with the folk tale, so I had no expectations of what's going to happen. But the film is so short, it only hurts for a moment. The film also has zero ecchi, so if you are in hunt of pantyshots, boobs and cameltoes, you really are looking from the wrong place.
It's a historical piece of crap, that people should watch if they want to feel nostalgic and stuff, or if they want to add something to their list. But it really is crappy, so don't expect too much. If you are a badass like me, you can even watch it a couple of times.
Important Information to know in regard to this anime. There are three versions.
The most confusion for this anime lies between 1918 and 1931 versions. If the version you are watching has a completely bald head for starting main character you are watching the 1918 version. If the starting male character has what appears to be a pony tail you are watching the 1931 version. Hope that helps, it took a lot of research to solve this puzzle.
1918 directed by KITAYAMA, Seitaro (depending on source varies on time from 1 minute to 2) I found it to be a little over a minute.
1931(this one) directed
by Miyashita, Manzo (a little over a minute long)
1952 directed by KATAOKA, Yoshitaro ( about 5 minutes long/ HAVE NOT SEE THIS YET WILL CHANGE IF NEEDED WHEN I DO SEE IT)
rate a 2
Japanese raw(mind you there is just a title page. Otherwise there is no words nor voices)
-Fast Paced. Too fast to follow along with what is going on.
-Art black and white outlook.
- Art looked fuzzy/blurry
Sound - silent film. You can find some versions with sound. I am not sure if this came with sound or not. By sound i mean song not animation sound wise.
no use of text or voices plus fast moving art made the character bio a coin toss if you will. Or in other words you the viewer determine what was said but good luck it is pretty hard to figure out.
So many things went wrong with this production. From speed to it being silent, no words. It was like rather than you watching an everyday anime you were viewing this while sleeping. Perfect example when i think about it. Given the speed of how things play out and your recollection to how things went at the end. A complete mess not worth your time unless you are an art student.
Well, it's time for another short that comes from the beginning of animation in Japan. The animation really isn't that great; I'd say it's about middling compared to the other works of the era. I'm also not a fan of the art style. All of the art just doesn't feel quite as polished as other films of the era.
The story is just barely understandable. Also, despite this only being 2 minutes long, there's about 3 or 4 different scene transitions, which doesn't help in conveying the story at all.
The sound is really basic, featuring a dopey music track like many other Japanese films of the
era did. There's no voice acting, and actually no dialogue whatsoever.
I don't know, it's not the worst thing I've ever seen, but it doesn't have much going for it, and I didn't really enjoy it. I didn't hate it, but perhaps that's just because it was so short, so it didn't have long enough to really get under my skin?