Ohi-sama to Kaeru is a 1936 short film meant to be enjoyed by children with some slight propagandist intent which we will get into shortly.
Spoilers are warranted for this film as it is only a minute and change long and the synopsis does not really explain anything. Also I doubt anyone genuinely cares that they are being spoiled in this review, where the time to even just skim through is longer than the total watch time of this anime.
Essentially, some frogs and fish are at war with each other and the fish are totally kicking the frogs butts. The frogs, while able
to go on land, pray to the Sun which dries up the waterhole the fish live in. The frogs then pray again and it rains, giving water back to the fish. I'm sure you can guess what happens next.
I gave it a 10/10 because in just a minute I was actually amazed at the depth of story this film offered. I was honestly sad it was not longer- there are certainly a plethora of other short films old and new that really stretch out that watch time.
Pretty standard stuff for its' time. I enjoyed some of the scenes though, which I won't get into to not be too spoiler-y. I liked the designs and it was pretty easy to understand what was going on. Art is especially important here as there is no dialogue.
There was some background music and sound effects which complemented the scenes, but there was no dialogue of any kind to cement any explanation into the film. I saw some comments on this animes' forums and some people did not understand what was going on, which I suppose is understandable. This problem also ties back into the fact that it is just over a minute long, so everything is sandwiched in pretty quickly including sound.
No one character stands out from either side. The three "characters" are the frog army, fish army, and the Sun. About the propaganda comment I made in the beginning, well japan is known as the "land of the rising..." There is still some characterization, such as how vicious the fish were and how powerful the sun was- things like that.
I was genuinely surprised that I would get such a relatively complex story out of a 1 minute short film. Not rally much else to say at this point. With such a short run time, you either love it or hate it. or it can just fall into that category of "another one of these, huh. A lot of it really comes down to how you watch it I guess.
Pretty cute story, fun "characters" and just a minute long. No reason why you can't check it out. My only complaint is that with just a minute long, a lot of it seems rushed relative to other films of its time. I mean if they can do this in one minute, imagine two minutes or even three. Regardless, we have what we have, and its good enough as is.