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Feb 23, 2018
This was a series of advertisements made for Asahi Brewery by Tadahito Mochinaga's group that he formed after he returned to Japan in 1953. Amongst those who worked on these ads are Kihachirō Kawamoto (very early in his career), Tadasu Iizawa (the writer of the ads), and Ōfuji Noburō.

These ads give us a glimpse into the stepping stones of Mochinaga's career between Shanghai and Rankin-Bass, as well as a peek at Kawamoto & Iizawa before they founded Shiba Productions. Furthermore, this series of ads is particularly notable as it is the first known example of 2-D animation and stop-motion being used to advertise an adult read more
Apr 7, 2017
"This is Dangobei, the laziest man in Baghdad"

This is one of (if not *the*) earliest cut-out-animation films from Japan.

As far as mid-1920s cut-out animation goes, the animation quality is decent but nothing spectacular. I appreciated the effective usage of some cinematography effects, namely the fades, spotlight cut-outs and that unusual wreath-blossoming-spoitlight effect. I especially liked how many of the spotlight cut-outs had certain pieces intentionally sticking out of the spotlight, such as the antlers of Dangobei's helmet.

In terms of story and writing, there are some excellent gags in this short film. I especially laughed at the angry tree and the soldiers' over-the-top siege tactics. read more
Apr 6, 2017
Pretty good short little film.

The animation isn't quite on par with other works of the same era. You'd see more fluidity of movement and less of an obvious "these are focal objects" vs "these are immobile backgrounds" visual distinction in the layering in comparable works like, for example, Laugh-o-Gram's Alice series. However, there's a good amount of character detail and complexity here, especially in the creatures like the lion or the clothing of the human characters.

The story is a bit oddly structured, with the character relationships not fully constructed, and the fable in the middle taking too long in proportion to the "main" read more
Apr 4, 2017
A fun little animation of the Aesop fable. There's a few moments of excellent creativity in this short film, such as when the rabbit is shown rolling down the hill in one cut, or the raven's insults of the rabbit homing in on the rabbit's head.

However, overall the animation isn't particularly good. A lot of the motion isn't very smooth, and the tortoise's limb and neck movements in particular don't look very natural. The rabbit's face looks quite bizarre at times, too. Simply put, the animation here just doesn't measure up to most Western films, nor even to many other Japanese animation, from the read more
Apr 4, 2017
First, a disclaimer: Make sure you watch the complete 4-minute version of this film. Otherwise you're really not doing it justice.

With that aside, I thought The Dull Sword was a riot. This little film has some excellent comedic timing, taking the time to set a scene and build audience expectations before subverting them with the gag in each of its scenes.

The visual animation is strong for this era, with lots of detail in the character designs. The weapon shop scene' backgrounds were also especially nice. I would have liked to see a more consistent aesthetic between scenes (e.g. why does only the first scene read more
Apr 4, 2017
First of all, please note that there are multiple versions of Urashima Taro. This MAL entry is for the 1918 silent short film, and it is only about 60 seconds long. If you are watching a version with narration, with any sort of sound, or that is longer than a minute (as I suspect the other review here was) this is the wrong MAL page.

With that out of the way, Urashima Tarou is (as of this writing) the 3rd-oldest Japanese animated film known to exist and obviously a very early prototype of what anime would one day become, and I will attempt to judge read more