Letters...We Get Lots and Lots of Letters #3

Hi Daniel! My name is Nancy & I'm a fan of your site. I got Animal Treasure Island & Puss n' Boots through your recommends and also enjoyed reading your insight from a Westerner's point of view. Very nice.

I'm writing because of something you mentioned in today's entry--"The Little Prince & the 8-Headed Dragon". I bought this R2 DVD in Tokyo 2 years ago while on holiday. They had the most amazing Japanese animation show at the Museum of Contemporary Arts.
They displayed a ton of amazing sketches and watercolor illustrations from some of the great early animation in the 60s, right down to the entire Studio Ghibli/Miyazaki catalog. It was so good and yet you weren't allowed to take photos, or anything. This weblink is the closest I've seen to any visual documentation of this show.

It was at the museum gift store that I was able to find a nice selection of the Studio Ghibli stuff (already available at HMV Japan, etc.) and many early selections by Toei Animation. (I heard about this show through the Nausicaa mail list when one of the Japanese fans shared the info.) Before arriving I had only known about the work after Panda Go Panda--had NO clue about the early works or Toei. I found their work so stylized, retro (in a good way) and quite refined for it's time. When I saw clips of "Little Prince" projected on the wall throughout the showing, I was blown away and had to get the DVD. I had never heard of Yasuji Mori but immediately became a fan. Anyway, there were at least 6-10 old Toei titles to choose from and they weren't cheap. I only bought the one I really wanted (it was 4,500 Yen--you do the math) and looked forward to watching it when I got home to Canada.

There are no English subtitles so my husband did his best to translate (he knows only basic level through immersion) but it's in very formal old Japanese. It's very quiet with little music so it has a really slow pace compared to the Miyazaki-directed pieces. The quality of the film and sound is impressive and very clean. I would imagine that if you contacted the gallery store directly, you might be able to purchase it directly or find it through other means online.

Anyway, just thought I'd share the info with you and some cellphone pics I took of the case so you know what to look for.



Konan said...

If you're interested, you can download a clip from the film here: ftp://buta:buta@buta-connection.net/toei/1963%20-%20Le%20petit%20prince%20et%20le%20dragon%20à%20huit%20têtes.zip

Also, I would like to know what your thoughts on the following Ghibli-related films are:
*Taro the Dragon Boy
*Princess Arete (by Sunao Katabuchi, assistant director of Kiki -- also worked on the scenarios of the Telecom episodes of Sherlock Hound with Miyazaki)
*Nasu, Summer in Andalusia

Best Wishes,

Daniel Thomas MacInnes said...

Of those three titles you mention, the only one I'm not familiar with is Princess Arete.

What I know about Taro the Dragon Boy I've read from AniPages. I know, it's available on DVD, and I really should pick it up one of these days, if just because of Yoichi Kotabe's involvement. Taro is considered the last gasp from the once-great Toei studio. The quality of their films plummeted after the key talent left for greener pastures, migrating from A Pro to Nippon to Telecom to Ghibli. Oh, and Takahata was originally tapped for the director's chair on Taro, but he was busy with Anne of Green Gables. Ah, well.

Nasu: Summer in Andalusia is a movie I definitely want to see. I'm aware that the DVD doesn't include English subtitles, which is why I haven't purchased it yet. It's another naturalist character drama with involvement from Ghibli alumni, so it's right up my alley. I would certainly petition for Nasu to be released in America on DVD.

Oh, and I have seen the video clips at Buta-Connection. It's a great Ghibli-related website that belongs on everyone's reading list.

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