Poster - Shonen Sarutobe Sasuke

Toei Doga's sophomore feature, Shonen Sarutobe Sasuke, was the first Japanese anime to be shown in the United States.  MGM picked up the rights to this and many other Toei pictures, providing faithful English-language dubs, new titles, and sometimes new songs.  Here are a pair of posters to the MGM version, Magic Boy, for the US and Latin American markets.  These are really enjoyable posters, and the US poster sells for a princely sum these days.  It may not have the pedigree of a Walt Disney, but its place in animation history is secure.  I can't remember who sang the Magic Boy song to save my life.  It was some popular crooner from the '50s...

My favorite poster, of course, remains the Japanese original.  There's something about the design of Japanese movie posters in the 1950s and 1960s, that crowding of image and text, the bold colors, the minor details that require you to examine closely.  Toei is clearly advertising Sasuke as a boys' adventure movie, but the animals are given equal attention on the page.  The adult characters are more to the side, even the villain.  This is really more about having fun and going on exciting adventures than anything.

And is it just me, or is that woman pointing at the kid's butt?  Maybe he should have worn pants.  At least Sasuke doesn't have that creepy Michael Jackson face that you see on the other posters.

Finding the Toei Doga poster is going to be a challenge.  Your best bet is Ebay, and even then, auctions are rare.  If you do find one, expect to pay a princely sum for your bragging rights.  If Toei was smart, they'd sell prints of their classic movie posters.  It's an idea that I always bring up from time to time, and I think it's a good one.  Everyone you went to school with had the same Pulp Fiction poster.  Why not try for something a little different for a change?

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