Here's the trailer for Toei Doga's fourth feature film, Anju to Zushio-Maru. This is an adaptation of the famous 1957 movie by Kenji Mizoguchi, albeit with a few changes that try to simplify the story and put a happy face on things. That said, this is a really tragic movie, almost shockingly so. An aristocrat is framed for a crime he didn't commit and dies in prison; his family is sold into slavery; two daughters drown (their "rebirth" into cartoon animals was a bit confusing); and the mother disappears. Only the son escapes, and returns as a young adult with power and influence to enact revenge...oh, and fight this big monster spider which shows up suddenly for no reason.
I finally managed to track down a couple copies of this movie on the internet; one is the original version (dubbed into some European dialect), and the other is the American release, retitled, "The Littlest Warrior." The US version has over a dozen minutes cut out of the original running length, and the dubbing and scripting are neither faithful to the source material, nor witty and clever like Alakazam the Great. It's probably a nice addition to your library if you're into collecting old anime VHS tapes, I guess.
It's a good trailer, and I'm thankful for being able to track it down. I'm not too sold on the movie, however. I think it's the weakest of Toei Doga's first four features, and clearly a step down from Saiyuki. The studio's staff, however, absolutely hated this movie, particularly for the way it seems to endorse a submissive, the-rulers-know-best message. It's no coincidence that a union is formed around this time; the back-and-forth struggle between labor and management would only intensify throughout this new decade. Like it or not, the '60s had come to Toei, and the seeds of future revolution were about to be sown.
daniel thomas Categories: anju to zushiomaru, toei doga, video