Trailer - Arabian Nights: The Adventures of Sinbad (Toei Doga, 1962)

Now here is the movie trailer to Toei Doga's fifth animated feature, Arabian Nights: The Adventures of Sinbad.  I haven't seen this one yet, so there's not too much I can say right now.  I do know that this is not regarded as a good picture, but one of Toei's weaker ones.  There seems to be a creative slump between Saiyuki in 1960 and Wanpaku no Orochi Taiiji in 1963.  I'm sure Ben Ettinger has a few insights on the matter.

One thing that I will say is that these two people-centered Toei films, Anju and Sinbad, feel more like old Fleisher Bros. cartoons from the 1940.  They're more slavishly devoted to American animation theory, and exhibit less of a unique character.  I think the Toei movies that worked best are the ones that retain a Japanese flavor, that strive to be successful on their own merits, and not just copy Walt Disney cartoons.  This Sinbad trailer is very nice, but the action doesn't look all that compelling.  The formula is beginning to feel dated and uninspired.  All the more shocking when you see how utterly fantastic Wanpaku turns out - now there is a bona-fide anime masterpiece!

The Adventures of Sinbad is also the second Toei feature that Osamu Tezuka was involved with as a writer.  By 1962, he had formed his own rival animation studio, Mushi Productions, and he was quietly stealing away talented animators who were growing frustrated with Toei's strict corporate mindset and staunch "family-friendly" atmosphere.  It's funny when you think the two great anime revolutions of the 1960s - Mushi Pro and Horus - are rebellions against the corporate hierarchy of Toei Doga.  Hiroshi Okawa would prove to be a pivotal figure once again; just not in the way he quite expected.

1 comment:

GW said...

This film seems to have inspired 1001 Nights, particularly the main characters, and maybe a few other aspects. I'd like to see this and Anju to Zushio-Maru. They have something in them that I'm not quite feeling in other Toei films. I like Zushio-Maru's blend of exaggerated features and realism. I'm not as sold as the Sinbad characters who are blatant Wakiki Wabbit knockoffs. Some of that Wakiki influence goes through to Little Prince and Horus in a more muted form. I think in that respect, it's better to have a knockoff than a subverted knockoff. I can't say that I care much for most of the Toei sidekick animals either, and they're probably one of the biggest nuisances in getting in the way of my enjoyment of the films. The bears, rabbits, and mice are usually the biggest nuisances. They just have the most cloying voices and drive me up the wall when they talk and overact in particularly contrived situations.

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