Toei Doga Animated Movie Links

Toei Doga: Hakujaden (1958)

Toei Doga: Saiyuki (1960)

After the sudden passing of Isao Takahata on Thursday, one of my first impulses was to share as many of his "undiscovered" (to American eyes) films and television shows, to showcase his vast talents and immeasurable range as an artist. I also did this because I wanted to preserve the past, to keep it from slipping away. This becomes more of an obsession as you grow older and watch the people and events of your life fade away.

My search to preserve the past has led me, once again, to Toei Doga, the pioneering Japanese animation studio where Takahata began his career alongside Hayao Miyazaki. Many of the studio's movies from the classic Hiroshi Okawa era, 1958-1972, were given American theatrical releases, but nearly all of those adaptations have become highly obscure and forgotten. Meanwhile, the original Japanese movies themselves have also faded and nearly disappeared. Only those titles directly connected to the Studio Ghibli founders seem to be remembered at all.

Currently, of the Toei Doga "classic era" films, only Horus, Prince of the Sun is currently available on home video (hint, hint). Puss in Boots, Animal Treasure Island and the 1979 Toei movie Taro the Dragon Boy were released to DVD a decade ago, but are now out of print. In France, Hakujaden, Japan's first all-color animated feature, was released on DVD (in an unfairly cropped "widescreen" framing), but is likewise out of print. Today, fan translations remain the only source for preservation.

And now it seems that even the fansubs are disappearing.

Anyway, I wanted to have one master list of where you could find the Toei Doga movies online. As always, such things are extremely fluid and may change at any time. Also, caveat emptor, as these websites may be less than ideal.

This is a purely academic exercise for me. Ideally, all of these films would be given a proper commercial release or reissue. We should do all that is possible to make that happen. Until then, as they used to say on MST3K, keep circulating the tapes.

Hakujaden (1958)

Shonen Sarutobe Sasuke (1959)

Saiyuki (1960)

Anju to Zushiomaru (1961)

Wan Wan Chushingura (1963)

Gulliver's Space Travels (1965)

Jack and the Witch (part 1) (part 2) (1967)

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