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Panda and the Magic Serpent More at IMDbPro »Hakuja den (original title)

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10 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

An excellent early attempt by Toei Studio

8/10
Author: Rey Alvarez from Sacrmento, California
2 November 2005

As many of the anime fans know, Japanese movie studio, Toei, revolutionized animation with its numerous excellent animation movies. One of the first full-length color animation from Toei is "Hakuja-den," an excellent movie from 1958. Even though some of the scenes look primitive when compared to much later Japanese animations like "Akira" or "Cowboy Beebop," almost everything in the movie is superbly done. The story of the movie was a rather sentimental and highly romanticized but good adaptation of a Chinese folklore. (This folklore was used by classical Beijing opera dramatists.) The scenes were superbly drawn with tremendous care. The artists behind this movie created excellent animal characters like Panda, Mimi and White pig. (These are obviously influenced by excellent Disney animal characters.) The music was superbly composed by Chuji Kinoshita (brother of the famed Japanese movie director Keisuke Kinoshita). Kinoshita superbly weaved actual Chinese melodies--similar to the ones used by Puccini in his opera Turandot--into a symphonic movie music. An excellent combination of music, story and animation. These are what Toei producers learned from the Disney studio. Toei producers from the 1950's wanted to outdo Disney with their "Hakuja-den."

There were some obvious inaccuracies in the movie. Even though the lead male character, Shu-sheng, and lead female character, Bai-nyang, are wearing clothing similar to those from Tang dynasty era (7th to 10th century), many of the other character are wearing clothing and head gears which weren't worn until Ching dynasty era (17th to early 20th century).

Also, the prints, on which the VHS and DVD versions of this movie were made, were not in a very good condition. Even on the VHS and DVD versions of the movie, I could see huge number of scratches. (I wonder why the producers of the VHS and DVD did not clean-up the scratches with modern digital technology. They could have easily done that. Are they too cheap to do that?)

In spite of these shortcomings, this is a superb animation movie. Kudos to the producers of this movie. I highly recommend every fan of animation to see this movie. If you are too poor to rent this movie, in many parts of the United States this movie is available as a $1 DVD "Panda and the White Serpent" at the local WalMart.

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6 out of 6 people found the following review useful:

The first great Toei toon.

Author: Son of Cathode from New England
5 June 2000

Beautiful animation in this, the first cartoon feature from Japan and the great Toei studios. Two lovers in ancient China have to battle bad men to find happiness, and get help from Panda the Panda and Mimi the Cat along the way. Cute Panda's theme song is an oft-repeated classic, and scenes with the animals are extremely playful. Some beautiful and bizarre supernatural sequences really make this one worthwhile; some great psychedelic montage stuff seems sort of a hat-tip to FANTASIA. Some key folk supply voices here. The wizard is dubbed by Roger Corman favorite Mel Welles (soon after his star turn in the inimitable THE LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS), in his usual delightful deadpan. Narration is by somber voice of the 60s, Marvin Miller. And there's a daft, dubbed duck that sounds exactly like Donald! But this lovely animated flick is a real gem.

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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

The World's Very First and Very Best Anime Classic!

10/10
Author: anthony-rigoni from United States
21 March 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This movie Panda and the Magic Serpent stars a young man named Xu Xiang, a beautiful snake spirit named Bai Niang, a kind fish spirit named Shao Chin, a suspicious wizard named Fa Hai, two animal companions Panda & Mimi, and a group of animals called the White Pig Mob in one of the most beloved and magical anime classic. The theme song is very adorable and very cute. The battle between Fa Hai and Bai Niang at the Thunder Peak Pagoda is very intense and very exciting. This story ends in a happy ending when Xu Xiang and Bai Niang got married. This movie can be a number one classic courtesy of Toei Animation. I give this movie two thumbs and a lot of stars to recommend movies like this. 10000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000+/10

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