Prince Susano's mother dies; when his father tells him she has gone to another place, he sets off in search of her. He builds a boat and goes to see, first, his brother, in his crystal ... See full summary »
Prince Susano's mother dies; when his father tells him she has gone to another place, he sets off in search of her. He builds a boat and goes to see, first, his brother, in his crystal palace in the land of night (where he causes much damage to the palace, but his brother still gives him a magic ice crystal). Next, he fights the fire god, who gives him a magic bird after Susano defeats him, with help from the magic crystal and his little rabbit sidekick. Susano also picks up another traveling companion, a large but dim villager. Next, he goes to his sister, in the land of light. As with his brother, though, he causes much unintentional damage; his sister, who also happens to be the sun, goes off to hide in a cave. The frantic villagers stage a party (in the original legend, an orgy) outside the cave and trick her into coming outside again. Finally, Susano finds a little princess whose land is being threatened by an 8-headed dragon. With the help of a flying horse (who we later learn ... Written by
Jon Reeves <email@example.com>
Having seen this at an animation/sci-fi group in New York over 20 years ago, mymemory may not be the best. One of the now rarely seen Japanese feature animations from the pre-anime era, Wanpaku (Little Prince) is a very enjoyable children's adventure film. The plot escapes me completely except that Little Prince ends up in an extended battle with the eight headed dragon (hence the U.S. release title).
The drawing is done in that simple geometric shape style that we never see any more. Sort of a Japanified UPA style. That's not to say that the film doesn't look good. The 16mm print I saw must not have been projected much because the colors were rich and showed the artwork off well. The animation is better then other Japanese features of the same time and the film has a brisk pace.
What really made this film different from other animations coming out of Japan at the time was the incredible classical inspired score. The print I saw had no credits at the beginning and the first clue as to who composed the score came at the very end when the orchestra suddenly breaks out in a rendition of the battle music from "The Mysterians". It's likely that this film will never see the light of day again here in the U.S. but the score by Akira Ikufube can be found in import shops and on the web occasionally. He clearly spent more time on this film then he did on any of the Godzilla or other sci-fi films he scored.
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