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Sekai meisaku dôwa: Hakuchou no ouji (1977)

A young girl must spend six years making sweatshirts out of poison ivy in order to save her six brothers which have been turned into swans by an evil sorceress.


(original story), (original story) | 2 more credits »


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A chimney sweep and a shepherdess seek to escape from the clutches of a tyrannical king.

Director: Paul Grimault
Stars: Jean Martin, Pascal Mazzotti, Raymond Bussières


Credited cast:
Tôru Furuya ...
Fourth Prince (voice)
Kaneko Iwasaki ...
Greta (voice)
Akira Kamiya ...
Third Prince (voice)
Kiyoshi Komiyama ...
First Prince (voice)
Yôsuke Kondô ...
King Hilderbrand (voice)
Eiko Masuyama ...
Elisa (voice)
Tokuko Sugiyama ...
Witch (voice)
Noriko Tsukase ...
Second Prince (voice)


When a king gets lost during a hunting trip, he is found by an old woman who tells him her daughter will be able to show him the way out of the woods if he satisfies her wishes. The king finds the woman to be remarkably beautiful and agrees to her request of marrying him. However, the king has seven children and the new queen soon becomes jealous as he often leaves to visit them at their secret home in the woods. With the help of a magic yarn ball, the new queen is led to the hidden tree-house where the king's daughter Elisa and his six sons live. They are excited about meeting their new mother and run to greet her, but as soon as they get close, the new queen throws white sheets over them turning them to swans, all but Elisa who manages to get away. Now that they've been turned into swans, Elisa can only see her brothers at night, when the enchantment breaks, and when spring comes, they'll have to migrate to a colder climate. Before leaving, they tell Elisa of the one way she alone ... Written by Frederick Irizarry

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Release Date:

19 March 1977 (Japan)  »

Also Known As:

The Prince of the Swans  »

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User Reviews

Beautiful and touching anime version of the timeless story
29 April 2010 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

As I like anime very much, after seeing a captivating anime version of Swan Lake, I was wondering if there were any similar ones. By chance on YouTube I came across the Wild Swans and watched it. First of all, I'm 18 and I adore the timeless Hans Christian Andersen story, at a young age I always found it beautiful and touching. And this 1977 anime was exactly that.

The animation is stunning, mystical and ethereal with backgrounds that are lavish and characters that are well designed. For example you have the protagonist Elisa, she is beautifully drawn and I could relate to her because of the fact she was very kind-hearted here and loyal to her brothers, in contrast with a grotesque-looking character such as the Witch who serves as the main villainess of the piece. Another delight was the music, some of it was simple but it was nevertheless haunting and beautiful.

The film does keep true to the spirit of the story which is quite melancholic and poignant, it isn't word from word and one or two characters and situations are added, but that doesn't matter to me. I still loved the story here, as it was beautifully told and well structured. And the dialogue isn't clichéd or trite, it is honest and mysterious-like, a major plus in my book. Even the King's dialogue was worthwhile, there are some instances where a character may have dialogue that makes you groan, but because of the sincerity the King had here, that wasn't the case.

And of course I loved the characters. I loved Elisa, the Witch and the King. And I loved how Elisa's brothers weren't bland or obnoxious, and Greta like her mother is someone you would love to hate. When Elisa spared them at the end, I was like be thankful you weren't burned at the stake because you deserved that seeing how badly you treated Elisa and her brothers. In short, they got more than they deserved in my opinion, sounds callous I know but I kind of get angry when an innocent person is slandered for selfish reasons. Finally, the voice work is dynamic and expressive, I recognised the voice actress of Elisa from somewhere(presently I can't remember exactly where though) and she was really appealing. It is a shame really none of the voice actors are credited here, because the voice actress of the witch I thought was superb, she reminded me slightly of Susanne Pleshette's Yubaba/Zeniba in Spirited Away.

Overall, beautiful and touching film, deserves to be better known. When I saw it I could find absolutely nothing wrong. 10/10 Bethany Cox

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