Although this film was released on home video in the U.S. in 1984 as "Taro the Dragon Boy" (five years after it appeared in Japanese theaters), not many people seem to remember it, which is a shame, as it is one of the best anime films I've ever seen. I rented the English-dubbed version, helmed by the legendary Peter Fernandez (also worked on the English dubs of "Speed Racer" and "Superbook"), on video from my video store on several occasions as a child, and was awestruck. Taro is a remarkable young man - he possesses immense strength and an enormous appetite, but he also has a heart of gold, and the object of his quest is to find his mother who was changed into a dragon many years ago. (One scene which made a big impression on me is the scene in which Taro and the villagers are feasting after Taro defeated a demon who was threatening the village, and Taro can't enjoy the celebration because he keeps thinking of the folks back in his home village who have nothing to eat. That shows what a pure, good heart he has.) This film holds up very well even to this day. The animation is remarkably fluid given that the film is now over a quarter-century old, and the music is also very well-done. There are even vocal songs, which were dubbed into English for the U.S. release, and they're also pretty good, even in English. The dubbed voices are also quite good, as I recall. The ending will absolutely have you in tears. If you can find a used copy of this film on VHS, by all means pick it up. It's a real classic. (Incidentally, despite the Japanese title, "Tatsu no ko Taro," this animation was NOT produced by Tatsunoko Production, but by Toei Animation, which later became internationally famous for "Dragonball," "Sailor Moon," and "One Piece.")
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