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The Spider and the Tulip (1943)

Kumo to chûrippu (original title)
A spider attempts to lure a ladybug into his web. When she manages to escape and hide in a tulip, a storm comes that batters the spider, while the ladybug remains safe.


Kenzô Masaoka


Kenzô Masaoka, Michiko Yokoyama (story)




A spider attempts to lure a ladybug into his web. When she manages to escape and hide in a tulip, a storm comes that batters the spider, while the ladybug remains safe.

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Plot Keywords:

web | spider | rainstorm | ladybug | hammock | See All (8) »


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In 2001, the Japanese magazine Animage elected Kumo to Tulip the fourth best anime production of all time. See more »

User Reviews

Early Japanese animation classic
4 September 2004 | by zaumSee all my reviews

The "Spider and the Tulip" has much amazing animation, a blending of

multi-plane photographic and airbrushed backgrounds and a both hauntingly beautiful and amusing score.

I first saw it in an overview of historic Japanese animation and it rightly belongs there. It's perhaps takes on an air of dreamlikeness today along because many elements seem so familiar yet other things seem so unfamiliar. It was made in the middle of the war so I for one keep thinking about what is a metaphor in it and if so what is the film's message. It's definitely not propaganda and I'm sure it was harshly criticized at the time for not towing a wartime line.

(I'm describing the plot here) The animation opens with the secondary character of a fly wearing a sort of cab drivers hat buzzing through the garden. The main characters are a human featured spider and a ladybug with a number of other human featured insects, plants and even clouds. A spider who resembles an American blackface caricature sings a seductive song trying to lure a Japanese girl ladybug into his hammock... which is part of his web. She's tempted by his song routine but faints when she sees the shadow of who's doing the singing. Fortunately not in his web her shell provides some protection as she seeks refuge inside a motherly tulip. The spider spins a web sealing the tulip and then a huge storm approaches in the last third of the double length animated short. Interestingly here some sympathy and all the plot focus comes to the spider who struggles not being swept away. He is mean to some other little creatures during the ordeal though and is eventually swept away after some perhaps self serving heroism. The sun comes out again and the fly from the opening is back to unwrap the web from the tulip freeing the ladybug. He then proceeds to remove more web damage and gets tangled up. The ladybug comes to his aid and untangles him. A final shot of water-drops glistening on the empty spider web. (end plot description)

I can read many things as metaphors for war but then if that's done then there are some contradictions. The Spider is much more a tempter than an aggressor and his web might have inadvertently saved the ladybug. If the storm is the war then it also becomes an act of nature with the ladybug hiding in safety.

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Release Date:

15 April 1943 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

Kumo to Tulip See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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