Momotarô: Umi no shinpei / Momotaro: Sacred Sailors

TitleMomotarô: Umi no shinpei / Momotaro: Sacred Sailors
Publication TypeFilm
Year of Publication1945
AuthorsSeo, Mitsuyo
Running Time1h 14min
Date Released04/12/1945
Publication LanguageJapanese

Momotaro: Sacred Sailors is the first Japanese feature-length animated film. It was directed by Mitsuyo Seo, who was ordered to make a propaganda film for World War II by the Japanese Naval Ministry. The film depicts most Japanese characters as anthropomorphic animals (monkeys, rabbits, bears, etc), with the exception of protagonist Momotarô, who represents a young boy in Japanese folklore. The four animal heroes start by taking a break from combat, but soon, incursions from nasty foreign devils start to threaten the stability of the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere, meant to symbolize Imperial Japan. After the animals team up with friendly local islanders to build an airstrip for the navy, it's up to Captain Momotarô and his unrivaled warrior brigade to sail, fly, and parachute their way to Devil's Island, all the while mowing down scores of foreign invaders. This film is a sequel to the Mistuyo Seo's animated short, Momotarô's Sea Eagles, released in 1943. For a long time, the film was presumed to have been confiscated and burnt by the American occupation. However, a negative copy of the film was found in Shochiku's Ofuna warehouse in 1983 and was re-released in 1984.

Original Publication桃太郎 海の神兵
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