This is the first Japanese feature length cartoon ever made, a WWII propaganda film written and directed by Misuyo Seo that has to be seen to be believed. Apart from Momotaro himself, the Japanese navy is almost exclusively staffed by cutesy cartoon animals, and the allies are hilarious, bumbling, stuttering Caucasian caricatures, an amusing counterpoint to the way caricatures of Germans and Japanese people were featured in scores of US WWII propaganda cartoons. There’s also a really well done “shadow play” in the middle of the film directed by Kenzo Masaoka, the director of the “Tora-chan” shorts.
For many years this film was thought to be lost forever, destroyed by American occupation forces. When a negative turned up in one of Shochiku’s warehouses in the early 1980s, the film got a VHS release in Japan. But it’s never been released on any other home video format, not even laserdisc.
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