Momotarō no Umiwashi

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Momotarō no Umiwashi (桃太郎の海鷲?, Momotarō's Sea Eagles) is an animated Japanese propaganda film produced in 1942 by Geijutsu Eigasha and released March 25, 1943. Running at 37 minutes, it was close to being feature-length, but it was not the first animated feature film in Asia; that honor goes to China's 1941 Princess Iron Fan, which was 73 minutes long. A DVD version without English subtitles was released in Japan by Kinokuniya Shoten in 2004; one with subtitles was released in the United States by Zakka Films in 2009.

Although recorded as being produced with the cooperation of the Japanese Naval Ministry, there was in fact no cooperation in order to protect military secrets, although the Japanese Imperial Navy endorsed the film.

A sequel, Momotarō Umi no Shinpei (1945) also exists. Running at 74 minutes, it is credited as being Japan's first feature-length animated film.

Plot

Featuring the "Peach Boy" character of Japanese folklore, this film was aimed at children, telling the story of a naval unit consisting of Momotarō and several animals representing the Far Eastern races fighting together for a common goal. In a dramatization of the attack on Pearl Harbor, this force attacks a group of demons at the island of Onigashima (representing the Allied Nations in WWII), and the film also utilizes actual footage of the Pearl Harbor attack.

Why It Sucks

  1. It demonizes the Allied Nations, depicting them as warmongering demons. In addition, Bluto, the villain from the Popeye cartoons being produced in USA at the time, makes himself an appearance in this film as a stereotypical drunk.
  2. Mediocre plot.
  3. Many individuals from the Allied Nations considered the characters of this film absolutely unlikable because it glorifies the Imperial Japanese Navy.
  4. The people behind the making of this film transformed Momotaro from a Japanese folklore character into the militaristic symbolization of both the Imperial Japanese Army and Navy.

Reception

MyAnimeList has voted this film 5.2 out of 10.