Momotaro’s Divine Sea Warriors

Welcome Back! I’m sorry it took so long, but the film looked really boring and I had to really push myself to actually watch it. Momotaro’s Divine Sea Warriors (Momotarō: Umi no Shinpei) is the first Japanese animated film. It is considered the first anime. Momotaro was released on April 12, 1945 in Japan. It was directed by Mitsuyo Seo (Momotaro Sacred Sailors, Osama no shippo). He was ordered to make a propaganda film for World War 2 by the Japanese Naval Ministry. It is a sequel to the Momotaro no Umiwashi (37 min. black and white movie).

The Ministry showed Seo Fantasia before making this film. Seo was inspired by Fantasia and wanted to give dreams to children and hope for peace. The movie was originally thought to have been burned down by the Americans until 1983 where it was found in a warehouse, and re-released in 1984.

“The Song of AIUEO is famous for being given a homage in the series Kimba the White Lion by Osamu Tezuka. Tezuka had seen the film in April 1945. He later said that he was moved to tears by the movie’s hints of dreams and hopes, hidden under the appearance of war propaganda.”

Music:

The music is by Yuji Koseki.

Characters:

  • Santa: Big Brother’s little sister
  • Big Brother: Main character, monkey, is in the army

Songs:

There are songs in the movie, but I don’t know the names of the songs. They’re basically the animals singing in a child voice in Japanese.

Before the Film:

I’ve never seen or heard of the film.

Plot:

Basically, this movie is about anthropomorphic animals showing the “joys” of war and fighting for your country. There isn’t really an actual story.

Positive:

The animation is pretty good. I wish it was in color though. The “songs” are cute. I like how the animals were designed. They look pretty realistic (besides the monkeys). It isn’t as realistic as Bambi, for example, but you can tell what kind of animals they are.

Negative:

All of the characters are animals, except one man. The man looks out of place with the other creatures. They should’ve made him human, like they did with their other characters.

While, I understand it is a propaganda film, and they want people to join the military. It doesn’t mean I have to like the message. I just find it really creepy, especially since the movie comes across as the target audience for children.

The movie is really boring.

Overall Opinion:

Momotaro’s Divine Sea Warriors is a propaganda film. It was created for the sole reason to make people want to join the war. I do understand why it was created, but it doesn’t make the message any less disturbing. The animation is quite well done.  The characters don’t really have any independent characteristics. They basically seem to be copies of each other, just in different animal forms. The film also doesn’t really have an actual story and is very boring. I don’t really recommend the film. Overall, I rate it a C-.

What did you think of the movie? Who was your favorite scene?

Next, up is The Tinderbox or Fyrtøjet. It is the first Danish animated film. It was released in 1946, by the studio Dansk Farve- og Tegnefilm. It was directed by Svend Methling. I have never seen or heard of it.

(I do not own pictures, videos, etc. My information came from Wikipedia and IMDB).

 

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5 thoughts on “Momotaro’s Divine Sea Warriors

  1. Momotaru is an old legend in Japan…you can’t just make the animals human, that would be quite a change.

    Yep, this movie was the one which convinced me to take propaganda movies automatically from my list. It’s a little bit of an uncomfortable watch.

    Liked by 1 person

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