Initially daily but now sporadic blog about anime and world animation with a specific focus on the artists behind the work. Written by Ben Ettinger.
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Archives for: February 2005, 17

Thursday, February 17, 2005

11:39:09 pm , 318 words, 2488 views     Categories: Animation, Movie

Jack and the Beanstalk

A lot of rare anime oldies have been released on DVD over the last few years. One slated for release next month is Andersen Monogatari, the 1971 Mushi Pro TV series directed by Masami Hata the year after he worked as an animator alongside Gisaburo Sugii on the 2nd Animerama film, Cleopatra. Another unique western fairy tale anime adaptation from around that time is the 1974 movie Jack and the Beanstalk, Gisaburo Sugii's feature directing debut, made after he left Mushi Pro in 1973 following the third Animerama (or "Anime Romanesque") film, Belladonna, to co-found Group Tac with Atsumi Tashiro. The Animerama films have been re-released, but Jack and the Beanstalk has yet to turn up on DVD. Apparently it's going to be released over here before it is over there, as Tsuka points out. It deserves to be counted among the most unique films in anime history for the way it used the genre of the animated musical as a springboard to create a uniquely Japanese hybrid awash in moody directing, witty dialogue, and psychedelic animation. The makeup scene is high on the list of most erotic scenes in an animated children's film. Perhaps not too surprisingly, it's acheived mild cult status over here due to an old TV broadcast. Kids know good stuff when they see it. I hope the DVD release will include the great director's commentary that was included on the old Japanese LD release, which would offer a good chance for people to get to hear the voice of the real Gisaburo Sugii discussing one of his best films. The Japanese DVD re-issues of the Animerama films included the commentaries that were on the original LD releases of those films, and Gisaburo was one of the people on the voice-track for the third in the series, his Belladonna. Now if only some company would tackle that one, we'd finally have all of Gisaburo's best films available.