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REVIEW: Momotaro, Sacred Sailors BD+DVD


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Rolando_jose



Joined: 04 Jan 2007
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PostPosted: Wed May 10, 2017 9:24 am Reply with quote
Does anyone knows if this is the restored version?
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MarshalBanana



Joined: 31 Aug 2014
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PostPosted: Wed May 10, 2017 9:48 am Reply with quote
Why was the title changed, it used to be called, and really still is, Momotaro's Divine Sea Warriors.
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Lemonchest



Joined: 18 Mar 2015
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PostPosted: Wed May 10, 2017 10:06 am Reply with quote
Shame about the lack of extras. For old releases like this it's the commentaries, interviews etc that give much needed context & added value.
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ParkerALx



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PostPosted: Wed May 10, 2017 11:22 am Reply with quote
A paragraph about how the transfer looks would have been helpful, considering the film's age. How does the restoration look? Is there print damage? Does it smudge away the film grain with invasive digital noise reduction? As much as I enjoyed the historical overview here, a Blu-ray review needs to address picture quality. Otherwise, it's just a review of the movie.
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Zac
ANN Executive Editor


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PostPosted: Wed May 10, 2017 11:43 am Reply with quote
ParkerALx wrote:
A paragraph about how the transfer looks would have been helpful, considering the film's age. How does the restoration look? Is there print damage? Does it smudge away the film grain with invasive digital noise reduction? As much as I enjoyed the historical overview here, a Blu-ray review needs to address picture quality. Otherwise, it's just a review of the movie.


This review is based on an early screener copy provided by Funimation, not the final disc - as such there are no remarks on the bluray copy, and the review was labeled in error. Sorry about that. I've changed the title of the review to reflect that, and we'll send the Bluray to Mike (which just arrived yesterday) for an additional paragraph about the video quality. We'll update once that goes live, which is common practice for reviews like this.
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Kikaioh



Joined: 01 Jun 2009
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PostPosted: Wed May 10, 2017 1:15 pm Reply with quote
While I appreciate the information in this review, I do find its somewhat glib summarizations bordering maybe a bit on the offensive side...? After all, it's a movie about a real war, and cartoony though the film may have been, the review of it could have stood to be a bit less... I don't know... breezy? To my knowledge, there are still hundreds of thousands of American veteran survivors of WWII (I come from a military family, and my father was a veteran), and there's a hint of humorous indulgence to this review that comes across maybe a bit insensitive to the seriousness of the subject matter. At first glance, the review almost reads positively about Japan's role in the war, and I don't feel I should have to read between the lines to tell what might or might not be playful sarcasm.

Anyways, that's my two cents, I'm actually interested in seeing the film since it's a piece of history, I guess I just would've appreciated a more academic and technical review.
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Rekishika



Joined: 24 Apr 2014
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PostPosted: Wed May 10, 2017 1:56 pm Reply with quote
The combination of "Momotaro, Sacred Sailors" and "The Spider and the Tulip" isn't such an odd choice. Both are considered to be (the?) masterpieces of "pre-modern" Japanese animation, i.e. that made before Toei entered the field in the second half of the 1950s. Moreover, Masaoka produced the shadow animation in "Momotaro, Sacred Sailors" which, ironically, was directed by his former disciple Seo. And for the first combined release on VHS there might have been the hope of counterbalancing the propaganda in "Momotaro, Sacred Sailors" with the seemingly unpolitical "The Spider and the Tulip", although there is some debate about how unpolitical the latter really was and how it was perceived at the time.
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H. Guderian



Joined: 29 Jan 2014
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PostPosted: Wed May 10, 2017 5:48 pm Reply with quote
Kikaioh wrote:
While I appreciate the information in this review, I do find its somewhat glib summarizations bordering maybe a bit on the offensive side...? After all, it's a movie about a real war, and cartoony though the film may have been, the review of it could have stood to be a bit less... I don't know... breezy? To my knowledge, there are still hundreds of thousands of American veteran survivors of WWII (I come from a military family, and my father was a veteran), and there's a hint of humorous indulgence to this review that comes across maybe a bit insensitive to the seriousness of the subject matter. At first glance, the review almost reads positively about Japan's role in the war, and I don't feel I should have to read between the lines to tell what might or might not be playful sarcasm.

Anyways, that's my two cents, I'm actually interested in seeing the film since it's a piece of history, I guess I just would've appreciated a more academic and technical review.


Historians have a habit of being able to distance themselves from subject matter and taking it for what it is. If someone shows me gorgeous art created during the Crusades, I don't say, 'man, war is bad.' It is passed. No one's gonna watch this and suddenly tie a hachimaki and grab their sword and restart the war.

It is a rare glimpse of a completely different time and era. being able to put yourself in someone else's shoes is what makes the study of history such an amazing thing. To put yourself in the shoes of those early animators, to consume what they produced, whatever it is, is to gain insight into the people and times of the era. For people who care deeply about anime's roots beyond a few decades ago this work stands as a monument not for what it says, but for the fact it could exist would then seed the future of animation in the Post-War era that gives us our modern anime world. If Japan's Shadow Staff animators weren't around or producing during the war, there's a chance there'd be no large 2D animation industry in japan now.

Its much bigger than, 'someone somewhere could be offended by a cartoon.'

As for academics and technical aspects that could be addressed, he pointed that out. The credits are sparse. We don't know who did what for many of the jobs. They sing songs and things blow up. Its Fuku-chan without the dinner scene and more stabbing.
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Kikaioh



Joined: 01 Jun 2009
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PostPosted: Wed May 10, 2017 7:08 pm Reply with quote
@Guderian: I don't dispute the historical significance of the movie (as I said, I'm interested in seeing it myself for that very reason). Again, my issue is more with the glibness of the review. When Mike says things like:

Quote:
...just wrecking the shit out of everything, all while insisting, “This is just our culture.” Yep, sounds like the good old USA, alright


...it just comes across as disrespectful, or at least, insensitive to the hundreds of thousands of soldiers who are still alive today that fought in the war. I mean, maybe Mike doesn't realize it, but his statement implies that US soldiers went to the Pacific, wrecking "the shit out of everything" under the pretense of "this is just our culture". Coming from a military background, that's a bit disrespectful.

I realize for many on this forum it seems like a long-distant past, but there are still WWII veterans out there today (I guess, who are unfortunately being forgotten), and I would think for a professional review, it would be more appropriate to be conscientious when discussing something as particular as a war propaganda film.
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MattB1



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PostPosted: Wed May 10, 2017 7:28 pm Reply with quote
Quote:
I mean, maybe Mike doesn't realize it, but his statement implies that US soldiers went to the Pacific, wrecking "the shit out of everything" under the pretense of "this is just our culture". Coming from a military background, that's a bit disrespectful.


Maybe that's just Toole's immaturity talking. I respect his knowledge of and passion for Japanese animation, but I find his columns to be a pain in the butt to read. He comes across as an overexcited fanboy much of the time.
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MattB1



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PostPosted: Wed May 10, 2017 7:38 pm Reply with quote
I wonder if Funimation included any supplementary material in the package that would put the film in historical context. It would make an excellent teaching tool for educators who want to give their students an insight into wartime Japanese culture. If it's just being sold as an action flick and nothing else, then Funimation would be guilty of extreme tone-deafness.
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dragonrider_cody



Joined: 14 Jun 2008
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PostPosted: Wed May 10, 2017 7:56 pm Reply with quote
Kikaioh wrote:
@Guderian: I don't dispute the historical significance of the movie (as I said, I'm interested in seeing it myself for that very reason). Again, my issue is more with the glibness of the review. When Mike says things like:

Quote:
...just wrecking the shit out of everything, all while insisting, “This is just our culture.” Yep, sounds like the good old USA, alright


...it just comes across as disrespectful, or at least, insensitive to the hundreds of thousands of soldiers who are still alive today that fought in the war. I mean, maybe Mike doesn't realize it, but his statement implies that US soldiers went to the Pacific, wrecking "the shit out of everything" under the pretense of "this is just our culture". Coming from a military background, that's a bit disrespectful.

I realize for many on this forum it seems like a long-distant past, but there are still WWII veterans out there today (I guess, who are unfortunately being forgotten), and I would think for a professional review, it would be more appropriate to be conscientious when discussing something as particular as a war propaganda film.


I too come from a family that has a lot of military service, including both my brothers, several uncles, and I had members of both sides of my family who served in World War II. I also happen to work at a VA hospital in the region of the country with the highest number of surviving World War II veterans can, and one of the highest overall veteran populations in the country. So I see veterans from the war literally every single day that I work, and I'm willing to bet that I've discussed it with more veterans that most of the people on this forum.

That being said, I think you are reading too much into the comment. That entire paragraph reads as insight from the Japanese writer, rather than the actual opinion of Mike. It's important to keep the fact that this is a propaganda film in perspective. And while his comment may have been a gross oversimplification of the situation, there was some very basic truth to it in regards to America's imperialistic tendencies in the 20th century.

You're not going to get an unbiased view about war from a propaganda film, largely pursued by a nation's government. Getting upset about the wording in a review or the viewpoints of the film makers, or a reviewer isn't going to serve any good.

I do find it somewhat amusing that I see moral outrage about films like this, not to mention Grave of the Firelfies, from people who weren't even alive during WWII or even had family members that served. However, when I discuss it with veterans of the war, they are much more calm and level headed about it. I frequently hear that it was a "different time", and despite the attack on Pearl Harbor, I even hear regrets about some of the actions taken against civilians in Japan and Europe, especially given the fact that America citizens were not nearly as negatively affected by the war as the Japanese, Chinese, Russians, and Europeans. I even got the pleasure of talking to someone who participated in the fire bombings of Tokyo and he mentioned how he had nightmares for decades after the war.

This film is being preserved for historical purposes, much like films and books from Nazi Germany have been. They aren't being used to slander anyone, promote imperialism or fallen regimes. Taking offense to one throw away line deep within a review is being a bit over sensitive.
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Kikaioh



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PostPosted: Wed May 10, 2017 8:35 pm Reply with quote
@Dragonrider Cody: You may be right that I could be reading Mike's post incorrectly. But in a review for a war propaganda film, I probably shouldn't have to guess whether seemingly callous phrases are coming from the perspective of the film, or from the perspective of the reviewer. It's difficult to parse, particularly since much of Mike's review is an odd mixture of the two.

I happen to be of Filipino descent (my mother is from the Philippines), so I don't come from the typical American perspective of a civilian background unaffected by the war. Anime fans in particular sometimes seem to gloss over Japan's imperialist history during WWII, which does bug me to some extent, since it can come across as putting the blinders on to the realities of Japanese history. Coupling that with my father's own history in war and growing up a military brat myself, I'm very sympathetic towards soldiers and the insensitive disregard they're sometimes treated with by civilians, so seeing a mixture of all those symptoms in a review, maybe that makes me a bit more predisposed to prick my ears up in suspicion.

And to emphasize again, I have nothing against the film, its restoration or its existence. I think it's an important part of history, and gives great insight into animation production and viewpoints from the period. I feel this way about war films in general, regardless of whose side they're told from (I cried myself when I watched Grave of the Fireflies). I just think the review could have treated the material with a bit more circumspect awareness of the surrounding history, and the reality that hundreds of thousands (maybe even millions) of people who were affected by the war, are still alive today. A little more careful wording and clarification would have been nice.
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dragonrider_cody



Joined: 14 Jun 2008
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PostPosted: Wed May 10, 2017 9:37 pm Reply with quote
Kikaioh wrote:

Anime fans in particular sometimes seem to gloss over Japan's imperialist history during WWII, which does bug me to some extent, since it can come across as putting the blinders on to the realities of Japanese history. Coupling that with my father's own history in war and growing up a military brat myself, I'm very sympathetic towards soldiers and the insensitive disregard they're sometimes treated with by civilians, so seeing a mixture of all those symptoms in a review, maybe that makes me a bit more predisposed to prick my ears up in suspicion.


I will give you that point. I've seen anime fans go on and on about the fire bombings in Tokyo and Kyoto, the nuclear drops, and everything else, but completely gloss over Japan's transgressions in the war. Though admittedly, the US didn't suffer the worst of those.

And I really appreciate that you can separate Grave of the Fireflies from propaganda films. It was very clearly a film from a civilian perspective, and could have very easily been told in a European or Chinese setting as well. I see a lot of comments that dismiss it as "proganda" or "ignoring history", but that's not the point.

I can also understand the reaction. My hospital has extensive mental health services, including several inpatient care units. I regularly see Vietnam vets who were drafted despite lengthy mental and physical illnesses. So when I see politicians who got deferrals for "heal spurs" or "flat arches" because of connections, and a certain 70's one hit wonder who faked a mental illness to dodge the draft, I tend to lose my cool much more than you did. Wink
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Kadmos1



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PostPosted: Thu May 11, 2017 12:16 am Reply with quote
If Funi had decided to dub this, then this would be the oldest Japanese anime to get a dub. Also, it's not that often B&W anime is dubbed anymore.
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