Little Norse Prince Valiant (movie)
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This was the first film directed by Isao Takahata.
The script was based on a puppet-theater drama written by scriptwriter Kazuo Fuzakawa, itself based on an ancient legend of the Ainu, the aboriginal people living in Northern Japan. The Scandinavian/Viking/Eastern Europe setting was an idea of the producers, worried that a movie too identified with a local culture wouldn't have had enough international appeal.
This was the first movie where now legendary Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata (later founder of Ghibli Studios) worked together. At the time, Miyazaki was simply a in-between animator at Toei Doga, but his talent bought him to the attention of Setsuyo Matoba, who was the production supervisor. In order to find a role for Miyazaki, a "chief animator and concept artist" role was specially invented.
The production was ridden with problems, mainly due to the difficult union relationships between the artists and the company Toei Doga. The movie was released far beyond schedule, and kept in the theaters only for 10 days. Because of this, it bombed, and Takahata was never allowed to direct for Toei again. However, the movie became immediately an underground hit among students and young anime artists, and is now widely considered the first modern anime.
Production started in 1965, took three years to complete. Way beyond the initial schedule of eight months.
According to the producer: Yasuo Ohtsuka, there is no record on how Hols, Hilda, and Grinwald were named. He believe that Hols was not named after Horus of Egypt, but was named after northern European names such as Holhel, Holhes, or Holt.
Goof: In the opening credits of the english dub, Isao Takahata's name was mispelled as "Sao Takahata".
Gilbert Mack's final anime role.
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