Shun Oguri Stars in Impressive Pepsi Commercials Based on Momotarō

posted on by Eric Stimson

Shun Oguri, who has starred in a number of live-action films based on anime (Shin'ichi in Detective Conan, Lupin III in Lupin III, and Captain Harlock in Harlock: Space Pirate), is now playing a swashbuckling hero all Japanese are familiar with: Momotarō, a boy born from a peach who becomes a mighty hero in a famous fairy tale. Even though the tale unfolds via a series of Pepsi commercials, they have the production values and epic scope of a TV fantasy series.

The first installment explains that ogres have attacked a village no match for their strength. Upon hearing this news, Momotarō sets out with his companions — a dog, a pheasant, and a monkey — to assault the ogres' stronghold. The other commercials flesh out their backstory.

This commercial shows Momotarō vanquished by an unimaginably strong ogre. He seeks out a swordmaster to improve his skills — and finds none other than the legendary samurai Musashi Miyamoto.

This commercial shows how the "dog" is actually a human raised from infancy by wolves. One day, ogres attacked the wolves' mountain and captured them, leaving the wolf-man to don his mother's guise, call himself a dog, and vow revenge.

The latest commercial, the longest yet at four minutes, explains that the pheasant was a prince in a Bird Kingdom. His evil brother, the crow, lusted for power, allied with the ogres, and became one himself. At first the pheasant dances in the hopes of drawing his brother's attention from far away, but later his people entrust him with the task of defeating the crow.

Here is a behind-the-scenes "making of" video for the above commercial; visit Pepsi's official site for equivalents for the other commercials.

All four commercials use the song "Same Ol'" by The Heavy. Stay tuned for the monkey's backstory — and, of course, the quest's conclusion.

The tale of Momotarō has been used and referenced in anime for a long time; the government appropriated it for its nationalistic value in the 1942 propaganda film Momotaro's Sea Eagle and its sequel, Momotaro - Umi no Shinpei. It has also been featured in Doraemon: What Am I for Momotaro and Ranma ½: Nihao My Concubine.

[Via Hachima Kikō and Pepsi]

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