Search SFE    Search EoF

  Omit cross-reference entries  

Toy Box Series Episode 3: Picture Book 1936

Entry updated 13 February 2023. Tagged: Film.

Japanese animated film (1934). Original title Omocha Bako Series Dai 3 Wa: Ehon 1936-nen, vt Momotaro vs. Mickey Mouse. J O Talkie Manga-bu. Directed by Takao Nakano and Yoshitsugu Tanaka. Written by Yoshitsugu Tanaka. Eight minutes. Black and white. This Anime is sometimes referred to as Evil Mickey Attacks Japan (or variations on this).

The singing and dancing of an island's happy children and anthropomorphosed animals is interrupted by the noise of an aeroplane: looking up they see Mickey Mouse (see The Walt Disney Company) astride a bat, writing "1936" in the sky. Mickey drops a message with his demands (likely "vacate the island") but one of the inhabitants burns it – so Mickey blows a bugle and reinforcements arrive: mouse-headed bats by air, snakes along the ground and crocodiles in the sea (see Invasion). They attack the islanders, bombs are dropped and a child kidnapped – she is tied to a stake whilst dozens of Mickeys and snakes dance in a circle around her. One of the animals runs to a book and opens it: out step heroes of Japanese folklore (see Mythology) such as Kintaro (Golden Boy), Momotaro (Peach Boy), Issun-boshi ("One Inch Boy" – see Great and Small), Urashima Tarō and the warrior monk Benkei. Battle ensues, with the invaders defeated: Urashima Tarō opens the box that contains his true age, turning Mickey into an old mouse who is laughed at as he hobbles away. Peach blossoms bloom as the children and animals dance and sing once again.

Needless to say, Mickey represents the United States; the island probably represents Yap rather than Japan itself – Japan had occupied the Micronesian isle in 1914, taking it from the Germans (see World War One) and were being pressurized to leave. This propaganda film attacking American Imperialism was made in 1934 but is set in 1936 (see Near Future) and reflects the growing tensions between the two countries that led to their involvement in World War Two. Despite its anti-American sentiment, the cartoon's style is greatly influenced by that nation's animators, such as Walt Disney and Max Fleischer – even going so far as to have an island animal who is the spitting image of Felix the Cat. This short's animation is fairly simplistic and is mainly of interest as a historic curio – though one of the characters who leaps out of the book of folklore would, decades later, become the inspiration for the title character of the Cuphead computer game (see Videogame) and animated series (See The Cuphead Show!). [SP]


previous versions of this entry

This website uses cookies.  More information here. Accept Cookies