Presumed lost until the mid-’80s, Momotaro resurfaced on VHS in Japan (and was only available in the West on rare bootlegs). Now freshly restored in a 4K scan of the original 35mm negatives, Mitsuyo Seo’s classic lives again – looking not a day older than when it screened in 1945. Momotaro remains – propagandistic material notwithstanding – a timeless achievement in worldwide animation. It’s nothing less than the birth of anime as we know it – a very rare chance to see a lost masterpiece on the big screen. Plus we’re bringing you an Anime bonus in the form of supporting film, Kenzo Masaoka’s Spider and Tulip.
At Barbican book tickets
Momotaro – Sacred Sailors (Mitsuyo Seo, Japan)
Once upon a time, a monkey, a dog, a pheasant and a bear joined the Navy! Back from their adventures, the jungle’s many animals flocked to hear them recount their exploits, and thus began the tale of Momotaro – Sacred Sailors, Japan’s very first anime feature! A landmark propaganda film offering a very loose retelling of the Pacific War by way of anthropomorphic animal sing-song, kawaii hyper-violence, gorgeous cell animation and many more surprises, including unauthorized cameos by the likes of Popeye bringing shame to the West!
Spider and Tulip (Kenzo Masaoka, Japan)
Voted the fourth best anime short of all time by Japanese magazine Animage. A spider tries to trap a young ladybird but she isn’t fooled by his cunning ploys.