Hayao Miyazaki (1984)

Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind is a 1984 Japanese anime film written and directed by Hayao Miyazaki, based on his 1982 manga. It was animated by Tokuma Shoten and Hakuhodo. Joe Hisaishi composed the score. The film stars the voices of Sumi Shimamoto, Goro Naya, Yoji Matsuda, Yoshiko Sakakibara, and Iemasa Kayumi. Taking place in a future post-apocalyptic world, the film tells the story of Nausicaä, the young princess of the Valley of the Wind. She becomes embroiled in a struggle with Tolmekia, a kingdom that tries to use an ancient weapon to eradicate a jungle full of mutant giant insects.

Ikuo Oishi (1933)

A farmer walking in the woods is frightened away by a shapeshifting fox, who then disguises himself as a samurai and makes his way to a temple, haunted by a young shapeshifting tanuki whose various attempts to frighten the fox/samurai away fail. The young tanuki telephones his father, and they join forces against the samurai.

In old Japan, foxes and tanuki (Asian raccoons) were considered to have almost mystical powers of disguise, deception, and trickery. In this cartoon, a fox disguised as a samurai uses its magic against a mother-and-child pair of tanuki at a ruined temple. The drawing style shows the influence of Max Fleischer on early Japanese animation.

Picture Book 1936

Komatsuzawa Hajime (1934)

Very little information exists pertaining to this short animation.

Mickey Mouse is represented here as something completely different:

Pure American imperialist evil.

At least he does in this 1934 animated propaganda cartoon Omochabako series dai san wa: Ehon senkya-hyakusanja-rokunen (Toybox Series 3: Picture Book 1936) by Komatsuzawa Hajime. It’s a convoluted title, but pretty simple in plot. An island of cute critters (including one Felix the Cat clone) is attacked from the air by an army of Mickey Mouses (Mickey Mice?) riding bats and assisted by crocodiles and snakes that act like machine guns. The frightened creatures call on the heroes of Japanese storybooks and folk legends to help them, from Momotaro (“Peach Boy”) and Kintaro (“Golden Boy”) to Issun-boshi (“One Inch Boy”) and Benkei, a warrior monk, to send Mickey packing. The not-so-subtle message: Mickey Mouse may be your hero, America, but our characters are older, more numerous, and way more beloved. Our pop culture is older than yours!

Hiroyuki Kitakubo & Katsuhiro Otomo (1991)

An experimental machine designed to care for the elderly transforms itself into an unstoppable robot.

Japan’s population is aging considerably, and caring for the elderly has become costly. The government proposes a solution: an electronic bed that can provide the patient with everything essential (and non-essential) that a real nurse can offer. Haruko is one of these nurses, just as Mr. Takazawa is his patient, who was chosen as a guinea pig for the electronic bed. Sensing that her protégé is suffering from a lack of love, which a mechanical bed cannot offer, she tries to save him from what he thinks is martyrdom for him.