Japan has a long history of folklore and mythology. From fantastical legends to brave epics, stories have been an integral part of its culture since the beginning. It is perhaps this rich narrative heritage that set the stage for the global presence of anime, manga, and live-action productions. Of the many fables known across the globe, one of Japan’s most famous not only continues to inspire new creations to this day, but has also been present at every stage of anime’s rise to the scene. international. This story is known as Momotaro’s Tale.
Like many folk tales of its time, Momotaro’s Tale opens with a childless elderly couple. One day, while washing the laundry in the house, the couple’s wife sees a giant peach floating in the river. When she takes it back to her husband, the two attempt to open it, only to discover a small child inside. The child, already able to speak, tells them that he was sent by the gods to be their son, in answer to their prayers. Appropriately, the couple names the boy Momotaro, which can roughly be translated as “Peach Boy”.
When Momotaro came of age, he decided to leave his home to fight an army of oni that was terrorizing the people. After leaving his parents, he is joined on his journey by a dog, a pheasant and a monkey, who become his companions after giving each of them some of his mil kibi dango dumplings. Eventually, the group arrives at Onigashima, a fortress island inhabited by vicious creatures. After breaking through their defenses and defeating their forces, Momotaro and his friends attack the oni’s treasures and bring their leader back into captivity, bringing peace to the land.
Due to the story’s popularity, Momotaro has been adapted in countless ways over the years. One of the character’s most notable portrayals was in the 1945 animated film Momotaro: Sacred Sailors. Although it unfortunately served as an extremely nationalistic WWII propaganda piece for the Japanese forces, it holds a distinct place in anime history as it is considered to be the first animated feature film ever produced. .
While the artwork was initially thought to have been destroyed after the war ended, it was discovered to have survived and undergone reconstruction in 2015. Funimation later re-released the film in 2017 in an effort to preserve it. as a piece of the world and anime. the story. Despite the fact that the film contains some truly racist portrayals of the civilizations invaded by Japan, it provides insight into the mentality and iconography of the time. Momotaro himself played the role of a marine general, which was unsurprising for the time, as the character was often used as a symbol of war sentiment.
In more recent and less controversial examples, one can look to the long term Super Sentai tokusatsu series, which served as the basis for the Power Rangers franchise. The last inclusion in the Super Sentai the range is titled Avataro Sentai Donbrothers and is loosely based on themes from Momotaro’s story. Don Momotaro – the iteration’s Red Ranger – goes by the civilian name of Taro Momoi and was discovered in a strange peach-shaped pod as a baby.
He is joined on the team by dog-, monkey-, and pheasant-themed Rangers, as well as an oni-themed yellow Ranger. This particular scenario is unique in that it is the first Super Sentai project featuring a male Pink Ranger in the form of the bird-themed Kiji Brother. But Avataro Sentai Donbrothers still only a few episodes into its run, it focuses on the battle of the Donbrothers to battle creatures known as Hitotsuki, monsters that possess humans who cannot control their deepest desires.
Other than that, Momotaro’s story and character has influenced many series and characters across Japanese pop culture. Among these are illustrated and animated works such as anime and manga, in addition to tokusatsu performances. A piece“The Wano Arc” contains many references to the story, the most important of which are the island of Onigashima and the character of Momonosuke, who borrows heavily from the folk hero.
For more on the tokusatsu side, Kamen Rider Den-O includes a character known as Momotaros, an interdimensional being named for his resemblance to an oni. Momotaro even served as a muse for an entire anime and manga series titled Peach Boy by the River, a shonen action story set in a world where humans and oni constantly fight. In addition to the examples already mentioned, Momotaro’s story has been referenced as a play or story in countless other anime such as Doraemon, Assassination Classroom and many more.
Whatever the reason, there’s no denying that the legend of the brave boy born of a peach has stood the test of time. No matter where the future of popular anime and live action goes in Japan, Momotaro’s story is sure to follow, inspiring new characters and adaptations for years to come.
The original girl who crossed time: the novel that inspired the film
About the Author