Taiyō no Ōji: Horusu no Daibōken

Title:Taiyō no Ōji: Horusu no Daibōken
Hols: Prince of the Sun
Little Norse Prince Valiant
The Little Norse Prince
The Sun Prince: Hols' Great Adventure
太陽の王子 ホルスの大冒険
Keywords: , , , , , , , , ,
Notables: Animation - Toei
One day while on the run from an attack by silver wolves, a young boy named Hols comes across a stone giant named Mogue who fights off the wolves for Hols. The boy pulls out a "thorn" from the giant's shoulder which turns out to be a rusted sword that Mogue calls "The Sword of the Sun." He claims that he will seek out Hols to acknowledge him as "Prince of the Sun" should he reforge the sword.

On his father's deathbed, Hols is told to travel to a northern seaside village where his people had lived. Traveling to the village with his bear companion Coro, Hols comes across a mysterious young girl named Hilda and an evil sorceror named Grunwald as he adapts to his new life in the seaside village.

(Movie, 1968, 82 min.)

This movie is considered a historical landmark in the history of anime by being the first anime film in the contemporary style. This film marked the film animation debut of Hayao Miyazaki and the directorial feature film debut of Isao Takahata.

The film had great difficulties when it was first released. The film went overbudget and overtime with development. As such, Toei ordered 30 minutes of the film to be removed and two animated scenes were unfinished resulting in animated stills and limited animation for the scenes in the final version of the film. In addition, the film was a box office flop in Japan. Because of these problems, most of the production staff of the film was demoted and Isao Takahata was never allowed to direct another film while he worked for Toei.
OverallArtAnimationCharacter Design MusicSeries StoryEpisode StoryReviewer
Rent 7 8 6 7 7 Ggultra2764 [series:2053#1552]
Way before Hayao Miyazaki did directing for Future Boy Conan and Castle of Caglisotro in the late 1970s, he was the chief animator behind this historical 1960s anime title. This movie brought about the potential for anime to be directed at wider audiences beyond younger audiences and broke the Disney-esque mold that Toei made for its earlier works. In terms of story, the approach is rather simple. Hols travels to a seaside town and builds up a reputation as a town hero while the main foe tries ridding himself of Hols to kill off the people of the town. This also makes the character types rather simple as you have the opportunist town advisor, the mysterious and conflicted girl, and the hard-working energetic local girl. Such story and characters may seem corny to modern anime fans. But back then, this movie created something different from the episodic storylines and lack of character depth from titles like Speed Racer and Astro Boy.

In terms of visuals, the artwork and character designs of Hols are pretty dated with the simplistic details of characters and scenery. The animation is a bit of a mixed bag at some points. Most scenes feature some surprisingly fluid movement during intense moments like battle scsnes and the illusionary forest that Hols falls into. But, the choppiness of the movie does show up at a number of points as shown through the two mentioned unfinished scenes and some points in the movie that cut away hinting that something was cut.

Despite the movie's age becoming increasingly apparent in later years, Prince of the Sun is still a worthwhile look for Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata fans to have a look at what the two had animated way back in their early days of animating. This is now the oldest anime title that I have seen to date.

Last updated Saturday, January 24 2009. Created Saturday, January 24 2009.

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