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Posted October 1, 2010
Although I hold the works of Hiyao Miyazake and his Studio Ghibli in the highest regard, its good to know that there are other sources of kid friendly animation from Japan.
"Taro" is a heroes journey of self-discovery in the classic sense, and the moral/message is universal. No prior knowledge of Japanese folklore/mythology is required, though some familiarity with the culture and mythos will certainly deepen the story's context.
The animation style is a bit coarser than what some young viewers may be accustomed to, but that is quickly overshadowed by the quality of the storyline.
My only disappointment is with the English overdubbing. The language is rather stilted, and the folksongs seem transliterated instead of interpreted, subjecting us to a so-bad it's almost cool experience. Once the little one's have gotten the storyline familiarized, go to Japanese with subtitles as soon as possible. You'll be glad you did, because then the art of this DVD will show itself.
Prude alert! There is momentary nudity, but in a natural context. Then again anyone ignorant enough to be offended shouldn't be reading reviews.
All in all, this DVD is well worth the price, will be watched repeatedly by the young ones without killing adult braincells, and is a good respite from the Ghibli ouvre. Highly recommended.