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Horus: Prince of the Sun (1968)

Taiyô no ôji: Horusu no daibôken (original title)
Not Rated | | Animation, Action, Adventure | 21 July 1968 (Japan)
A boy with a mythical sword wants to protect a Norse village from an evil ice wizard and his minions, who destroyed his family's village. However, the villagers don't fully trust him and a mysterious girl with a dark secret befriends him.

Director:

Isao Takahata

Writer:

Kazuo Fukazawa (screenplay)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Mikijirô Hira ... Grunwald, the Demon of Ice (voice)
Etsuko Ichihara Etsuko Ichihara ... Hilda (voice)
Eijirô Tôno ... Ganko, the blacksmith (voice)
Masao Mishima ... Village Leader (voice)
Yasushi Nagata Yasushi Nagata ... Drago, villager
Hisako Ôkata Hisako Ôkata ... Hols (voice)
Hiroshi Kamiyama Hiroshi Kamiyama ... Villager (voice)
Hisashi Yokomori Hisashi Yokomori ... Horu's Father / Toto, the white owl (voice)
Tokuko Sugiyama Tokuko Sugiyama
Tadashi Yokouchi Tadashi Yokouchi ... Paul / Moog the Rock Giant (voice)
Asako Akazawa Asako Akazawa ... Piria, Rusan's fiancée
Yuriko Abe Yuriko Abe ... Young woman
Kazuo Tachibana Kazuo Tachibana ... Villager
Taisaku Akino ... Rusan (as Masaaki Tsusaka)
Yoshie Hinoki Yoshie Hinoki
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Storyline

Horus, a kid living in an unnamed Scandinavian/Eastern Europe culture of the Iron Age, recovers the Sword of the Sun from the rock giant Moog and learns from his dying father that he must returns to his ancestral territory. In the process, he defends a village from the attacks of Grundewald, a warlord/ice demon and befriends the enigmatic Hilda, a lonely and beautiful girl who sings haunting songs (and who hides a terrible secret). Written by Korman643

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

girl | sword | boy | giant | demon | See All (14) »


Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

TOEI ANIMATION [Japan]

Country:

Japan

Language:

Japanese

Release Date:

21 July 1968 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

Little Norse Prince See more »

Filming Locations:

Tokyo, Japan

Company Credits

Production Co:

Toei Animation See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The script was based on a puppet theater drama written by scriptwriter Kazuo Fukazawa, itself based on an ancient legend of the Ainu, the aboriginal people living in Northern Japan. The Scandinavian/Viking/Eastern Europe setting was an idea of the producers, worried that a movie too identified with a local culture wouldn't have had enough international appeal. See more »

Goofs

When the wolves attack the village, Horus runs out of the village to face them head-on and try to kill their leader, Silver Wolf. In his absence, Potom, the village chief's son, encourages everyone to tear the logs from his father's barn to build a barricade against the wolves. Afterwards, when Drago is trying to turn the Chief against Horus, the Chief recalls that Horus encouraged everyone to break up his barn, but it was his son Potom who did that, not Horus, who was outside the village at the time. The error is found in both the English subtitles and the English dubbed dialogue. See more »

Quotes

Hilda: [sings] In the twilight red sky / a lonely star shines / Someone calls me, / "Come away, voiceless lark / Come away, wingless lark / From where did you come? And where will you go, now?"
See more »

Alternate Versions

The English-dubbed version from AIP-TV changed the location of the film from Northern Japan to Norway. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Decent in the short run, a little heavy and uninteresting in the long; the film functions enough on a level as a standard adventure piece.
1 April 2012 | by johnnyboyzSee all my reviews

Little Norse Prince was my first foray into the territory of Japanese animation, later made more popular in the West by that of Studio Ghibli, and it's a mixed effort; a film which had enough in terms of raw energy and that sense of passion or artistic integrity pumped into its animation to make me want to come back for more, but lacked an ability to really keep me entirely interested throughout. I don't think it has the sense of adventure it thinks it has, nor does it entirely make use of its premise and have us feel like we've genuinely watched the transition of a young protagonist, who's been granted a specific test or goal at this early stage in their life, from one thing into another. In essence, the film feels a lot longer than it actually is, and makes the fatal error of introducing a supporting act who ends up more interesting than the lead. Additionally, it gets bogged down in the middle with a subplot to do with a village-set power exchange and all the political strife which comes with it and enraptures the lead when all we want to see is this hero journey onwards and upwards in achieving his quest whilst learn a bit about himself in the process.

The film opens in a resounding fashion, with a young boy called Horus fending off a pack of wolves along the rural plains of the ancient Nordic world with a sword and a breathtaking amount of both speed and agility. There is both something quite beautiful as well as ugly in the manner in which, with each swipe of the blade, Horus shifts and slides to-and-fro out of the way and onto the next stretch of pasture as wolves drop all around him, not necessarily killed, but with the next in line eyeing up the next available chance to attack. When all looks lost, and one of the beasts slides a sly anthropomorphic aside to our Horus as the kill looms, the ground gives way and a huge giant made entirely out of stone rises from the Earth scattering the animals but trapping Horus on his shoulder. The opening in this sense is quite magical, a really well rendered battle sequence featuring the wilds of this rural domain at work as a pack of hunters seemingly chase the next meal but coming up against a capable human-being who fends them off before everything, in this apparently enchanted land, is rounded off with a monster appearing from nowhere and now a part of the action.

Things develop when Horus pulls from the giant a sword which had been stuck there, this chance encounter leading Horus to pursue a mission on which if the sword is successfully reforged, he will garner the right for a promotion into king-hood. It additionally turns out there was indeed a purpose for the wolves' being there; an off screen evil force had sent them to thwart Horus for whatever reasons in whatever capacity. Horus heads across rivers and seas to his old stomping ground, a village once torn apart by an evil which manifested itself within and tore everybody apart. He is there in his attempt to reforge that sword, and in the process garner both the respectability as well as the power an individual in the mould of Horus has the ability to achieve. Along the way, we observe him encounter an array of individuals with power able to match his own; people using such abilities and weapons for a means of bad and there are meek lessons to be learnt.

Much more interesting is that of the character of Hilda (Ichihara), a girl as young as Horus whose voice is sharp and siren-like; their first interaction down by the ports of this small community, beside the waters, fitting in that sense and made even more so when we spot that she sits atop a shipwreck of some kind. Hilda is the lone survivor of a village of her own, a village which was destroyed under similar circumstances to that of Horus'. She is a loner, an outcast when brought back by Horus; her frayed beliefs and ethics clashing with the populous where duty vs. choice is at the forefront of her refusal to sew like all the 'good women' seemingly do in this community thus tying her in with the Horus we saw in the opening as a character unbounded by what's expected of them and possessing somewhat of a free spirited attitude. It is unfortunate her story and her presence overtakes that of the lead.

As things unfold and Hilda's true identity, indeed prerogative, for being there becomes clearer; we sense Horus' quest undermined by the deeper tribulations and emotional conflict Hilda suffers. When the time comes for Horus to confront evil and have a big showdown at the end wherein catalysts and epiphanies and such may play out, it is with which Hilda's off screen presence and tale that we are preoccupied. The film stutters in its speed, often breezing along like a good adventure should but then unevenly pausing for more mediative moments. One of its bigger crimes is that it unfolds in an enchanted world, although often feels unenchanted – the film an unbalanced effort which has a sturdy amount of character and wonder but leaves one relatively underwhelmed on the whole.


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