In Momotaro’s Sea Eagle, which is based on one of the most well known Japan’s folklore, the classic tale of Peach Boy was brought to the audience with a new twist. The anime still contains the basic plot of Peach Boy going to Demon Island with his animal friends to fight the demons. However, instead of the traditional setting from the original folklore, Peach boy is now a general figure upon an aircraft carrier and the crew consists of monkeys, dogs, pheasants, and rabbits. The anime has a much more modern setting and an emphasis on warfare. By doing so the fairytale of Peach Boy has been turn into a war propaganda that can effectively affect the mindset of the viewers for their support for Japan and the military’s attack on the enemy.
One of the way in which the anime showcase its message to the audience is through the use of the millet dumpling and alcohol. In this situation, the millet dumpling is being used to represent Japan and its strength as a nation. The fact that the monkey brought the millet dumpling onto the attack mission demonstrates how the spirit of Japan will always accompanies them whenever they go.
Thus when the monkey eats the dumpling and literally gain muscle from it, the dumpling is symbolic of Japan’s strength and power. In this case that power is being shown through the monkey and his skills as a sailor. Through these images and symbolic representation of Japan the anime is convincing the audience that the home nation is strong. Although the millet dumpling may be a simple traditional food it is a strong part of their culture and that is what gives them strength,therefore, this will stimulates people’s pride for the nation and encourage more support for their attack mission.
While displaying a nation’s strength and rallying people’s pride in the nation can effectively deliver the purpose of the propaganda, it is also important to reveal who the enemy is to justify their action. For this anime the enemy is being seen through alcohol. When the crew of Momotaro attacks the Demon Island the occupants there were taken by surprised. However, instead of having the demons try their best to retaliate back the anime has them running around trying to escape with beer bottles lying all over the ship deck. That image there is very key in describing the enemy, they are being seen as drunks who are not prepared in contrast to Momotaro’s crew.
In addition, when one of the demon sailor drinks more alcohol thinking it could make him stronger, he ended up more like fool. That shot demonstrates how the enemy is powerless as a nation. The alcohol here has no match for the millet dumpling of Japan. It gives no spirit and strength to the demons, whereas the millet dumpling is full of determination and courage. That contrast reveals the enemy as an easy target and therefore convincing the audience that this attack will be a guaranteed victory.
Through the medium of food the anime creates and effective propaganda that can appeal to many different types of audiences. The use of food here clearly demonstrates the power of the homeland in contrast to their enemy, thus by showing it through witty and comical ways the anime instills its message in people’s mind without the horror images of warfare.