Momotarō’s Dog and Monkey

Two of the main characters play with blocks before bombing Onigashima.

On the way to the attack of Onigashima, these two animals spend time relaxing by playing with blocks.  These two minor characters are the focus of the anime adaptation of Momotarō, Momotarō’s Sea Eagles.  The hachimaki, or headband, worn by the animals is that of the Japanese empire.  This anime is propagandistic in support of the attack on Pearl Harbor; clearly, the animals represent Japan.  The animals are also drawn to look cute.  The style seen here is similar to the style used for older Disney cartoon animals.  Simple shapes are used to create the animals, which result in cute, cartoony figures.  The eyes are small dots, which also add a level of aesthetic appeal to the animals.  However, this scene is not represented in any well-known version of Momotarō.  Firstly, the animals travel together in the same vehicle as Momotarō to fight the ogres in the traditional versions of the tale.  In this scene, the animals are flying away from Momotarō in his battleship.  Secondly, there is little focus on the relationships between the animals in the story.  This picture represents a deviation from the story and portrays the friendship between one of the dogs and one of the monkeys.  This scene is one of many from the anime that focuses on this pair.

The portrayal of this friendship as well as the style used to bring these animals to life contributes to the appeal to children.  Children are lead to believe that the Japanese pilots are cute animals that are friends with each other.  As a result, they support these animals as well as the Japanese war effort.  They are deceived to believe that war is fun and games.

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