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Alakazam the Great (西遊記 Saiyuki?, lit. "Journey to the West") is a 1960 Japanese anime film, based on the Chinese legend Journey to the West, and was one of the earliest anime films to be released in the United States. Based on the manga My Son Goku (ぼくのそんごくう Boku no Son Gokū?) by Osamu Tezuka, he was named as a director of the film by Toei Company. However, Tezuka later stated that the only time he was in the studio was to pose for publicity photos.[1] His involvement as a consultant for the adaptation of his manga, and in promoting the film, however, led to his interest in animation.[2]

Plot

Alakazam is a young and brave monkey who has been encouraged by all the other monkeys to become their king. After attaining the throne, he becomes rude and dictatorial, and does not believe that human beings are greater than he is. Then he tricks/forces Merlin the magician to teach him magic (reluctantly on Merlin's part, who warns Alakazam that the powers he acquires now will bring him much unhappiness later). Alakazam becomes so arrogant that he abuses his magic powers, and chooses to go up to Majutsu Land (the Heavens), to challenge King Amo. He is defeated by King Amo. For his punishment, he is sentenced to serve as the bodyguard of Prince Amat on a pilgrimage; in order to learn humility, mercy and to fight with wisdom. Ultimately, he learns his lesson and becomes a true hero.

Characters

  • Alakazam/Son-Goku
  • DeeDee the Monkey/RinRin
  • Sir Quigley Broken Bottom/Chohakkai
  • Max Lulipopo/Shagojo
  • Prince Amat/Sanzo-hoshi
  • King Amo/Shaka-nyorai
  • Queen Amass/Kanzeon
  • Filo Fester/Shoryu
  • King Gruesome/Gyu-Mao
  • Queen Gruesome/Rasetsu-jo
  • Herman Mcsnarles/Kinkaku
  • Vermin Mcsnarles/Ginkaku

U.S. release

The film was released in the United States on July 26, 1961. For the American release, bandleader Les Baxter was hired to compose a new soundtrack. Teen idol Frankie Avalon supplied the singing voice of Alakazam (the speaking voice was done by Peter Fernandez), and Sterling Holloway provided English-language narration. Despite a large marketing budget and heavy promotion, the movie did not do well in America.

See also

References

  1. *Beck, Jerry (2005). The animated movie guide. Chicago: Chicago Review Press. ISBN 1-55652-591-5. 
  2. Patten, Fred. 1996. A Capsule History of Anime at Animation World Network

External links

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