The Sea Prince and the Fire Child
Once, when the world was young, the gods of Fire and Water lived together happily. Then, the evil Lord of the Winds, because of his jealousy, shattered the alliance of fire and water with his lies, setting them against each other in a terrible conflict. The war between the two gods was finally ended when the high lord of the heavens struck down the wicked Wind god and imprisoned him deep beneath the waves. The Fire Queen created the Holy Flame to keep the waters calm, and the two sides agreed to never come into contact with one another again, to prevent war and hatred from spreading anew.
Enter Sirius, the Prince of the Sea and a child of water, who while out hunting with his friend, crosses a forbidden part of the ocean and discovers the place where the Holy Flame burns, and with it, the daughter of the Fire Queen, Malta, whose task it is to guard the Flame from going out.
Curiosity leads to friendship and love, but their parents, still bitter from years of war, do not approve of the pair's union. Will their love for each other lead to another cycle of war between Fire and Water? Or will love once again conquer all?
I first saw this film when I was very young, in the fourth grade to be exact, but at the time I of course had no idea it was Japanese in origin. My little sister and I watched this movie dozens of times, but after the local video store that had it for rental closed, it faded in my memory until a couple of years ago when I was searching through the bins at a "Going out of business" sale at a video store in Tennessee, where I found it once again.
So, to be honest, this film has a personal attachment to me, and I enjoy it on its nostalgic merits alone, but even for anime fans who have never even heard of it, this movie has a lot to offer. To begin with, it's a classic. Fans that enjoy the older styles of animation (old Disney movies, Astroboy, etc.) will find the classic animation appealing. There are no computer graphics here, no camera tricks used on the cells, nothing even remotely "artificial" about it. This is 100% pure hand-drawn goodness done the old way. And even though it may seem dated (I prefer the word "Classic") to some viewers, it holds a certain charm and appeal just the same.
The story, is basically a retelling of Romeo and Juliet with a heavy dose of mythology thrown into the mix. Our hero and heroine fill the lead roles, complete with best-buddy sidekicks that get them into (and out of) trouble throughout. Sometimes slightly goofy, sometimes a little sad, the story weaves along in a hypnotic way that might put more action oriented fans to sleep, but proves interesting enough to keep both children and adults watching. I remember this was one of the only "cartoon" films that wasn't Disney that my parents ever sat all the way through. The characters are endearing and colorful, and while the dialogue (at least in the English version that I own) is not anything truly thought provoking or astounding, its simple enough for children to follow and not overly cloying and insipid for adult viewers. On a similar note, the voice acting is actually very well done considering the age of the film (circa 1982 for its US release). If only more of the current studios had found such good people on their first attempts at English voice-over. I couldn't be sure, since no English voice credits were given, but I am almost positive the man who did the voice for Sirius also did Rick (Hikaru) Hunter from Macross (aka Robotech).
In all, it's a sweet, wonderfully done fairy tale with plenty to offer for both children and adult anime fans who don't mind (or heaven forbid, even enjoy) older, classic animation. There was nothing even remotely objectionable I could find in this movie at all with one very small exception. In the last few scenes, Malta is transformed slightly, and in her new, more "adult" form she sports faint airbrushed nipples on her previously doll-like breasts. I know it is a small niggle, but parents who are wary of such things should be aware of it, especially since it was billed as a film for children. Highly recommended for good family viewing (if you can still find it.)
Remove one star if you are not a fan of older animation or have issues with airbrushed areola. — Jason Bustard
Recommended Audience: As mentioned above, one very minor and non-sexual instance of nudity, otherwise it may as well be Disney.
Version(s) Viewed: VHS, English dub
Review Status: Full (1/1)
The Sea Prince and the Fire Child © 1981 Sanrio
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