(Above: My actual tape after being cleaned up from removing an annoying library card thing glued to the front cover. You can kind of see a light square where that used to be.)
This week’s feature: “Unico” (1981) aka “The Fantastic Adventures of Unico”
VHS/90 Mins/Color/Dubbed/Not Rated
Notice the location change for this week.
I’ve had many requests for Unico over the years. In looking up these films, I found that most people requesting Unico were referring to the sequel called “Unico in the Island of Magic”, not knowing that there was another film before it. This week we will be showing the first :)
First off a little history - Unico began as a Manga character by Osamu Tezuka and according to Wiki:
“In 1979, the same year the manga ended, Unico made his animated debut in Kuroi Kumo Shiroi Hane (Black Cloud, White Feather), an ecologically-themed pilot film (for a proposed anime TV series) which was soon released directly to video.
Although the TV series was not picked up, Unico soon made it to the silver screen in two feature-length anime films produced by Sanrio and Tezuka Productions with animation by Madhouse Studios.
Unico’s first movie, titled The Fantastic Adventures of Unico in English and simply Unico in Japan, was released in Japan on March 14, 1981.”
Upon finding a Unico VHS at a thrift store in Canada, I revisited this film and changed my mind about it. What I once dismissed as a “my little pony” fluff, turned out to be a touching and original story with refreshing “non-Disney” animation. Yes it’s ultra cutesy but at the same time has a lot of dark elements as well. Not quiet as dark and twisted as “Ringing Bell” (a favorite kid’s anime film that I saw in elementary school), but these films are really growing on me and as a collector of rare media, I’m beginning to love them :)
So, although I didn’t grow up with the Unico films like so many others, I can tell that I really would have loved this as a youngster and would have totally related to Unico’s character and motivation.
Now this film is quite the guilty pleasure.
Here are a couple reviews:
The Best, 30 July 2001
Author: star83 from Maryland
“This is one of the best movies I’ve ever seen, forget that it’s a cartoon. It was wonderful, and nothing other than animation could have captured this story so well. Some things have to be cartoons, and this is one of them, it doesn’t make it bad, it makes it good. This is something that anyone could watch, and I could watch this movie again and again.”
(Above: An actual animation cell from “Unico”)
Amazing! (Possible Spoiler), 11 November 2004
Author: Brandon Banks (Mantra_2@Yahoo.com) from Louisville, Kentucky
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
“I first saw this movie around the age of 5 or 6 years old, it was a beautifully done movie then, and even better now. I had originally forgotten the name to it, and had it confused with “The Last Unicorn”, but recently I found Unico again, and fell in love with it all over again.
Possible Spoiler.. (doubt it) Unico the Unicorn has the amazing power to make anyone he meets happy. Whether it’s because of his personality or the powers of his horn, no one knows. However, the gods become jealous of Unico, thinking that only gods should be able to decide or let people be happy or not. Unico is banished to the Hill of Oblivion, and the West Wind is ordered to take him there. She can’t stand giving this fate to an innocent like Unico, so Unico’s adventures begin, as the West Wind takes him from one place and time to the next, in a neverending journey to escape the wrath of the gods.
I highly suggest this movie for everyone to watch, young and old alike.” - IMDB
Whether you grew up with this, requested it or it’s your first exposure, this film has finally made the ISMN cut and is definitely worth watching with friends :) - H.R.
Bonus Classroom Film:
“Am I Trust Worthy?”
Little James doesn’t understand why he wasn’t elected treasurer. He asks his father, “What’s all this trust-worthy business about, anyway?” His father responds with some tried, tested, and true Coronet ideology. Scary says: “Trust me, you won’t regret it!”
-Something Weird Video
Time: Thursday Nov. 15th @ 7:00 PM
Place: Hot Dog King -1708 South State Street Orem, UT
Buy dinner here if you wish. Free parking! Friends and newbys always welcome :)
See ya there!
(Above: Unico fan art :)