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14 Feb 2007 Digital Meme Reveals New Details on Japanese Anime Classic Collection

Four-DVD set features 55 groundbreaking silent anime and early “talkies”

TOKYO, Japan, February 14, 2007 – Digital Meme,
the premier publisher of digitized vintage anime and classic Japanese films, today disclosed new details of its upcoming release, Japanese Anime Classic Collection.

The four-disc set—due to be released on April 27th—comprises 44 remarkable examples of prewar animation from as early as 1928 by such masters as Yasuji Murata, Noburo Ofuji, Yoshitaro Kataoka, and Sanae Yamamoto, as well as an intriguing sampling of 11 additional films from the turbulent decade that followed.

The set is the first collection to offer international viewers classic anime as they were originally experienced by Japanese audiences. Twenty films have accompanying narration by the performing artists known as benshi, including the beloved Midori Sawato, and six—including Ofuji’s seminal Kuro Nyago (The Black Cat)—are “record talkies,” presented together with the original audio track once distributed to theaters on gramophone record. Also in the set are some of the earliest true “talkies” in Japanese animation, such as the 1931 Cho no Sainan (The Unlucky Butterfly)—and Ofuji’s highly unusual 1948 animated operetta Kuma ni Kuwarenu Otoko (The Bear Dodger).

Fans and students of Yasuji Murata’s animation will be gratified by a rich selection of some of his finest works, from films inspired by traditional legends such as Kobu Tori (The Stolen Lump) to a series of films based on Suiho Tagawa’s classic character Norakuro, which offer an unexpected twist on the experience of a soldier in the Japanese Imperial Army.

Other films of particular interest to collectors include Sanae Yamamoto’s Nihonichi Momotaro (Momotaro the Undefeated), Mitsuya Seo’s Issunboshi Chibisuke Monogatari (Tiny Chibisuke’s Big Adventure), Murata’s Sarmasumane (The Monkey Sword Masumane), and Ofuji’s Kokka Kimigayo (National Anthem “Kimgayo”).

Entertaining, provocative, and startling, the collection offers fascinating insights into prewar Japan and into early film history. For more details, please contact
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