Kyubi no Kitsune to Tobimaru (lost Japanese anime film; 1968)

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Tobimaru-poster.jpg.jpg

The film's theatrical poster.

Status: Lost

Kyubi no Kitsune to Tobimaru (九尾の狐と飛丸 Tobimaru and The Fox with Nine Tails), also known as Sesshoseki (殺生石), was a Japanese animated film produced by Nihon Doga and was distributed by Daiei Films. The film was released on October 19th, 1968 in a single theater in Japan.

Plot

Tobimaru is the young emperor of Japan. He meets a mysterious woman named Tomamo. After successfully seducing Tobimaru, she brings great misfortune onto the land.

Tobimaru soon discovers that Tomamo is actually a kitsune, and now has the task to unmask and kill her to save his land.

Production

When Gentaro Nakajima joined Daiei Film, he had an idea to make a live-action adaptation of the novel Tamamo No Mae, written by Kiko Okamoto.[1]

Later on, he tried pitching the idea to Daiei, however, they repeatedly shot the idea down. Gentaro would soon leave the company due to their lack of stable management.[2]

Gentaro took it upon himself to produce the film, and so using his own money, help from Toei Animation to produce the footage, and a script by noir writer Hideo Suzuki, he completed the film. However, he still needed a distributor, so in a complete act of faith, he got Daiei Film to distribute the movie.[3]

Reception

The film, due to poor advertising and poor handling by Daiei, was only screened in a single theater. The film was a box office bomb, and ultimately was forgotten about. Gentaro Nakajima, being severely disappointed with how the film did, left the movie industry soon after to get into politics.

Status

After the film had left theaters, Gentaro Nakajima kept the original negatives. After his passing, his second son would be given all of his materials, including the negative. Sadly, after being arrested for a bribery scandal, he committed suicide in 2001. As of now, the original negatives whereabouts are unknown.

The film was thought to be lost until a 16mm theater print was discovered by the Tokyo Metropolitan Library. The print has been screened numerous times since 2010, but as of now, it has not been restored and released.

References