Folktales from Japan at a Glance

If you’re a good person, you will find money everywhere.

I quite liked Folktales from Japan. I’ll say up-front that its a children’s show, as I’m not aware of how many people know that; bit of a curious choice for Crunchyroll to pick up because of that. I actually have no idea why Crunchyroll did pick it up, to be perfectly honest – it doesn’t seem like something that’ll have much viewership, after all. But I’m happy they snagged it nonetheless since I doubt it would’ve gotten fansubbed. It also gave me a reason to finally renew my subcription with the service; thankfully, it seems their streams have improved since I last used them, although I did have some trouble with stuttering in 1080p mode.

Anyway, back to Folktales from Japan. As I said, a children’s show. There are three tales per episode, and I can’t say its a terribly deep show. But its an enjoyable one nevertheless, although I daresay that most people reading this blog probably aren’t going to find much of a reason to keep up with it. As a person who has always enjoyed folktales and fairy tales I am practically the perfect audience for it.

One thing I did take note of during the first episode is that the practice of trebling is apparently not limited to Western fairy tales, which was interesting, if not wholly unexpecyed. ‘Trebling’, by the way, is the triple appearance of plot elements or events in literature. For example, the Three Little Pigs, or the fact that there were three nights to the ball in the original Cinderella story (by the way, Cinderella’s name is actally supposed to be ‘Ashputtel’; this actually makes a lot more sense because ashes are a clean white whereas cinders are grey).

The animation, art, and music are all fairly simple, befitting the sort of show this is. The voice acting seems to be done entirely by two voice actors, one of whom, interestingly enough, apparently hasn’t done any voice-acting since the 1980’s (she voiced one of the villains of Rose of Versailles). These two perform narration as well as voices for the characters – its actually basically like they are reading the tale to the viewer.

So, I liked Folktales of Japan quite a bit, but I’d hesitate to recommend it to most. If you are a fan of fairy tales and folktales, you will doubltlessly enjoy it, but for others it will probably seem overly simplistic and a bit boring.

As an aside, I actually nowadays read fairy tales, folktales, legends, lore, etc. not simply because I find them entertaining, but also in order to re-tell them. I have a younger cousin, so that’s part of my wish to re-tell. But I’m also a soldier, and deployments tend to be pretty dull; I’ve actually told some fairy tales I’ve read to other soldiers during training to help pass the time, and would like to have a large enough repository to last through a deployment should the need arise.

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2 Responses to Folktales from Japan at a Glance

  1. Last I heard of Crunchyroll’s licensing strategy, it was “bid on everything, take anything we can get at a reasonable price”. Which explains a lot of their odder picks.

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