[From February Issue 2012]
The Storm Called: The Battle of the Warring States (Directed by HARA Keiichi)
This film is based on a cartoon series depicting the everyday life of NOHARA Shinnosuke, a cheeky and naughty five-year-old kindergartener, involving his parents and others. While his way of mimicking adult speech and teasing habit of showing his butt are disapproved of by some parents as being a bad influence on children, the cartoon is also highly regarded for its heart-warming episodes that occur in the midst of the laughter.
After it was released in 2002, this tenth Crayon Shin-chan movie won numerous awards. USUI Yoshito, the original writer of the cartoon, has passed away, but his long-serving staff continues on with the “New Crayon Shin-chan” series. TV anime series and movie versions of Crayon Shin-chan have also been made. Even in other countries, translations of the manga are published and anime are broadcast.
The story of this movie begins one morning when Shinnosuke and his parents have the exact same dream. Shinnosuke becomes entranced with the “pretty lady” from that dream. His dog also seems to have had the same dream and begins digging a hole in the yard. Shinnosuke discovers a wooden box in the hole. There’s a letter inside written in his own handwriting that says he’s in the second year of the Tensho era (1574).
Even though he has no recollection of the letter, while standing at the bottom of the hole, he unwittingly travels through time to an unfamiliar place. Now he’s in the second year of the Tensho era, in the middle of the Warring States period. Stumbling into the middle of a battle, he saves the life of a young samurai called Matabe. That leads to an invitation to the castle of Kasuga where the lord takes a liking to “the boy from the future.”
There Shinnosuke meets the lord’s daughter, Princess Ren. He’s convinced she’s the “pretty lady” from his dream. However, Shinnosuke gets frustrated by the fact that, held back by the difference in their class status, Matabe and Princess Ren don’t declare their mutual feelings of love. Matabe, who’s a warrior, tells Shinnosuke not to tell Princess Ren about his feelings for her. Declining a political marriage proposal with OKURAI Takatora of a neighboring state, Princess Ren instead yearns to live in the world Shinnosuke describes: a peaceful world where people can love freely.
Meanwhile, Shinnosuke’s parents, who had been looking for him, travel through time themselves. The Nohara family is happy to be reunited. Staying at Matabe’s house, they struggle to return to the present day. Because Princess Ren has refused his marriage proposal, Takatora’s army invades the castle. Prepared for death, Matabe’s army fights back desperately and, after a difficult battle, defeats Takatora’s army, thanks partly to the support of Shinnosuke and others.
The story is set in Kasukabe, Saitama Prefecture, and in 2004, Shinnosuke was chosen to be the city’s official mascot. To mark the occasion, the Nohara family was issued with special resident cards. Their fictional registered address was 904, Futaba-cho, Kasukabe City. “Futaba-cho” comes from Futabasha, the name of the publisher of the original cartoon, and 904 – pronounced in Japanese as crayon “ku”, “re”, “yon” (9,0,4) – is a play on words.