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This is a past article published in Hiragana Times. Each Japanese paragraph is followed by its English translation or vise versa, and furigana are placed above each kanji to make Japanese study even easier. [Magazine Sample] [Subscription Page]

Save the Starving! A Superhero’s Story

[From July Issue 2011]

DVD cover. 75 minutes. 2,940 yen

 

Soreike! Anpanman: The Tear of the Shining Star (Directed by NAGAOKA Akinori)

“S oreike! Anpanman,” (Go! Anpanman) was the first movie (1989) from the Anpanman anime series which has been broadcast on TV since 1988. This summer, the 23rd Anpanman movie will be released. The TV series, with over 1,000 episodes broadcast, was recognized in the 2009 Guinness World Records for having the highest number of characters in an anime series – the show has featured more than 1,700 characters. Anpanman, one of Japan’s most popular anime characters, appeals to young children, boys and girls alike.

Ninety-two-year-old YANASE Takashi, the creator of Anpanman, experienced food shortages during the Second World War; as a result, Anpanman lets hungry people bite off part of his head which is made of anpan (bread with sweet bean paste). When most of his head has been eaten, Anpanman can regain his strength by having his father, Jam Ojisan, bake him another anpan head.

A spaceship that has been struck by lightning crashes into the forest and Anpanman gets Jam Ojisan to fix a broken robot he has found inside. The robot, which calls itself Marude Hender, says that it has come all the way from planet Shining Star with Princess Nanda Nandar in order to recover The Tear of the Shining Star jewel stolen by the evil King Doronko. The jewel has magical powers: it will bring peace if someone with a pure heart possesses it, but it will bring darkness to the world if it falls into the hands of an evil person.

With his friends Currypanman and Shokupanman, Anpanman goes to look for The Tear of the Shining Star. Along the way they rescue Princess Nanda, who’s being held captive on Baikin UFO, Baikinman’s ship. Anpanman rips some anpan off part of his head to give to the hungry Princess Nanda. She hasn’t eaten anpan before and is grateful for Anpanman’s kindness.

Anpanman and his friends find the giant evil King Doronko. But the king, who is protected by the jewel’s power, is so formidable that they don’t stand a chance against him. However, Jam Ojisan arrives on Anpanman-go (a car made in the shape of Anpanman) and shoots flames at Doronko. Finally, Princess Nanda, who has been watching the battle, faces the Evil King Doronko herself, but unfortunately she gets tangled up in his long snake-like arms.

Princess Nanda is moved to tears as Anpanman and his friends continue to fight despite taking a beating from the evil King Doronko. As her tears fall on The Tear of the Shining Star, which is located on the head of the Evil King Doronko, the power of justice flows out of the jewel and the king melts to his death. Having recovered the jewel, Princess Nanda thanks Anpanman and the others and then flies back to planet Shooting Star. 


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