Magic Boy (film)

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Magic Boy
Magic boy.jpg
Magic Boy promotional poster
Directed by Akira Daikubara
Taiji Yabushita
Produced by Hiroshi Ōkawa
Screenplay by Michihei Muramatsu
Toppei Matsumura
Story by Kazuo Dan
Music by Satoshi Funemura
Toru Funamura
Distributed by Toei Company
Release date
  • December 25, 1959 (1959-12-25) (Japan)
June 22, 1961 (United States)
Running time
83 minutes
Country Japan
Language Japanese

Magic Boy, known in Japan as Shōnen Sarutobi Sasuke (少年猿飛佐助, "The Boy Sarutobi Sasuke"), is a 1959 Japanese animated feature film released on December 25, 1959. Released as Toei Animation's second theatrical anime, the film was released in theaters in North America by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer on June 22, 1961 making it the first anime film to be released in the country, followed by The Tale of the White Serpent on July 8, 1961.


In medieval Japan, a boy named Sasuke and his sister live in a forest along with several young animals of different species. One day, one of the animals (a young deer) is grabbed by an eagle and thrown into a lake. Sasuke and another animal jump into the lake to save it, but a monstrous salamander arrives and devours one of the animals. Sasuke tries to fight the monster, but is defeated. The beast leaves the lake, revealing its true form: a female demon named Yakusha. Sasuke's sister tells him Yakusha was transformed into a salamander by a powerful wizard millennia ago, but now she could muster enough power to have her normal shape back. And now she will found a reign of terror in Japan! Then, Sasuke decides to seek a magician master to learn to fight against Yakusha to save Japan and avenge the death of his pet.

Cast and characters[edit]

Character Voice actor
Sarutobi Sasuke Teruo Miyazaki
O-Yū Hiroko Sakuramachi
Tozawa Hakuunsai Kenji Susukida
O-Kei-chan Tomoko Matsushima
Sanada Yukimura Katsuo Nakamura
Miyoshi Seikai ?
Yasha-hime O-Mon Harue Akagi
Yamaarashi no Gonkurō Yoshio Yoshida
Okera no Kinta Ryōei Itō
Batta no Sanji Shunji Sakai
Guard Kazuo Kishida

The MGM version[edit]

In the English language version, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer left most of the original songs with Japanese language lyrics. Since the creators of the English version preferred to liken Sasuke to the public perception of samurai, who were viewed as heroic, as opposed to the ninja, who were viewed as "sinister spies and assassins," MGM's publicity incorrectly claimed that The Adventures of the Little Samurai was the Japanese title of the film.[1] This despite the movie poster's accurate display of the actual title.[citation needed]

Video game[edit]

A video game titled Shōnen Sarutobi Sasuke (also known as Sasuke Ninja Boy) was released by Sunsoft for the Super Famicom in 1994.[2]


According to animation historian Jerry Beck, the film exhibited Toei Animation's effort to use the "Disney formula of presenting a traditional folktale with songs and plenty of cute animals."[1]

Home media[edit]

In 2014, Warner Home Video released the MGM dub of the film on DVD for the first time as a Warner Archive title. [3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Beck, Jerry. The Animated Movie Guide. Chicago Review Press. 2005. 158.
  2. ^ (in Japanese) 忍者ゲーム 【スーパーファミコン】
  3. ^ [1] Amazon Release Entry

External links[edit]