Written by: Michael Den Boer on January 9th, 2006
TTheatrical Release Date: Japan, 1979
Director: Kiriro Urayama
Writers: Miyoko Matsutani, Takashi Mitsui, Kiriro Urayama
Japanese Voice Cast: Mîna Tominaga, Issei Futamata, Kazuo Kitamura, Sayuri Yoshinaga
DVD Released: January 31st, 2006
Approximate Running Time: 75 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Stereo Mono Japanese, Dolby Digital Stereo Mono English
DVD Release: Discotek
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $29.95
Synopsis: Taro the Dragon Boy spends all of his free time sleeping, eating or playing with the animals in the forest. Taro is daily teased and picked on by the other children in the village because he refuses to play with them. One day while wrestling in the woods with the animals a wizard appears and gives Taro a potion that gives him the strength of 10,000 men. Taro is being taken care of by his frail grandmother who one evening reveals to him that his mother is cursed and has been transformed into a dragon. The next morning Taro sets out to find his mother and along the way he helps those who need his help.
Taro the Dragon Boy is a fascinating tale about a whimsical young boy who in unmotivated to do anything worthwhile in life. The film is filled with many great characters like the flamboyant red demon who beats on his drum all day at least when he is not trying to eat little boys and girls. The story really gathers steam when Taro decides to look for his mother. He quickly accepts responsibility for his actions and for the first time in his life he thinks of others before himself. The animation is simplistic in its design which actually complements Taro growth on his epic adventure. Overall Taro the Dragon Boy is an extraordinary adventure that children and adult can equally enjoy.
Discotek presents Taro the Dragon Boy in an anamorphic widescreen that preserves the films original 2.35:1 Toei scope aspect ratio. This progressive scan transfer is virtually flawless as the colors look vibrant and are nicely saturated through out. Details are sharp through out and grain is kept to a minimum. Overall the print sourced for this transfer is in great shape.
This release comes with two audio options the films original Japanese language track and an English dubbed audio track. Both are presented in a Dolby Digital stereo. The audio is clean and the dialog is easy to understand, still there are few minor instances in which background hiss is noticeable. Overall the Japanese audio mix sounds cleaner and slightly stronger then the English audio mix. This release comes with two subtitle options full English subtitles or limited English subtitles that translate the slates that appear through out the film. Both subtitles options are easy to read and follow.
Extras for this release are limited to trailers for Taro the Dragon Boy and Animal Treasure Island. Both trailers are in Japanese and come with English subtitles. This DVD comes in a clear keep case that comes with a DVD insert that has an extensive list of all the cast and crew for Taro the Dragon Boy. Overall Discotek has put together a first rate DVD that comes with a solid audio/video presentation. If you are a fan of tales of the fantastic then Taro the Dragon Boy is an endearing tale that is sure to connect with the young and the young in heart.