An officer is falsely accused of setting on fire a forest he was supposed to protect. While he is under trial in Kyoto, his family receives an order to leave their mansion and to surrender to the new owner of the land. The family flees, but they end up being tricked and separated by bandits. Sold as slaves, the two children start living a bitter new reality where they must struggle to survive doing harsh physical labor. Anju and her younger brother Zushio try to protect each other as they wonder if they will ever see their parents again.
This will be a quick review as the synopsis really tells the whole story here. As far as that goes, it's nothing outstanding but could be charming or nostalgic if you had watched this film at a younger age. The traditional style of the cover had me thinking this would be more dramatic, but as singing animals filled a quarter of the scenes I was greatly mistaken and was given a more family-friendly Cinderella vibe. A touching tale of a family being split apart and coming back together turned out to be an underwhelming hour of trageties that don't really affect the viewer because there is really no reason for you to be attached to the characters. They are very 2D and underdeveloped. The sound suited the mood of the film, but was nothing extraordinary or memorable. At times the characters are hard to identify, and I could not tell that the youngest sibling was a boy until twenty minutes into the film! I would say the entire family posses the same character traits - they seemed to miss the memo that being siblings doesn't mean you are all the same! Overall, this would be a nice historical movie to show your children, but I might pass it by if I am just looking for something to occupy my time - there are plenty greater, more entertaining films films out there, unless a nice simple plot and character base is what you're after.
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