It's interesting visiting other people's journals, really. I hopped on Zar's journal regarding an entry to a movie she shared that's become one of my favorites this year ("You Are Umasou") and clicked on one of her friends. Browsing through their tags, I discovered an entry where they talked about Unico. I thought, "Hey, I liked Unico!" and agreed with all the sentiments the poster shared regarding the two movies and the TV pilot. Then a different film was brought up in the comments: Ringing Bell
. Curious, I searched for it on YouTube, since the original link was dead. Lo and behold, both the English dub
and the Japanese version
. :o Since the movie was short, I took the time to watch both, nom.Ringing Bell(known as CHIRIN NO SUZU in Japan) is a Legendary Shock Movie which was controversially marketed towards very young children in the USA. It is most notable for being a G-rated Children movie which halfway through makes a sharp and sudden turn into a violent, morbidly-depressing dark story.
Because this cartoon was marketed towards very young children, the "Shock Effect" that this movie presented created controversy when it was first brought to America. Many parents were outraged at the G-rating of this film and complained to Sanrio that the film had caused their children emotional trauma and nightmares. The English Version of this film(which is featured on this channel)was modified to be more age appropriate for young children. The dialogue was changed, and many "childish" noises and sound effects were added. Yet, the scenarios and the outcome of this film was still seen as age-inappropriate and Ringing Bell was pulled off of shelves in the mid 1980s and never again released in America.
In Japan this film is remembered as being a cautionary tale which symbolized the post WW2 society. It deals with issues such as non-conformity, self hate, depression, revenge, discrimination, and coping with death, loss, and disappointment. It is still distributed in Japan, yet impossible to find in the USA.
It reminded me something of when Zar mentioned Chimecho back when Gen III was still new. ( Spoiler alert )
Hence why the ringing Pokemon Chimecho was such a rare Pokemon on top of Mt. Pyre...
For the longest time, I thought it was a Japanese folk tale (and I completely forgotten that it was a Revenge is Bad story; the lamb went to the mountains so he could kill the wolf who murdered his mother), but I couldn't remember the name of it (or the sheep, for that matter). I even checked Chimecho's Bulbapedia entry and there was no mention of the "legend." So I brace myself as I start to watch Ringing Bell, and I'm thinking, "Something about this seems familiar." Sure enough, it was the same story. The pieces came together and I realized what was going to happen, which didn't make it any less powerful or horrifying to watch.
I appreciate the silences in the Japanese version more, but it was spooky in the dub that Chirin had the same voice as Unico's. Compare Unico, this pure and innocent being no matter how tragic his fate, to Chirin, a lamb consumed with hate and rage until it's the only life he knows. Talk about discordant.
Usually I don't like depressing films, but I think Ringing Bell is a very important film to see. You'd be hard-pressed as hell to find anything like this being made today, especially marketed as a kid's film. Not in a "DUR HUR HUR LAMBS AND BUTTERFLIES KIDS WILL LOVE THIS" way, but as an intentionally frightening fable about revenge, nonconformity, and even the horrors of war. I remember watching one of my Beatrix Potter tapes and refusing to watch the Aunt Jemima one again because there was a scene where her eggs got smashed and it left her in sobbing hysterics. How would I have reacted to the egg-smashing scene in Ringing Bell as a kid? Hoo boy.
I know it's Banned Book Week, but considering this movie's been yanked off shelves into obscurity in the US, it feels oddly appropriate to have watched this. :o