“The Unlucky Butterfly” (1931) IMDb

Viewing

Seen in 2016.

Categorization

An early talkie anime that actually uses dialogue as opposed to music.

Subject

A villainous cartoon mouse in riding boots steals the wings of a butterfly and extorts her. Other bugs help her, but he breaks his promises until a bigger mammal comes along and beats him up.

Commentary

The antagonist looks just a bit like Mickey Mouse. The protagonist is much more interesting: An insect version of future domestic shoujo heroines: innocent, earnest, shy and humble, a ribbon on her head, an apron and loyal little friends, including friendly plant life. Her eyes are nothing like the deep shoujo manga eyes that would come: just grey ovoids with black pupils that normally extend to thin slits, like the eyes of a praying mantis. No lid, no lash, no white, no iris and no reflex. Even the mouse has whites and reflexes. Perhaps the story is a faint echo of The Princess Who Loved Insects cast as an insect. The animation has an interesting defect: The paint on the cels, if they are cels, has dried to an uneven finish, obviously not suited to filming.

Japanese production animation movie