Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Gutsy Frog

Dokonjo Gaeru (official English name: The Gutsy Frog) was a comic by Yasumi Yoshizawa and ran in Weekly Shonen Jump from 1970 to 1976. It was later adapted into two TV series, both from Tokyo Movie Shinsha (TMS). The first one ran for 103 episodes in 1972-74 and second series lasted 1981-82 for 30 episodes.

I was a fan of the first show when I was a kid (it was being constantly rerun on various cable networks). The animation is limited, as typical for anime, but it was still fun to look at. Fun facial expressions and really dynamic pose. It's cartoony, but very Japanese as well. The characters are also well-developed, from the rambunctious Hiroshi, courageous Pyonkichi (the frog on the shirt). Even the bully, Gorilla-Imo has nice, emotionally-charged development.

Recently someone uploaded various episodes on YouTube. Unfortunately for me they're in Spanish, although this won't mean much to anyone reading this unless you can speak Japanese and/or Spanish. But I thought I highlight some episodes.

Series Director: Tadao Nagahama
Scenario: Yu Yamamoto
Storyboards: Shigeru Takahashi
Animation Directors: Osamu Kobayashi, Tsutomu Shibayama
Key Animation: Yoshifumi Kondo, Hisanen Motogi
Animation/Inbetweens: Megumi Ueno, Takao Horie, Yumiko Suda

I love the sight gags in this one, especially how the thief is among the pile of junk that Hiroshi emptied from the storage.

Here's one episode in original Japanese. This is probably as close as it gets for a true cartoon premise in an anime. Bully Gorilla-Imo tries to hit Hiroshi with a can, but keeps missing and hitting his henchman instead. Just a warning that there's a brief nudity in the beginning. If that's not your thing than I suggest skipping it.

Series Director: Tadao Nagahama
Scenario: Yu Yamamoto
No Storyboard Artist credited
Animation Directors: Osamu Kobayashi, Tsutomu Shibayama
Key Animation: Akira Hosouchi, Moichi Maekawa
Animation/Inbetweens: Kiyoshi Yamamoto, Kazuo Tada, Midori Kobayashi


Ben said...

Thanks for this post one of my all-time favorite shows. The second one you highlighted (Kan Kan Akikan) is probably the single best and most well-known episode in the series. Nice choice.

Will Finn said...

Shane Glines posted about this a while back, noting he had seen some images (or clips?) and loved it.

The drawings and designs are quite fun. For limited animation it's got substantial energy. Nice premise too... Thanks for posting.

Brubaker said...

Yeah, TMS was pretty good at getting energetic poses to accommodate the limited TV animation back in the early '70s. Was the same thing with "Ganso Tensai Bakabon".

Credit should extend to A Production. That was a satellite studio TMS owned at the time that did their animation work. Eventually A Pro. went on to be their own entity, still around today as Shin'Ei Doga ("Shin'Ei" is literally "New A")

Christopher M. Sobieniak said...

Shin-Ei would probably be best known for the long-running Doraemon series, as well as Crayon Shinchan. I noticed they recently tackled doing a show based on Disney's "Stitch" character (itself, a third season that was initiated by Madhouse Studios earlier).

Aaron Long said...

This show looks great! Thanks for introducing me to it. Lots of fun posing in here.