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A mediocre cellist is forced to practice late at night and "dreams" that he is visited by talking animals. A cat, cuckoo, badger, and field mouse each offer their opinions on his music and keep him company during the lonely sessions, but later on Gorsch discovers that his music, while terrible to human ears, has been healing sick animals all around the neighborhood. The knowledge that even his ability does some good brings heart and soul to his music and improves his performance the next time he faces a human audience. Released with English subtitles on DVD in Japan.
Though most likely to be known in the West through this striking 1982 film, the story was first animated in 1949 as a 19-minute short directed by Kiji Tanaka, and based originally on a short story by Night Train to the Stars-creator Kenji Miyazawa. The story was animated a third time for the Classic Children's Tales series (1992) as a 30-minute stop-motion short released straight to video.