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A young mountain boy named Taro searches for his mother who has been changed into a dragon. During his dangerous quest, he risks his own life to save others and fulfill his mission. Finally, Taro engages in a ferocious battle with the enchanted dragon. A beautifully animated film featuring animation from Otabe, who also worked on the Miyazaki/Takahata Heidi. Released on video in the U.S. in 1985, it was based on the same Miyoko Matsutani book adapted into Taro Maegami, a TV special screened the following month. For another suspicious case of "simultaneous creation," see The Wizard of Oz.
Tatsunoko Production, also Tatsunoko Pro
Founded in 1964 by manga artist Ta-tsuo Yoshida with his brothers Kenji and Toyoharu (who used the pseudonym Ippei Kuri), Tatsunoko soon established a reputation in influential television shows, including Speed Racer and Battle of the Planets. The studio has also established many sister companies and spin-off subsidiaries, including IG Tatsunoko, now better known as Production IG. Notable staffers include Hiroshi Sasagawa, Hidehito Ueda, and Tetsuya Kobayashi. Many famous creators had their first break working for Tatsunoko, including illustrators such as Yoshitaka Amano and Akemi Takada. The studio celebrated its 40th anniversary with the Madhouse-influenced Karas. The company's products are easily identified by its seahorse logo, a tatsunoko in Japanese being a "dragon's child," the word for a seahorse/seadragon, but also a reflection that the founding father of the company was "Tatsuo" Yoshida. Tatsunoko was bought in 2005 by the toy company Takara. See also Bee Train and Xebec.