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Lock the puppy lives happily in the peaceful forest until outlaws Kira the tiger and Akamimi the fox murder his mother. Lock enlists Goro, an aging stray dog, to help him in his quest for revenge, and they assemble a band of dogs to bring justice against the killers where the law has failed. Based an idea by executive producer Osamu Tezuka, itself inspired by the kabuki play Chushingura (which exists in many forms, the earliest known dating from 1706), also known as Treasury of Loyal Retainers or The 47 Ronin. The original story dates from 1701, when Lord Asano of Ako Castle was provoked into drawing his sword and wounding his guest, the high-ranking samurai Kira. Asano was forced to commit suicide, but the castle steward Oishi assembled 46 loyal retainers, who murdered Kira, and then committed ritual suicide in 1703. The anime version is far simpler, dumping matters of etiquette and loyalty in favor of an archetypal quest for revenge, with only Oishi (Lock) and Kira surviving in any recognizable form. The final showdown in the snow, also present in the original, made the film ideal for its release just before Christmas. Compare to the similarly canine Dogtanian and the Three Muskehounds. A young Hayao Miyazaki was one of the animators.