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RefPack046: A Peek At The Early Anime Section

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SD VIDEO:
Wonder 3

Wonder 3
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Curated by JoJo Baptista
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Ep.01 Three Beings From Outer Space (1965) / Ep.43 Mice From The Universe (1966)
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Wonder 3 was unique among early Anime TV programs. Although it did appear serially as Manga, it was conceived and designed from the first as a television show. Created by Osamu Tezuka, it was the first show produced by his studio, Mushi Productions. In this program, Tezuka cast his animators as characters, the way Disney Studios did it, This allowed the animators to create and refine specific walks and gestures for the characters. 52 episodes were broadcast between June 6th, 1965 ad June 27th, 1966.

Wonder 3
Wonder 3

The plot of the first episode establishes the characters and situation. The Galactic League sends three investigators to Earth to determine if recent nuclear testing poses a threat to the universe. The investigators are named Bokko, Bukko and Nokko, and they are authorized to destroy Earth if they feel it is necessary. They disguise themselves as a rabbit, a horse and a duck and land on Earth to investigate. They become trapped in a mountain fire and are rescued by a kind-hearted boy name Shinichi. They travel in a large vehicle called a Big Wheel, which is capable of traveling at very high speeds.

Wonder 3

Tezuka‚Äôs designs are brimming with appeal. The Wonder 3 in particular are a trio of wonderful contrasting shapes. Also, not to be ignored is Koichi, the older brother of Shinichi, who sports a black suit, which really highlights the angular, graphic poses he strikes. This series is produced quite economically, with very limited animation, held drawings and even jump cuts to keep the story going. I would argue that it’s the charm of Tezuka’s style that really holds my interest throughout each episode as opposed to the production values. Tezuka is really masterful at employing a simplistic vocabulary of graphic shapes to make everything read clearly.

REFPACK046: Wonder 3 ep01
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MP4 Video File / SD / 27:28 / 237 MB Download

Wonder 3

The second episode I’m sharing comes much later in the series. The story is very simple. Strange space aliens arrive at Earth intending to conquer it for their planet. They disguise themselves as mice, and enlist the help of the Earth mice to attack humans. The Wonder 3 defend the Earth against the attack, and the battle is won when Rokko takes the form of a cat.

Wonder 3

There’s some scenes with runaway space aliens conversing with each other through the window of their space ship, as their leader devises a plan to blend in on earth. The drawings of the silhouetted aliens are really fun. Nokko goes up against the leader at 18:47 and quickly scrambles to create inventions to foil the leader. The leader strikes some great cartoony poses as each of his attempts are thwarted. Lots of entertainment value with so few drawings!

I’ll have more early Japanese TV series to share with you in our next Reference Pack.

Wonder 3

REFPACK046: Wonder 3 ep43
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MP4 Video File / SD / 26:17 / 262 MB Download


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