Sensou Douwa (War Tales or War Fables) was a series of TV specials by Shin-Ei Animation that ran annually from 2002 to 2009. In chronological order:
- 2002 Umigame to Shounen (The Boy and The Sea Turtle)
- 2003 Tako ni Natta Okaasan (The Mother Who Became a Kite)
- 2004 Chiisai Sensuikau ni Koi wo Shita Dekasugira Kojira no Hanashi (The Story of a Whale That Fell in Love with a Small Submarine)
- 2005 Boku no Boukuugou (My Bomb Shelter)
- 2006 Yakeato no, Okashi no Ki (The Cake Tree in the Ruins)
- 2007 Futatsu no Kurumi (Two Walnuts)
- 2008 Kiku-chan to Ookami (Kiku-chan and the Wolf)
- 2009 Aoi Hitomi no Onnako no Ohanashu (The Girl with Blue Eyes)
Orphan has already released The Boy and the Sea Turtle and The Cake Tree in the Ruins and is now proud to present the third in the series, Tako ni Natta Okaasan (The Mother Who Became a Kite).
By now, you know the drill. It's the waning days of World War II, in a smaller city in Japan. Food is scarce, but the war hasn't otherwise impinged on the world of small children. They still go to school, play games, and parrot the mindless patriotism of the Japanese propaganda machine. This time, the focus is on a young boy, Katchan, and his best bud, Itchan. They live at home with their mothers; their fathers are dead or at the front. Katchan passes the days dodging air raids, reading manga, longing for food, and dreaming anxiously about his father, while his mother tries to hold her family together. She raises vegetables in the back yard. She ventures out into the countryside to trade her good kimonos for rice and vegetables. She is about to cook her harvested eggplants when one last bombing raid incinerates the area, with tragic and poignant results. The war ends, but it is too late for this family.
Like The Cake Tree in the Ruins and The Boy and the Sea Turtle, The Mother Who Became a Kite is based on a short story by Nosaka Akiyuki. And like other stories from this author, this special shows the ruinous effects that war has on children. It is suffused with melancholy. The artwork matches the tone - dun colors and sepia tones, except for the scenes set when the war has ended. Then, the sky is blue, and the colors are bright; but it's too late.
The voice cast includes familiar names as well as newcomers:
- Orikasa Ai (Katchan's mother) made her debut in Shoukoushi Cedie. She played the title role in Romeo no Aoi Sora, Fee in Planetes, Seguchi Touma (the record company president) in Gravitation, Quatre in Gundam Wing, and Ryouko in the Tenchi Muyo franchise. She also played Carrie in Ziggy Sore Yuke! R&R Band, Sara in Eien no Filena, Toryune in Al Caral no Isan, and young Mars in Fire Emblem, all Orphan releases.
- Ookubo Shoutarou (Katchan) was 8 years old when he played Katchan. He also appeared in Sensou Douwa: My Bomb Shelter and Lupin III: Kiri no Elusive.
- Kamon Ryou (Katchan's father) appeared in Shin Sekai Yori and Ghost in the Shell: Standalone Complex.
- Satou Ai (narrator) played many maternal roles, including Light's mother in Death Note, Masami's mother in Wedding Peach, Misaki's mother in Dear Brother, Ban's mother in Getbackers, Shigeru's mother in Noramimi, the unnamed mothers in Cinderella Express, Ai Monogatari, Guyver: Out of Control, and Kristin Adams in Yawara!. Other roles include the refined mother in Eguchi Hisashi no Kotobuki Gorou Show, Ibuki's mother in Kiss wa Me ni Shite, Taichi in The Cake Tree in the Ruins, the narrator in The Boy and the Sea Turtle, and the unnamed girlfriend in Lunn Flies into the Wind, all Orphan releases.
- Futama Issei (Kappa) is best known for his roles as Godai Yuusaku in Maison Ikkoku, Akira (Chibi) in Urusei Yatsura, and Saburo in Sazae-san. He played the main character, Yoshio, in Dokushin Apartment Dokudami-sou and the psychopathic brother, Cross, in Hi-Speed Jecy, and he appeared in Fukuyama Gekijou. All three are Orphan releases.
- Miyamoto Seiya (Itchan) has no other credited roles.
- Katsuki Masako (Itchan's mother) played Maroko in Gosenzosama Banbanzai and its movie version, Maroko, Mira in Ginga Tansa 2100-nen: Border Planet, Queen Bee in Golgo 13: Queen Bee, and Tsunade (Fifth Hokage) in the Naruto franchise. She also played Kenbishi Yuuri in Yuukan Club, Hojo's lover in Sanctuary, and Yamazaki's maintenance engineer Kiriko in Kigyou Senshi Yamazaki: Long Distance Call, all Orphan releases.
- Koorogi Satomi (Keiko, Itchan's baby sister) played Chi in all versions of Chii's Sweet Home, Himawari (the baby sister) in Crayon Shin-chan, Menchi (the food pooch) in Excel Saga, and Kuki-sama in the Limeiro properties. She also played Yahoi in Sei Michaela Gakuen Hyouryuuki and Misa in Doukyuusei Climax and Doukyuusei 2, allOrphan releases.
- Kamei Saburou (neighborhood chief Kato) had featured roles is many shows, including Akuma-kun, Armored Trooper Votoms, Guyver: The Bioboosted Armor, One Outs, Planetes, Rainbow, and Techno Police 21C, an Orphan release.
The director, Takeuchi Yoshio, also helmed the Oishinbo TV series and specials, as well as Ipponbouchou Mantarou, Gorillaman, Harlock Saga, Shin Megami Tensai: Devil Children, and Night Head Genesis.
Staff credits are basically the same as the other Sensou Douwa specials. kokujin-kun translated. Yogicat timed. I edited and typeset. BeeBee and Nemesis QCed. The raw is a 480p webrip from UNEXT and looks pretty good
Like the other specials in this series, Tako ni Natta Okaasan is a difficult watch. In particular, the final dialog between mother and son is devastating. With all the stressful events happening right now, I put off doing the final run-through far longer than I should have. Between Covid and the US elections, we could all use some happiness; but there are no happy endings in war.
You can find Tako ni Natta Okaasan on the usual torrent site, or download it from IRC bot Orphan|Arutha in channels #nibl or #news on irc.rizon.net.