When Japan’s animation industry didn’t have its very own Studio Ghibli, animators took cue from Western classics. They tried to get ideas from pre-existing tales and create their own twists in it in order for the stories to appeal to the Japanese audience. One such classic that Japanese animators tried to port to Japan is Jack to Mame no Ki (Jack and the Beanstalk), which was first published in 1734.
Japan’s version of Jack and the Beanstalk is interesting take on the Benjamin Tabart story. After Jack was conned into swapping his family’s only cow for a handful of beans, he plants them and realizes the next day that they yielded a tall, magical vine that rises through the sky. Climbing the beanstalk, Jack discovers an enchanted world ruled by the kind and beautiful Princess Margaret. Margaret has an unusual love interest in the form of Prince Tulip – an unattractive and brash fellow. As the story unfolds it is apparent that the Princess is in fact under a spell cast by an evil witch called Madam Noir. This spell has left the Princess in awe of the vulgar Prince Tulip who she is set to marry. The Prince, as the story reveals, is the witch’s very own son. Upon uncovering the plot, Jack leaps to the defense of the Princess. (more…)