Hols: Prince of the Sun (Taiyou no Ouji Horusu no Daibouken; also known as Horus: Prince of the Sun, The Little Norse Prince, and Little Norse Prince Valiant) is a 1968 Japanese animated film. It is best known for being an early work of Studio Ghibli's most famous talents Isao Takahata (who directed) and Hayao Miyazaki (who did many key frames and contributed many ideas) from back when they worked at Toei Animation. Hols had a notoriously troubled production, with Toei telling Takahata he would never direct again.
Set in an ancient northern country, a young boy named Hols (pictured on the left) embarks on a quest to defeat Grunwald, a demon who has destroyed countless villages, including his own. To do so, he must return to his father's people and reforge the ancient Sword of the Sun, which he pulls out of a resting rock golem named Mohg. Hols reaches his native village and meets Hilda (also pictured on the right), a girl similarly orphaned by Grunwald and subsequently cursed. With various forces turning the people against each other, Hols struggles to both protect the village and reforge the Sword.
Though almost unknown outside of Japan (with the exception of Italy), Hols was immensely influential on anime as a whole and is considered a classic, pioneering the artistic role of the director, the value of cinematography and composition, and film production periods of over eight months.
Discotek Media has managed to license the movie for a DVD release in the US, which was issued on December 23, 2014.
Tropes used in this movie include:
- Androcles' Lion: A variation with Mohg, who not only keeps his promise to Hols, but also helps him defeat Grunwald.
- BFS: The Sword of the Sun.
- Broken Bird: Hilda's previous experiences have left her shattered.
- The Catfish: The monstrous pike preventing the village from catching any fish.
- Classically Trained Extra: The VA for Grunwald, the late Mikijirou Hira was a very famous stage and TV actor, known for his very popular Shakespeare roles.
- Covers Always Lie: The Italian DVD cover features a noticeably older, blue-eyed, cape-donning Hols; and the silver wolf with red eyes.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: Mohg Vs. the Ice Mammoth, it ends very quickly for the Ice Mammoth when Mohg pushes it from a cliff with no significant effort.
- Cut-and-Paste Translation: All the international releases are fraught with these.
- Crowd Song
- Dark Magical Girl: Hilda is a mysterious young girl who bonds with main character Hols, but she turns out to have bonds with the Big Bad Grunwald, and as the story progresses she's more and more conflicted about her loyalties. She has to go through a Disney Death before getting fully better.
- Disney Death: Combined with Redemption Equals Death. Hilda, although she does get better
- Doomed Hometown: The village where Hols and his father lived originally, destroyed before the events of the film. Hilda also claims to be from one.
- Evil Chancellor: Drago, to the village's chief.
- Ghibli Hills: Well, duh.
- Good Angel, Bad Angel: Although they're real (instead of the usual visual metaphor) and not angels, Chiro and Toto fill these respective roles for Hilda.
- The Good, the Bad, and the Evil: Hols (The Good) vs. Hilda (The Bad) and Grunwald (The Evil).
- Heel–Face Turn: Hilda, after finding Flip and Koro buried in the snow.
- An Ice Person: Grunwald.
- Immortality Seeker: Hilda, until her Heel–Face Turn.
- The Ken Burns Effect: Some of the battles weren't animated due to time and budget constraints, opting instead for fast-panning stills.
- Kill It with Fire: Since Grunwald's powers are ice-based, flaming arrows and bonfires contribute a lot in the final battle. The power of the sun is what wins it.
- Lull Destruction: The French dub added screaming to the mob in Hilda's hallucination.
- Mad Scientist's Beautiful Daughter: A sister variant; Hilda is revealed to be one to Grunwald.
- The Mole: Hilda is revealed to be The Dragon to Grunwald.
- Morality Pet: The little girl Mauri becomes very attached to Hilda, which makes the latter to declare that she will only spare her from the destruction of her village.
- Non-Human Sidekick:
- For Hols, Koro the bear.
- For Hilda, Chiro the squirrel and Toto the owl.
- Ominous Owl: Toto the owl, as Good Angel, Bad Angel above states.
- Only One Name: Every single named character has only one name.
- Parental Abandonment: Hols's father dies in the first ten minutes, and his mother is never mentioned.
- Savage Wolves: The minions of Grunwald, the leader is a silver wolf.
- Smug Snake: Drago and Toto.
- Snowlems: Grunwald attacks the village in the climax on a colossal mammoth made of ice.
- Spiritual Successor: Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, Castle in the Sky... Let's just save time here and say that pretty much half of the stuff Miyazaki made as a director was influenced by this film.
- Swarm of Rats: Hilda summons a swarm of rats to attack the village when they're celebrating a wedding.
- Talking Animal:
- Koro the bear.
- Chiro the squirrel.
- Toto the owl.
- Trailers Always Spoil: The Japanese trailer spoiled the colossal ice mammoth and Hilda's Heel–Face Turn.
- Viking Funeral: Hols burns his former home, a wrecked ship, after his father dies.
- We Can Rule Together: Grunwald's offer to Hols.