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Anime / Jack and the Beanstalk (1974)

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A Japanese animated film from The '70s directed by Gisaburo Sugii who was an animation director for Belladonna of Sadness and later directed Night on the Galactic Railroad, the 1984 Glass Mask TV series, and Street Fighter II: The Animated Movie. It is, of course, a re-imagining/expansion of the fairy-tale "Jack and the Beanstalk". The film starts out familiarly enough... Jack is tricked into trading his cow for magic beans, the beans grow a beanstalk over night...and then it gets interesting. Jack's dog, Crosby, saves a mouse wearing a pink princess dress from a bird, and she leads Jack and Crosby to the top of the beanstalk, to a magical cloud kingdom. There, Jack meets Princess Margaret, who seems oddly calm about marrying an ugly, dumb giant and having a Wicked Witch for a mother-in-law. Of course, it's revealed that the witch wants to be queen of the cloud kingdom and has turned the rest of the royal family and servants into mice, who beg Jack to save their princess.

Released in Japan in 1974 as the debut production for Group TAC, it received an English-language dub and distribution through Columbia Pictures in 1976 with Billie Lou Watt of Astro Boy fame as the voice of Jack, and aired occasionally on U.S. cable television (particularly HBO) during the 1980s.


  • Abusive Parents:
    • Jack's own mother shows signs of this, insulting her son and spanking him with a broom when he sells the cow for magic beans.
    • Tulip's mother Madame Hecuba is this to Tulip, mostly verbally.
  • Adaptation Expansion: The movie adds an enchanted princess, a royal mouse-family, an evil witch...
  • Ambiguously Related: The people who were turned into mice are referred to as Margaret's family a few times, but it's unknown if any of them are actually related to her or if it's more of an "honorary family" sort of thing.
  • Animation Bump: This is arguably one of the most fluid anime films made at the time, though there are a few shortcuts the film uses.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Margaret and her family are saved, the witch and giant are no longer a threat, and Margaret is queen of the cloud kingdom. However, Jack is forced to cut down the beanstalk, the only thing connecting their worlds, to kill the giant. The last scene implies that Jack will eventually forget Margaret.
  • Brainwashed Bride: Princess Margaret is hypnotized for a lot of the movie, thinking Tulip (the giant she is to marry) is a beautiful prince.
  • Cannot Tell a Lie: The singing harp. The mice have to hold her harp-strings totally still to keep her from telling the giant where Jack is. (Jack impersonates the harp to get Tulip to go away.)
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Hecuba refers to her "evil ambitions".
  • Cool Old Guy: The General is this in spirit, though not so much in capability. Even after being turned into a mouse, he still tries to take on a giant over a hundred times his size, albeit with predictably ineffectual results.
  • Dartboard of Hate: A variant; Tulip apparently hates his mother so much that he made a wind-up toy of her for him to destroy after cheerfully listening to her hurl insults at him in song.
  • Demoted to Dragon: While in the original story the giant was the main antagonist, here he's second to his mother.
  • Disney Acid Sequence: The wedding between Margaret and Tulip. Also includes plenty of horror.
  • Disney Villain Death: Just like in the original fairy tale, Tulip is defeated when Jack chops down the beanstalk.
  • The Dog Bites Back: After years of enduring his mother's verbal abuse, Tulip finally loses it and crushes her with his foot.]
  • Don't Make Me Take My Belt Off!: Jack's mother spanks him with a broomstick when she learns he traded their cow for three beans.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Completely averted. Hecuba openly hates her giant son and considers him an ugly, disgusting monster. For his part, Tulip resents his mother's cruel treatment and fantasizes about killing her, and ultimately does.
  • Foreshadowing: In the treasure vault, Tulip is seen with a tiny robotic doll of his mother, who sings a "The Reason You Suck" Speech. Tulip watches/listens patiently for a few minutes before suddenly smashing it to pieces. Guess how Madame Hecuba dies.
  • Easily Forgiven: Margaret admits she should be angry with Jack for stealing some of the treasure, but because he came back to help, she allows him to keep it as a reward.
  • Even the Dog Is Ashamed: Crosby isn't too happy with Jack when he refuses to help save Princess Margaret and steals some of the treasure instead.
  • Forced Transformation: Everybody who originally lived in the castle except for Margaret get turned into mice by the witch's magic. And that appears to be the intended fate for Margaret and Tulip once Madame Hecuba gets what she wanted.
  • Goofy Print Underwear: Tulip spends a decent portion of the movie in heart boxers after tearing his clothes off in a fit of rage. He has plenty of time to get dressed again afterward, but never bothers.
  • Heel–Face Door-Slam: Tulip by the end seems to, if not quite turn good, at least not be interested in hurting anybody anymore, simply sitting down by himself and not making any attempt to harm any of the others even when they're standing right in front of him. The others either don't notice this or don't buy it, and decide to get rid of him anyway.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Tulip and Margaret.
  • The Hyena: The merchant who sells Jack the beans laughs all the time.
  • Imagine Spot: Hecuba, Tulip, and Margaret all have them during the wedding sequence. Tulip imagines himself and Margaret on a belle, happily married, Margaret imagines Tulip is a handsome prince (heavily suggested to be a result of Hecuba's magic), and Madame Hecuba imagines what she'll do to the other two after the wedding. Her plan is to turn them into a mouse and rat after they're married, to take the throne herself.
  • Interspecies Romance: Crosby the dog seems to have a thing for the mouse princess. When she turns back into a human, he is understandably disappointed for a moment before deciding they're Better as Friends.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: The General approaches every combat situation by charging in headfirst with his sword drawn. He does this whether he's in human or mouse form, with about as much effectiveness, considering his opponent is a monstrous giant.
  • Likes Older Women: A little bit of both vibes are present when Madame Hecuba first sees Jack. She wants to get him away from Margaret—so she can feed him potion-laced soup that'll knock him out til her giant-son eats him. But during that, she acted like a weird mix of motherly and seductive, and wondered aloud if she should use her "good looks" to lure Jack away.
    • Then there's Margaret telling Jack she has feelings for him and moving in to kiss him near the end. Jack seems to be about twelve, Margaret appears to be eighteen.
  • Magic Pants: When the enchanted royal family is turned back into humans, their clothes grow with them.
  • Melancholy Moon: During his Even the Dog Is Ashamed moment, Crosby sings a melancholy song to the moon, which Jack takes as a sign that he should rescue Princess Margaret.
  • Mood Whiplash: The tone is all over the place. The wedding is an acid trip, Madame Hecuba's scenes are creepy, and the climax in which Tulip chases Jack is practically a Looney Tunes short with classic Looney Tunes gags. All capped off by the ending, in which Tulip falls to his death while a reprise of "No One is Happier than I" plays in the background, albiet with lyrics stating that evening has come and the story is coming to a close.
  • Murder the Hypotenuse: Tulip gets jealous of Jack and Margaret, and attempts to kill the former, saying he'll skin and stuff him afterward.
  • Never Say "Die": In the English dub, Jack's father is "gone"; Margaret's parents were "done away with" by Hecuba; Hecuba commands Tulip to "destroy" Jack and Margaret after her spell is broken; and so on.
  • No Name Given: Despite being a fairly important character, the mouse princess is never given a name
  • Non-Standard Character Design: Margaret looks more like a typical anime character than the other more cartoony and western animation-influenced characters.
  • Oddly Small Organization: Margaret's kingdom seems to consist of about ten people.
  • Painted Tunnel, Real Train: During the chase scene where Tulip is chasing Jack and Crosby, he turns into a angry steam engine running towards the two. Crosby places tracks towards a wall and paints an almost fake tunnel, leading the giant to crash.
  • Post-Climax Confrontation: A couple scenes after Hecuba's defeated, Jack still ends up in a fight against Tulip in the movie's final minutes.
  • Princess Classic: Margret is one, particularly when not under mind control.
    • Also, one of the humans-turned-mice dresses like a stereotypical princess, though she's never explicitly stated to be one, or mentioned to be Margret's sister or anything like that, so she may just be an unusually regally-dressed servant or a lesser noblewoman.
  • The Quiet One: Tulip only speaks 35 words in the film.
  • Road Runner vs. Coyote: During the climax, Jack and Crosby goads Tulip into chasing them, devolving into something of a Road Runner cartoon, with slapstick, Tulip's head getting smashed in at one point, train tracks and a painted tunnel (during this scene, Tulip's head takes on the shape of a train smokestack and his feet turn into wheels), the works.
  • The Singing Mute: Crosby sings in the middle of the movie.
  • Small Parent, Huge Child: Tulip is a giant who easily dwarfs all the other characters, including his evil mother Madame Hecuba. She is tall, but nowhere near the size of her gigantic son.
  • Soundtrack Dissonance: A reprise of "No One's Happier Than I", a beautiful and soft song, plays when the giant falls to his death albiert with a sad tone and lyrics stating the story is coming to an end.
  • Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace: Jack manages to stop the wedding and break Margaret out of her spell in the nick of time. "STOP! A wedding done with magic tricks is no wedding at all!"
  • Talking in Your Sleep: Margaret apparently does this, only able to express how terrified she is in her sleep. This is because the mind-control spell that Hecuba has cast over the princess wears off at night and must be cast anew each day. Jack overhears her while on his way back home with some of the stolen treasure and is momentarily given pause, but is not persuaded to go back and fight until Crosby shames him into it afterward.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: The way Jack rubs his backside and sighs as he gets down on all fours to be spanked by his mother.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Suuuuure, Madame Hecuba. Insulting and yelling at your son, who is several stories bigger than you and a lot heavier, when he's pissed off enough already is a great idea.
  • True Love's Kiss: Averted. It is a kiss that will break the spell on Margaret, but it doesn't have to be her One True Love...the only requirement is that the kisser is brave. Jack briefly says he isn't brave enough to even try... Nevertheless, Margaret tells him afterward it was the sweetest kiss she's ever had.
  • The Unintelligible: The mice are unable to say anything in their current forms, as it all comes out as squeaks. When she first meets Jack and Crosby, the mouse princess has to use pantomime to try to explain her situation.
  • Unstoppable Rage: Tulip flies into this after he finds out Margaret doesn't really love him, it was just his mother's spell, and that she prefers Jack.
  • Vain Sorceress: Madame Hecuba. "Should I use my magic, or my good looks?"
  • Villainous Breakdown: Both Madame Hecuba and Tulip are outraged with Jack ruining the wedding and breaking the spell Hecuba put on Margaret and flat-out try to kill them. Hecuba orders Tulip to smash the heroes, but he smashes his own mother instead, leaving him to take on Jack himself.
  • Villain Song: A variant, in that the song ("Are You Happy?") isn't sung by either of the two main antagonists, but by a puppet that one of them is (presumably) controlling, which has its own distinct voice.
  • Volumetric Mouth: Jack's mother - "JAAAAAAACK!" - right after she sinks into a chair in fatigue after spanking him with a broom.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Crosby gives one to Jack... in song form (and a traditional Japanese enka ballad), no less (see Even the Dog Is Ashamed above).
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Poor Tulip takes a lot of abuse from his insane mom and eventually, he can't take it anymore. Doesn't help that he genuinely loves Margaret and wants to marry her for that love, but Hecuba is plotting to dispose of both of them once her plan succeeds.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Part of Hecuba's Evil Plan—once she has the throne, she won't need Tulip or Margaret and plans to transform both of them into mice afterward.
  • You're Insane!: Jack momentarily thinks Margaret might be crazy for apparently wanting to marry someone like Tulip, until he learns it's because Hecuba is controlling her with a mind-control spell.

Alternative Title(s): Jack To Mame No Ki