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Funimation Bringing 'Momatoro: Sacred Sailors' To North America

At last weekend's MCM London ComicCon one of the most surprising announcements was that UK label Anime Limited would release the WWII era film Momotaro's Divine Warriors. The first ever feature-length animated film made in Japan, the film is notorious as it was in actual fact propaganda funded by the Japanese Imperial government. We now know that the UK won't be the only country getting a new release, as it has been announced that Funimation will be releasing the film in the United States and Canada. The North American release, however, will be under the alternative title of Momatoro: Sacred Sailors.

This is a very surprising pick-up for the company best known as the US home to Dragon Ball Z and One Piece. As it turns out though, the company were partly responsible for the digital restoration of the film, being one of several parties that helped fund the process. The newly restored film screened for the first time at Cannes last month.

The 1944 film was inspired by the classic Japanese fairy tale of Momatoro, about a boy born from a peach and was directed by Mitsuyo Seo. Momatoro and his animal friends are depicted as members of the Imperial Navy who fight monsters- which this being propaganda, represent the Allied powers.

This will not be for everyone. Aside from the fact that this is propaganda, a black and white film from the 1940s isn't going to appeal to your average anime fan. Nonetheless for those interested in the early history of Japanese animation - and animation in general- this is going to be a fascinating watch.

Funimation have obtained theatrical, digital and home video rights to the film, but further details are to be revealed.