Monday, February 1, 2010

Sailing With Sindbad


First broadcast in 1975, the Nippon Animation Company's SINDBAD THE SAILOR ("Adventures Of Sindbad") follows the adventures of the eponymous character Sindbad - here presented as slightly younger than in other versions - and his pals Aladdin the wizard, Ali "40 Thieves" Baba, and Yasmila the mynah bird as they voyage through the mysterious, magic-filled world of Arabian fairy tales. Broadcast in Japan, Spain, Poland, Italy, the Netherlands, France, China, and of course the Arabian Peninsula, SINDBAD became a worldwide hit beloved by children everywhere, except the United States.




A shame, too, because the 52 episodes of SINDBAD are fun, full of action without being too violent and filled with exotic faraway places. We could have used a little SINDBAD in the dark days between "Speed Racer" and "Battle Of The Planets." Directed by veteran Fumio Kurokawa, who also worked on Attack No. 1, Blinky The Koala, Around The World With Willy Fog, and that Jungle Book anime that was on TV here in the late 80s, SINDBAD boasted episode direction by several hands including that of Kunihiko Okazaki, who also gave us the grim pond life saga The Brave Frog





Instead of exciting adventure with Sindbad we had to endure "Scooby-Doo" reruns, the effects of whatever Sid & Marty Krofft were on that week, and drek like "Funky Phantom". Did "Funky Phantom" ever go to the jungle to meet a jungle boy and Tusk the Cocoa Krispies mascot? Well, Sindbad did!


Tusk is looking a little p.o.'ed there. Those better not be Cocoa Pebbles in your bowl kids!

With a memorable theme song sung by Mitsuko Horie, colorful and chunky 70s style anime character designs, and animation work by veterans like Noboru Ishiguro, SINDBAD is a show that carved out its own little Arabic niche of anime history. Sure, it would be neither the first nor the last Sindbad to appear in the medium of Japanese cartoons, but it's certainly the only one to be used as a restaurant mascot. Oh, you don't believe me? Witness photographic evidence of a "Sindbad" themed restaurant in, of all places, Canada's federal capital Ottawa!





Cruising through Ottawa recently, I caught that sign out of the corner of my eye. I passed two intersections before I was able to convince myself I just saw a restaurant with "Sindbad" signage. And then I made an illegal U-turn. Always have your camera ready, kids! Sindbad might be coming your town - he made an appearance in Toronto recently!





How many more Japanese cartoon characters are being used in an unauthorized fashion as restaurant mascots? Keep watching the roadsides, and look out for monsters, Sindbad!


11 comments:

RWGibson said...

eh, at that time, I'd graduated from Fat Albert to Super Friends and had no time for silly Alladin toons.

'Cause, you know, toons based on actual DC comic books were so much more manly.

RWG ("Shape of a vibrator!!!")

Xenorama said...

I know there used to be a "Sinbad" animated movie that was Japanese. saw it on VHS about 20 years ago. thought it was a kid version, but I don't remember any more.

Tohoscope said...

Aladdin restaurant signage? Man, that's just... You gotta wonder how that ended up there. Did the restaurant co-opt the design for their mascot? Did the own enjoy the cartoon? Was that what came up with the sign painter Googled Aladdin? The mind boggles.

d. merrill said...

The Sindbad animated movie, at least the Japanese one, is the 1962 Toei film where Sindbad kinda looks like Speed Racer. Tezuka worked on it.

Chris Sobieniak said...

I think I got a copy of that movie someplace.

Shows like these make my childhood seem incomplete now! Nippon Animation had a lot of great gems that just never saw the light of day on American shores. At least somewhere in Canada got the little guy pimping their biz.

gon said...

also broadcast in germany and austria

Carl said...

I wrote a few paragraphs on Arabic-language anime in the back of "The Shinji Ikari Raising Project" Vol. 3. You know, things like that put me in mind of how we recently received at the office Spanish editions of some musical "Alps no Shojo Heidi" notebooks, with an inquiry as to whether we'd like to produce an English version. But unfortunately, in 1979, American kids were busy watching "Fangface," and hence have no memories of any so-called "Heidi," claiming to be a "girl of the Alps."

Anonymous said...

My friend in Saudi Arabia talked about this. I've seen a few random episodes. It's okay.

I've also seen the Aladdin movie by Toei from I think the 80's. Surprised to find out Shinya Takahashi did the character designs.

Still wanna see Tezuka's 1001 Nights.

Chris Sobieniak said...

You know, things like that put me in mind of how we recently received at the office Spanish editions of some musical "Alps no Shojo Heidi" notebooks, with an inquiry as to whether we'd like to produce an English version. But unfortunately, in 1979, American kids were busy watching "Fangface," and hence have no memories of any so-called "Heidi," claiming to be a "girl of the Alps."

Again, more mis-opportunities for these things to shine.

オテモヤン said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Hey, I really enjoyed your post. I used to watch this cartoon as a kid when I was in Iran. I enjoyed it very much. I am looking for an opportunity to buy the whole series if possible. Unfortunately, it not easy to find them.