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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Magic of Unico Lives On, September 8, 2006
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Unico is far much more than just a cute-looking animal and posseses a sweet noble disposition that I've noticed in other Anime characters. In times of trouble they don't burst out into song like Disney characters do or start talking to the trees. They persevere with great determination to face the world regardless of whatever obstacles come their way.

I found Tezuka's film straightforward and charming in contrast to some of the epic action-packed Miyazaki films like "Castle in the Sky" or "Princess Mononoke". Miyazaki movies are great in themselves but "The Adventures of Unico" is a slower and simpler change of pace.

Summary: Unico is a baby unicorn blessed with the power to make people happy. The gods don't think such a gift should belong to a unicorn so they order the West Wind, a beautiful shimmering white spirit, to dispose of Unico. Instead she leaves him on an abandoned island where he befriends a stubborn little devil, meets a wishful cat, and has other amazing adventures. The film sounds like it should be sickeningly sweet to the point of annoying but instead, it flows with grace and gentleness.

Unico is the epitome of Anime cuteness as a cuddly baby unicorn with big blue eyes. But he's not completely naive or helpless. Unico gently chastises his friends when they do wrong against others or to themselves. If they are in danger, Unico charges into battle and uses his magical horn to defeat any adversary in his path.

His friends are less-than-perfect but colorful and entertaining: a prickly l'il devil named Bezel and a headstrong cat named Katie. But Unico's goodness gradually influences and they find themselves helping him through his adventures.

Transformations are also popular in Anime and here they work almost Grimm-esq in fairy tale style. There are "good" transformations such as Unico using his magic to turn Katie into a bishojo (Japanese for "pretty girl") with large green eyes, a pink dress, and little red slippers. The "bad" transformation comes in Baron De Ghost, who appears as a charming nobleman to Katie but in his true form is a monster. The finale introduces the popular "power-up" transformation where the hero reveals his greatest form. Unico becomes a full-fledged grown unicorn who is strong enough to vanquish his enemies.

When I was six years old, many of the darker cartoons used to entertain and disturb me simultaneously including "The Secret of NIMH", "All Dogs Go to Heaven", and "Batman: Mask of the Phantasm". But the Unico films never scared me. Maybe I just knew that he'd get up and save the day so I wasn't afraid of any grotesque monsters or creeping shadows that came onto the screen. But I never had to cover my eyes from watching the movie. On the contrary, I loved "The Adventures of Unico" from a very small age.

It's a magical film about the triumph of good over evil, loving-kindness over selfishness, and perseverance over despair. I recommend this movie to kids and adults alike and hope that you enjoy it as much as I did.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Fantastic Adventures of Unico, July 1, 2004
By 
Unico is born in a beautiful forest along with a few others. He has the power to bring joy and happiness to everyone around him, which makes the gods very jealous. So the gods send the West Wind to take Unico to the Hill of Oblivion. But the West Wind is a very kind being, and cannot bring herself to do it, so she leaves him instead in a misty rocky place in hopes that the gods won't notice him.
Unico awakens all alone. He tries to make friends with the Devil of Solitude, but the devil gets angry. It knocks down a bunch of columns and one smashes him. Then Unico hears crying, so he investigates, and meets Beasel. Beasel says that he is the son of the Devil of Solitude. Unico tries to befriend him, but Beasel says that he will only be his friend if he gives him his horn. Unico refuses, so Beasel leaves. But later, Beasel gets lonely and befriends Unico, who then gives him the horn. Beasel accidentally pushes Unico off of a cliff and into the sea, and then won't go save him. But his conscience gets the better of him, and he gives himself an excuse to rescue Unico, even though he may die in the process. So he gives Unico his horn, and Unico turns into Adult Unico and saves Beasel. Unico then tells Beasel that the only reason he was able to save him is because they love each other, and gives Beasel a horn of his own After that incident, the gods realize that Unico is on the Island of Solitude, and send the Night Wind to bring Unico to the Hill of Oblivion, but the West Wind finds out and gets there first, bringing him to a river this time. He hears singing, and falls into a basket with Katy, the cat, who was also abandoned. Katy wants to be a witch, and so they go looking for a witch. They come to an old cottage with an old woman in it, and Katy tries to tell her to make her a human, but the woman doesn't understand her. Unico then turns Katy into a human, but Katy thinks that the old woman did it. She helps the old woman out, but then tires of it and leaves. Unico tells Katy that he was the one who turned her into a human, and she doesn't believe him. He says that he doesn't like her anymore, and turns her back into a cat, but when Katy the cat tries to save the old woman when she fell into the river, Unico turns her back into a human again.
One day, Katy is singing by the river, and a beautiful man asks her to come and sing at his castle. She is delighted! The next day she sneaks out, and accidentally eats an enchanted strawberry, which puts her in a trance. She goes to the Baron's castle. Unico follows her. He goes to fight the Baron, and the Baron is impaled (gross) on a spire. He then turns into a huge demon, and sends a river of fire and lava after everyone. Unico and Beasel battle the Baron, but Unico loses his horn and falls. Katy and Beasel both say that they would give up the gifts that Unico gave them if only he would live.
IF you want to know the rest then get the movie you wont regret it
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ...that's fantasic, not fantastic, February 19, 2002
By 
Robert Thomas (Milford, VA USA) - See all my reviews
The main character in this Tezuka classic is Unico, a light-hearted unicorn born with the ability to make everyone around him happy. Poor Unico, however, is bannished by the gods (who believe that happiness should be obtained only through hard labor) to the Hill of Oblivion. The West Wind, charged with carrying out the sentence, can't bring herself to abandon Unico and his journey begins...and so do the opening credits.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unico is by far the best anime that isnt bloody!I, June 3, 1999
By A Customer
Unico has the best characters!Who could forget the giant wooden rocking horse or the evil puppet witch or the awesomely cool guy with the flute!It has some of the best animation sequences and it was made like 17 years ago!I personally loved the who thing about the castle made out of human wood things and that crazy dragon that rolls around and strangley sounds like pee-wee.Of coarse everyones favorite part is the one when unico tranforms into the kickass full grown unicorn!Who ever made this movie needs to re-release it and cash in on millions in easy money!!!!Amazon please Help US!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars At long last, true to the original, May 14, 2012
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This review is from: Fantastic Adventures of Unico (DVD)
I received my copy of this and "Island of Magic" today. I just got finished watching 'Adventures' and I feel like I was transported back to the 80's watching my VHS copy of this over and over again. Normally I prefer anime subtitled with original Japanese voice but for this I had to break that tradition for nostalgia's sake.

The picture is sharp and colors vibrant and it certainly been cleaned up for release although not a 100% "restoration" on that front, it is certainly admirable. The level of detail they put into the environments is still amazing.

The details appear to be fixed now, but when I preordered these at the beginning of April, the English audio was not listed (Only Japanese with English subtitles). I am happy to report that there IS indeed the original English audio (dub) track. While I could pretty much still recite the whole movie while watching it, I don't remember much about the quality in the original. While most dialogue comes through at a normal level, there is a bit of blare for some parts, namely the narrative in the beginning, the instrumentals and some of Beezle's parts at the beginning and Baron's voice at the end.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I love Unico!, May 16, 1999
By A Customer
I was only able to watch Unico once as a child and I still remember it. I have been looking for it for as long as I can remember! it was my favorite movie as a kid even though I only saw it once. I hope they re-print it soon!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "We love you, oh Unico...", November 9, 2007
Unlike many American children of the '80s, my first exposure to Osamu Tezuka's baby unicorn character was NOT on the Disney Channel - which at the time was a premium channel for which my parents were not willing to shell out the extra bucks. It was actually via the second movie, UNICO IN THE ISLAND OF MAGIC, which I rented from a video store in northern Michigan while vacationing there. Only recently did I get a chance to see this first Unico film - on YouTube, of all places - and I immediately fell in love with it.

Osamu Tezuka debuted the original Unico manga in Japan in 1977 in a Sanrio manga publication called "Lyrica." For those not familiar with the back story, Unico is a baby unicorn who has the magical power to bring happiness to everyone he meets. The gods, however, are jealous of his powers and order that he be banished to the Hill of Oblivion. The West Wind refuses to carry out the command and carries Unico away, hoping that the gods will not find him, but the gods soon learn of the deception and send the Night Wind to finish the job. Invariably the gods learn where the West Wind has hidden Unico each time, which forces the West Wind to continually take him from place to place. At each stop Unico makes new friends and has some incredible adventures, but it's always bittersweet since it's never long before Unico has to say goodbye because the gods have discovered where he is and the West Wind must take him away - without even time to say goodbye. In this first movie (which follows up a very rare 1979 pilot film, Black Cloud and White Feather), Unico befriends the lonely Beezle, a young boy devil, and grants him his own horn; then the West Wind takes him away again and he meets Katy (or Chao in the original Japanese), a black-and-white cat and aspiring witch who wants to become a human. Unico grants her wish, but then a handsome demon posing as a baron lures the naive Katy to his castle...

The animation was done by the well-known studio Madhouse, which is also known for movies like BAREFOOT GEN, THE TOKYO GODFATHERS, and PERFECT BLUE, and for TV series like TRIGUN. Some other legendary names in the anime industry show up in the credits, including Madhouse animator Yoshiaki Kawajiri and scenarist Masaki Tsuji, who also scripted episodes of Tezuka's TV series ASTRO BOY, KIMBA THE WHITE LION, and PRINCESS KNIGHT. With a strong roster of talent behind it and of course the power of Tezuka's story, this movie is consistently entertaining and moving, making this movie a lost classic.

First of all, the animation is stunning given the age of the movie (it was made originally in 1981), with incredible attention to detail. Even anime-haters will find something to like - yes, there are the expected "big eyes" (which, after all, was something that Tezuka pioneered), but the animation is very smooth and puts much of today's TV animation to shame - and this was probably without the help of any type of CGI. Second of all, the music, performed by an actual symphony orchestra, is beautiful and incorporates various types of styles according to the onscreen action. My favorite piece of the score is when Katy meets Baron DeGhost for the first time; we hear a slow, sensuous, ever-so-slightly-discofied backbeat that just screams "Barry White," and it's unlikely that any other anime targeted at children has ever featured a piece of incidental music such as this. As for the voice acting, I have seen bits and pieces of the Japanese version, and alhough the Japanese is slightly better (especially when it comes to Katy and the baron), the English audio track is excellent as well; Unico, Beezle and the old lady (according to IMDB, the old lady's English VA is the legendary June Foray) are all voiced very well. In fact, Unico's English VA sounds a lot like Pinky from the TV series NOOZLES (FUSHIGI NA KOALA BLINKY), and given that the voice actors in the English version were frequently used by Saban (who dubbed NOOZLES for America) in the '80s, it could very well be. Oh, and there are songs too, which were actually dubbed for the U.S. version - same melodies as the original Japanese but with English lyrics. The one exception to this is the closing credits song which for some unfortunate reason was changed to an instrumental.

With all that said, there are definitely more mature elements in this movie that would make it difficult to show on American TV today without some editing. I've heard that the Disney Channel removed it from rotation for violence, but there really isn't much violence in this movie. However, there is Baron DeGhost trying to get Katy drunk and take advantage of her - even in the English dub, the liquid Katy drinks is "wine", and wasn't redubbed to "grape juice" or something moronic like that as in other anime dubs since (hello, ONE PIECE as dubbed by 4Kids). For those reasons and also for the reason that the last half-hour or so of the movie - chronicling Unico's efforts to rescue Katy - can get quite scary, parents of young children might want to view this film themselves before they let their kids watch it, but there really isn't much in it that's objectionable for older kids. It's mature enough, in fact, that adults can watch it and enjoy it without feeling like their teeth are being rotted with cloying sugariness (I loved it, and I'm 27). And also, the ending is not an entirely happy one (at least it isn't for Unico); in fact, it may leave you in tears.

And here's the best news ever for Unico fans in the United States: our favorite baby unicorn is finally on his way to a legitimate American DVD release! Unico's status in America was in limbo for years after Osamu Tezuka's death in 1989, when the rights to Unico passed from Sanrio to Tezuka's own company which had no distribution arm in the U.S. But now a company called "New Galaxy Anime" plans to release both Unico films on DVD, reportedly with both the English and Japanese audio tracks! I know I will buy both.

Osamu Tezuka may be best known in America for ASTRO BOY, but THE FANTASTIC ADVENTURES OF UNICO is a fine piece of work as well and a true anime classic. It may not be everyone's cup of tea, but anime fans should like it and perhaps even non-fans will enjoy it too.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best anime out there..., April 16, 1999
By A Customer
This was the first anime I ever saw when I was really little and it is one of my favorite. I do have a copy of both Unico movies, mind you a COPY that I taped off the Disney channel. I have emailed Disney but they said they don't know if it will be on again. I urge all those who love both Unico movies to email Disney and tell them to release Unico. Not only will they earn LOTS of money, like with the Miyazaki movies they are releasing (Kiki's Delivery Service, My Neighbor Totoro, etc.), it might take some of the Simba/Kimba rap off of them. Please, if you love Unico, you will help him make a comeback! Email me if you want more info.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tears! I remember!, June 8, 1999
By A Customer
Ohhhh I love Unico! I wore these movies down when I was a kid. I miss the good old days when they had programs like Unico and Rainbow Brite for kids. Children's shows today aren't as good for the most part. What are Telletubbies? Really scary and freaky. Not good at all. Why can't they have Unico? Why'd they have to take it away? Okay I sound psycho. I just miss being a kid and I want my childhood back! And I love Unico! His magic horn made me happy and his little pink mane was cute. Yes! Katy the cat was cool too because cats are wonderful. Purrr purr meow.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Yes! It's Widescreen!!!, May 17, 2012
By 
Astral "Astral" (Magnolia, Louisiana) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Fantastic Adventures of Unico (DVD)
I have seen this movie dozens of times. It was my favorite movie as a child - and still holds a special place in my heart today. I have seen it broadcast on cable (Disney, back in the 80s), on VHS, and now, for the first time, in anamorphic widescreen. The experience was amazing! There are several shots that never did have their justice done in the pan and scan format, but can be seen here in all their original glory! The original dub is here too! This is a must, because no one could re-create the magic of this dub just as it was. The voices of the characters are so ingrained to memory that accepting other voices would be impossible. There are a few problems with the audio, some blaring and scratchiness here and there, but nothing horrible. The picture has been cleaned up slightly, with some restoration done, but not overdone. The original grain is still there, which is nice. The release is just about perfect, especially since it was one that seemed like would never happen. If you have ever loved UNICO then you NEED this in your collection.

The new generation of kids love it too, as I showed it to my two girls and they both adored the movie. This is definitely a timeless classic! Spreading kindness and happiness is a trait that never goes out of style. Nor does caring for your friends.
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Fantastic Adventures of Unico
Fantastic Adventures of Unico by Osamu Tezuka (DVD - 2012)
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