Oh my goodness. Just what did you ask me to watch my friend. So, yes, Unico the 1981 anime film has now been added to my completed anime. I was given this as a task to watch due to failing a monthly challenge I set upon myself. If you looked at the promotional posters for this movie you would assume this work was created for children. An adorable baby Unicorn who spreads happiness throughout the land and who makes people happy no matter where it goes. Doesn’t that sound like a delightful walk in the park of imagination and happy feels? That was about all I had going in with my expectations of this movie. By the by what in the hell was this movie? There are few things I have ever watched that literally make me ask, what am I watching right now? It seems like a rhetorical question but seriously this movie constantly breaks the idea of what the viewer would expect. So, here is a small summary of the events of the film in order. So, yes if you want to know nothing don’t read the next few paragraphs to avoid the surprises in store for you.
We start our journey with a lovely pink mother unicorn and it’s newborn infants. Precious as can be I tell you. Amongst those children is the titular Unico. Unico is special though. The power of spreading happiness is Unico’s special ability. Isn’t that just amazing? How sweet. Then things take a turn. The Gods are so annoyed that Unico is stealing their thunder they want to punish him and send him to what could be considered that world’s hell/purgatory. The delivery girl of sorts drops her off somewhere else because the idea was too horrible. Then Unico meets a little devil boy who is basically the original tsundere of anime. Physically & emotionally abusive to little Unico this is how it shows compassion and friendship. Selfishly becomes his friend to get what he wants and then leaves him for dead. Saves him because well….tsundere. Unico had brought happiness to this poor soul. And once again is whisked away for the Gods know his location.
Unico then meets an abandoned cat who wants something as well. Unico makes this happen and she is ungrateful as can be. Then a creepy mysterious man enters the picture and abducts her to get her to sing? Still unsure what his final intentions were to be honest. Unico attempts to save her and has a sword fight. Wins the duel but then is knocked unconscious by his inner powers. Totally not human but that is true as can be in the coming minutes. The delivery girl from before grabs little devil boy and brings him to Unico while running away from literal Darkness itself incarnate summoned by the Gods to get Unico. Unico is reunited with little devil and then they fight the man. He falls to his presumable death only to burst forth as a large mega Skull Demon monster thing. He then basically kills Unico and the tears of his friends bring him back to life and then turns him into the true Unicorn(totally a pegasus) to fight this evil. With the inner power Unico prevails over this obstacle. Then Unico is whisked off again to say goodbye to the friends he made happy as that is his curse basically.
Now that was a largely abridged summary of Unico. So let’s see what sorta concepts we deal with in the movie. Child abduction, jealousy, excommunication, severe loneliness, abuse, neglect, drowning, selfishness, abandonment, ungratefulness, pretense, possible rape/murder, impalement, death, hellish destruction, light versus dark, and many more I’m probably not remembering well. This movie is sorta stacked with the content it contains. This movie is one of the most wtf pieces of artwork I have ever witnessed and from the creator of Astro Boy nonetheless. Right, so what did I think of the movie itself.
That is maybe one of the hardest questions I have ever had to answer. I think when I’m 60 and married with kids pondering life, Unico will pop in my head. Because even at that point I don’t think I will understand what the film was attempting to do. Unico is the story of a happy unicorn and it’s adventures. Okay I got that much for certain. However, just what in god’s name is the overall idea here? Gods don’t want people to be brought happiness so they must strike it down? That happiness spreads anyway through crazy and unexpected ways that involves magic, fighting, and many other generalized fantasy elements. Unico symbolizes something that I just haven’t found the answer to yet. Unico can’t be called enjoyable, or even bad. It is art. Unico is going to be the one anime that stands the test of time with it’s thought provoking elements. Of course this is all bullshit and I don’t get the point of the film whatsoever but like Unico….
I just want to believe there is happiness out there.