Reviews
March 7, 2013 posted by Jerry Beck

“Of Mice and Magic” In Japanese!

micemagic_smallOnly 30 years after its original release, Leonard Maltin’s Of Mice and Magic is now available in Japanese! Leonard and I only just received copies of the two-volume(!) reprint this week, though it seems to have been published in 2010 by Rakkousha Publishing.

If you love seeing images of Honey Halfwitch, Little Roquefort and The Fox & Crow surrounded by scholarly text in Japanese (I know I do) – this one’s for you. The translated webpage for the book has a horrible English translation excerpt from the Introduction (I hope that’s just Google Translate’s mashing of the words and not actually in the book itself). The publisher lists as one of Leonard’s great accomplishments, his being “transformed into Ultraman” in the 12th episode of South Park (“Mecha-Streisand”).

What’s cool about the new Japanese Of Mice and Magic is that they’ve added to the filmography a DVD guide to all U.S. animated feature films (all filmographies are in English), as well as a nice bibliography of US animation history books. I’m not recommending you run out and get this, but I just thought it was worth noting its existence. After 33 years in print, the book still holds up and is being used all over the world as a basic text book on American animation history. Yes, it needs to be updated (and maybe that’ll happen), but that’s still quite an accomplishment and I’m very proud of having been involved.

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Original newspaper advertisement for the paperback version of Of Mice and Magic in 1980

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16 Comments

  • The original ad copy is a weird non-sequiter (the book with a double feature?) but it’s been my go-to reference book for years. Congrats on your new readership, and also on this new site!

  • Wish this book would’ve been updated a year after I was born. It would’ve made a great unofficial tie-in to a certain animated /live-action film that was released that year.

  • Odd, the title in Japanese says マウス・アンド・マジック (Mouse and Magic).

    • Wouldn’t surprise me if they didn’t think “Of Mice and Magic” didn’t sound right in Japanese.

    • The Japanese language does not have plurals. One mouse, two mouse, three mouse, and so on. The context reveals whether more than one is meant. It is why popular Japanese words like ninja and samurai are “incorrect” when used in English with an “s” to indicate more than one.

    • @Fred Patten, thanks for the info! It makes perfect sense (always seeing noobs doing that with pluralizing “anime”).

  • I’d love to see an updated edition of OF MICE AND MAGIC. Maltin turned out some excellent film reference books for a few years, but sadly, his output has long since dwindled to an annual update of his capsule movie review book, and I have to admit I haven’t bought that in a few years. The internet has made it less relevant, I guess.

    The other animation reference book I’d love to see updated is that one on the Warner Bros. cartoons, LOONEY TUNES AND MERRIE MELODIES. The names of the authors escape me, but it’s a great little book. Wonder whatever happened to those guys….

  • Off-topic, but still animation-related — apparently Bob McKimson and Tedd Pierce really were making a documentary with “Pre-Hysterical Hare”. At least, according to NBC News.

  • Geez, I wish that book and all those books of yours were released in Polish!

  • i own 3 copies of this book: my original trade paperback (which has nearly fallen apart from use, a remaindered hardcover copy of the first edition and a trade paperback of the revised edition.

    When anyone asks what would be the best book to buy to learn about American cartoons during their heyday – this is the one I point them towards.

  • I’d love to see a third edition of Beck & Friedwald’s WB cartoon book. My 2nd edition was loved to death.

  • ‘The Fleischer Story’ by Cabarga, followed by ‘Of Mice & Magic’, were the capstones to a growing interest in classic animation. And at this time, with the introduction of home VHS players, you could begin to see some of the more obscure cartoons. I of course snatched up both books when they were printed. Good times.

  • Still can’t fathom why DePatie-Freleng Enterprises wasn’t worthy of its own chapter.

    • I suppose it’ll remain an unsolved mystery.

  • Years ago you [Jerry} signed my first edition Of Mice and Magic in Seattle. Since then it has become an animators autograph collection with the over 40 names from Ray Harryhausen, Rene Laloux, Bill Plympton, I tried to get Chuck Jones to sign it but he was only signing his book.
    I’m always trying to meet other animators.
    Any suggestions on how an appreciative fan can meet other great cartoon artists?
    Thanks

  • My 1980 softcover was a surprise Christmas gift from my future ex.as I had no idea it existed.I started reading it that night.Clear packing tape has been on the cover for over a decade,with the insides surprisingly still together..Still a fun read before sleep.Maltin’s writing has always seemd effortless,so you know it wasn’t.How many of us were introduced to the boss here?Many of my friends are amazed of the cartoon trivia in my head,but it all started from this unpretentious tome.This is a book I would love to see use all the possibilities of an ebook edition.Ability to show some samples of animation,ongoing availalbility of access to resources,and adding to the story.It predicted the renaissance in animation;would love to see their take on what happened next.

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