News / Film

Watch a 100-year-old samurai film and other classics of anime for free

Watch a 100-year-old samurai film and other classics of anime for free
Courtesy of the National Film Centre

Anime obviously plays a huge part in Japan's pop culture, but it's still impressive to hear that the first animated flick made in the country is now 100 years old. As a tribute to a full century of anime, the National Film Centre has digitally restored and uploaded a selection of golden oldies to their special website. And the good news doesn't stop there: many of these films, all of which can be viewed for free, come complete with English subtitles.

The oldest one available dates back to 1917, making it 11 years older than Disney's 1928 classic Steamboat Willie, and is a story about a samurai who, to his dismay, manages to buy a blunt sword. Poor guy.

Most of the works currently available were released between the mid-1920s and the late ’30s, and make for a pretty interesting look into how anime has (or hasn't) changed since. The website, which can be searched by category and lists information about the films' creators, is only in Japanese as of yet, but a full-blown English version is said to be in the cards too.

For now, you'll want to take a look through this page – click on an image that tickles your fancy, and you'll be taken to a page with detailed information about the film in question; click on the red button on the right labelled 作品を見る to open the video, and step back into a very old-school anime world.

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