The saddest children’s story in the whole world:
“Your mother will not return, man has entered the forest,” I don’t know how many Baby Boomers were emotionally scarred as children when the movie Bambi (1942) came out, but I am sure a large number. Consider that the villain of the film, not even seen but only hinted at, was humanity itself. True, World War II was raging and for many it was the end of the world, but Disney seemed to take delight in seeing how he could twist that knife a little bit more, showing us a paradise that was forever ruined simply by our presence. Humanity was no better than a jackal-headed beast, forever bound to its blood lust.
For a good many years I thought I couldn’t find anything sadder, until I stumbled upon Gon the Fox (Gongitsune is the title of the movie), which reminded me once again that only the most magical of creatures will suffer at our hands, even the ones trying to do good. I’m posting the entire movie here, though if you just want to start crying begin watching around the 1:01 mark.
Gon is a little orphan fox. Looking for food he comes to a village where, like all scamps, he creates mischief and gets the better of the villagers. This continues until one day he steals an eel from a man named Hyoju, who had tragically wanted to give it to his dying mother. Mother then dies but the young Gon only realizes his mistake far too late. He tries to make it up by secretly giving Hyoju all the gifts that he had stolen from neighbors, though they then accuse Hyoju himself of stealing and beat him up for it. Afterward the little fox brings only mushrooms and nuts that he had gathered in the forest. Hyoju is grateful for the gifts, although he does not understand where they come from.
One day Hyoju sees Gon sneaking around and shoots him out of anger about the death of his mother. Only afterward does he realize to his horror that the fox he just killed was the one who gave him all the gifts. The movie ends with the spirit of the little fox curled up next to his dead mother, reminding children that life is horror and that the only way one can reunite with one’s dead loved ones is through agonizing death.
Ta, children, sleep well, ta.