Dr. Pinoko’s Forest Adventure (2005)


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While not the main protagonist, Unico appears in the short, Dr. Pinoko's Forest Adventure. The seven-minute animation was shown before the main feature, Black Jack: The Two Doctors of Darkness*, and features an adorable tale following Pinoko-chan and Largo. They released both film and short December 14, 2005.

Osamu Tezuka's oldest daughter, Rumiko Tezuka, performed the voice of Unico. Keiko Takeshita narrates the short, creating a storybook feel for the animation.

Synopsis:
The short opens up with a pink storybook, and the narrator telling the viewers what the story is about. Pinoko-chan and Largo are running along a path leading to a forest to return Black Jack's medical bag. Upon entering the forest, everything is dark and Pinoko-chan and Largo are now lost.

A light shining from nearby grabs their attention and they investigate. They poke their heads past a bush and spot an injured bird with a large glowing feather in its mouth. Pinoko lifts the feather to investigate, but a massive group of birds swoop in to save their wounded friend. Tired of the birds attacking her and Largo, Pinoko-chan screams her catchphrase, "Acchan burike!"

The birds stop and Pinoko-chan tells them she can't leave an injured bird alone. She wraps the injured bird's wing, but before she and Largo can leave, the birds pull her toward another injured animal. And then another. And another.

Several forest animals are injured and Pinoko-chan vows to help every one of them. After every animal has been taken care of, Pinoko-chan gets ready to leave, but the birds point to a cave entrance surrounded by several thorned vines.

With the glowing feather as their light, they enter the cave, and several of the animals may have been hurt by trying to save another friend.

Largo is frightened, and when a drop of water hits the top of his head, he panics and runs forward. Dragging Pinoko-chan and the other forest animals along, they all fall down a hole and land at the bottom. An enormous dragon steps forward, then chases Pinoko-chan and Largo. When cornered, Pinoko tries hits the dragon's snout with her small fists, hoping the gigantic beast will leave them be.

A bird flies up, chirping at Pinoko, and points toward the dragon. The dragon opens its mouth to show several thorns embedded on its tongue.

After helping the dragon, it leads Pinoko-chan and the others deeper into the cave. The feather in Pinoko's hand glows and they see the same light at the end of the tunnel. When they arrive, they see a large room made of ice with a creature stuck inside a large shard. The dragon tries to melt the ice, blowing fire across the room and at the frozen creature. The ice cracks and collapses, but Pinoko-chan won't give up.

She charges toward the ice shard and the feather turns into a large scalpel. Pinoko leaps into the air and breaks the ice using the scalpel. The ice shatters and releases Unico, who quickly calls Pinoko-chan's name.

Pinoko catches Unico, but the ice below her feet breaks away, forcing her to plummet down. Largo and the other forest animals grab Pinoko-chan before she can fall too far, but the weight of everyone was too much. Dragon struggles to lift everyone back up, so Unico tells Pinoko to let go of him. If she lets go of him, they'll be able to climb back up. Pinoko-chan refuses and one of her tears lands on Unico's horn, causing it to glow.

Unico transforms into his adult form and saves everyone. When Pinoko-chan opens her eyes, she's on Unico's back and high in the sky. Pinoko-chan realizes that the feather was Unico's, and he explains that everyone's kindness turned him back into his original form. She asks about Dragon, and Unico turns his head, letting a gold amulet lift, showing the dragon's face. Unico tells her that Dragon is his omamori (amulet/charm used for luck or protection) and flies her to Black Jack's location.

As the credits roll, we see a snow-covered cottage in the middle of the forest. Pinoko-chan gives Black Jack the white feather as a Christmas present, and when Black Jack asks about the feather, she laughs and says that there is a lot that she wants to tell him.

After the credits, the narrator lets the viewers know it's the end of the story and the storybook closes.

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*Notes:
- The movie, Black Jack: The Two Doctors of Darkness, has only been released in Japan and Taiwan (China). The DVD release of the movie includes the Pinoko short.


Sources:

  1. Dr.ピノコの森の冒険 - YouTube (Clip from the short)
  2. Dr.ピノコの森の冒険|アニメ|手塚治虫 TEZUKA OSAMU OFFICIAL (Official Japanese language site for short)
  3. Dr. PINOKO'S ADVENTURE|ANIMATION|TEZUKA OSAMU OFFICIAL (Official English language site for short)
  4. ブラック・ジャック ふたりの黒い医者|アニメ|手塚治虫 TEZUKA OSAMU OFFICIAL (Official Japanese language site for the movie Black Jack: The Two Doctors of Darkness)
  5. BLACK JACK THE TWO DOCTORS OF DARKNESS|ANIMATION|TEZUKA OSAMU OFFICIAL (Official English language site Black Jack: The Two Doctors of Darkness)