Infobox animanga/Header
name = Unico

caption = The cover for "Unico" volume 1 from the Osamu Tezuka Manga Complete Works edition.
ja_name = ユニコ
ja_name_trans = Yuniko
genre = Fantasy
Infobox animanga/Manga
title =
author = Osamu Tezuka
publisher = Sanrio
demographic = Kodomo
magazine = Ririka
first = November, 1976
last = March, 1979
volumes = 2 [ann manga|id=2730]
Infobox animanga/Movie
title = The Fantastic Adventures of Unico
director = Osamu Tezuka
studio = Madhouse
released = March 14, 1981
runtime = 90 min. [ann anime|id=628|title="The Fantastic Adventures of Unico]
Infobox animanga/Movie
title = Unico in the Island of Magic
director = Mami Sugino
studio = Madhouse
released = July 16, 1983
runtime = 91 min. [ann anime|id=629|title="Unico in the Island of Magic"]

nihongo|"Unico"|ユニコ|Yuniko is a manga and anime character by Osamu Tezuka. Unico is a baby unicorn with red hair, and has the magical power to grant wishes and happiness to anyone who befriends him. His friends in the various manga and anime incarnations of his story include Beezle, a bratty blue devil; Chao (or "Katy" in the English anime), a mischievous cat; and a warm-hearted human girl named Cheri.

Back Story

Unico's way of bringing joy to others gets him into trouble with the gods, who believe that happiness should only be obtained by years of sacrifice and hard labor and not by meeting a little unicorn. The gods send the West Wind to banish Unico to the Hill of Oblivion, but the West Wind takes pity on Unico and declines to follow the gods' commands. The gods are furious when they learn of the West Wind's defiance, and send the Night Wind to capture Unico. To protect Unico from the gods and the Night Wind, the West Wind must continually transport the little unicorn from place to place. Whenever the gods discover Unico's whereabouts, the West Wind appears to spirit him away once again, often without getting to say goodbye to any of the friends he has made - and without any memory of those friends, as Unico's memory is wiped clean each time.

Unico appeared in several comic strips by Tezuka, with an ecological message. Tezuka's original manga was serialized in Sanrio's "Ririka" (Lyrica) magazine from 1976 to 1979, and was re-published by Shogakukan in 1984 in a learning magazine for children.

There are Unico videos for sale on EBay, and in 2007 (see below) it was announced that both of the feature-length movies finally would be released on DVD in the United States with both English and Japanese audio.

Unico Anime

1979 Pilot Film

In 1979, the same year the manga ended, Unico made his animated debut in "Kuroi Kumo Shiroi Hane" ("Black Cloud, White Feather"), an ecologically-themed pilot film (for a proposed TV anime series) which was soon released directly to video. Unico meets a young girl named Chiko who is ill because of the pollution from a nearby factory, and becomes determined to cure her by destroying the factory.

The Fantastic Adventures of Unico

Although the TV series was not picked up, Unico soon made it to the silver screen in two feature-length anime films produced by Sanrio and Tezuka Productions.

Unico's first movie, titled "The Fantastic Adventures of Unico" in English and simply "Unico" in Japan, was released in Japan on March 14, 1981. This musical film, narrated by Iruka, directed by Toshio Hirata, written by Masaki Tsuji, and with animation by Yoshiaki Kawajiri, presents the back story of Unico's banishment and his subsequent travels, as well as his friendships with Beezle (to whom he grants his own horn) and Chao/Katy (to whom he grants the wish of becoming a human girl).

Beezle (known as "Akuma-kun," or "Little Devil," in the original version) initially rejects Unico's overtures of friendship, but comes around when he realizes how lonely he really is. After Beezle saves Unico from drowning, the two begin their friendship in earnest, but then the West Wind comes to take Unico away.

The next creature Unico encounters is Chao (Katy), a black-and-white cat who dreams of becoming a witch. Katy and Unico befriend a lonely old woman, whom Katy mistakenly believes is a witch and will teach her some magic as well as transform her into a human girl. When Unico changes Katy into a girl, Katy at first believes that the old woman did it, until Unico proves it was his doing by changing her back into a cat; but Unico, seeing how selfish Katy has become, refuses to change Katy back to a girl, until one day when Katy saves the old woman from drowning. Katy then becomes entranced by a man posing as a lord. He invites her to his castle, gets her drunk and attempts to seduce her. Unico follows, rescuing Katy (with help from Beezle) after transforming into a majestic white Pegasus/unicorn hybrid and destroying the monster that the "lord" had transformed into. Afterwards, West Wind comes to take Unico away again, and Katy moves in with the old woman.

This movie includes several songs, most of which were performed in the original Japanese version by the movie's narrator, singer/songwriter Iruka; however, Chao/Katy's recurring theme song, "Chao no Kuroneko no Uta" (The Song of Black Cat Chao), was sung by Chao's seiyū, Kazuko Sugiyama. The movie's other songs include "Unico no Teemu" (Unico's Theme), "Hontou wa Subishikute" (Beezle/Akuma-kun's image song), and "Majo Neko Chao" (Witch Cat Chao), all sung by Iruka. For the U.S. release, all of the songs were dubbed into English along with the spoken dialogue, except for the ending song over the closing credits, which is an instrumental in the English version.

Unico in the Island of Magic

Mami Sugino directed the second movie, titled "Mahō no Shima e" ("To the Magic Island") in Japanese and "Unico in the Island of Magic" in English, which was released on July 16, 1983.

In this film, Unico meets a kind-hearted young girl named Cheri (also spelled "Cherry", voiced by Sumi Shimamoto). Cheri's older brother, Toby (in Japanese, "Torubi", voiced by Shuichi Ikeda), is working for the evil Lord Kuruku (in Japanese, "Kukuruku"), who plans to turn all living creatures, animals and people alike, into zombie-like beings called "Living Puppets" to be his slaves; Toby's job is to change people into Living Puppets and then lure the Living Puppets to Kuruku's island castle. Toby also takes on Melvin the Magnificat ("Yamaneko" in Japanese) - who hates Unico because Unico "intruded" in "his" forest (the forest in which the West Wind left Unico) - as his assistant. After Cheri's parents and neighbors all get turned into Living Puppets, she and Unico team up to stop Kuruku.

Seeking advice from the Trojan Horse, Unico and Cheri learn that Kuruku is a puppet who was mistreated by his owners and discarded. He washed up at the edge of the world - where all unwanted "junk" ends up eventually - and was brought to life with the power of sunlight, determined to take revenge on the human race. With help from the Sphinx's daughter (voiced by Noriko Tsukase; named "Marusu" in Japanese but not given a proper name in the English version), Unico - who realizes that Kuruku is really just a lonely, friendless creature - is able to break Kuruku's spell, but since Kuruku's hate was the only thing that kept him alive, Kuruku reverts to puppet form, and Cheri keeps him as a toy. Soon afterward, the West Wind finds Unico and spirits him away once again.

As with the first movie, the second movie's ending song ("Do-Re-Mi-Fa Lullaby" performed by Emiko Shiratori) became an instrumental in the Spanish and English dub.

aving Our Fragile Earth

Unico had one more anime appearance afterward, in a short film called "Saving Our Fragile Earth" made for showing at the Tezuka Osamu Animation Theatre at Tezuka Osamu World in Kyoto. This short, like the original pilot, had an ecological theme: Unico and Tsubasa, a talking tree boy, are distressed by the fact that the planet Earth has become polluted and drained of resources to the point of being uninhabitable. With help from the Sphinx and the "Time Fairy" (Astro Boy), the two travel back into the past to try to prevent humans from taking the wrong path and spare the Earth from ecological devastation. Famed voice actress Akiko Yajima provided the voice of Unico in this film. (In the movie versions, Unico was voiced by Katsue Miwa, and in the pilot film, the voice of Unico was Hiroya Oka.)

U.S. Distribution

Unico has a loyal fan following in the English-speaking world as well as in Japan, and this is largely due to the 1981 and 1983 theatrical features, which were dubbed into English and received Stateside exposure through VHS release in the mid-1980s and airings on The Disney Channel. However, the original VHS versions of the English versions of both movies are long out of print. Recently a newly formed company called "New Galaxy Anime" [http://www.newgalaxyanime.com] has announced a re-release of both films on DVD, with both the English and Japanese audio tracks.

The rights to all "Unico" manga and anime transferred from Sanrio to Tezuka Productions after Tezuka's death in 1989; unlike Sanrio, Tezuka Productions has no American distribution arm, hence the reason why it took 25 years for the two movies to be licensed for an official North American DVD release. The 1979 "Unico" pilot film was never released outside Japan or in English at all.

In addition, the English dubs of both movies have been posted on YouTube (along with raw, unsubtitled clips from the original Japanese), as has the 1979 pilot film.

Other Appearances

Unico makes some cameos in anime Black Jack TV.

Unico also made an appearance in the Game Boy Advance game "", where he gives Astro Boy the ability to have a warm and tender talk with Dr. Tenma, his father. Unico also appears in the Astro Boy manga in a comic book. In the story, he was Dr. Foola's inspiration for a new robot: a mechanical unicorn.

The Unico films (pilot, Fantastic Adventures, and Island of Magic) were done with Sanrio, so Hello Kitty and the Little Twin Stars make cameo appearances in the films.


ee also

*List of Osamu Tezuka anime
*List of Osamu Tezuka manga
*Osamu Tezuka
*Osamu Tezuka's Star System

External links

* [http://www.fujikoma.com/unico/ Unico In The Island Of Magic] (English Fansite)
* [http://www.kawaiiunico.com Kawaii Unico] (English Fansite)
* [http://en.tezuka.co.jp/manga/sakuhin/m094/m094_01.html Unico manga at TezukaOsamu@World]
* [http://en.tezuka.co.jp/anime/sakuhin/pi/pi009.html Unico: Short Story pilot anime at TezukaOsamu@World]
* [http://en.tezuka.co.jp/anime/sakuhin/mv/mv013.html Fantastic Adventure of Unico 1 anime at TezukaOsamu@World]
* [http://en.tezuka.co.jp/anime/sakuhin/mv/mv014.html Fantastic Adventure of Unico 2 anime at TezukaOsamu@World]
* [http://www.geocities.com/cartoongirl1961/UNICO.html Fansite with lots of pics]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Unico — ユニコ (Yuniko) Genre fantasy Manga Type Shōjo Auteur Osamu Tezuka Éditeur …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Único — puede referirse a: Único, adjetivo, que es raro o sin igual o singular.. Que tiene la propiedad de unicidad. Que es uno sólo. Unico (ユニコ, Yuniko?), manga y anime creado por Osamu Tezuka. Único, álbum de Alejandra Guzmán. Véase también Unidad… …   Wikipedia Español

  • UNICO — is a technology transfer organisation that represents the Technology Exploitation companies of UK Universities. It was founded in 1994.UNICO s website states that It provides a forum for exchange and development of best practice. Member companies …   Wikipedia

  • único — único, ca (Del lat. unĭcus). 1. adj. Solo y sin otro de su especie. 2. singular (ǁ extraordinario, excelente). ☛ V. frente único, hijo único …   Diccionario de la lengua española

  • UNICO — acron. Unificato compensativo, con rif. al modello UNICO …   Dizionario italiano

  • unico — / uniko/ agg. [dal lat. unĭcus, der. di unus uno, uno solo ] (pl. m. ci ). 1. [che non ha alternative: si può percorrere un u. strada ] ▶◀ singolo, solo. ◀▶ molteplice, vario. 2. (estens.) [di spettacolo, artista, oggetto e sim., che è nettamente …   Enciclopedia Italiana

  • único — único, ca adjetivo 1) solo, exclusivo, solitario. 2) singular, excepcional, extraordinario, impar, sin par. * * * Sinónimos: ■ …   Diccionario de sinónimos y antónimos

  • único — adj. 1. Só; sem outro da sua espécie ou qualidade. 2.  [Figurado] Muito superior aos outros, excepcional. 3. Sem precedentes. 4. Singular, extravagante; ridículo. 5. Excepcional; exclusivo …   Dicionário da Língua Portuguesa

  • Unico — Este artículo o sección necesita una revisión de ortografía y gramática. Puedes colaborar editándolo (lee aquí sugerencias para mejorar tu ortografía). Cuando se haya corregido, borra este aviso por favor. Para otros usos de este término, véase …   Wikipedia Español

  • único — (Del lat. unicus.) ► adjetivo 1 Solo y sin otro de su especie: ■ el único espectador del partido animó a su equipo; el único superviviente relató su experiencia ante las cámaras. 2 Que es extraordinario en su especie: ■ ha adquirido una pieza… …   Enciclopedia Universal

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.