Detective Felix in Trouble (1932)
aka Felix no meitantei
Article 5531 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Shigeji Ogino
What it is: Early Japanese animation
A girl’s shoes are stolen, and she calls in Detective Felix, who vows to catch the dog who stole them.
Though their animation style is very different from that of Americans, it appears the Japanese weren’t necessarily averse to appropriating our cartoon characters; this one features Felix the Cat, and the style is that of puppet animation. As such, it has a certain curiosity value, but I’m afraid this one didn’t impress me. In terms of its animation, it’s much more primitive than the work of either Wladyslaw Starewicz or Jiri Trnka, and in terms of its comic inventiveness, it’s definitely several steps below the Felix the Cat cartoons from America. Most of the action seems to involve Felix walking around (rather slowly) looking for the shoes; occasionally he encounters other characters. There’s a sequence where he runs into a couple of animated skeletons, but this is a long ways from THE SKELETON DANCE; this sequence mostly comes off as a chintzy take on the animation style of Emile Cohl. It runs about eleven minutes and is very short of laughs. It’s an interesting curiosity, but not much more.