Momotaro's Divine Sea Warriors (1945) - Momotarō: Umi no Shinpei (桃太郎 海の神兵, meaning "Momotarou: God Warriors of the Sea" or "Momotaro, Sacred Sailors and sometimes Momotaro's Divine Sea Warriors) was released on April 12 1945 as Japan's first feature-length animated film. It was directed by Mitsuyo Seo (who also directed the previous film "Momotaro's Sea Eagles) was ordered by the Japanese Naval Ministry to make a propaganda film for the war effort. The Shochiku Moving Picture Laboratory worked on the 74-minute film throughout 1944 and released it on April 12 1945.
The story involves a bear, a monkey, a dog and a pheasant who just finished their military training. After a visiting their families, they are sent to a Pacific island with an airstrip under construction. Later, Momotaro, who was in the last film, comes out of a transport plane to take command of the base. Soon, the native animals of the jungle are taught how to speak Japanese using a song called "The Song Of AIUEO" (アイウエオの歌 AIUEO no Uta) and are shown how to wash clothes, cook, work on the aircraft and guns. It is revealed that the Japanese are going to invade the island of Celebes which was acquired by the Dutch East India Company. The final scenes of the film show the character in paratrooper planes and driving the British forces out. The film was long believed to have been lost during the American Occupation of Japan but a negative copy was found in Shochiku's Ofuna warehouse in 1983 and was re-released in 1984. Saving already rare Japanese films from World War 2.