English title of Hayao Miyazaki's 30-minute 1972 animated film about a young girl, Mimiko, left alone by her grandmother, who befriends a baby panda, and shortly therafter its somewhat larger father. Escapades follow. The Japanese title is Panda Kopanda, and the English 'translation' comes from the lyrics of the theme song. A sequel was produced in 1973, and I understand the two are shown as TV shows in the USA. I'm not aware of them being shown in England, but an English language region 1 DVD is available with both episodes from Pioneer.

Papa Panda is a clear prototype of Totoro from My Neighbour Totoro; he has the same facial expressions and aids his young charge with a similar combination of bumbling mass (but curious grace) and infectious charm.

The movie was a by-product of the panda fever experienced in Japan in the early 70s following the donation of two pandas to Japan by China. I've been unable to discover the names of these pandas, unfortunately.

(To clarify, Miyazaki was responsible for the idea, script, layouts and some of the key animation, while the movie was directed by Isao Takahata.)


  • http://www.imdb.com/Title?0069058
  • http://www.nausicaa.net/miyazaki/panda/

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