As Imagination Stage subscribers, we’ve seen many fantastic performances with incredible sets but the new Anime Momotaro brings Japan to the D.C. Metro Area. The delightful adaptation of a traditional Japanese folktale incorporates elements of manga (Japanese comic books), kabuki (theater), and anime (animated movies) and is presented on a set reminiscent of typical structures found in Japan.
About Anime Momotaro:
Set in ancient Japan, an elderly couple longs for a child. Their wish is granted when a huge peach floats down the river and breaks open to reveal a baby boy. As Momotaro (momo means peach; Taro is a common Japanese boy’s name) grows up to be the strongest young man in all the country, he realizes he must take a stand against his village’s one small problem: giant ogres. Ogres have been bullying the villagers for years, and with the help of his friends – the dog Inu, the monkey Saru, and the bird Kiji – Momotaro meets his foes face-to-face. Thus, an action-packed adventure is born.
The 90 minute show offers families a new perspective on Japanese culture that is highly enjoyable for ages 5-10. Kids will be drawn to the catchy music, manga and anime elements that they’ve been accustomed to seeing in our culture thanks to Japanese imports such as Pokémon, Sonic the Hedgehog, and all things Nintendo. They’ll appreciate the theme of inner strength that Momotaro has and his ability to find a creative way to end the bullying that plagues his village.
Adults will appreciate the beauty and details of the set along with the incorporation of traditional Japanese elements as props. Paper umbrellas, fans, and textiles like Japanese kimono fabric make an appearance to help tell the story. Round paper lanterns of varying sizes containing different colored bulbs hang above the theater seats for a beautiful effect while the same round patterns are echoed around the perimeter of the stage with more white paper lanterns and clear balls.
Younger audiences may be scared by the loud noises and flashing of lights that occur two to three times during the performance.
Imagination Stage’s Anime Momotaro is a great way to introduce elements of Japanese culture to your children. If you’re planning to attend between now and March 10, here are some things to do to prepare for the performance and learn about Japan:
- Read Peach Boy and Other Japanese Children’s Favorite Stories. While knowing the story of Peach Boy is helpful, remind them that the performance is adapted from the story in the book.
- Watch clips from Imagination Stage’s YouTube channel. or watch interviews with the stars including one with Jacob Yeh who plays main character, Momotaro,
- Learn the Banzai Dance that you’ll see during the performance.
- Make Kibidango (rice balls) like the ones that Momotaro shares during the story then learn what other foods are popular with Japanese children.
- Brainstorm favorite characters inspired by Japanese anime and manga.
- Look at a map of the world to understand where Japan is located and learn some facts about the country. My Japan by Etsuko Watanabe is a beautifully illustrated nonfiction book about the country and just happens to be a favorite since our trip to Tokyo this summer.
- Interested in more ways to teach your children about other countries? Read my Parents.com piece called 3 Ways to Teach Your Kids About Other Cultures.
- Public performances on Saturdays and Sundays at 1:30 pm and 4:00 pm, select Saturdays at 11 am
- Special Friday night performance on March 1 at 7 pm
- Tuesday-Friday field trip performances
- Tickets: $12 – $25; best for ages 5-10
- Sensory-friendly performance: February 17 at 11:00 am
- ASL interpreted performance: February 17 at 4:00 pm
- $10 Preview tickets (applies to most seats) on February 2 and 3 at 1:30 pm and 4:00 pm.
- February 10: Post-show workshop in Japanese cartooning – Make Your Own Manga! $8/person
GIVEAWAY: Imagination Stage has generously provided one DC Area Tech Savvy Mama reader and their family FOUR tickets to an Anime Momotaro performance of their choice. Enter using the Rafflecopter form below and good luck!
Imagination Stage provided me with tickets to attend Anime Momotaro with my family but all opinions are my own. We have personally paid for past performances as Imagination Stage Subscribers. Amazon Affiliate links included in this post but books were personally purchased. Images taken by Margot Schulman and are courtesy of Imagination Stage.