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Koala Boy Kokki/Adventures of the Little Koala (Topcraft, 1984-85)
Source: TV
Layers: 1
Sketches: 1
Cel Number: A12
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Added 7/26/2015
Updated 7/26/2015
This amusing image is the main character in this series, named Kokki in the original and Roobear in the popular English-language dub broadcast on Nick Toons from 1987 to 1993. I’m not sure if he’s reacting to some stress or is just about to sneeze. Sequence number: A12.


It’s not much of a cel, I admit, but production art from this series seems uncommon in the extreme. This one, at least, arrived in sharp condition (save a little line fading in the orange overalls buttons) and unstuck from a matching douga in perfect condition. So it is a welcome addition to my “One or Two of a Kind” gallery.

Like Nippon’s Fushigi na Koala Blinky/Noozles (which has its own gallery in the “Golden Age” section), Topcraft’s Koala Boy Kokki owes its origin to the “koala mania” that swept Japan in 1984 when the first animals of this species were donated to a Tokyo zoo. The series, which showcased Kokki, his family, and his other-species classmates (kangaroos, kiwi birds, platypuses, etc.), was directed by Takashi Tanazawa, a wide-ranging artist who also worked on the third version of Gegege no Kitaro and remains active today as a gengaman, mecha designer, and animation director.

Character design was shared by Hidekazu Ohara and Kazuyuki Kobayashi. Ohara had done gengas for Akira and later did character design for a variety of anime film projects including Cannon Fodder (1995) SOS! Tokyo Metro Explorers (2007), and, most recently, the Hi-no-youjin [Combustible] short film (2012), directed by Katsuhiro Otomo (mangaka for Akira). Kobayashi later did quite a bit of work on Rurouni Kenshin and the Yu-Gi-Oh! franchise.

Not coincidentally, all these artists took part in the production of Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind (Topcraft, 1984). Miyazaki, wanting to move past his financially successful “World Masterpiece” projects (like Heidi Alps no Shoujo), admired the work Topcraft had done on more artistically ambitious projects for the Rankin-Bass concern, notably The Hobbit (1977) and The Last Unicorn (1982). And so Nausicaa, the breakout success that made Miyazaki’s name, was created at the same time and place as Koala Boy Kokki: Tanazawa served as assistant director, while Ohara and Kobayashi served as gengamen.

Kokki was the last TV series produced by Topcraft before its facilities were purchased by Miyazaki and Takahata in 1986 as the nucleus for Studio Ghibli.

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Curator: 60something-sensei
Gallery Created: 8/3/2002
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