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Genre: Drama
Starring: Mao Sasaki, Ryohei Hirota, Eiichiro Funakoshi, Ken Utsui, Akiko Matsumoto, Takehiko Ono, Mao Kobayashi, Masanobu Takashima
Director: Ryuichi Inomata
Rating: PG
Year Made: 2007
Official Website:






Languages: Japanese
Subtitles: English
Aspect Ratio: -
Presentation Size: -
Sound: -
Running Time: 2 hrs 4 mins
Region Code: 3
Distributor: Scorpio East




A Tale of Mari and Three Puppies tells a story of the miraculous survival of a mother dog and her puppies for 16 days in an evacuated village. Mari is a Shiba Inu puppy taken in by a family that lives in a rural town in Yamakoshi (now called Nagaoka). Later Mari has grown into an adult and has three puppies of her own. However times of happiness does not last, a 6.8 magnitude earthquake brought catastrophic destruction.


The Japanese sure has a penchant for things kawaii (as in cute). Soft toys, cartoon characters, girly accessories and puppies. Yes you heard that right, puppies. To prove this point, there is "Quill", "Helen the baby fox" (okay I cheat a little, not a dog here but a cute baby fox) and "10 promises to my dog" which is still currently in its theatrical run as this review is being churned out. And here we are, “A tale of Mari and three puppies” which is a straight to video release.

Based on the true story of Mari, "A tale of Mari and three puppies" is about a dog who manages to rescue her old-age owner during a severe earthquake which struck Nagaoka in 2004. However one must note that creative license has been applied on the movie version by the filmmakers. Instead of having the protagonist as an old grandfather, the fictional character of a young girl named Aya and her brother has been added to the context thus making the movie more accessible to audience.

Similar to the grand old 1963 Disney’s classic, "The Incredible Journey", Mari and her puppies are not voiced by celebrity actors, their acting are purely guided by trainers which really helps in conveying their natural actions. Unfortunately, Mari and her puppies are not given enough screentime despite the running time clocking in at 2 hours. Dog lovers might feel shortchange by this point but trust me, there are enough emotional moments to tug your heart strings. There is a lot of emphasis on the relationships between the father and his young children, the human characters so to speak. The widower has a tough time dealing with his children when the rescue team has to abandon Mari and her puppies in a heart-wrenching moment in the movie. Mari on the other hand who has become sort of a surrogate mother to the young Aya is shown roughing it out scavenging for food for her puppies while waiting for the return of her owner.

The high production values which took me aback includes some convincing CG, miniature shots, breath-taking cinematography and a haunting score by renowned composer Joe Hisaishi, "A tale of Mari and three puppies" is an ageless inspiring tale of courage and bravery. Mari definitely makes a great educational movie for the entire family.




The visual transfer is passable here and it comes with only the original Japanese track and English subtitles.



Review by Linus Tee


Other titles from Scorpio East:

. My Wife is a Gambling Maestro

. Fatal Move

. An Empress and the Warriors

. Ah Long Pte Ltd

. Talking Cock The Movie

. 2 Faces of My Girlfriend

. Lust Caution

. 881

. Brothers

. Ratatouille

. The Invisible

. The Lookout

. Alone

. Bar Paradise

. China Vampire

. Hooked On You

. Underdog

. Keeping Up With The Steins

. Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End

. High School Musical 2: Extended Edition

. Pixar Short Films Volume One

. Who Slept With Her?

. The Jungle Book

. Disney Princess Enchanted Tales

. Meet The Robinsons

. Goal II: Living the Dream

. Hanna Montana

. Meet The Robinsons

. Wild Hogs

. Breaking And Entering

. Jump In

. Primeval

. Forest of Death

. The Fox and the Hound 2

. The Fox and the Hound

. Dumbo

. One Last Dance

. Protege

. The Curse of the Golden Flower

. A Battle Of Wits

. Rain Dogs

. Heavenly Mission

. Exiled

. Operation Undercover

. Diary

. Fatal Contact

. Singapore Dreaming

. Rob-B-Hood

. On The Edge

. The World's Fastest Indian

. Dragon Tiger Gate

. Unarmed Combat

. Crazy Stone

. Election 2

. We Are Family

. I Not Stupid Too

. The Shoe Fairy

. 2 Becomes 1

. 49 Days


. Dragon Eye Congee

. A Chinese Tall Story

. Perhaps Love


. Election

. The Myth

. Wait 'Til You're Older

. The Maid


This review is made possible with the kind support from Scorpio East


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