Beagle Talks Last Unicorn on Blu-ray
PB: Watching the film for the first time, and seeing all the Japanese names in the credits...I had no idea who any of those people were. These days, fans look on The Last Unicorn as a kind of proto-anime because of what the Japanese designers and artists and animators brought to it, but that's all hindsight. In 1980 it was still a very new idea to go overseas to do your animation production, and at the time I knew nothing about these companies or their work at all. I'm just very grateful now that they happened to brush across my story on the way to doing their own masterpieces.
BD: Given the paucity of hand-drawn features in this country, perhaps time has been kind to the animation?
PB: The work being done now, from 2D projects like The Secret of Kells to CGI projects like Tangled and Up and Despicable Me and so many others, is routinely astonishing. By comparison to what is being done now, there are certain ways in which The Last Unicorn is undoubtedly antiquated, especially if you are an animation buff. But on the whole, people who know much more about animation than I do seem to think that it has held up surprisingly well. It was one of a kind. Even The New York Times reviewer sensed that in her 1982 review -- that it wasn't quite like anything anyone else had ever done, that there was some kind of special spirit in it. I think this spirit is the quality that somehow keeps it meaningful even in the age of Wall-E and Finding Nemo.