Film: Little Norse Prince (English)
Taiyō no Ōji: Horusu no Daibōken (Japanese)
*English titles vary on the edition
Voices: Noriko Ohara (Japanese) (Chiro)
Hisashi Yokomori (Japanese) (Toto)
Some sources say that Chiro is a female and some say the character is a male. I’m not too sure because even though Chiro was voiced by a female, the character could be male for in some anime, some male characters are voiced by women. However, for the purpose of this entry, as Toto can be confirmed as a male, I will address Chiro as a female.
I knew that as soon as I wrote about Hilda the other day that my next Sidekick entry would be about her sidekicks, Chiro and Toto. The interesting thing about sidekicks of the hero/heroine is that they may not always get on but they have the same goal and purpose and in the end, they will come together and help the hero/heroine. Chiro and Toto could not be any different from each other and unlike most sidekicks, they want Hilda to take down a different path.
The irony is that if this essay is correct, Toei Doga (aka Toei Animation) wanted the latest in a long line of family-friendly animated cartoons influenced, of course by the growing Disney animation trend and insisted that several cartoon characters were put in the film to appeal to the younger audience. Isao Takahata and his team possibly didn’t want that so to be sneaky, they brought in what Toei Animation wanted: cutesy characters. Of course, it is obvious that the studio didn’t ask for specifics because they made Chiro and Toto (especially Toto) much more than what is expected if you’re trying to create a Disney-style animation.
I originally thought I could analyse Chiro and Toto separately but since then, I have realised that is not possible. When it comes down to it, they cannot exist as separate entities. They seem to have only goal in the film: to influence Hilda any way possible into following their way of thinking. When I see these two, I immediately think of the old cliched angel/demon on shoulder idea used in cartoons. This has been used on Pluto, Homer Simpson, Peter Griffin (from Family Guy) and even as recent as Kronk from The Emperor’s New Groove). The angel/demon idea seems to pop up in cartoon when the character in question suffers a moral dilemma.
In the case of Hilda, Chiro is her angel. This cute little squirrel could not be any sweeter. She is very timid and represents everything that is good about Hilda. With Hilda going at a crossroad and having a huge conflict, you could say that Hilda’s good side is manifested in Chiro and this is possibly what Hilda would be like if she destroyed Toto. However, I find it ironic that since Chiro wants Hilda to do what is right, she does not find her voice to others, such as Hols. In this sense, it can be said that Chiro has no personality except when conversing with Hilda. In fact, she doesn’t talk to anyone except Hilda.
Also, I find it interesting that in the main conflict with Hols and Hilda, Toto runs his mouth telling Hols who Hilda is and attacking Hols when Hols tries to persuade Hilda to turn to good. Chiro doesn’t say anything. We don’t even see her until the deed is done and then she shows off her emotions. The thing is before the deed, it could be said that Hilda has become succumbed (if only temporarily) by her dark side and Chiro was temporarily banished from Hilda psychologically. In my opinion, Chiro reappears again moments later because Hilda feels sad, remorseful and guilty which could reflect the good side of Hilda.
On the other hand, Toto is Hilda’s devil. He is arrogant, assertive menacing and a bully. Whenever someone tries to go against Hilda’s evil side and try to bring her to the light (ie Chiro and Hols), Toto attacks him. In terms of Hols, he attacks the boy whilst in flight and with Chiro, he chases her and torments her (although what really happens is never shown on-screen).
Toto’s involvement in the film is actually slightly more complex than Chiro. When it comes to Chiro, she is only seen when Hilda has a conflict. Toto has more lines and more screen time than Chiro. During an attack before Hols flees, Toto attacks Coro the bear to which Coro fight backs which indicates that they see each other. When Hilda is singing to the villagers, Toto stands next to Drago and makes a menacing line. Whether Drago hears this or not is questionable.
This is further questioned in two more scenes. Toto has a conversation with Grunwald in the underworld where we the viewer finds out that Hilda is Grunwald’s sister. This means that Grunwald can see him but then this could be due to his magical abilities and demonic personality. The only other person that Toto addresses directly to is Hols. However, he is by Hilda’s side at the time so maybe if he is around either Grunwald or Hilda, Chiro and Toto could become fully manifested in front of humans.
The same site I stated above also makes the assumption that Chiro is Hilda’s Id and Toto is her Superego. In case you are not up on your psychology, then basically your brain has three levels: the Id, the Ego and the Superego. The Id is what your inner desires are. When you are born, your brain is consumed by your Id because that is all you know. Your Superego is a completely different. It strives to act in a socially appropriate manner. The Super-ego controls your sense of right and wrong and guilt. It helps you fit into society by getting you to act in socially acceptable ways. Basically, your Superego commands what you want. Your Id tells you what you want. You cannot escape your Id and the sneakiest it comes through when you’re older is in your dreams.
I can believe the case the site in question argues, in particular, the argument I put forward that Hilda is not in fact a demon but a human taken in by Grunwald after her village was destroyed. I basically said that Hilda could have been given the choice to join Grunwald or die in a similar manner than Grunwald does to Hols in their first scene together. It could be said that when she chose to become his sister, Toto could have been created by Grunwald to push her and to make sure that she does do what Grunwald asks of her. Of course, that doesn’t explain the origin of Chiro for she does not appear in any scenes with Grunwald. Maybe Chiro became manifested after Toto was brought in to influence Hilda to come back to the light and become human once more.
It’s weird that when Toei Daga asked the team to bring in more fluffy characters, the team probably didn’t expect that these two characters would become two of the best sidekicks in animation (ever!) and would enhance the pyschology of one of the best female characters in animation. All I can say is respect for Takahata!!!!!
The voices behind the characters