Release date3 February 1980 Similar moviesSango-sho Densetsu: Aoi Umi no Erufii (1986), The Dog of Flanders (1997), Gullivers Travels Beyond the Moon (1965)
Back to the Forest(のどか森の動物大作戦,Nodoka Mori no Doubutsu Daisakusen, lit. The Great Plot of the Animals of Placid Forest) is a Japanese anime television special, broadcast as part of Fuji TV's Nissei Family Special block on 3 February 1980. An English language dub was produced in 1989 by Ahmed Agrama's Intersound, Inc., and released on home video in the United States by Celebrity Just for Kids Entertainment. It was never shown in the cinema in either country, although the American cable channel Nickelodeon showed it occasionally as part of its weekend "Special Delivery" block. The special was worked by Nippon Animation with production assistance by Madhouse.
The special is based on the 1968 children's novel Jakobus Nimmersatt, by German author Boy Lornsen.
Many animals inhabit a peaceful forest known as Placid Forest. They attempt to resist, and ultimately must declare war on, some humans who live in a nearby village. The humans plot to cut down all the trees in Placid Forest so they can make money and become millionaires, but the animals know that they will lose their home if they do not act fast. The animals team up and carry out a systematic process of operations to guard their habitat.
Jacob : Kimotsuki Kaneta / Myron Mensc, a black crow wearing a yellow bandana, is the leader of the animals and the first to sound the alarm to the other animals. He has excellent leadership, courage, and elocution. His biggest flaw, however, is his occasional appetite for food, especially cheese, which puts him in a rat trap set by Marcus.
Peter : Masako Nozawa / Rebecca Forstadt, an elf-like fairy with a pink hat and green clothes, is a great ally to Jacob. He is appointed the chairman of the animals, second-in-command to Jacob. He sometimes plays hide-and-seek with his friend Penny, and he is skilled at looking at the big picture before making a decision. He can turn invisible at will, but when someone sneezes, he becomes visible, which almost gives him away to Marcus when he attempts to steal the humans' lunch.
Penny : Minori Matsushima / Lara Cody, a mouse with a red nose, is highly fearful. When she proceeds to gnaw the bridge leading from Placid Forest to the village with Billy and his team of rats, she almost falls in the river and runs away, thus earning her the label of coward from Billy. However, she finally plucks up her courage when she drops a pot on Marcus's cat. This prompts Billy to call her "the first mouse to ever get a cat in the history of the rat's kingdom".
Billy, the leader of the rats. He is initially very strict about fear, calling Penny a coward for failing to gnaw the bridge, but when Penny proves her courage by inadvertently dropping a pot on Marcus's cat, he becomes extremely appreciative of her. He is voiced by Eddie Frierson in the English version.
Paul, the leader of the squirrels. He is very competitive against the rats. He offers to listen to every idea suggested, and he is a reliable ally to the animals. He is voiced by Doug Stone in the English version.
Mary, an owl wearing a locket, is obsessed with her appearance and beauty. At times she is arrogant, especially to Jacob, whom she sometimes teases, but in the long run, she is sweet and sympathetic. She is voiced by Masuyama Eiko in the Japanese version and by Lisa Paulette in the English version.
Carl, a green rabbit. He participates in the forest plot alongside his grandfather, and he is obedient and loyal both to him and to Peter. He is voiced by Koyama Mami in the Japanese version and by Wendee Lee in the English version. His grandfather is voiced by Richard Barnes.
Jay, as his name suggests, is a blue jay. He is easily excited and upset, which is his biggest flaw, and sometimes, he cannot tell how the other animals feel. He is voiced by Steve Apostolina in the English version.
Stanley, a hedgehog. When he hears an idea or has a particular goal, he will hold onto it until it is done. His obsessive nature, however, can lead him to occasional temper tantrums. He is voiced by Don Warner in the English version.
Adam, a frog. He is relatively calm, unlike Jay. When he hops, his speech is sometimes fragmented. He is voiced by Dave Mallow in the English version.
Marcus, the leader of the villainous humans. His leadership and courage match those of Jacob, but unlike him, Marcus is arrogant and usually doesn't think about the consequences first. He is voiced by Cyn Branch. His wife, Bertha, is voiced by Lisa Paulette.
Timothy, a businessman. Like Marcus, he is intent on receiving money, and he will often ignore the consequences of his actions. He is voiced by Drew Thomas. His wife is voiced by Deanna Morris.
Nigel, a cook. He has a gruff voice, which reflects his courage and toughness. He is voiced by Cliff Wells.
Michael, a tailor. He is not as enthusiastic about cutting down the forest as the other men, but he likes having a large sum of money. He is voiced by Michael Sorich. His wife, Joanna, is voiced by Penny Sweet.
Benjamin, a priest. He is somewhat of a neutral party compared to the other men, as he is only concerned about his church at first. He is voiced by Leonard Pike.
Matthew, a shepherd. He betrays his teammates, since he opposes cutting down the forest. This makes him a reliable ally to the animals, albeit a human. He is voiced by Mikey Godzilla.
(Source: Japanese Wikipedia
Original Author: Boy Lornsen
Writer: Toshiyuki Kashiwakura
Producer: Tadashi Oba
Director: Yoshio Kuroda
Music: Tatsumi Yano
Character Design: Yasuji Mori
Layout Supervisor: Shunichi Sakai
Animation Director: Akio Sakai
Assistant Animation Director: Kazuko Hirose
Art Director: Toshiharu Mizutani
Art Setting: Minoru Nishida
Sound Director: Shigeharu Shiba
Color Checking: Akiko Koyama
Key Animators: Kazuko Hirose, Sumiko Asado, Takeshi Shoji, Megumi Mizuta, Manabu Ohashi, Madhouse, Yoon Sung studio (South Korea)
Animation Checking: Takumi Koyama, Masahiro Kase
Finish Animation: Studio Killy, Studio M
Backgrounds: Kobayashi Production