With help from a trio of squabbling animals a young boy born from a giant peach takes on a squad of ogres in this unusually elegant rendition of the popular Japanese folktale.
Separated by fade-outs but placed between wood-grained borders as if on a continuous roll, the multilayered scenes catch the eye immediately. They glide past at touch-controlled speed as Momotaro travels from his parents’ rural house through a forest and over waves to the ogres’ castle to reclaim stolen treasure. Viewers can zoom in at will for closer examinations of the delicately detailed figures and settings. Along with occasional subtle animations, background sounds change, and figures in the scenes shift position to match the described actions, as the artfully placed and similarly touch-sensitive text is scrolled up or down. Touching the text will also toggle the lightly accented audio narration on or off. Tapping elsewhere causes the defeated ogres to growl sourly along with other similar, quiet sound effects. It also activates in each scene a half dozen or more windows that unfold like origami either to gloss the significance of certain types of flowers or other points of traditional Japanese culture, or to display a Japanese word in Roman lettering (“Romaji”), Hiragana and traceable Kanji. On multiple screens, Momotaro can also be outfitted with customizable (savable, sendable) Japanese armor.
A fine version, formal but never stiff, and seamless both in presentation and software design. (iPad storybook app. 7-10)