In Japanese folklore, "Momotaro," or "Peach Boy," remains one of the country’s most well-known tales. The ancient story of a hero’s quest to defeat a beast on Demon Island, with a dog, monkey and pheasant by his side, has recently been given an awesome Hollywood-style reboot by Pepsi Japan, who’ve picked up on the core theme of “defeat those stronger than you”, and used it as their tagline for an ad campaign of epic proportions. So far, we’ve seen the tale play out in a series of four commercials, from Episode Zero through to Episode Three, and now it’s time for the latest instalment in the series, which gives us the back story of the villainous demon on the island, played by Jude Law.
Watch the ad below in full screen to immerse yourself in the stylised environment of Jude Law’s character, a tormented demon who was once a man protecting people on his island before they banished him to the caves.
Episode Four brings us close to the climax of the story, as the Peach Boy, Momotaro, arrives on the island and prepares to go head-head with the feared demon. Despite being labelled a villain in the original story, this clip fleshes out the character of the demon, with the British actor bringing a sense of humanity to its back story, which has us empathising with the beast’s sad origins.
As the clip begins, the subtitles explain that the demon once lived among the people, who hailed him as their bravest hero for his strength, until one day, someone who envied his popularity sent a fearful opponent to fight him.
In order to defeat the dangerous beast and protect the people, the man gave up his mortal life, drawing upon a bottomless reserve of power that actually frightened the people. Fearing for themselves, they locked him away in a cave on the island.
The anger and sorrow he felt after being betrayed welled up and released itself in flames from inside his body, transforming him into a frightening demon, giving birth to the name “Demon Island”.
This is the demon Momotaro will now have to fight, summoning up the courage to “defeat those stronger than you” in the closing shot, which paves the way for the next spectacular instalment in the series.
While we’ll have to wait to see whether the British actor will appear again in the next commercial, we can see what he has to say about the series in the on-set interview here, which starts at 3:35, following the trailers and clip for Episode Four. With Law revealing his love of Japanese culture and food, and his desire to work on a Japanese feature film with Takeshi Kitano, we’re looking forward to seeing what the future holds for the Japan-loving star.
Source: Suntory Japan
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