Horus: Prince of the Sun (太陽の王子 ホルスの大冒険 Taiyō no Ōji: Horusu no Daibōken?, lit. The Sun Prince - Hols' Great Adventure), also known as The Little Norse Prince or Little Norse Prince Valiant, is an anime film released in 1968 by Toei Animation and Topcraft. It was director Isao Takahata's feature film début. Hayao Miyazaki, Yasuo Ōtsuka, Yoichi Kotabe, and Yasuji Mori, among others, worked as animators in this movie, providing many designs, story ideas, and storyboards as well. It is available as an English-subtitled DVD (PAL and Region 2) under the title "The Little Norse Prince" from Optimum Releasing.
Set in Iron Age Scandinavia, the film opens with the young Hols (aka Horus) attempting to fight off a pack of "silver wolves," and accidentally waking up an ancient stone giant, named Mogue (or Rockoar in some editions of the film). Hols succeeds in pulling a "thorn" from the giant's shoulder, which transpires to be a rusty and ancient sword. The giant proclaims this to be the "Sword of the Sun," promising also that when the sword has been reforged, he will come to Hols, who will then be called "Prince of the Sun".
Hols' father, on his deathbed, reveals that the family came from a northern seaside village, which was devastated by the wicked sorcerer Grunwald (or Grunwaldo in the Japanese pronunciation), leaving them the only survivors. Before dying, Hols' father urges his son to return to the land of his birth and avenge the village.
On his journey, Hols and his companion, a bear named Coro, are soon confronted by Grunwald, who plunges the boy from a cliff when Hols refuses to serve him. Hols survives the fall and is rescued by the inhabitants of a nearby village. Hols soon becomes a heroic figure when he kills an enormous pike which had been threatening the lives and livelihoods of this fishing community.
The pike was a ploy of Grunwald's, who then sends the silver wolves to attack the village instead. In the battle that follows, Hols and Coro chase the wolves to a deserted village, where he meets a mysterious young girl named Hilda. Hols takes Hilda back to his village, where her beautiful singing is welcomed by the villagers, with the exception of the chief, who is increasingly resentful of Hols' popularity, and his deputy, Drago, who is a spy for Grunwald. Hilda, who is actually Grunwald's sister and under his evil influence, later collaborates with Drago and sends a swarm of rats to attack the village (in the original Japanese version, Grunwald wanted Hols to be his brother before he plunged Hols down the cliff; this ties in with Hols' first encounter with Hilda and her comment on how they both share the same fate that they're like twins). Drago frames Hols for his own failed attempt to assassinate the chief, and the villagers banish Hols.
Hols sets out in search of Grunwald, but is confronted by Hilda, and the owl who acts as messenger between Hilda and Grunwald. With her true identity revealed, Hilda reluctantly attack Hols, who falls into a chasm and becomes trapped in an enchanted wood, where he is haunted by visions of the villagers and his father. Grunwald then sends Hilda, against her wishes, to kill Hols, and makes his own attack on the village, together with his wolves and a giant ice mammoth.
Hols is able to escape from the enchanted forest when he realises that he must reforge the sword in order to defeat Grunwald. After a brief fight with Hilda, who is thoroughly remorseful about her involvement in Grunwald's plan, Hols rejoins the villagers in their battle. With the "Sword of the Sun" reforged, he is soon joined by the stone giant Mogue. Together they defeat and destroy Grunwald. Hilda, who had given her magical "Medal of Life" to aid Hols, finds that she is still alive without it, and rejoins Hols and the villagers.
- Notes upon the likely origin of the name on Nausicaa.net
- This synopsis was originally based on the subtitles from the Region 2 DVD published by Optimum Releasing, 2005. Character names and dialogue may vary in other translations or in the original Japanese narrative, and the common title character variation of Hols (likely a more true-to-origin spelling according to Nausicaa.net) has been used here. An English dubbed version was released in the USA in 1980, in which some names differ from the Japanese original, especially the stone giant's, which was changed from Mogue to Rockoar.
- Horus: Prince of the Sun at the Internet Movie Database
- Listing on Nausicaa.net (Miyazaki Fan site)
- (Italian) La Grande Avventura del Piccolo Principe Valiant