Wakakusa No Yon Shimai (Series)Wakakusa No Yon Shimai (Series) (1980) Anime Series by Dave Koch
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- Tôei Company Ltd.
- Animated Characters: Frederick March, Jo March, Meg March, Beth March, Amy March.
- Series Began Airing around 1980.
- Running Time: 68 minutes.
Cartoon Production Information:
Based on the 1868 novel by Louisa May Alcott.
Directed by Yugo Serikawa, the TV-movie was the first anime version of the novel. In the opening scene, Jo plays in the snow before tossing a snowball at the window from which her sisters are laughing. This scene also opened the 1949 live-action movie version, starring June Allyson as Jo and Elizabeth Taylor as Amy.
In 1981, many of the crew members from the special returned for a TV series version. Co-produced by Kokusai Eiga and Toei, this ran for 26 25-minute episodes on Tokyo Channel 12. Although the design for the girls was the same, the animation quality was much reduced. The series was dubbed in the 1980s, and a few episodes were released on video. Haim Saban and Shuki Levy provided new music.
A new series appeared in 1987, this time by Nippon Animation on Fuji TV. The 18th series in the "World Masterpiece Theater" franchise, it ran for 48 episodes. Yoshifumi Kondo provided character designs. This version was set in the new town of "Newcord." The first story from the original novel appeared only in Episode 18, while the first line didn't come until Episode 21. Characters included the sisters' aunt Marte, as well as escaped slave Jim, nephew David and reporter Anthony. Scenes from the novel were rearranged, but the anime remained faithful to the book (although only the first half was adapted). However, an episode in which one of the girls is hit at school was treated as shocking in the book, but reluctantly accepted in the anime. In the 1990s, the series was bought by Saban and broadcast on HBO.
"Wakakusa Monogatari: Nan to Jo Sensei" ("Story of Young Grasses: Nan and Teacher Jo") was released in 1993. Also by Nippon Animation, it appeared on Fuji TV as well- this time, for 40 episodes. This third series was created as a sequel to the second. It was an adaptation of Alcott's "Little Men: Life at Plumfield with Jo's Boys." The locale is changed from "Newcord" to Concord, and the story is set 10 years after the second series. Characters include Jo's husband and their two children, although two disabled characters from Alcott's novel do not appear in the anime. Kiharu Sato provided new, softer character designs.
The series are unrelated to "Little Women in Love," aired as part of the "Modern Love's Silliness" anthology show.
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