Number of episodes: 39
Production Studio: Nippon Animation
Fansub Release Viewed: Underwater
Likelihood of US Release: Low
Prequel to the Akage no Anne series and based on the Anne of Green Gables novels, Anne Shirley loses both her parents and is adopted by Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert.
Anne Shirley is an orphan who lives with her aunt and uncle. Because the family is poor, they force Anne to do a lot of the chores and don’t treat her very nicely, and her adoptive brothers make fun of her striking red hair. The only person she can confide in is her adoptive sister, Eliza, who is just as eager to leave the family as Anne is. Anne always asks Eliza to tell her about her real parents, who died of disease when she was just an infant.
Anne’s drunken uncle Bert finally finds some work cutting wood for an old spinster, Ms. Minton. When he inquires about more work, she says she has none, but he offers to repair a cameo pin that she has sitting in a box. He intends to sell it and make a pretty penny for his poor family, but accidentally steps on it, cracking it. He intends to blame the act on Anne, and has her practice crying on the way over to Minton’s house. Unfortunately, the carriage gets stuck in a hole, and Bert needs to retrieve some tools to get it out. Coincidentally, Ms. Minton passes by, and Anne, not knowing that it’s her, relays the entire story to her and also expresses her desire for a cat. Minton pretends to be an acquaintance of herself, and offers to take the pin back and talk to Bert, while Anne runs home. When Bert returns, he said that, in exchange for breaking the pin, Ms. Minton sent a kitten home for him to take care of.
You know, there are just some shows that exist to make a person feel good. While many people might pass this show off as juvenile and corny, I feel that, perhaps, a little unbridled optimism from an outgoing little girl is enjoyable and fun (at least in anime form; most real children bother me). This series is squarely aimed at children, evident from its gentle nature and cute characters, but I think that plenty of adults could get a modicum of enjoyment from it as well, if only due to nostalgia for the books on which it is based (which I haven’t read, unfortunately) or for “simpler times” when life wasn’t full of so many issues and responsibilities.
For such a simple series, the artwork really stands out as being exceptional. The characters have the same cute take on human characters that one finds in Ghibli films, in that they are decidedly simplified but don’t seem particularly stylized in any way. The backgrounds are richly detailed and colorful, and depict Nova Scotia in what I assume is an accurate way (apparently the artists traveled to the location depicted in the series to try and get the visuals as spot-on as possible, which is par for the course in the World Masterpiece Theater series of animated shows). The outsides of buildings in particular look almost like photographs, and depictions of natural scenes appear lush and colorful and resemble pastel artwork.
So far the characterization seems pretty cut-and-dry. We know who we’re supposed to like and dislike so far. The Aunt and Uncle aren’t really provided with any redeeming qualities, other than that they’re quite poor and under stress to provide enough food for the family. The Uncle is a lazy drunk and a liar, and the Aunt favors her own children, so their motivations are pretty simplistic. While I’m not that familiar with the original story, I’m guessing that Anne won’t have to remain with this family for too much longer, so having to deal with their issues may become a moot point later on.
This is the series for those people who enjoy slow-moving stories with simple, nostalgic feelings attached. There’s no crazy magic or exciting battles to be had, but the show leaves you with a warm heart which might be better in the end anyway.
- Great background artwork and appealing, simple character designs
- A slow moving, gentle series appropriate for kids or adults
- Not especially sophisticated or flashy, which might drive some people away