(Original thread found here.) Last time, we discussed some of how Anne is seen in Japan in general, from the perspective of someone who googled a bunch of stuff but is by no means an expert. And today, before getting into the actual episode, we have a little more backstory. I promise, it’s pretty interesting.
So Akage no An the anime was directed and written by Takahata Isao which is a name you might know if you like anime. He cofounded Studio Ghibli, y’all. With Miyazaki Hayao, obviously… who did the scene setting and layout on this series. This series is basically pre-Ghibli Ghibli. Takahata even edited together the first six episodes in 1989 to be a theatrical movie, but it was unreleased until it was screened at the Ghibli Museum in 2010.
I just think that’s so cool???
Okay, controversial opinion time. I tend to watch dubs over subbed things because I enjoy actually knowing what’s happening when I’m watching something and I miss a lot if I can’t hear what’s going on.
However. I swore that at one point I read that there was no English dub of this. I’m pretty sure I couldn’t find one. So we watched the subtitled version… at least first. (I’ll come back to this.)
There are like 52 episodes in this so I’m not going to watch the whole thing, just the first two episodes. That’s almost an hour and enough time to form an opinion, I think.
Now, this anime is even more book accurate in these two episodes than the mini-series. If I go into the full plot beat by beat, I’ll just be repeating what I said in my book threads, honestly. So let’s just talk about my favourite things, my general thoughts, and anything really noteable.
First – character design. Main players here are Anne, Matthew, Marilla, and Mrs Rachel.
Anne looks pretty good honestly! Red hair, grey eyes, skinny. Her clothes also look prety good. They’re simplified by necessity for the medium (especially in 1979), but they look good. They get across the idea that the orphanage dresses are drab and cheap.
I also like her hat.
Okay, this looks creepy as all get out, but you also get a shot of the undergarments and they look period appropriate. And the “skimpy” nightgown.
The only thing I find a little odd is that Anne has like a sevenhead. Her forehead is GIANT.
Matthew is fairly large here, which I like. He generally looks great. He reminds me, weirdly, of the Bear from Bear in the Big Blue House.
He is quite red for some reason, but then again he does work outside. Maybe he’s just red.
Marilla’s design is also great. She honestly looks exactly like how I pictured her. I really have nothing much to say besides she looks great. Sensible clothes, sensible hair. Love it.
And we ACTUALLY get a fat Mrs Rachel! She has a double chin and everything.
Her clothes also are slightly brighter, while still being simple (animation, after all), but she looks just a little more fashionable. Her hair is also bigger and more modern that Marilla’s.
Other things of note:
Bright River looks really good.
The White Way of Delight and the Lake of Shining Waters both look super pretty. Like these colours are so pretty.
Honestly, Green Gables looks almost identical to the real one. Like. Wow. It looks SO good.
(Green Gables photo via wikipedia.)
I love the kitchen. That stove is literally the Waterloo that’s in Montgomery’s Cavendish home, now a museum. They even have the couch which most adaptations leave out because it’s not really a detail that matters, but they put SO much detail into this series.
In general, this is a very pretty anime and the landscaping always looks great. They must have worked off photos of the real places.
There is also usually one imagine spot per episode (in the episodes I watched) where you see a visual representation of Anne’s imagination, and I love that as a concept. They’re whimsical and magical and a cool way to show that aspect in a way that isn’t just Anne talking about it.
But also all the naked babies are weird.
And they show up kind of a lot. Like once per episode.
And at least in the two episodes I watched, the naked flying babies are just… never explained.
But overall this series is very good. It’s pretty obvious why it’s so popular and it’s incredibly book accurate – like I think the script was basically just the book. It’s well animated and just really high quality.
If you like anime and Anne, check it out.
LET’S TALK ABOUT THE ENGLISH DUB.
But wait! I hear you say. I said that I couldn’t find an English dub. Well, that ALSO has some backstory and it is ALSO interesting. Apparently, while a French-Canadian dub ran in the 80s, an English dub was never officially released in North America. There’s a lot rumours of why, but no concrete evidence.
(One theory, though, we’ll come back to on Tuesday.)
An English dub DOES exist, though. It was produced in South Africa and aired possibly only in the Philippines and on a 24 hour English channel in Japan. Though I can’t really verify this as there’s very little information on the English dub’s history.
It was even briefly considered lost meda. But, now you can legally watch them on Youtube! The rightsholder has uploaded them!
So I did.
As far as I notice, there are no major editing changes, like cut scenes or whatnot, except for the opening theme which has a different song and completely different footage shown.
Which um. Okay, to start, the Japanese music is better. It has a whole little summary of her coming to Green Gables.
In English, a voice just yells “Aaaaaanne” a bunch. Yes, there are other lyrics bu I only absorb the incredibly annoying “Aaaaanne” part. Also the naked babies are HEAVILY feaured in the English opening. Like it’s almost entirely made up of “Anne, Anne take my hand” and naked babies.
I literally could not fit all the screenshots in one tweet. All from the English opening.
The English version also gives the episodes different titles like “The Big Surprise” instead of the book’s chapter titles, like the original anime uses.
This is, unfortunately, the first of many ways the dubbing actually makes it less book accurate.
In English, there’s a lot of non-book details added to the narration and they use the narrator way more. It’s kind of a whole different vibe and I wasn’t a big fan. This narrator was also kind of obnoxious.
The biggest issue, though, is that everyone is INCREDIBLY BRITISH.
They SAY it’s set in Canada, but everyone has British accents because the dub is voiced by actors who I think were British ex-pats living in South Africa. I think. Because none of the English voice actors are credited at all.
Honestly it’s a very bizarre dub. No one has a Canadian accent, no one has the SAME British accent, and the dubbing makes it less book accurate.
Why is it so British????? XD
And lord save me from the theme song. It’s kind of awful.
Also, there are actual mistakes in the dub? In the second episode, they replay the scene of Anne and Mathew meeting, and Anne says, “I’m very pleased to finally be in Carmody.” Well, what’s wrong with that?
1. They’re in Bright River, not Carmody.
2. This isn’t what HAPPENED in the first episode. She didn’t say this. They’re flashing back to something THAT NEVER HAPPENED!
3. What even?!?!?
The narrator arbitrarily decides it’s 1870, and my notes devolve into “What is happening”. I lost it a little bit here.
Ngl, guys, I almost didn’t even watch the second episode in English. “How different could it be?” I thought
And then I stopped being okay XD
The dub even changes their characters. Controversial opinion! Anne is UNBEARABLY TWEE with a posh British accent. I kind of hate it. She sounds like such a snob. And Marilla comes off as way meaner in this, like she’s constantly browbeating Matthew.
When they tell her she can’t stay, Anne’s crying is really, really fake sounding and the narrator straight up implies she might BE fake crying.
This guy’s a jerk!
It’s – this is a lot. It’s very, very off book. Anne goes on a rant about people only wanting boys and that girls can work too, so yay feminism, I guess?
I’ve noticed this is a thing in a lot of bad English anime dubs – they can’t just let there be quiet moments so they stuff in a bunch of extra dialogue or even just random noise. This even happens sometimes in Ghibli dubs and those are generally well made. It’s so unnecessary.
Everything is just off and it’s so weird because the original is just so book accurate. It’s almost a little unsettling.
My notes are just me giving up at this point XD All it says is “I’m so done”. Overall, the English dub is just bizarre but we won’t hold it against the overall anime itself. If you watch it subtitled, it’s incredibly book accurate and overall it’s really lovely to watch. The backgrounds are beautiful and it has great character designs.
It’s very gentle and soft and if you like that kind of slice of life anime, I’d really recommend it. Also it’s pretty cool as a piece of Studio Ghibli history? I would never have known about that if not for this thread.
And that’s about all for this! Cool anime, really good adaptation.
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