Little Women (1980)

Meg, Jo, Beth & Amy

Length: 68 minutes

This anime confused me quite a lot. A long time I thought this was was the summarized movie of the 26 episodes series "wakakusa no yon shimai (Four sisters of young grass)" There was just one problem: The series was produced in 1981, whereas this movie was produced in 1980.
Though the character design of the main characters is almost the same in both versions, the main difference lays in the char design of Jo. (In the series the hair of Jo is curled, in this movie version the hair of Jo is straight.)
The solution lies in a wikipedia article. Both versions were produced by the same production team. It can be asumed that this movie version has to be seen as a pilot and after the success the production team decided to produce a whole series about Little Women.

Anyways, this animation was obvious influenced by the movies from 1933 and 1949 as in the very beginning Jo jumps over the fence of her home, struggles and falls into the snow, just for the fun of her sisters behind the window who start laughing right away. Angry about that Jo tries again, finally manages to jump over the fence and in her triumph throws a snowball on the window where her sisters are standing. Do you remeber this scene? It's the same beginning as in the 1949 version with June Allyson (Jo) and Elizabeth Taylor (Amy).

What me surprised and pleased was the fact that some objects from Concord were animated as they appear in real life. Orchard House (Home of Louisa May Alcott and in the movies home of the March family) and the bridge over the Concord River (see picture below) were two things I discovered. To be honest, this was one thing I missed in the 1987 version (were even Concord was named Newcord).

For the quality of this animation it must be said, that the character design is quite inconsequent. It's obvious that each main character was drawn by a different animator and that they couldn't compromise on a common style. While Jo and Meg are drawn in a WMT style, others like Beth are typical Japanese "BIG Eyed Girl" animations or drawn like Japanese persons (the doctor). Laurie even looks like Captain Future...





Produced by Toei Animation
Directed by Yuugo Serikawa
Original Lyric by Etsuko Bushika
Music by Yuusuke Hoguchi


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