Reviews of Anne of Green Gables (1979) and related work

Anne of Green Gables (1979Moving picture, 22 hours)

Takahata Isao (director), Miyazaki Hayao (scene designer, layout artist).

An eleven-year-old orphan arrives on rural Prince Edward Island in Victorian Canada. Fifty episodes later, the same girl is well on her way to adulthood.

A classic coming-of-age narrative. It’s slow, sometimes uneventful or predictable, and a bit weird at times (How quickly did her hair grow back? Why does the tombstone say “Thomas”?), but very solidly crafted, charming, subtle and superbly credible. By the time something tragic happens, as opposed to the young Anne’s endearingly overblown normal concerns, it has become very engaging.

Miyazaki did scenes and layout for the first 15 episodes. The nature scenes are beautiful and the series makes good use of animation’s capacity to make characters age as appropriate. The series is also notable for containing a deliberately ugly bishōnen, albeit merely imagined. The vocal theme music is mildly annoying.

Based on the first volume of five in a series of novels, and very faithful to it. In many ways a more grounded and developmentally far-reaching Heidi: A Girl of the Alps (1974).

References here: Ghibli movie titles, Mobile Suit Gundam (1979), World: Journey of My Memory (1998).

moving picture World Masterpiece Theater animation Japanese production fiction series

Anne of Green Gables: A New Beginning (2008Moving picture, 144 minutes)

Middle-aged Anne recalls what her life was like long before the Cuthberts, and meets her biological family.

Set before and after the canon. Live action. Uncalled for.

moving picture same source material fiction