Akage no Anne

Anne of Green Gables (赤毛のアン, Akage no An, literally “Red-haired Anne”) is an animated television series (part of World Masterpiece Theater) adapted from the novel Anne of Green Gables by Canadian writer Lucy Maud Montgomery and produced by people who are now members of Studio Ghibli: directed by Isao Takahata with scene design and layout by Hayao Miyazaki. Due to disagreements with Takahata’s controlled, realistic acting animation, Miyazaki left Nippon Animation after 15 episodes.

The year 2009 marks the 30th anniversary of Akage no An animation and 101th anniversary of Anne of Green Gables novel. New anime will be based on the novel Before Green Gables by Budge Wilson.

2009年にはTVアニメ30周年、高畑勲氏・宮崎駿氏の参加作

TVアニメシリーズ「赤毛のアン」は1979年に「世界名作劇場」として放送されました。監督に高畑勲氏、スタッフとして宮崎駿氏が参加しており、「厚生省児童福祉文化賞」を受賞した日本のテレビアニメを代表する作品です。またTV アニメ30周年を迎える2009年には、赤毛のアン生誕100周年記念作品「こんにちはアン」のアニメ化が決定しています。 (Bandaivisual, PDF File)

Reception of the novel Anne of Green Gables:

Anne of Green Gables is worth a thousand of the problem stories with which the bookshelves are crowded today, and we venture the opinion that this simple story of rural life in Canada will be read and reread when many of the more pretentious stories are all forgotten. There is not a dull page in the whole volume … (The Toronto Globe, 1908)

In Anne of Green Gables, you will find the dearest and most moving and delightful child since the immortal Alice. Mark Twain

Before Green Gables

Perhaps the most controversial of the three books here is Before Green Gables, a prequel that was fully authorized by Montgomery’s heirs. Written by Budge Wilson, the author of more than 30 novels for children (including the Governor-General’s Award-nominated Friendships and four titles in the Our Canadian Girl series), this prequel attempts to account for Anne’s early life by expanding upon the few “bald facts” that the 11-year-old offers Marilla Cuthbert on her arrival at Green Gables. Wilson does not attempt to mimic Montgomery’s writing style – the novel contains no wordplay or parody, no literary allusions to the canonical British and American texts that would have been known to readers of Montgomery’s background – but what she offers instead is a story that humanizes characters who appear on the fringes of Montgomery’s text. We see Walter and Bertha Shirley exhibiting many of the qualities that Anne would inherit – love, harmony and the ability to transform the lives of those around them.

Wilson’s novel refuses to sugarcoat the neglect and abuse that Anne endures in two households in which she is literally a servant; adding these humanizing elements is necessary to soften the blow, but it does create problems when we view the novel as a precursor of Montgomery’s own work. It implies that Anne tells Marilla a very selective version of her past, which is troubling due to the fact that it is on the basis of Marilla’s pity for Anne’s “starved, unloved life” that she allows the orphan to stay.

These detractions aside, what is most appealing about Wilson’s book is Anne herself: her ability to make the best of her circumstances, her love of learning, her keen appreciation of the natural world and her delight in Montgomery’s favourite natural image in her series, “the bend in the road.” (Benjamin Lefebvre)

Slideshow with the background art from Akage no Anne

Akage no Anne Opening (Italian)

Akage no Anne Opening Song (Japanese)

Further Reading:

Akage no An (Nippon Animation Official Website)
Akage no An (Bandai Visual Official Website)
Before Green Gables Prequel Animation to Anne Novels Green-Lit (ANN)
Anne of Green Gables (ANN)

New Anime Spring 2009

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11 thoughts on “Anne of Green Gables (Akage no Anne) Prequel: Before Green Gables (Konnichiwa Anne)

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