Little Women

“Christmas won’t be Christmas without any presents,” grumbled Jo, lying on the rug (Little Women, 11).

Classics are constantly being remade to keep new generations interested.  This is something I have noticed with the American story Little Women, which had three famous American movies (1933, 1949, 1994), a musical (2005), and several animes in the 80s but more recently adapted into a manhwa.  (And since it is almost Christmas, this is the perfect story to discuss.)

Frank Merrill Illustration, 1880

Little Women was written by Louisa May Alcott (1832-1888).  It was originally two books: Little Women, or Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy (1868), and Good Wives (1869).  The book was followed by another two-parter that was kept as two  separate books– Little Men: Life at Plumfield with Jo’s Boys (1871) and Jo’s Boys and How They Turned Out (1886)–which follow the children that attended the school the previous main character, Jo, created with her husband.

Little Women follows the life of Josephine “Jo” March, a head strong young woman who wants to be a writer.  She lives with her mother, Marmee, while her father is in the Civil War.  Her older sister is Margaret “Meg,” a governess who dreams of falling in love.  Her younger sisters are Elizabeth “Beth” and Amy;   Beth is musically incline while Amy is artistic. Other important characters include  Aunt March, the father’s great aunt and the neighbors Theodore “Laurie” Laurence, who is friends with Jo and whose grandfather Mr. James Laurence dotes on Beth as he would have for his granddaughter who died.

May's Illustration

The book is semi-autobiographical; though unlike Jo, Alcott never married.  Louisa was Jo, Anna Bronson Alcott Pratt was Meg, and Elizabeth “Lizzie” Seawall Alcott was Beth.  (Abigail) May Alcott Nieriker was Amy and just like her character, May was an artist who illustrated “the first edition of Little Women, to a negative critical reception” (Wikipedia’s Abigail May Alcott Nierkier).  Lizzie died tragically like her character, but May died after childbirth leaving her daughter, Louisa May “Lulu,”  to Louisa unlike Amy who visits the school her sister creates with her daughter. After Louisa’s death, Comic Tragedies Written by “Jo” and “Meg” and Acted by the “Little Women” was published in 1893 with “A Foreword by Meg,” a.k.a. Anna B. Pratt who held the copyright; Anna died the same year.

Anime:

Little Women (1977): Amy, Beth, Jo, Meg

A 20-minute episode of the Little Women story, Wakakusa Monogatari, aired on 06 October 1977 as part of the series Manga Sekai Mukashi Banashi (“Classic Tales from Around the World”) (1976-79).   So far I have only seen one reference to this episode and very little information about the series.

Wakakusa no Yon Shimai, which translates to “Four Sisters of the Young Grass,” was created by Toei Animation in 1981.  Toei’s 26-episode series followed a movie version from 1980.  “Hayao MiyazakiIsao TakahataLeiji Matsumoto and Yoichi Kotabe have all worked with the company in the past” (Wikipedia’s Toei Animation); the company is known for Sailor Moon and Dragon Ball series.

Little Women (1981)

In the Toei movie and series, the hair color of the girls are completely mixed up: Jo has blond hair while Amy is a brunette! And Meg’s hair is never correct– in the 1977 episode she is a blonde while Toei has her with black hair!

“Margaret, the eldest of the four, was sixteen, and very pretty, being plump and fair, with large eyes, plenty of soft, brown hair, a sweet mouth, and white hands, of which she was rather vain.  Fifteen-year-old Jo was very tall, thin, and brown, and reminded one of a colt, for she never seemed to know what to do with her long limbs, which were very much in her way.  She had a decided mouth, a comical nose, and sharp, gray eyes, which appeared to see everything, and were by turns, fierce, funny, or thoughtful.  Her long thick hair was her one beauty, but it was  usually bundled into a net, to be out of her way.  Round shoulders had Jo, big hands and feet, a flyaway look to her clothes, and the uncomfortable appearance of a girl who was rapidly shooting up into a woman and didn’t like it…Amy, though the youngest, was a most important person — in her own opinion at least.  A regular snow maiden, with blue eyes, and yellow hair curling on her shoulders, pale and slender, and always carrying herself like a young lady mindful of her manners.” (14 Alcott).

Little Women (1980)

When she is introduced, Jo’s hair color isn’t really mentioned , except the “brown,” which might not be her hair color but  instead be her skin color compared to the “fair” of her sisters’ skin color.  (Beth’s hair color is also not mentioned but she is always portrayed as a brunette in animes which makes sense if Amy is the only one whose hair stands out and the elder two are also brunettes).  Jo had brown hair in the novel which is mentioned when she tried to reassure her family that she was okay with cutting off her hair–“[her] one beauty”– to get money by “rumpling up the brown bush and trying to look as if she liked it” (162 Alcott).

Ai no Wakakusa Monogatari, which translates to “Love’s Tale of Young Grass,” was created in 1987 by Nippon Animation for World Masterpiece Theater (Sekai Meisaku Gekijō); others shows in the World Masterpiece Theater include Les Miserable: Shojo Cosette (2007), Kon’nichiwa Anne Before Green Gables (2009), and Princess Sarah (1985) which was based on Little Princess (1905).

Little Women (1987)

This 48-episode series is followed by Little Women II: Jo’s Boys, or Wakakusa Monogatari Nan to Jō Sensei (“Tale of Young Grass: Nan and Miss Jo”), which aired in 1993. Though it’s English title is Jo’s Boys, the story is supposedly based on Little Men.

Jo's Boys

Manga/Manhwa:

Little Women manga (1985) by Yun Kouga, whose real name was Risa Yamada;  her work includes Loveless (2002) and Earthian(1988).

Little Women (1985)

Dear My Girls (2007), manhwa by Kim Hee Eun, is the author’s interpretation if the March sisters attended a boarding school in England.  The main character acts like Jo, but is supposed to be Beth the quiet one.  The author really lost the character of Beth in this.  The shy and loving Beth became high-strung and looked down upon by her schoolmates for being the only March sibling without a talent (in the original story, she was supposed to be musically talented). Laurie is in love with Beth just like he was with Jo in the original novel, and just like Jo, Beth doesn’t realize it.  Jo is a fencer instead of a writer while Meg is a teacher at the school.  Amy seems to be the most like her original self.  New characters include Greg, Adrian, and Leonora:  Beth falls for Greg, who is in love with Meg and the servant of the Avery family; Adrian “Ed” Avery is engaged to Lenora, has a strange love-hate relationship with Beth and is the love interest of Ravin Haven, who mistook Adrian for a girl when he was younger.  The head of the school, Leonora, dislikes Beth because her best friend /love interest, Jo, and fiancée, Ed, are more interested in Beth than her.  Since the author was quite creative while writing, why couldn’t she be creative enough to create four new character names while she was at it?

“Elizabeth — or  Beth, as everyone called her — was a rosy, smooth-haired, bright-eyed girl of thirteen, with a shy manner, a timid voice and a peaceful expression which was seldom disturbed.  Her father called her “Little Tranquillity,” and the name suited her excellently, for she seemed to live in a happy world of her own, only venturning out to meet the few whom she trusted and loved.”  (14 Alcott).

“There are many Beths in the world, shy and quiet, sitting in corners till needed, and living for others so cheerfully that no one sees the sacrifices till the little cricket on the hearth stops chirping, and the sweet, sunshiny presences vanishes, leaving silence and shadow behind” (46 Alcott).

Dear My Girls (2007): Meg, Greg, Adrian, Beth, Laurie, Amy, Jo

Little Women (2007)

YKids’ Manga Literary Classics came out with a Little Women manga for children 8 to 13 in June 2007.  YKids is part of YParent company Mediacorp Inc. located in Korea, so it probably would be considered a manhwa instead.

A Random Anime Note: The Disney dubs of Studio Ghibli films have several of the actors from Little Women (1994) —Claire Danes who played Beth voiced San in Princess Mononoke, Kirsten Dunst the younger Amy voiced the main character in Kiki’s Delivery Service, Christian Bale (Laurie) voiced Howl in Howl’s Moving Castle.

23 Responses to “Little Women”

  1. […] Little Women (whatisanime.wordpress.com) […]

  2. […] Little Women (whatisanime.wordpress.com) […]

  3. If some one wants to be updated with newest technologies then
    he must be pay a visit this site and be up to date all the time.

  4. Great web site you have got here.. It’s hard to find good quality
    writing like yours nowadays. I seriously appreciate people like you!
    Take care!!

  5. Hey There. I found your blog using msn. This is an extremely well written article.
    I’ll be sure to bookmark it and come back to
    redad more of your useful information. Thanks for the post.
    I’ll certainly return.

  6. I got what you intend, regards for posting .Woh I am pleased to find this website through google.
    “Wisdom doesn’t necessarily come with age. Sometimes age just shows up by itself.” by Woodrow
    Wilson.

  7. With havin so much content do you ever run into any issues of plagorism or copyright violation? My
    website has a lot of completely unique content I’ve either authored
    myself or outsourced but it looks like a lot of it
    is popping it up all over the web without my authorization. Do you know any methods to help reduce content from being stolen? I’d really appreciate
    it.

  8. New and redistributed ones are never used
    by the customer and they were just inspected upon being sent back into the store just to make sure that the package is
    not tampered and they have not been used at all. Second hand machine come in handy especially ifyou want a proper machine but
    cannot shell out the exact amount needed for it. That way,
    most of the items may be saved from the disposal unit and you also won’t need to buy new systems, thereby saving your money.

  9. What i do not realize is in fact how you are no longer actually
    much more neatly-preferred than you may be now. You’re
    very intelligent. You recognize therefore considerably when it comes
    to this matter, made me in my opinion consider it from numerous various angles.
    Its like women and men don’t seem to be involved except it’s one thing
    to accomplish with Woman gaga! Your own stuffs nice. At all times take care of it
    up!

  10. It is appropriate time to make a few plans for the future and it’s time to be happy.

    I have read this publish and if I could I wish to recommend you some attention-grabbing things
    or advice. Maybe you can write next articles relating to this article.
    I desire to learn more issues about it!

  11. What’s up Dear, are you actually visiting this website
    on a regular basis, if so after that you will absolutely obtain pleasant knowledge.

  12. make funds putting up weblogs and message boards.

  13. I got this web page from my buddy who informed me about
    this site and at the moment this time I am visiting this web site and reading
    very informative articles at this time.

  14. You start your account by entering in the amount of calories you
    are allowed in a day, and then you can add food to build up to that limit or add exercise to take away from your calories.

    The body has to maintain proper weight as, overweight can cause many troubles.

    Remember, that obesity itself is a disease and it is also
    like a portal, which will make you prone to a lot of diseases.

  15. Do you have a spam issue on this site; I also am a
    blogger, and I was wondering your situation; we have created some nice practices and we are looking to trade solutions
    with other folks, be sure to shoot me an e-mail if interested.

  16. You’re scared to look out for you. My doctor broke some bad news to me,” Are ectopic pregnancy you fucking serious! I was kind of got a lousy test and asked me, yes, ectopic pregnancy is rather down to Kate and William’s baby news, honey- it’s a positive with 25+ mIU. It is a home pregnancy tests work by detecting human chorionic gonadotropin hCG in the 1930s to the question!

  17. College Application Essay Prompts ¨ Some students, not QUANTITY.
    Read all essay writing the details for your needs. Third,
    students shouldn’t get essay writing and consultancy firm.
    These rules and format forr the subject matter and your explanatory essay writing activities.
    Try to giuve an academic requirement to hone the students’ understanding
    are with tthe essay. A large number of ideas from which you re going to prove.

  18. Hi there! This article couldn’t be written much better!
    Looking through this post reminds me of my previous roommate!
    He constantly kept talking about this. I most certainly will forward this article to him.
    Pretty sure he’s going to have a great read.
    Thank you for sharing!

  19. I do accept as true with all the ideas you have offered to your post.
    They’re really convincing and can certainly work.
    Still, the posts are very quick for starters. Could you please prolong them a little from
    next time? Thank you for the post.

  20. Definitely believe that which you stated. Your favorite reason seemed to be on the web the simplest
    thing to be aware of. I say to you, I definitely get irked
    while people consider worries that they just don’t know about.
    You managed to hit the nail upon the top as well as defined out the whole thing
    without having side effect , people could take a signal.
    Will likely be back to get more. Thanks

  21. Falsе advertising stands high on this list.

  22. Antonio bravo Says:

    Ani-Comedy has the 1987 anime uncut,:)

  23. It is actuality that you accept Teddy, a altogether current who comes to activity in your character’s acuteness and accompanies
    you on your journey.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: