Y’know what’s weird about randomly picking out anime from the bucket list..? Finding something good! Also, finding hentai sometimes but… To be fair, they’re not all so obvious okay? Especially ones involving… Things… I would never willingly watch for pleasure…
Putting life-scarring images aside, I looked at this, thought it was a children’s show, watched the first 10 episodes and was surprised to see it was easily one of the best anime I’ve ever had the pleasure of watching. It’s that good! It’s something I would’ve thought to find in a book or a Western animated film. Honestly, it was the most surprising thing I’ve seen since the start of my fascination with anime. Researched it half an hour ago and it turns out this is based on the novel “Anne of Green Gables” written by Canadian author L.M. Montgomery.
I was a little bit disappointed because I thought this was, in fact, written by a Japanese human. It’s a little bittersweet because now I realize that Anne, as an anime and, more importantly, a story-it did not get much of a spotlight and, thus, had no impact in the anime industry. Maybe back in the day the original was considered somewhat of a classic! I can’t be too sure. The 2009 prequel definitely is a “diamond-in-the-rough”, as they say.
Up to this point, I’ve only watched 10 episodes and I don’t even know where to start. It’s a slice-of-life but it isn’t so boring as to take place in a real-life setting. Well, technically it does. Just not in our time period. It was written in 1908. As such, it took place in 1908. And man do I love the aesthetic of this time period! It feels so fresh and fanciful to me. It’s a lot of fun just to see the dresses, attires and hats people wear; gauging who they are and where they came from.
I was NEVER a fan of Slice-of-Life anime. Or in general , really! Because there’s no point almost always. You have a few characters messing around every episode randomly. More notably the real life setting bores me normally so imagine how boring a slice-of-life is when it takes place during your average Japan setting. Even one with a slightly more interesting concept like the Yokohama series is one I had a hard time keeping my eyes open. Because nothing happens. Sometimes, literally. And it makes me wonder what is even the point?
“Slice-of-life is something you watch to chill out or for healing!”
Is the common arguments in their favor. Neither of which make any sense. You watch television generally to relax. Anyone and everyone finds meaning in the shows they watch and a lot of the time they apply the themes of said show to their own experiences in life. A lot of people say they watch anime when they’re in pain; when they need to escape from reality. Funnily enough, I hear a lot about how “healing” anime is supposed to heal yet most names I hear when people look for their escape and healing is anime like “No Game No Life” (Really, any “other world” anime), Stein’s;Gate, any Ghibli film, Fullmetal Alchemist, Naruto/Bleach/One Piece, and so so much more. I hardly hear people reference something like “Little Witch” as the product of their healing. Yet a fair amount of people call it a “healing” anime. How strangely inconsistent. The point is: You can watch literally any anime for the same reasons. Watching Bleach is not sucking the energy out of your soul. You won’t be out of breath as soon as you finish an episode of Fate/Zero. You’re not gonna break a sweat just because you laid down on your bed and turned on Evangelion. That is simply illogical.
I’ve strayed from the REAL point but I figured all that was necessary to explain why Anne is an exception. Y’see, even though I see no merit in slice-of-life shows it does not mean they are useless. Slice-of-life shows are purely moments in which characters are fleshed out in a very nuanced way. You might see them have an everyday conversation about hobbies, likes/dislikes, how’s their day been or even more interesting moments like a character merely going out and buying something to eat. Thinking about the groceries they need to buy, finding interest in a new shop etc. I personally think, as moments, those are really cool specifically for characters I might want to get to know more. But I would never make an entire anime pretty much just that. It is just contradictory to the point of it all and boring as hell.
Anne is not even necessarily the best character. I mean she’s not bad. Anne is a little girl who was adopted as a newborn by a poor Family after her parents passed away. Off the bat there’s so many things you can tell as she struggles to carry buckets full of water, folding laundry and brooming the floor seemingly for the entire day every day. For one thing she doesn’t go to school. She’s living in a poor household, after all. You can further tell this apart once the eldest Sister of the Family, Eliza points out Anne’s name and how beautiful it is. Eliza uses the dirt on the ground to spell it out; “A-N-N” for her. Goes to show not even the parents that adopted her paid any mind to teaching her. Not even how to spell her name! Anne thinks it’s an ugly, simple name. One that, for sure, is the kind of name fitting for an “ugly, red-headed girl” like herself. Someone that will never be loved in the world. She makes such a statement with full sincerity as if that is how the world is and that’s what her existence means to it. Fully accepting it as reality. Later on, she is told by her adoptive Mother about the origin of her name; How her Father named her after one of the Queens of England and was enthusiastic about the fact that the name had an “E” at the end.
She felt nothing but joy after learning this and it’s reflective here on out as she emits an aura of compassion that attracts others and makes them re-think their lives. What did they originally want? What could they do to get it? How did they fail? How will bounce-back? They start to ask themselves these questions because Anne was there to show them that even a poor, uneducated, friendless little girl who spends her days laboring for a poor Family that treats her like absolute garbage despite all she does with the exception of Eliza can be happy with the little she has. And, truth be told, those “other people” are what makes the show soooo good! Anne works like a catalyst for them. She brings them front-and-center and gives us a reason to watch them learn from their mistakes and past experiences.
You wanna know who MY favorite character is? Bert Thomas, the adoptive Father. Strange, isn’t it? Early on you might consider him to be… Well, sort of the villain! A large part of why the Family is so poor is his doing. He can’t hold a job because he is a lazy alcoholic. He brings in more empty bottles of booze than cold, hard cash. Not only that but he demands dinner on his table by the time he comes home after his time at the bar. A drunk, angry Bert is always very unfortunate for the Family to see as he begins to hit his wife and thrash the place until he goes back into the Family barn where he chooses to sleep atop a stack of hay. Oddly enough, Anne is the only person he typically does not give a scowl towards. The reason is not so certain for him. Whenever Anne is on his mind it is usually in wonderment of how she is able to live such a life without being angry. But if I had to describe what it was that made him lenient towards Anne I’d say it was that deep down he wanted to live the way Anne lives. To be optimistic for every new day. To follow a dream and have the ability to seize it!
Where i’m at he may not have seized it quite yet. But he’s found the determination to get there… To drop the alcohol, to land a job and maintain it, to give his Family the kind of Father they can be proud of. To give Anne the life she deserves and protect her from anything that would wish her harm. Nobody is perfect and scumbags like Bert Thomas is even further from perfection. But it doesn’t mean that humans can’t learn to be better.
This is only 1 instance in which the first 10 episodes of Hello Anne touched me greatly and there’s so much more to come! I might talk about it again on the blog but I would absolutely love it if you joined me on this bandwagon as we immerse ourselves in the harsh yet awe-inspiring life of Anne Shirley.