Photos - Anne of Green Gables

I recently added a large number of screenshots from Anne of Green Gables to Ghibli Blog's Facebook page, so I decided I should post a few here on the website.  Anne is another classic in the Takahata-Miyazaki canon that I don't spend nearly enough time writing about; one of these days, we're going to sit down and go through the entire series, episode by episode, start to finish.

I think it's very insightful to compare Isao Takahata's version of Anne to the popular Canadian tv production from the 1980s.  While they are both similar in many ways, Takahata's Anne is much more rooted in the neo-realist tradition, with a reverence towards accuracy in all details, great and small.  The World Masterpiece Theater series was a way to introduce Japanese audiences, young and old, to the outside world.  These series - Heidi, Marco, Anne - are as much about their respective Western countries as they are about the original books.

Takahata also balances this naturalism with the romantic flair of Anne Shirley's vivid imagination.  We are constantly brought into her world, and her world takes on a surreal, impressionist flair.  This psychological focus is a signature element of the Takahata style, and no other director has focused so intensely on the paradox of psychology in animation.  No character in animation is real, after all; these are drawings and paintings.  But how do you portray a character's thoughts, their mood, their personality?  Walt Disney and his animators discovered how to reveal character through movement.  The genius of Takahata is how he can reveal character through stillness, silence.

Mamoru Oshii once declared that "Isao Takahata is walking logic."  You can see that powerful intellect on display throughout his career, and especially so in Anne of Green Gables.


echoBlaster said...

Such a great series! Have you seen the blu-ray release, by the way? Saw it some time ago, through torrent. Though there were no subtitles it was still enjoyable, and a wonderful way for me to revisit the series (been a while since I actually saw the entire thing.)

Cory Gross said...

While they are both similar in many ways, Takahata's Anne is much more rooted in the neo-realist tradition, with a reverence towards accuracy in all details, great and small.

I find this line interesting, since Sullivan Entertainment's Anne franchise was actually filmed in Canada, partially at Green Gables National Historic Site and other locations on Prince Edward Island and partially at a historic village in Ontario. Even beyond being filmed in the actual country, I can't think of any point of innaccuracy off the top of my head. If anything, I find the live version kind of bland because of its near documentary versimilitude.

The anime version, on the other hand, is much more impressionistic not only in those surreal, psychological moments you mention but even the locations. I wouldn't call it particularly accurate at all, save for fidelity to the plot and characters. It's just sort of a generic idea of a pastoral, North American setting. I mean, at least the house is kinda' right. That's above and beyond the fact that I personally, as a Canuck, found it jarring to watch Anne in Japanese (made up for by a recognition of the special relationship between us through her).

That's no shot against the anime version though. It is good in its own way. It's just kind of weird to imply that it's somehow more accurate in detail than the Canadian live action version.

Helen91 said...

oh the slate-breaking scene how i love thee xD

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