Himitsu no Akko-Chan (1969-70)

After the commercial beatdown inflicted upon Horus, Prince of the Sun in 1968, the Toei Doga bosses punished Isao Takahata by yanking him away from feature films, demoted him in rank, and sent him to work on the studio's television cartoons. Where did he end up first? He ended up here.

Himitsu no Akko-Chan ("The Secrets of Akko-Chan") was a "magical girl" anime based on a popular girls manga comic. The series was successful enough, running 94 episodes during its 1969-70 run. The series was later revived on television in 1988 and 1998, and also appeared in three theatrical film adaptations. The series currently exists as an ongoing web comic in Japan.

According to various Wikipedia pages, Takahata worked as assistant director for the original series. It is still unknown just how much creative freedom he was given at the time, but I would have to assume that he was kept on a very short leash, and probably focused on rebuilding his reputation with the studio bosses after fighting the epic war over Horus.

By 1971, Paku-san had had enough. He took Hayao Miyazaki and Yoichi Kotabe and escaped to join fellow alum (and "older brother") Yasuo Otsuka at the A Productions studio, where they began their pre-production work for the doomed Pipi Longstockings project. Takahata and Miyazaki would jointly direct episodes of the "Green Jacket" Lupin the 3rd series, and Takahata would work as director on other A Pro series while working on Pipi, Panda Kopanda, and eventually preparing for his epic triumph with Heidi, Girl of the Alps.

This is a very interesting period in Paku-san's career, and it remains a bit of a mystery to me. It would help tremendously if we had more of these anime series available to watch. But at least we have these bits and scraps to inspire us and keep us moving forward.

As for this video, it shows the opening to Himitsu no Akko-Chan. A DVD set was released in Japan, which is probably where this clip originated.

1 comment:

Christopher Sobieniak said...

This could be from a DVD put out some years ago that was nothing but opening/closing sequences from Toei Doga's TV shows in chronological order.

More Ghibli Blog Posts To Discover