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Anime: Ashita no Nadja

Cute little Nadja Applefield lives in a British orphanage, the Applefield house. She's the local Cool Big Sis, dances around to distract herself and wonders how is her mother doing in Heaven, while steeling herself for her 13th birthday when she'll have to leave her home and start building her own life away from the orphanage.

One day, however, her life changes. Miss Applefield, her guardian, brings her a trunk with several pretty things (a diary, a Pimped-Out Dress, etc) and a letter. In the paper, someone tells her that her "dead" mother actually is alive. Nadja is understandably confused, so Miss Applefield explains that she was given away by her mom unwillingly, since said mother was very ill and not expected to live for long; by the looks of it, though, she did survive her Soap Opera Disease, and Nadja can certainly hope to meet up with her once she leaves Applefield House and makes a good name for herself in the real world.

But before Nadja can digest all the news, two Bad Men come up to steal her things. Specially, Nadja's medallion, which seems to be connected with her past. After being rescued by a Mysterious Protector and a fire almost destroys the Applefield Orphanage, Nadja stuffs her belonging in her suitcase and leaves to not bring them moure trouble. Soon she crosses paths with the itinerant circus known as the Dandelion Troupe, joins their ranks as a dancer, and takes off with them to search for her mother, her past, and answers to her questions.

Ashita no Nadja (明日のナージャ, Ashita no Nāja, lit. "Tomorrow's Nadja") also had a manga adaption started after the anime run started and before the anime run ended. It was serialized by Kodansha in the manga magazine Nakayoshi and collected in two bound volumes. The anime series was produced by Toei Animation right after the end of one Cash Cow Franchise, and before the beginning of another. It premiered in Japan on the anime satellite television network Animax and the terrestrial TV Asahi network, as well as several local cable channels. The series is available on DVD (in Japanese) containing two to three episodes each.Was once aired in Latin America Cartoon Network

This anime provides examples of:

  • Adult Fear: Colette Preminger experiences a terrible dose of this when she wakes up from an illness-induced coma, only to be told by her retainers that her baby daughter Nadja had died of the same sickness that almost killed Colette herself. (Complete with a heartbreaking scene where Colette rushes to Nadja's wooden crib and finds it empty, collapsing in tears). In reality, Nadja had been sent away to an English orphanage to trick Colette into coming back home to her clan. And both mother and daughter only learn of the whole deal thirteen years later.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Nadja loves Francis, but also is attracted to his twin brother Keith because of this.
  • All Love Is Unrequited: Poor Sylvie...
  • Animation Bump: Episode 26 is very noticeably different from the other episodes in the series. It is more serious in tone, contains higher quality animation and the gorgeous use of high-contrast backgrounds. This is due to the fact that it is directed by Mamoru Hosoda.
  • Ami Koshimizu: Nadja was one of her first roles.
  • Arranged Marriage: Leonardo and Julietta, which becomes a Perfectly Arranged Marriage once Leonardo gets over himself. Francis and Marianne were going to be betrothed, but Nadja appears and throws a huge wrench in the plans.
  • Armor-Piercing Slap: Nadja uses this twice in the series.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Rosemary, post Freak Out
  • Body Double: Since both she and Nadja are sweet-faced, blue-eyed, blonde pre-teenage girls, Rosemary plays this role and impersonates Nadja real well.
  • Break the Cutie: Colette was very broken at some point. Nadja gets broken later, as well. And Rosemary gets so broken that she jumps off the slippery slope.
  • Broken Bird: Sylvie, to a degree. Rosemary as well by the end, even admitting it to Nadja during a talk, though her final scene shows her still moving forward .
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Christian "Mummy Professor" Strand. Harvey Livingston.
  • Cain and Abel: Colette and Hermann (siblings), Keith and Francis (twins), Nadja and Rosemary (childhood friends). The two latter get better.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: Colette gives this to her dad, when she finds out about the whole deception.
    Colette: I don't care about royalty or honor, Father! I just want to see my true daughter!"
  • Changeling Fantasy: Subverted: Rosemary loved to dream she was a lost princess who would someday find her true noble family, but the "princess" was Nadja and not her... And when she found out... boy, did she snap.
  • Character Development: One of the reasons why the series is so enjoyable.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Rosemary is just a face in the crowd in the first two episodes, then starts getting some more scenes by the second part... and by the end is one of the most important characters.
  • Circus Brat: Rita, Nadja, Kennosuke.
  • Coming of Age Story: It starts when Nadja has to leave the only home she has known, travelling with the Dandelion Troupe to find her origins and grow up...
  • Compressed Adaptation: The manga. They shortened it, thus taking away many characters (which means loss of Character Development), including but not limited to: Keith, Rosemary, Marianne, Jose, and Carmen.
  • Conspicuous CG: Nadja's music box is clearly CG.
  • Cool Big Sis: Sylvie "the Songbird" Arte, Julietta. And actually, Nadja used to be one in Applefield House, and sorta has these dynamics with little Rita.
  • Cute Mute: Rita. She gets better.
  • Dances and Balls: Six of them, where Nadja is always in a nice dress. Except, in a subversion, at the last one, intended for her.
  • Deconstructed Trope: For such an idealistic series, it brings a massive deconstruction of tropes like Greater Need Than Mine, Sheltered Aristocrat, Princely Young Man and Wide-Eyed Idealist through Nadja's love interest Francis Harcourt. Because when he sees that his philanthropy is not enough to make the world better, his huge hidden problems come to the surface, and not only he gets called out for his naivete and lack of self-worth by some of the people that he's attempting to help... but at the end of the series he crosses the Despair Event Horizon, and both Keith and Nadja have to work damn hard to bring Francis back to stability.
  • Discussed Trope: Several Rich People and Princess Tropes, but specially The Ojou.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: To a degree, both Oliver and Kennosuke.
  • Domestic Abuse: Just another reason to hate Hermann Preminger: his treatment of his wife Hilda.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Her: Though she doesn't die, Rosemary's calm departure from the Mansion once she loses to Nadja quite feels like this.
    • Also, Miss Applefield got a shelf dropped on her. It happened pretty much off-screen, save a flashback, and only to have the Orphanage of Love disbanded and give Nadja yet another reason to angst.
    • Let's not forget how Jose gets hit by a carriage right after he and Carmen have resolved to separate but stay in friendly terms until they truly reach their dreams.
  • Dude Magnet: Nadja gets a lot of romantic attention from many male characters.
  • Evil Plan: Hermann's plan to steal Nadja's brooch, ruin her chance to claim the Preminger fortune (though she doesn't care about money and only wants to meet up with Colette) and become heir.
  • Evil Uncle: If what he does to get his niece's inheritance doesn't qualify Hermann as such...
  • Eyes Always Shut: Thomas O'Brian, Anna Petrova.
  • Forgotten Childhood Friend: Rosemary is in the background during the first two episodes, but is only introduced as a close friend of Nadja's from the orphanage way later.
  • Freudian Excuse: Hermann never had a chance to make friends during his childhood because his father kept him too busy with the training to succeed him and now resents Nadja for being chosen over him despite this.
  • Frying Pan of Doom: Grandma Anna has one
  • Gentle Giant: George "Leader" Haskill
  • Gentleman Thief: Black Rose aka Keith Harcourt. Also Francis is the Black Rose Thief in the manga.
  • Generation Xerox: Nadja and Colette once meet before they learn about their bond. They're practically the same, personality wise.
  • Heartwarming Orphan: Kennosuke, Nadja and Rita. Rosemary too before she became an Evil Orphan.
  • Heroic Self-Deprecation: Francis is a male example.
  • Hello, Nurse!: Sylvie
  • Hot for Student: Nadja's father Raymond Colbert was Colette's piano tutor. They fell in love and eloped. Much misfortune followed.
  • Idiot Ball: Nadja's attitude towards the brooch is nearly incomprehensible. She had it for thirteen years, it being the only memento of her family, obviously incredibly expensive, and she had never tried to open it. Then, once she learns it is important and that it has a ring inside, she not only never inspects the ring or brooch, she also keeps using both in plain sight. She should have locked it away the moment she found out someone was trying to steal it or, at least, separated ring and brooch to keep at least one safe. Not to mention she almost lost it twice, and she still never took precautions to keep it safe. No wonder it got stolen. The only excuses for this behavior would be that Nadja doesn't want the others to be at risk for it (which is pretty in character considering how she left the Applefield home when it was almost burned down) and/or that she had been ridiculously sheltered in her Orphanage of Love (not that unbelievable, Miss Applefield never said anything either and the orphanage itself is located in the countryside, rather far from London itself), and even those run thin soon.
  • Ill Boy: Stephan, Abel's crippled and long-lost son.
  • Inadequate Inheritor: Hermann being perceived as such by his father is what started the plot. If not for this, Nadja and Colette would probably never learn about each other being alive.
  • Intrepid Reporter: Harvey Livingston
  • Jerkass: Fernando, Hermann, Duke Preminger and Rosemary.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Keith, Marianne, Antonio, John Whittard.
  • Karma Houdini: Though Hermann, Rosso and Bianco go to jail, Rosemary goes away without more punishment aside of Nadja slapping her once and beating her verbally.. Also, Antonio never was punished for his Screw the Rules, I Have Money! mentality, aside of failing to woo Julietta.
  • KidAnova: Nadja. Oh God, Nadja.
  • Ladykiller in Love According to Julietta, Leonardo stopped flirting with other girls when Antonio became his rival in love, paying more attention to her.
  • Love Dodecahedron: Nadja has several guys pining for her romantic attention (Oliver, Kennosuke, Francis, Black Rose aka Keith and Christian). She herself loves Francis, but is strongly attracted to Black Rose alias Keith (making this a Sibling Triangle). Marianne loves Francis and tells Nadja that she should hook up with Keith at some point).
  • Love Hurts: Holy shit, it does.
  • Mad Love: Rosemary has a crush on Fernando, who treats her like crap.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Antonio, Hermann, to a degree Oscar. Rosemary takes it to new extremes. Duke Preminger also counts for what he did to Colette and Nadja just because the latter was born from a marriage he didn't approve.
  • Martyr Without a Cause: Francis, as time goes on and his Princely Young Man archetype is deconstructed more and more.
  • The Masochism Tango: Jose and Carmen. OUCH.
  • Meaningful Name: "Nadja" means "hope" in Russian and is the title of a novel by Andre Breton.
  • Miniature Senior Citizens: Grandma Anna
  • Missing Mom: Nadja's mother, Colette Also, Francis's mother. Who is also Keith's Missing Mom, of course.
  • Moral Myopia: When Keith finds out about Nadja choosing Francis, he berates brother his twin for "wanting to keep a free spirit like Nadja in a Gilded Cage" in his opinion. Well, Keith... who are you to single-handedly decide that Nadja will undoubtly be unhappy with the guy she has chosen - a guy who is not you? At least ask Nadja about it instead of treating her like your property.
  • Mouthy Kid: TJ Livingston, Fernando Gonzales
  • Na´ve Everygirl: Nadja. Rosemary starts as one.
  • No Romantic Resolution: Nadja keeps wavering between Francis and Keith. By the end of the series, the three meet up and reach a common agreement so they leave it there for a while, until they're more mature. Still, it's hinted that Keith is more than willing to pull an I Want My Beloved to Be Happy if needed...
  • Nostalgic Music Box: Nadja has one, and unbeknownst to her, it contains very important info about her past
  • The Ojou: Marianne, Julietta, Colette. The trope itself is discussed, explored, and arguably deconstructed.
  • Orphanage of Love: Applefield house.
  • Orphan's Plot Trinket: Nadja's medallion is the biggest proof of her identity. To a degree, also her Pimped-Out Dress.
  • Parasol of Pain: Sylvie uses her Parasol of Prettiness rather efficiently when she needs a weapon.
  • Parental Abandonment: Nadja and all the Applefield kids, Francis and Keith, Antonio (Disappeared Dad, distanced from his mom), Harvey and TJ, Kennosuke and Hanako, Rita...
  • Parental Substitute: Emma Queensbury cared for her nephews when they lost their mother.
  • Pet the Dog: Rosemary in her final scene, even though the cost is her getting away without consequence, makes sure to tell Nadja that she wishes her good luck and that she should take care of her mother.
  • Plucky Girl: Nadja, in the best tradition of young shoujo heroines.
  • Princely Young Man: Cruelly deconstructed with poor Francis.
  • Promotion to Parent: Kennosuke and Harvey had to take care of their little siblings (Hanako and TJ) once their parents died.
  • Proper Lady: Julietta, Emma, Hilda, Marianne, the deceased Countess Harcourt.
  • Rags to Royalty: Nadja is the direct heiress to an Austrian clan.
    • Rebellious Princess and Spirited Young Lady - In the very end, as she refuses to fully take over the clan per her grandpa's orders and, with Collette's approval, returns with the Dandelion Troupe.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: The tiny little lions Cream and Chocolate
  • Rich Bitch: Fernando's aunt, oh so much. Subverted with Marianne, who is blunt and selfish but doesn't use her riches to make self look better than she is; she's more of a Lovable Alpha Bitch.
  • Sacred First Kiss. Subverted. Nadja is mad as Hell at the Black Rose Thief for kissing her... but this isn't her first kiss. That one was given to her by Francis... who happens to be Black Rose's twin younger brother, but nobody knows that. Though she seems to be more mad because Black Rose's kiss was a borderline Forceful Kiss.
  • Sad Clown: Abel Geiger is a more or less normal one with great wisdom and knowledge, but his backstory is maybe the saddest in the whole series.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: Of course this one would happen.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: Nadja often dresses up elegantly for special occasions, some of them being VERY plot-important. When Rosemary sees Nadja like this, her already frail self-esteem crashes and she had a huge Freak Out, which leads directly to her Face-Heel Turn.
  • Shorttank: Nadja, again
  • Shoujo: To the core.
  • Shrinking Violet: Rosemary, pre Freak Out. This series shows very clearly that, when a Shrinking Violet does snap... snap she does
  • Spanner in the Works: When Hermann betrays them, Rosso and Bianco ruin his plans as they let Nadja escape from the room they're locked in and tell her where to find their reports, which is ultimately Hermann's perdition. At the same time, Hermann thought Rosemary would be his puppet, but she proved him brutally wrong by being more ruthless and smarter than he thought.
  • Stepford Smiler: Oh, Francis.
  • Story Arc: The show is a somewhat episodic world tour up until the last 15 episodes, in which a more concrete storyline finally transpires.
  • Smug Snake: Hermann.
  • Tall, Dark and Snarky: Again, Antonio and Keith (despite him being blond)
  • Those Two Bad Guys: Rosso and Bianco.
  • Those Two Guys: Leonardo and Thierry
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Nadja and Rosemary
  • Too Dumb to Live: Colette. When she was about to elope with Raymond, one of the family's servants filled her music box with some gold coins and a note explaining it all. Colette eventually sold the box without even suspecting there was something valuable inside it.
  • Troubled, but Cute: Keith, so much.
  • True Companions: The Dandelion Troupe.
  • Twin Switch: When Francis is mistaken as Black Rose, he refuses to discard his identity and fully intends to pay for Keith's acts as a Gentleman Thief. This is seen as a sign of Francis's increasing mental/emotional stability, however, and not to mention Keith himself is very distressed by the prospect as he immediately recognizes this attitude as a signs of an incredibly unhealthy behavior pattern that Francis has carried on from early childhood.
  • Unlucky Childhood Friend: Oliver, for Nadja. Marianne, for Francis. Count Waltmuller used to be this, but he became Colette's Victorious Childhood Friend
  • Unsettling Gender-Reveal: Sabine is a 10-years-old Bifauxnen from Switzerland who unsettles Kennosuke, Nadja and Rita.
  • Unstoppable Rage: What happens when Thomas is given booze.
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: Rosemary was a genuinely kind girl in the past. But good lord, did that change.
  • Victorious Childhood Friend: Colette's kind second husband and Nadja's stepfather, Count Gerhard Waltmueller. Doubles as Second Love.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Hermann has one at the end.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: Hermann is the example of what happens when this trope becomes someone's Start of Darkness.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Thomas hates violence, George hates ghosts, Rita hates fire.
  • Wicked Stepfather: While Hermann's stepson Oscar isn't the main victim of his wickedness (aside from how Hermann treats Oscar's mother Hilda), it doesn't change the fact Hermann is somebody's stepfather and a wicked person. While Hermann occasionally pressures Oscar into marrying some wealthy woman, it's unlikely it'd be any different if they were related by blood. In fact, the only relevance Oscar not being Hermann's biological son has to the plot is that it's the main (or only) reason Duke Preminger doesn't consider making Oscar his heir.
    • Count Waltmuller averts this trope by allowing Nadja to live with him. She decided to return to the Dandelion Troupe, anyway, and he didn't hold it against her either..
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: When Nadja dolls up to find out the truth about her Body Double and her stolen medallion and sees Rosemary posing as her, Rosemary claims at first that she's been kidnapped and blackmailed by Hermann. Nadja falls for it and Rosemary destroys her Gorgeous Period Dress.
  • Wrench Wench: Kennosuke is a male example.

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alternative title(s): Ashita No Nadja
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