A 1996-1997 anime based on the French novel Sans Famille
by Hector Malot, Ie Naki Ko Remi
(commonly translated as Nobody's Girl Remi, though a fansub group calls it Homeless Girl Remy) is the last anime that the World Masterpiece Theater
made before their ten year hiatus. It is the second anime based on Malot's novel, the first one being the 1977 version made by TMS Entertainment
and Osamu Dezaki
. Unlike that version, however, this version is a very very loose adaptation, undergoing many changes to both the story, character designs, character genders, and the overall plot as a result of lack of funding and as a desperate measure to save the WMT from going under. It failed miserably.
Remi is a normal young girl living in the village of Chavanon with her mother and sister. One day, her father comes home and is unusually cruel to the family. Remi learns that she was found in Paris as a baby and isn't their real daughter. Disoriented from being injured on the job, Remi's adoptive father tries to sell her to a slave trader, but she is saved by a traveling vagabond named Vitalis, accompanied by his three dogs: Capi, Dolce, and Zerbino, and his pet monkey, Joli-Couer. Remi can't go back to her mother due to these circumstances, so she decides to join Vitalis's troupe as a performer. But they travel around a lot, and the job of a traveling performer is harsh, and when tragedy strikes, things don't go peachy keen for Remi. But she'll keep on going. She kind of has to
, considering all that happens to her.
When the show first aired, fans of the novel were NOT pleased with the changes the show made
, and attacked it en masse. Ratings plummeted drastically, complaints were the order of the day, and the overall reception was so bad that the producers couldn't air the final three episodes and they went straight to DVD instead
. It didn't help that even before all of this, the WMT and Fuji TV were waging some kind of war against each other back in the late eighties, and people were beginning to lose interest in stories like this. Thankfully, thanks to some international exposure
and the internet, it has been gotten better reception from more appreciative fans
who like to see it as its own entity and praise the things it did right instead of nitpick at the fact that it's drastically different from the source material
This program provides examples of:
- Abusive Parents: The caretaker of the children, Gaspard, is VERY cruel to the children he takes in, and only cares about taking their money and using it for his own purposes.
- Adaptation Distillation: It had to be shortened to 26 episodes due to budget constraints, they changed Remi into a girl, they cut out certain things, and they changed various character designs.
- Adaptation Expansion: They did, however, expand completely on one part of the story—the part where Remi meets Gaspard (or Garofoli in the original) and stays with him—and ran with it all the way through.
- Annoying Younger Sibling: Nana.
- Big Friendly Dog: While not ridiculously huge like other typical examples, Capi is bigger than Dolce and Zerbino, and is very friendly.
- Bishōnen: Matthia, for a poor kid living on the streets.
- Break the Cutie: Remi, Remi, Remi. She's been through harsh winters, was nearly sold off to a slave trader by her adoptive dad, and beaten by someone who couldn't care less about children!
- Canon Foreigner: Nana. In the original and 1977 anime, Remi has no siblings.
- Cerebus Syndrome: Sometimes, the show can go from nice and light hearted to dark and heartwrenching within the same episode!
- Cheerful Child: Remi.
- Circus Brat: Cosette, (No, not that one.) who hates working in a circus.
- Doorstop Baby: Remi. Her adoptive dad found her in Paris in front of a building before taking her in.
- Driven to Suicide: Arthur, Milligan's son, attempts to drown himself in a river, but Remi convinces him not to go through with it, resulting in a Happily Failed Suicide.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: God, Remi and the kids under Gaspard's care go through hell and back to get a happy ending. it paid off spectacularly.
- For Want of a Nail: Had Remi never been kidnapped as a baby and found by Barberin, she would never have met Vitalis, Mrs. Barberin, Mattia, or all of those kids.
- Genki Girl: Remi.
- Happily Adopted: Remi, at first, before her dad turned into a Jerkass.
- Heartwarming Orphan: Remi.
- Jerkass: Remi's adoptive dad, Gaspard, Matthia sometimes.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Mattia. He can be nice when he wants to be, but acts strict when needed.
- Lighter and Softer: The 1997 anime is much lighter in tone than the book and the 1977 anime, but it doesn't stray away from the hardships Remi has to face, like starvation, harsh winters, and most of all, abuse from an evil caretaker.
- Missing Mom: Remi's real mother is Miss Milligan, a rich lady. As it turns out, Remi got kidnapped, and they could never find her until the end of the show.
- My God, What Have I Done?: In one episode, the Circus Brat Cosette deliberately gets Matthia and Remi caught by Gaspard, who abuses Remi in front of her. When Matthia tells her about Remi's back story and why she puts up with the abuse, she regrets what she's done.
- Nice Girl: Remi.
- No Romantic Resolution: Averted. Remi and Mattia get together.
- Orphan's Plot Trinket: Remi has a brooch with a woman on it. It was left with her when she was a baby. Milligan has the same one, which makes them realize Remi is her lost child.
- Plucky Girl: Remi. She has to be one considering all that happens to her.
- Parental Abandonment: A lot of the kids Gaspard takes in either have dead parents or have been abandoned.
- Smug Snake: Gaspard. He just takes in kids for money.
- Sugar and Ice Personality: Matthia. He can be slightly mean one time and nice the next.
- The Disease That Shall Not Be Named: Vitalis.
- Troubled, but Cute: Mattia.
- Tsundere: Mattia, at times.
- Wandering the Earth: This is basically what the Vitalis Troupe does for a living.
- Wham Episode: Episodes 12 and 13. Dolce and Zerbino get eaten by wolves, and Vitalis dies in the snow, probably from a combination of starvation and hypothermia.