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Anime / Ai no Wakakusa Monogatari

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Little Women, also known as Ai no Wakakusa Monogatari (愛の若草物語?, "Love's Tale of Young Grass") is a 1987 Japanese animated television series adaptation of Louisa May Alcott's Little Women, produced by Nippon Animation and Fuji Television as part of the World Masterpiece Theatre and directed by Fumio Kurokawa (Princess Sarah). While it's the third anime adaptation of the source material (following a 1980 TV special by Toei Animation and 1981 TV series by Movie International), it's also probably the best known, and gained some fans in Alcott's home country of the United States through its 1989 broadcast on HBO, renamed Tales of Little Women (a pretty close colloquial translation of the Japanese title of the series). The English dub has also been re-aired on Smile (formerly Smile of a Child), a Trinity Broadcasting Network-owned broadcast and digital-tier cable channel specializing in Christian and family-friendly children's programming, but is no longer being aired on Smile as of June 2018. However it has since been released on Amazon's Prime Video streaming service, and English dubbed and subtitled episodes are available for viewing on YouTube.


As with other World Masterpiece Theatre entries, the animated series is loosely derived from the book and introduces new material and characters. The series begins with the introduction of the March family happily living near Gettysburg (the nearby town of York in the English version), until one day during a picnic, Mr. March notices Confederate scouts at a riverbank. As an officer of the Union Army on leave with a broken arm, Mr. March hesitantly leaves his family to inform his superiors and to prepare for the upcoming battle. Meanwhile, his family endures the Confederate occupation and even helps an escaped slave named John from being forcibly recruited to fight for the Confederacy.

Eventually, Union forces arrive and in the ensuing battle the March family home is destroyed and their investment (which had also been their savings) stolen. With no other options, the family leaves Gettysburg to Newcord, where they hope to be taken by an estranged aunt of father. Upon arriving in Newcord, they are coldly received by the old woman and even less so by David, an egotistical nephew who constantly asks for loans and antagonizes the family. Despite the reception, Aunt March allows the family to stay at home until they can get back on their feet.


Determined to have a sense of normalcy and persevere their hardship, Meg finds work as a Governess while Jo alternates between being a companion to Aunt March and Author. During a sales pitch to sell a short story to a local newspaper, her work and her character are presumptuously criticized by Anthony, a local reporter. Upset and resolute, Jo throws herself into her writing ultimately earning the respect of Anthony and forms an amicable relationship.

In time, the March family moves into a new home and the events that follow begin to reference the plot of the original novel: The 18th episode is based on Chapter 3 and follows the first part of the book. The storyline from Chapter 1 (Christmas 1863) begins in episode 21.

A sequel series, Little Women II: Jo's Boys, premiered in 1993. Unlike its predecessor, this series has not been dubbed in English.

The anime provides the examples of:

  • Ac CENT Upon The Wrong Syl LA Ble: The Town they live in is Newcord, A Funny example that it parodies Concord.
    • Meg in the English dub pronounces "advertisement" as "Ad-vert-is-ment". This actually isn't a pronunciation error, as it is typically pronounced that way outside the U.S.
  • Adaptation Expansion: The first 17 episodes are all original storylines from screenwriter Akira Miyazaki. In addition to changing the family maid Hannah from Irish to African-American, the series introduced a runaway slave character named John, possibly to draw attention to the plight of black Americans in the 19th century. He's one of several original characters introduced in this adaptation, the most noteworthy ones being Anthony and David. Early episodes also establish the Battle of Gettysburg and ensuing destruction of the March family home as the reason why the Marches move to Newcord. Also, Lincoln's Gettysburg Address is a plot point of one of the "original" episodes.
    • It's possible that the Confederate attack on the nearby Pennsylvania town of Chambersburg, although it occurred a year after the battle of Gettysburg, may have provided some of the inspiration for the first several episodes. Chambersburg sustained by far the most Confederate-inflicted damage of any Pennsylvania town in the war.
  • Adaptation Name Change: Quite a few examples
    • Father March's first name is changed from Robert to Fredric.
    • Marmee's first name is changed from Margaret to Mary.
    • Aunt March's first name is changed to Martha
    • John Brooke's name is changed to Carl Brooke. His name gets changed back to John in the English dub, but many foreign dubs kept it as Carl.
      • The English dub lampshades the name change in a scene in which Meg reads a letter from him which is clearly signed "Carl Brooke," and it's explained that Carl is John's middle name and he gets so flustered whenever he writes to Meg that he signs the letter with his middle name instead of his first name.
  • Adaptational Backstory Change: Father March's backstory is different than in the book, where he was a preacher who fell into poor fortune after a bad investment when the girls were quite young. Here, he was raised by Aunt March, who wanted him to run for public office. He dropped out of law school and became a civil engineer instead, allowing his family to live relatively comfortably prior to the war coming in.
  • Adaptational Badass: The women of the March family (Hannah included) help hide runaway slave John Marty (Jim in the English dub), during the Confederate occupancy of their hometown. At the time, the fugitive slave laws were written in a way that anyone in the North or South who helped runaway slaves would have been fined or even jailed. This subplot never occurred in the original novel.
  • Adorably Precocious Child: Tom Brooke, John's mischievous little brother. Amy is this as well. Naturally, they get along well
  • Age Lift: The inverse happens to Beth and Amy, who are aged down to 10 and 7 respectively, from 13 and 12.
    • Hannah appears to be younger as well, while in the original books, she is described as being very old, here she appears to be around the same age as Marmee.
  • Alpha Bitch: Jenny Snow, Amy's classmate. Jenny rubs it in Amy's face that her father isn't home to give her money for sweets. Then, when Amy, who doesn't have enough limes for the whole class, says Jenny may not get a lime because of said incident, Jenny tells Mr. Davis that Amy brought contraband, despite having brought sweets to school in the past.
  • Alternative Foreign Theme Song: The U.S. version has an original theme song and opening sequence. In the original dub broadcast version on HBO, the ending consisted of a still screen and credit roll; in the current dub broadcast version as aired on Smile, the same shortened version of the theme song is used but footage from the original Japanese ED is shown. The Italian dub also has its own theme song and an opening that intersperses scenes from the series with the original OP animation (among the scenes cut is that of Amy being spanked by her father). The French theme song has the same melody as the Italian.
  • Ambiguously Brown: Laurie is a bit more darker here than other adaptations.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Amy is a troublemaker mostly to Jo - knocking her down, destroying Jo's novel by burning it in the fireplace as revenge, and occasionally getting in trouble at school.
    • Tom Brooke is this to John, who scolds him often for misbehavior.
  • Art Evolution: In-Universe. Amy's drawing skills steadily improve over the course of the series
  • Artistic License: A few examples.
    • The runaway slave character, John, supposedly fears that he will be captured and forced to fight for the Confederacy. The Confederacy did not employ African-Americans as soldiers until near the very end of the war (due to tremendous resistance from white Southerners over the idea of slaves becoming soldiers), and in fact, African-Americans in the Confederate Army never saw combat. However, African-Americans in Pennsylvania - including those who had been free all their lives - did face the very real threat of being captured by Confederate forces and sold into slavery.
    • Then there's the episode in which Amy is punished at school for bringing forbidden pickled limes into class. In the novel, Amy runs home immediately to tell her family, and her mother decides to keep her home from school for a while. In this series, Amy runs into Laurie upon leaving class, and Laurie advises her not to tell her family what happened but to humble herself and return to school. The storyline was most likely altered to fit Japanese sensibilities.
    • In episode 22, Marmee give the girls Bibles in their favorite colors, whereas in the original novel, they were given copies of Pilgrim's Progress in their favorite colors. This is possibly to make Japanese audiences understand the Christian themes of the novel easier.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: When Confederate soldiers search the house, one of them comes into the parlor where Meg and Amy are. He threatens to have Meg arrested, completely terrifies Amy, and when he leaves tells Amy her drawing skills are terrible.
  • Art Shift: It's easy to tell which episodes had animation directed by co-character designer Toshiki Yamazaki and which were directed by the slightly Off-Model Takumi Koyama, whose characters have more elongated faces and bigger chins. Yamazaki's animation style is generally looser and more fluid and he works very well with the characters designed by Yoshifumi Kondo. (A third animator, Atsuko Otani, directed only one episode, and her style isn't that different from Yamazaki's. Both Yamazaki and Otani worked previously on Princess Sarah and one can definitely notice the stylistic similarities between that anime and this one.)
    • Also, the quality of animation does decline somewhat after the lushly animated first five episodes, but still remains high throughout the remainder of the series.
  • Art-Shifted Sequel: Jo's Boys had a slightly different art style compare to the original, as the characters have smaller eyes. This can be chalked up to a change in character designers, as Yoshiharu Sato (known for his work on My Neighbor Totoro and The Story of Pollyanna, Girl of Love) took over from Yoshifumi Kondo and Toshiki Yamazaki. This is very noticeable when you see a picture of the March family and compare the two shows, and Hannah was the only character to be in both series.
  • Aunt Pennybags: Aunt March. She is very wealthy, and on top of giving David money so he'll leave her alone, she isn't too shy when it comes to giving gifts to her other nephew's family, paying Jo a generous $4 a week (roughly $120 in today's money) to be her companion, gives the girls money for Christmas, and even buys all four girls a whole new wardrobe as a housewarming present.
  • Badass Bookworm: Jo proves herself as this when she stops David from choking Laurie, on top of already having a more assertive attitude than her sisters.
  • Benevolent Boss: Mrs. Moffat to Meg, but isn't above using her friendship with Laurie to her advantage.
    • Jo's boss, Henry Murdoch, the owner/publisher of The Newcord Times is a straighter example. A fair, patient man, he has a high opinion of Jo's talents. Also he hired John Marty.
  • Big Sister Instinct: Jo is very protective of Beth.
  • Blackface: Averted with the African-American characters in the show, but two of Beth's dolls are stylized this way. Then again, this was the 1860's...
  • Bowdlerise: The Smile airing of Episode 34, "Amy's Nightmare," had the entirety of Amy's titular nightmare cut, presumably because it was considered too scary.
    • It's generally averted for the most part with the English dub, ignoring Never Say "Die" that most anime dubbed at this time would.
  • British Brevity: When the series was on Amazon Prime and Tubi, the episodes are divided into 4 volumes/seasons of 12 episodes.
  • The Bus Came Back: John Marty. He rides on top of the train the March family takes to Newcord, but disappears shortly after, assumingly he made it to Boston like he planned. In episode 35, he is revealed to have gotten hired by Henry Murdoch and now works as a printer.
  • Canon Foreigner: Several major characters who didn't exist in the original book, such as David Fowlet (the girl's Jerkass relative), Anthony Boone (Jo's rival/possible love interest), Tom Brooke (John Brooke's younger brother around Amy's age) and John Marty (a runaway slave that the March family helps to get up north, later having been hired by Jo's boss).
    • Milky-Ann is meant to be an analog to the several cats the Beth had in the book, who are not mentioned by name.
  • Censored Child Death: We don't see the Hummel's baby succumb to scarlet fever. Instead, Beth is shown leaving the small house trembling, looking blankly forward before breaking down in tears.
  • Character Narrator: Amy acts as the narrator.
  • Christmas Episode: Episodes 21-22 (released as Little Women's Christmas Story on American VHS) and Episode 47.
  • Color Motif:
    • Meg: Green
    • Jo: Red
    • Beth: Pale Pink/Purple
    • Amy: Blue
  • Cool Teacher: Mr. Sutton, Amy's teacher back in Gettysburg/York. He is a kind, well-liked young man that goes to fight for the Union. When Amy draws him on her slate, he takes it in stride and likes the portrait, but it could be because he is also romantically interested in Meg (which Jo teases her for), but that goes nowhere since we don't see him after the first episode.
  • Crush Blush: Episode 24, "Meg Falls in Love," in which Meg and John are seated next to each other while listening to Beth play the piano. When Meg catches John looking at her, they quickly get flustered and look away while blushing, much to the delight of an amused Laurie, who is secretly watching from the doorway.
  • Cute Kitten: Milky-Ann, the family pet found by Beth during a rainy day. She's so dang cute!
  • Dances and Balls: A few in the series, including the Moffat's ball Meg and Jo attend and the dances Meg attends when she spends her two weeks with the Moffat family.
  • The Dandy: David certainly dresses with more flare compared to his sensibly-dressed relatives.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Jo and Laurie's friendship is full of snarkery. And it's hilarious.
    • Aunt March has her moments, especially regarding David.
  • Delicate and Sickly:
    • Beth. She was constantly sick to the point where her father had to essentially homeschool her.
    • Mrs. Hummel, a young woman with four children. She can't do much for her cold hungry children due to being so weak after the birth of her newest child and her husband being away at war.
  • Diegetic Soundtrack Usage: In the Japanese version, in episode 33. During the sisters' outing with Laurie, Anthony, Mr. Brooke and Tom, the sisters sing the second Japanese OP song, "Itsuka Kitto!" (roughly translating as "One Day, for Certain"), which doubles as Product Placement since the original song itself was recorded by the seiyuu for the four March sisters. Even more amusingly, they all sing Amy's verse from the original song with lyrics about wanting a more perfectly shaped nose. The English dub, rather more realistically, has the girls sing a popular song of the era: Stephen Foster's "The Old Folks at Home."
  • Dub Name Change: An odd variant, since John Brooke's name is changed from Carl Brooke when his name was John in the original books.
  • Edutainment Show: Aired on TBN as this.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: The leader of the group of Confederate soldiers. Sure he's fighting for slavery, but when he asks Beth plays "Home Sweet Home" on the piano, he remembers his mother fondly with tears in his eyes. The woman in the flashback was changed to his grandmother in the English dub, but it still applies.
  • Fantasy-Forbidding Father: Mr. Lawrence doesn't like the fact Laurie wanted to be a pianist, to the point where Laurie's long given up that dream. When Laurie plays for Jo and Amy just for fun, he tries to discourage them from overpraising Laurie's "mediocre" talents. It's because he doesn't want to be reminded of his daughter Catherine and Laurie's mother, whom he hated.
  • Frame-Up: The Moffat's oldest son is chums with David, and he stole money to gamble at pool, which he lost. Meg is assumed to have stolen it my Mrs. Moffat, not helped by David's testimony and the fact Aunt March bought her and Jo new ball gowns around the same time which cost the amount that was stolen, until the daughter Annie, who was bullied into secrecy, tells her parents what happened, but not before her brother joins the army. This subplot actually originates from the novel, but it's only briefly mentioned in passing, as well as Meg never being suspected in the first place.
  • Friend to All Living Things: Beth
  • Friendly Enemies: Jo and Anthony Boone
  • The Gambling Addict: David. It's why he constantly pesters Aunt March for money.
  • Ghibli Hills: Yoshifumi Kondo, director of Whisper of the Heart, worked on the character designs. Other names in the credits may also be familiar to Ghibli enthusiasts due to the involvement of Oh Production, a frequent Ghibli collaborator, in animation assistance. Another Ghibli alumnus, Yoshiharu Sato, did the character designs on Jo's Boys.
  • Girly Girl with a Tomboy Streak: Amy is quite a bit more energetic and playful in this version due to being aged down, though still tries to be ladylike.
  • God Is Good: Most of the characters have this belief, and why is had a home on TBN for years.
  • Gold Digger: An interesting variant with Mrs. Moffat. The only reason she allows her daughter to invite Meg to spend two weeks with them is because of Meg's friendship with Laurie, and is hoping to have her daughter meet him.
  • Good Parents: Fredrich and Mary "Marmee". They clearly love their girls and the feeling is mutual.
    • Aunt March most likely was, since her nephew does remember her quite fondly
  • Good Samaritan: Marmee spends much of her time volunteering at the church in Newcord, helping anyone she can, and encourages her daughters to do the same. Beth takes to volunteering as well.
  • Grumpy Old Man: Mr. Lawrence initially until he proves himself to be quite a softie, especially to Beth.
  • Happily Married: The March parents don't seem to have any marital problems and are fairly affectionate when they're together, the worst that is shown is that Mary is shown to miss Fredric while he's away at war.
  • Hot-Blooded: Jo. Also Marmee, but she doesn't act on it because she wants to set a good example for the girls.
  • Hypocrite: Jenny Snow, Amy's Alpha Bitch classmate. She told on Amy for bringing pickled limes to school, but she herself brought treats the previous week.
  • I Can Still Fight!: Downplayed. In the second episode, despite Father March's arm being in a sling (this is the reason he was allowed a leave), when he and Jo find Confederate soldiers, he has to go report it to his commander.
    • Played straight when he comes home the second time. Despite being sick enough to where he stopped breathing, he still plans to go back after the six months he'll stay home.
  • Identical Stranger: Beth is said to be a dead ringer for Mr. Laurence's daughter Catherine, though we don't see what she looks like, so we have to take his word for it.
  • Important Hair Accessory: After Jo sells her hair, she gets a red headband from Beth.
  • Important Haircut: Jo loses her Tomboyish Ponytail and sells her hair to help pay for Marmee's trip, and it looks pretty cute. Jo, however, breaks down in tears when she is alone in bed.
  • Impoverished Patrician: Much sooner than in the novel, where only Meg was old enough to remember the fortune. Not only does the family lose their home, but the factory their father invested money into was also raided and destroyed by Confederate soldiers, rendering them with only enough money for train tickets and the down payment for a house. This is why they stay with Aunt March for so long since they have to find a house that Father's army salary can afford, even then it takes Meg and Jo's jobs to make rent. But before then, the family was raised relatively modestly, despite the large house, so they aren't too shaken by it, except for Beth.
  • Innocently Insensitive: Father March's lack of contact with Aunt March, the woman who raised him since childhood, was unintentional, but it left her very bitter at him and his family. They do make up when he comes home, though.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Aunt March. While initially antagonistic towards the family, she does warm up to them, and does treat them much nicer than she does David, helped by the fact they don't constantly ask for money. Hell, she buys them all a new wardrobe each as a housewarming present, and unlike her novel counterpart, comes to term's with Meg's engagement to Mr. Brooke much faster.
  • Jerkass: David. He constantly antagonizes the family, Jo especially, because he's worried about losing his inheritance as Aunt March's sole heir and constantly bothers Aunt March for money for his 'businesses,' which he gambles away playing pool. He also tries to outright steal Aunt March's ruby ring at one point.
  • Jesus Taboo: Subverted. While Jesus himself isn't mentioned much in favor of general Christian themes, David mentioned him in episode 46 to attempt to appeal to Aunt March so she'll give him more money because of the Christmas season. Aunt March doesn't approve of this, and orders him out.
  • Keigo: Hannah speaks this way in the original Japanese version. It's discussed more in detail in this article.
  • Kick the Dog: David does this often, from nearly ruining Meg and Jo's chance to attend the Moffat's family ball, to insulting Jo's short hair, to rubbing it in Jo's face how much money he gets compared to the time Aunt March gave the girls $1 for Christmas.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: A humorous example: when Beth brings home Milky-Ann, naturally the kitten is all muddy from being in the rain, and Amy says that the kitten is just a dirty little thing not worth the time to clean her. When Jo and Beth are able to clean and warm her up, Amy then wants to hold the kitten... who almost immediately wets Amy's dress as she is held.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Aside from a few instances (mainly formal wear), everyone wears the same set of clothes a season. Possibly justified since it wasn't uncommon for even the wealthy to own only a few sets of clothes.
  • Lonely Doll Girl: Beth is completely heartbroken when she loses nearly all her dolls during the Battle of Gettysburg, and clings onto the one doll that survived, her favorite doll she named Petey. Her self-imposed isolation after moving to Newcord cements her as this until her friendship with Laurie and Mr. Lawrence.
    • She was kind if this before the battle too, preferring her dolls to real people.
  • Love Makes You Crazy: The English dub gives this as the explanation for why Mr. Brooke signs his letters to Meg "Carl Brooke," which is said to be his middle name. In fact, John Brooke was renamed Carl Brooke in the original Japanese, for unclear reasons.
  • Love Triangle: While Laurie regards Jo as more than a friend, it's hinted that Anthony does also, and Laurie views Anthony as something of a rival. For her part, Jo isn't interested in either one of them romantically and in Jo's Boys, she has been Happily Married to Professor Bhaer for several years.
  • Meaningful Name: It's not hard to imagine that Rupert Murdoch may have been the namesake for Henry Murdoch, the publisher of the Newcord paper (and another original character in the anime).
    • Also Marmee's name in this series is Mary, who is a kind woman devoted to raising her family and helping everyone around her. Hmm...
  • Meido: Esther, Aunt March's personal maid, albeit a bit more lower class for the time period (due to her Irish heritage, and Irish people were thought of as lower-class during the 1860s). She is a calm, pleasant woman that does her best to serve Aunt March.
  • Motherly Side Plait: Beth's default hairstyle, while not the Team Mom, it fits her tranquil and sweet nature well. Also fits the "doomed anime mom" part since by the sequel anime, she has since passed.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: As in the novel, Jo's feelings regarding her ill-treatment of Amy after the "novel-burning" incident and Amy's near-drowning. In this anime version, however, Jo's self-hatred is so intense that she actually injures her own hand pounding on her desk in anguish, from her nails digging into her palm.
  • Name's the Same: Due to the Adaptation Name Change, Father March now shares a name with actor Fredric March
  • Non-Idle Rich: Mr. Brooke comes from a family that can afford trips to Europe every summer. That doesn't stop him from working as a tutor.
  • Oh, Crap!: Amy's initial reaction in Episode One when Mr. Sutton discovers she's been drawing a caricature of him on her chalk slate instead of doing her lesson. To her relief, he thinks it's funny.
  • Only a Flesh Wound: Everyone is shocked when Father March comes home with his right arm in a sling and are concerned he is in pain. He assures them that he only caught some shrapnel from a bullet while saving another officer. He still can't use said arm without some awkwardness, though, due to it being his dominant hand (ie, when they are on a picnic together, he attempts to cut a pie and butchers it, though he laughs it off).
  • Only in It for the Money: Aunt March initially thinks this about the main family, and later confesses to Jo that her wealth seems to be the only thing people want out of her, making her skeptical of them.
    • Played completely straight with David, who resents his relatives because it means he's no longer the sole heir to Aunt March's fortune. Aunt March is aware of this, and berates him constantly.
  • Old Maid: Aunt March calls herself this from time to time, despite the fact she was actually married, the implication being she was widowed quite young.
  • Parental Abandonment: Unlike most adaptations, Laurie's father is still alive, stating that he is a soldier who left after a fight with Mr. Lawrence, assumingly about Laurie's mother.
  • Proper Lady: Meg. Amy tries to be one.
  • Race Lift: Hannah, the family maid, is African-American in this version, while in most adaptations, she is Irish (and white). At least one Japanese book inspired by this series has also race-lifted her.
    • Also more of an nationality change, but Esther, Aunt March's said, is changed from French to Irish (at least in the English dub)
  • Raised by Grandparents: Apparently, Aunt March raised Fredric since his parents died when he was young. She is bitter he hasn't made any contact with her for so long, which Marmee is sympathetic to.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Jo delivers a brutal one to Amy when Amy insists on going to see the play with Laurie. Amy's only response is breaking down in tears.
    Jo: Quit that! You can't go because you haven't been invited! Don't try to force an invitation where you aren't wanted. Amy if you insist on attending the play, I'm not going. And I'm sure Laurie won't like that. I'm also sure he'll think you're a very rude little girl with no manners who is an embarrassment to herself and her family, which you are! Now, do you still want to go with us? Do you?!
  • Romantic False Lead: Mr. Sutton is probably this for Meg, who ultimately ends up with Mr. Brooke.
  • Sadist Teacher: Mr. Davis makes his novel counterpart look like a saint. Aside from the infamous scene where he whip's Amy's hands, on Amy's first day of class, another poor girl is only late by less than a minute and Mr. Davis goes off on her, blaming her for the class not having perfect attendance anymore, and calls Amy, who wasn't late, "Miss Tardy" because she was almost late, even though it was her first day there. In another episode he expects Amy, who is seven, to have learned multiplication of double-digit numbers (which usually isn't taught until the 3rd grade), and belittles her in front of the whole class for getting only one problem wrong out of the three up on the blackboard. He's also quite fond of showing off his whip to the class as a way of discipline. Naturally, he is not very well-liked by his students, with Amy's friends insulting him regularly outside of school. He does mellow quite a bit as the series goes on, however.
  • Servile Snarker: Hannah has some shades of this.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: While pretty enough already, Meg is utterly stunning in the fancy ballgown she is given by the Moffats. Like in the novel, Laurie is unimpressed, but he admits he was wrong after Sallie Gardener explains what happened (Meg wanted to wear her own simpler ballgown but the girls convinced her to wear one of theirs).
  • Sick Episode: Beth's scarlet fever arc, and before then Father March getting sick on the battlefield.
  • Sudden Name Change: Mr. Brooke's name in the sequel series. His name was Carl in the original Japanese version, but in Jo's Boys it's changed back to John with no explanation whatsoever.
  • Spoiler Title: A couple of the episode titles in both English and Japanese tend to spoil what would happen at the end of the episode:
    • Episode 28's English title "Amy's Revenge" has said character burning Jo's writing in the fire after she refuses to take Amy to a play at the end of the story.
    • Episode 29's Japanese title ""Don't Die! Amy Has Fallen in the River!" has Amy falling in a frozen pond and both Jo and Laurie have to save her. The English title makes it less obvious as it was titled "Skating on Thin Ice".
    • Episode 40's Japanese title "Beth Caught the Scarlet Fever!" has said character getting Scarlet fever.
    • Episode 50's Japanese title ""Goodbye, Anthony!" has Anthony Boone leaving.
  • Stern Teacher: John tries his best to keep Laurie focused on his studies and gets impatient (though never really angry) whenever Laurie is distracted. However, it isn't long before John has distractions of his own in the form of one Meg March.
  • Team Mom: Meg, when Marmee is away. Also she does this to her children in the sequel series.
  • Toxic Friend Influence: One of the original Akira Miyazaki-scripted episodes is even titled (roughly translated) "Amy's Bad Friends." Amy's classmates' penchant for pickled limes (which are strictly forbidden by their teacher) is established in that episode, and will get Amy in big trouble later on.
  • The Unfavorite: Aunt March prefers her nephew Fredric over her other nephew David, and that's saying something when Fredric dropped out of law school against her wishes and hadn't tried to contact her in YEARS, compared to David, who hassles her constantly about money. And she finally cuts David off at the end of the series.
  • Vague Age: David. His behavior and fashion sense makes him seem like an irresponsible young adult, but Aunt March states he's "going to be 30".
  • Who Names Their Kid "Dude"?: This was Aunt March's reaction when being introduced to Amy.
  • Widow's Weeds: Aunt March seems to dress this way, wearing various shades of black and grey.
  • Where the Hell Is Springfield?: Newcord can't be found, but it's actually a renaming of Concord CT.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Hannah is terrified of cats, but does grow quite fond of Milky-Ann.