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Anime / Cinderella Monogatari

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You won't see her like that for most of the series.

A 26-episode anime adaptation by Tatsunoko Production of the famous fairy tale. Cinderella Monogatari opens as Cinderella's life changes for the worse when her father leaves on a business trip. No sooner is he out of sight than Cinderella's stepmother has unceremoniously moved her own daughters into Cinderella's room, thrown out her things, handed her a servant's dress, and put her to brutal harsh menial labor. The series covers Cinderella's trials and tribulations as she tries to adapt to her new life while suffering the abuse of her mother and sisters. All the while, her fairy godmother, Paulette, subtly watches her and tries to influence events to fix Cinderella's life without her noticing. One of her first acts in this is to grant several of the animals of the house the power of speech, thus giving Cinderella companions in her dog Patch, a pair of mice named Chuchu and Bingo, and a bird named Pappy. The animals provide her company as well as help with her chores. The biggest twist in the series is that Cinderella meets her Prince Charming early - except here he's the roguish Prince Charles, who has a habit of sneaking out of the castle and meets Cinderella by accident while disguised as a commoner. The two have a few misunderstandings before becoming friends and start having adventures together. Meanwhile, the villainous Duke Zaral plots against the royal family throughout the story, at times working Cinderella into his plots and machinations. The series eventually culminates in the ball in which the fairy tale ends, but with its own unique twist.


Cinderella Monogatari originally aired on NHK in 1996. It never received an official US release, but it was dubbed for English speaking markets overseas by Mondo TV, an Italian distributor that co-produced the series with Tatsunoko and also handled the more notable European release. Most of these foreign adaptations are easily found on YouTube.


  • Adaptation Expansion: The series contains 26 episodes and it is based on a relatively short story. Many new characters are added to the story. And unlike most adaptations of Cinderella, the town her family lives in is featured heavily.
  • Alternative Foreign Theme Song: The original version has a perky JPOP song, "Love Plus Love", as well as a somber ending song, "Newborn Love." Mondo TV's Italian version used a new opening sung by Cristina D'Avena for television, and later home video releases used a completely new song. Other dubs handled by Mondo TV used an instrumental version of the same song, likely to cut costs of redubbing the song, though one French dub used a completely different song altogether. The Arabic version dubbed this song. The Tagalog dub appears to have simply dubbed "Love Plus Love".
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  • Arranged Marriage: Cinderella's father sets one up for Katherine, but as their mother wants one of the girls to be available to marry Prince Charles, she tries to pawn him off on Cinderella instead (by lying of course.)
  • Beauty Equals Goodness: The stepsisters aren't actually ugly here but Cinderella is considered more attractive than them and is, unsurprisingly, the kindest.
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: It is very obvious the production of the English version was not handled by English speakers, if the title cards are anything to go by. For example, the very first episode has the on-screen title of "I wont to be come a splendid young lady". The episode after it is entitled, on screen, as "The flowers from my dream". Note that this the exact capitalization used by the show as well.
  • Bowlderization:
    • Considering how much this series is derived from Disney's version of the story, many of the darker aspects are toned down. Unlike Disney, Cinderella's father is alive, but simply away on business (although technically he is alive in the original Perrault fable).
    • The scene were the stepsisters destroy Cinderella's translated into a similar scene where they destroy her invitation.
  • Cassandra Truth: Charles finally tries to tell Cinderella who he really is, but because he's been lying so much to her, Cinderella doesn't believe him and nicknames him "Charles the Fibber."
  • Cats Are Mean: Misha was inspired by the Disney cat, Lucifer, but she turns out better than Lucifer in the end.
  • Clark Kenting:
    • When Prince Charles wants to be pretend to be a commoner, he simply steals Alex's jacket, changes his shirt, and slightly ruffles his hair. Nobody recognizes him, even though he even uses his real name. Considering the nickname he gets due to the Cassandra Truth, it's possible people just assume the prince isn't actually reckless enough to run around in broad daylight and assume he's just a cocky peasant.
    • Prince Charles also doesn't recognize Cinderella at the ball. Neither do her stepmother and stepsisters - they don't even know it's her until she tries on the glass slipper.
  • Confronting Your Imposter: When the villagers chase after "Prince Charles' carriage", Charles instantly knows that it's an imposter because he's the real prince.
  • Dance of Romance: Averted, since Charles and Cinderella actually know each other by the time of the ball. Furthermore, while Charles doesn't recognize her at the ball, his attraction to her is because of her familiarity.
  • Dead Person Conversation: Cinderella has one with her late mother in episode 21.
  • Disney Villain Death: Duke Zaral gets rocks in his eyes while trying to kill the happy couple and goes tumbling off a tower to his death.
  • Domino Mask: Alex wears one when Charles gets him to pretend to be him so he can get out of a ball.
  • Dramatic Shattering: One episode features Cinderella and her stepsisters being hired to clean the castle. While cleaning, the stepsisters get into a fight and knock over the royal china doll, breaking it to pieces. The stepsisters are told that they won't be forgiven for it.
  • Dresses the Same: Katherine is so paranoid of this happening at a party that she drags Cinderella along to sit in the carriage and redo her hat when she discovers Isabel wore the same one.
  • Dub Induced Plothole: One episode of the English version inexplicably has several characters with the wrong names. For example, Charles is called "Charming" and Paulette is called "Penelope." As the voice actors for some of them are also different, there's a chance this was a pilot for the dub that never got redubbed.
  • Evil Chancellor: Duke Zaral falls neatly into this - though not explicitly a Chancellor, the King and Queen frequently rely on him in this sort of role when he's trying to usurp them.
  • Extreme Doormat: Cinderella herself. She lets her step-family repeatedly abuse her, take her things, destroy her invitation to the ball, and basically ruin her life...all the while making her feel guilty for upsetting them. Strangely, she's extremely bold when dealing with Charles - though only when she thinks he's "Charles the Fibber" and not "Prince Charles."
  • Fairy Godmother: Paulette, though she never lets on until the very end of the series. Unlike the one in the fairy tale, Paulette stays involved in Cinderella's life as opposed to just appearing out of the blue. Cinderella unintentionally helps her out at the start of the series, but doesn't realize who she is. Paulette spends most of the series in the background using subtle magic to nudge things Cinderella's way just enough that she can manage things on her own. The animals stay in touch with her without telling Cinderella.
  • Faking the Dead: In the finale, Charles is nearly poisoned by the Duke, but he and Alex are suspicious and instead fake his poisoning to throw off the villains.
  • Fashions Never Change: Averted. Fashions do change in the kingdom. When Cinderella decides to wear her mother's favorite dress, she doesn't realize that it is outdated until her stepmother points it out.
  • Foregone Conclusion: It's a show about Cinderella. Of COURSE she'll get the guy after losing a glass slipper at a ball. The real catch is that the journey to that ball is elaborated on.
  • Fortune Teller: Yan is a mix of this and a Phony Psychic, as his predictions are a combination of luck, cold reading, and genuine clairvoyance. He disguises himself as a stereotypical fortune teller. He even uses a Crystal Ball.
  • The Girl Who Fits This Slipper: Well, duh. Subverted though - at the pivotal moment, Cinderella, still believing that she isn't good enough for Prince Charles, lies about attending the ball and refuses to try on the shoe. Similar to the Disney version, she is discovered because she still has the other shoe. Unlike the Disney version, it's the work of the animals that unveils the shoes after Alex has already left assuming she was telling the truth. Then she still needs some coaxing. Also subverted in that the final episode takes place after the original story's climax.
  • Gorgeous Period Dress: Many of the characters, especially the female ones. Clothing is mostly based on late 1600s styles.
  • Grand Finale: The story doesn't end with the shoe fitting. More like a big action set piece with Duke Zaral coming back for one last attempt at the kingdom.
  • Heel–Face Turn:
    • Misha the cat. This is symbolized by her offering the other animals food and Paulette finally granting her the power of speech.
    • Cinderella's step-family after she tries on the glass slipper. Probably because the real conflict of the final episode is Duke Zaral's last stand and having Cinderella's family convert from villains makes things neater.
  • Idiot Ball: Cinderella blows off things as a "coincidence" rather frequently. For example, when Charles tells her his identity, she assumes he must be another guy named Charles...that looks exactly like the Prince and lives at the castle. Later, she overhears Duke Zaral's plot to "overthrow the king"...and assumes it must be "some other king". Fortunately for Charles, she blurts this out to him anyway and he starts being more cautious.
  • Identical Stranger: Yan's friend Marcel bears such an uncanny resemblance to the Prince that Zaral tries to use him in a scheme to replace the real Prince. Later, Marcel dresses up as the Prince for a costume party and gets mistaken for him by Zaral's henchman during a coup...which buys Charles time to safely take his home back.
  • Inter-Class Romance:
    • The title character and Charles. Cinderella gives up on staying with Charles due to the class difference and assumes he feels the same. Even to the point of refusing to try on the glass slipper as she doesn't believe she's good enough for him.
    • There's also a short story arc in which Cinderella and Charles try to help out Nicholas, a poor violinist, and Lora, a noble's daughter, who have a similar problem.
  • Karma Houdini: Cinderella's step-family gets no repercussions for treating Cinderella like dirt...simply because at the very last moment, they decide to be nice to her.
  • King Incognito: Prince Charles does this frequently. This causes problems early in the series since Cinderella doesn't believe his cover story, and hence doesn't believe him about anything else. This also causes problems for his page Alex, since Charles frequently borrows his clothes and occasionally his identity as well.
  • Lethal Chef: When making a stew, Charles carelessly puts in vegetables without peeling or cutting them and uses the entire containers of salt and pepper. Justified in that, being a prince, he is used to servants cooking for him instead of doing it himself.
  • Lost in Imitation: Borrows the talking mice from the Disney film and adds on a talking dog and bird.
  • Mad Artist: Zore creates paintings that suck the life out of their subjects.
  • Meaningful Name: Paulette is a play on "Palette", as she lives as a painter (when she's not using magic to meddle).
  • Mukokuseki: Inverted. Despite the fact that the characters are clearly European (likely French or some Fantastic Equivalent), most of the background characters are given dark hair and Asian features.
  • Never Say "Die": The villains, at least in the English dub, tend to talk around actually trying to suggest they're trying to kill other people. Particularly awkward as they try not to say that Charles is "dead" after they poison him.
  • Nice Mice: Bingo and Chuchu are helpful and friendly to Cinderella.
  • Non-Human Sidekick: Bingo, Chuchu, Patch, Papy, and Misha all count because they all assist Cinderella in the episode's conflict.
  • Obviously Evil: Duke Zaral is sporting the usual "evil chancellor" look. The painter Zore looks like a demonic Howard Hughes.
  • The Ojou: Isabel is the daughter of a lord and so she acts like an upper-class snot.
  • Pair the Spares: Isabel is initially pushed onto Charles by her father, Duke Zaral, but eventually gives up on him when she realizes he will never reciprocate her emotions. Her father forbids her from marrying anyone else. Skip ahead and suddenly Cinderella has an engagement she needs to get away from...and lo and behold, the young man is Isabel's beloved childhood friend who still loves her.
  • Performance Anxiety: Mary the acrobat in Episode 8 has trouble performing in front of crowds, requiring Cinderella and Charles to come up with a way to help her get over it.
  • Pimped-Out Dress: Cinderella dons one for the ball, as expected. It's still her own dress, but Paulette upgrades it to look more fashionable.
  • Plenty of Blondes: Unusually for an anime with a European-inspired setting, this is not the case. The overwhelming majority of characters are various shades of brunette - both light (Cinderella, her stepmother) and dark (Charles, Katherine, Jeanne). Isabel, Mary, and Paulette are redheads. The only character who could be called blond is Alex, and even then, he's a dirty blond.
  • Prince Charming: Playing with a Trope with Charles. He gets called "Prince Charming" a few times by other characters, and many people think of him like this but in reality, he's a pretty typical rebellious teenager. His parents want to invoke this and think a fiancé' will do the trick. Their efforts fail, but he becomes more charming through his relationship with Cinderella.
  • Rich Bitch: Cinderella's stepmother and stepsisters are haughty, rude and spoiled; yes all three of them. Isabel is a mild example, since she has sympathetic moments but is initially another high-station antagonist.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Unlike the very passive Prince Charming of other versions of the story, Prince Charles is an active participant in the story. By the time the ball has come about, he's already fallen for Cinderella...and helped thwart a violent invasion of his country, among other things.
  • Shout-Out: Charles is very clearly named for Charles Perrault, the man that collected the most famous version of the fairy tale.
  • Sick Episode: Episode 16, where Cinderella comes down with a high fever. Prince Charles comes to Cinderella's house in disguise and is given all of her chores.
  • Soul Jar: Zore has the power to capture a person's soul in his paintings of them.
  • Spoiler Opening: The guy in the mask that duels Charles in the opening of the show? You don't see those guys until the final episode.
  • Talking Animal: One of the few comforts Cinderella has are her talking animal friends, who are granted the power of speech in the first episode by Paulette. Apparently others could hear them speak as well, they just pretend to be normal animals around other humans.
  • Ungrateful Bitch:
    • Cinderella saves Jeanne from nearly getting shot by Charles during a fog in his hunting thicket. Jeanne's response is to keep chewing her out like always. Even Charles is stunned at how ungrateful she is.
    • Cinderella risks her life to fight through a haunted forest to save her stepmother. Come the next episode, said stepmother snaps back to hating her.
  • When the Clock Strikes Twelve: Retained from the original story, but it only applies to the elements Paulette enchanted for the ball.
  • Wicked Stepmother: As expected, though the version present in this story puts them to shame because there are over twenty episodes of nastiness instead of a film.


Example of: