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, Madhouse, 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 anime series was was later aired by the anime satellite television network, Animax, who translated and dubbed the series into English for broadcast across its respective English-language networks in Southeast Asia and South Asia, under the title Remi, Nobody's Girl, as well as other languages.
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.
- Adaptation Name Change: Gaspard is actually Garofoli in the book.
- Big Friendly Dog: While not ridiculously huge like other typical examples, Capi is bigger than Dolce and Zerbino, and is very friendly.
- 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!
- Clear My Name: In Episode 8, Vitalis is accused and arrested for arson. He is released in Episode 11 after the police caught the real suspect.
- Doorstop Baby: Remi. Her adoptive dad found her in Paris in front of a building before taking her in.
- Cool Big Sis: Remi, She's being a good big sister.
- The Cutie: Remi.
- 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.
- Gender Flip: Remi is originally a boy.
- 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.
- 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.
- Parental Abandonment: A lot of the kids Gaspard takes in either have dead parents or have been abandoned.
- Promoted to Love Interest: Matthia who was best friends with the protagonist in the novel is this to his Gender Flip version here while Lise, the original love interest, is relegated to a Tagalong Kid who sees Remi as a Cool Big Sis instead.
- Sugar-and-Ice Personality: Matthia. He can be slightly mean one time and nice the next.
- 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.