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Anime / Katri, Girl of the Meadows

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Katri, Girl of the Meadows (牧場の少女カトリ) is a 1984 anime produced by Nippon Animation and part of World Masterpiece Theater series. It is based on the Finnish novel Paimen, piika ja emäntä written by Auni Nuolivaara. It ran for 49 episodes, airing every Sunday in 1991.

A few years before the start of World War One, Katri's mother left her daughter behind to work in Germany. Katri now lives with her grandparents. With Finland under Russian occupation, the residents in rural areas have had little or no news about the war and Katri is anxious about her mother's return. To make matters worse, Katri's grandparents' farm isn't doing well and their only cow had been killed by a bear. Katri decides to help her grandparents by working in a neighboring farm.

Katri is sent to house after house looking for work, and encounters a colourful cast of characters along the way - the annoyng, yet brilliant Maruti, the foulmouthed, yet endearing Pekka, the dedicated freedom fighter Akki and the passionate, happy Lotte. All these and many more help shape Katri for a new life outside of Palki Village, with Katri deciding what she wants for her future.

The anime provides examples of:

  • Adaptational Deviation: The anime takes liberties with Katri's age (making her a small child instead of an adult), adds many Canon Foreigners as her best friends and gives them the spotlight, takes place in a World War I setting and also leaves Katri without a love interest
  • Adaptational Alternate Ending: Katri and her mother have a happy reunion, and when Katri becomes a big girl, she decides to be an author. She writrs about the Finnish countryside and the novels become bestselling works. In the original novel, Katri is never re-united with her mother, and gets married to Santeri Ruuhiniemi, having fallen for him because he was a pure hearted soul.
  • Adapted Out:
    • In the novel Katri had a sister named Leena who always had her back. In the anime, she's cut out.
    • In the novel Katri had an ex-husband named Juuso who was so nasty to her that she left. She eventually fell for Santeri because of his heart of gold, such as when he defended Leena from strange men who harassed her at the market. In the anime, she doesn't have a love interest and she's aged down.
    • The anime also cuts out Katri's eventual love interest Santeri, and his lazy slob brothers Iivari, Vilppu and Matti.
    • Annastiina, who spreads rumours about Katri and intended to marry Santeri. At the end of the novel, she's kicked out of his house.
    • The scheming merchant Tervola, who robs Matti out of his inheritance was also cut out. This is despite the fact that he drove most of the conflict in the original novel.
  • Amazing Technicolor Population: Mikki, the cat Katri receives from Sofiya, has purple fur and emerald green eyes.
  • Ambiguously Christian: The residents of Palki Village - there's a Bible in the library that Katri has been reading ever since she started living there. Katri herself doesn't show any inclination to religion.
  • Bait-and-Switch Credits: One of the scenes in opening credits shows Katri using a bugle to call the cows. However in Episode 23, she failed to use it due to her shock in encountering a bear.
  • Bears Are Bad News: Katri's experiences with bears have always been bad, from killing her cows to scaring her when she stumbled upon them by accident.
  • Big Fancy House: At least three major ones: the Räikkölä house, the Halma house and the Kuusela house. All have many rooms and their own farms with tons of animals.
  • Canon Foreigner: Martti, Pekka, Helena, Akki and Sophia weren't in the original novel.
  • Celebrity Cameo: In Episode 48, Vladimir Lenin shows up at the restaurant in Turku. Akki is intrested and tries to talk to him, bleieving that he can assist his dreams of Finnish independence.
  • Coming of Age Story: The anime is about little Katri being forced to work after her grandparents farm is slaughtered, and finding out her own dreams and passions after trying her hand at multiple things. She eventually decides to become an author.
  • Distant Finale: In final episode, Katri becomes a writer and wrote many novels about her experiences in Finnish countryside.
  • Everyone Is Related: Julis' father and Beine's grandfather are cousins, meaning Katri and Maruti are distantly related. However this only comes up once.
  • Evil Aunt: Mrs. Kuusela's aunt Iirela starts out as one who detests Katri for being intelligent despite being poor. She mellows out later after Katri saves her life in Episode 47.
  • Food Porn: The anine depicts food in a very stylized and gorgeous manner. Especially pancakes, which Katri is served in bed after her injury.
  • Foreshadowing: Every time Katri learns how to read and write and emphasizes the importance of education. In the future she becomes a successful novelist.
  • Gang of Bullies: Katri and Aapeli come across three boys at the village twice.
  • Gratuitous Foreign Language: The anime has a lot of Finnish-language names and references.
  • Grey And White Morality: The anime is dramatic at times and told from the perspective of little Katri, but it falls into this. Most characters are good (but not nice), and the only truly evil characters would the police (who arrest Akki for supporting the independece of Finland) and Hanna (who physically abuses children and animals and at one point even tries to have Katri sold to Human Traffickers).
  • Lighter and Softer: The anime version is lighter in tone than the novel (lacking the Love Triangle drama between Katri, Santeri and Annastiina and Tervola swindling the Ruuhiniemi boys out of their inheritance), but it doesn't stray away from serious topics like Akki being beaten and repressed by the police for his activism and Lotte losing her husband in World War I.
  • Phenotype Stereotype: The work is set in in Finland, so a lot of characters have extremely pale skin, blonde hair and light blue eyes.
  • Pink Girl, Blue Boy: Almost all the named female characters wear some form of pink (Katri, Ulla, Emilia, Sofia, Lotte, Alina...) while many male characters such as Akki and Pekka wear blue.
  • Public Domain Character: The anime is based on the Finnish novel Paimen, piika ja emäntä by Auni Nuolivaraa. Given how it was published in 1936, copyright laws didn't exist yet, so it falls under the public domain.
  • Ruritania: Palki village is a lighter variant of this trope, as it's snowy and beautiful with a tight-knit community. It's full of Farmers Daughters, and most people there don't go to school and learn how to read.
  • Scenery Porn: The anime is set in snowy Finland, with Katri working at lush farms thanks to her Green Thumb, and lots and lots of pretty small flowers. Here's an example.
  • Setting Update: The original novel was set in the 1930s, but the anime bumps it up one decade later.
  • Shout-Out: Some of the books Katri likes to read are the fairytales of Hans Christian Andersen, Alice in Wonderland and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.
  • World War I: The anime takes place in 1915, a year after the first World War began.


Video Example(s):


A wild Vladimir Lenin appears!

Akki is a Finnish political activist who hopes his country will break free from Russia's stronghold. One day, he decides to dine at a Turku restaurant with his fiancee Emilia, and his friend, Katri. While they're there, Akki recognizes Vladimir Lenin amongst a group of Russian men and tries to meet him.

In real life, Vladimir Lenin fled to Finland after being exiled from Russia. ''Katri, Girl of the Meadows'' takes place in Finland during World War One.

How well does it match the trope?

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