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Anime / Kujira no Josephina

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Kujira no Josephina (Josephina the Whale) is a Shōnen anime series from 1979, based on a book by Spanish writer José María Sánchez Silva. It spans through 23 episodes.

Santiago, aka Santi, is a 12-year-old young boy from the Madrid of The '50s. He comes from a more or less well-off family, with a kind mother and a strict doctor dad as well as a sweet grandmother and an Annoying Younger Sibling named Rosa, but he's also incredibly insecure and doesn't know what the future will bring for him. Luckily, Santi also has a great imagination - it leads him to create an Imaginary Friend named Josephina, a blue-green whale who lives in the water glass he keeps on his night table. From then on Santi and Josephina live several adventures in Santi's dreams and mind, helping him to turn his young life for the better...

The series has the following tropes:

  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Little Rosa. Santi hates how childish she is, and how she refuses to keep secrets, thinking all girls are horrid. Josephina corrects her beloved boy that his mother and grandmother were once little girls, and they love him.
  • Bittersweet Ending: On one hand Santi matures enough to not need Josephina anymore, which greatly saddens her. On the other Santi is now more self-assured and is implied that he and Celia will be at least friends, and Josephina might not be alone anymore since Santi's little sister Rosa probably will take her in.
  • Blush Sticker: Rosa sports these, contrasting with Santi's Youthful Freckles.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Rosa is able to see Josephina once in a while. At the end she might be Josephina's new friend.
  • Coming of Age Story: For Santi, who goes from a super shy child to a more self-assured pre-teen.
  • Death by Newbery Medal: Santi's beloved grandmother passes away, and a whole episode is dedicated to him and Josephina dealing with it.
  • First Love: Celia, for Santi. She's implied to return his feelings at the end of the series.
  • Imaginary Friend: Technically, Josephina is this for Santi. Though many episodes show while no one else can see her, her effects on the world are real. One time causing an earthquake when some boys lit a campfire on her, means Josephina is a Not-So-Imaginary Friend.
  • Parents as People: Santi and Rosa's parents are good people, but they aren't perfect.
  • Puppy Love: Santi and Celia can potentially become this, being under 12 year old.
  • Sizeshifter: Josephina can be whatever size she wants. As big as a mountain, or as small as a mouse.
  • Toros y Flamenco: Averted for the most part, as the series is based in a book written by a Spanish writer and journalist. In fact, the climatic episodes that have Santi meeting Celia and starting to outgrow the need to have Josephina as his Living Emotional Crutch take place in El Escorial, an historical residence of Spanish royalty that is located in a town near Madrid.
  • Youthful Freckles: Santi has three on each cheek.