Maple Town (Maple Town Monogatari) was an animated television series, created by Chifude Asakura, produced by Toei Animation of Japan and originally broadcast on that country's TV Asahi in 1986 and 1987. The show centered on a community of anthropomorphic animals; its main characters were Patty Rabbit and her friend, Bobby Bear. The town was an impossibly friendly, cheerful place, with the only trouble being caused by the thieving swindler, Wild Wolf, and occasionally by the bratty but generally good-hearted Fanny Fox. The series is also noteworthy for being an early directorial job for series director Junichi Sato, who would soon become world famous as director of Sailor Moon.
In the U.S., Saban Entertainment produced a partial English dub of the series, and added a live-action segment focusing on the moral of each episode, starring Janice Adams as Mrs. Maple. This version aired in syndication and on Nickelodeon from 1987 to 1993, and the accompanying toy line was released in the United States by Tonka.
After 50 episodes, the series underwent a format change and changed its name to "New Maple Town Stories: Palm Town Chapter." In this new series, Patty Rabbit moves away from the forested Maple Town (thus making the title rather misleading) and to a new setting, the tropical Palm Town. Waiting for her there are a new group of friends and troublemakers. None of the other Maple Town denizens tag along, making Patty the only regular character in both series. This move proved unpopular, and the series ended about a year after the change. Note that none of the Palm Town episodes were ever dubbed into English.
Maple Town's setting is based on Canada around the 1920s, while the setting of Palm Town is based on the West Coast of the United States around the 1980s.
The show aired in many other countries, too, including France, Spain, Italy, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and the Netherlands.
Maple Town contains examples of:
- Alliterative Name: In the American version, this applied for almost every character (save for Patty): Danny Dog, Fanny Fox, Barney Bulldog, Suzie Squirrel, Roxie Raccoon...
- Alternative Foreign Theme Song: Every country has its own unique theme song. The Spanish dub, La Aldea Del Arce, got a song called "Shamalele Shamala". The Italian dubs of both Maple Town and Palm Town had their songs performed by Italian pop singer Cristina D'Avena.
- Bait-and-Switch Credits: The intro is far more cutesy and surreal than the show itself.
- Bittersweet Ending: In both series. Patty is happy that she can live with her auntie in Palm Town however, this means goodbye for her close friend Bobby. The good thing is she promised to return someday. This is taken a bit further in the Palm Town Chapter.
- Cheerful Child: Patty, as well as several other cast members.
- Compilation Movie: Played straight with the Palm Town movie, which was just the first episode of the series with footage from the final episodes of Maple Town spliced in. Averted with the Maple Town movie, which was an original story.
- Dub Name Change: Patty "Rabbit" was originally called Patty "Hoprabbit" in the original Japanese version, with Bobby "Bear" being called Bobby "Kumanoff".note
- Forged Message: One episode dealt with Mayor Dandy Lion making himself sick over not getting an answer from a letter he sent to his estranged daughter. Patty Rabbit and her big sister write their own letter (writing it as if the mayor's daughter sent it) and send it to Mayor Lion in order to make him feel better.
- Frothy Mugs of Water: One episode had wine referred to as "grape juice", but shortly after, one of the voice actors slipped up and called it "wine".
- Ghibli Hills: The late Kazuo Komatsubara, character designer for Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, was an animation director on this show.
- Looped Lyrics: The dub theme only has two verses, with the second one repeated throughout.
- Market-Based Title:
- The Japanese version is called Maple Town "Monogatari" ("Story" / "Stories")
- The Spanish (Spain) version is called "La Aldea de Arce" (literally, "Maple 'Village'").
- In France, it's called "Les Petits Malins" (referring to the characters, rather than where they live).
- Merchandise-Driven: Figures of the characters along with playsets and vehicles were available during the initial run of the series. This was towards the end of The '80s when economic downturn and a market already saturated with licensed toys were present. In fact, this even led to a theory about why the later episodes of Maple Town and the sequel series were not released in the USA - the merchandise simply didn't live up to expectations.
- Names to Know in Anime: And how. The animation staff for this series consisted of several names who were already well known in the industry, including Kazuo Komatsubara (Devilman, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind) and Shingo Araki (Saint Seiya, UFO Robo Grendizer), and others who would be, including director Junichi Sato (Sailor Moon, Kaleido Star, Junkers Come Here) and assistant director Kunihiko Ikuhara (Sailor Moon, Revolutionary Girl Utena).
- No Cartoon Fish: Or birds, for that matter.
- Puppy-Dog Eyes: Rolley from Palm Town. Literally... she's a cocker spaniel.
- Retro Universe: Wardrobes of the characters resemble the first half of the 20th century as does the technology. Old-fashioned automobiles, phones, radios, and microphones appear plus there's a noticeable lack of television, computers, video games, etc. Some sources claim the first series is set in 1920s Canada, but it does end up being established that both Maple Town and its sequel, Palm Town, are indeed set in the later half of The '80s - in spite of the retro setting of Maple Town. During an episode of Palm Town, Patty Rabbit even received a letter dated 1987!
- Schoolmarm: Played straight with Miss Deer. She was the sole teacher in Maple Town, teaching students of various ages (including Patty's older sister, implied to be older than everyone else) and located in a small schoolhouse.
- Screwy Squirrel: Bobby's three brothers (Kin, Kun and Ken) in several of the original episodes.
- Sequel Series: Palm Town was this to Maple Town.
- Short Film: Two of them, released theatrically. The one for Palm Town had an extended flashback sequence edited from the original series' finale.
- Species Surname: The original Japanese version was clever in this respect: many character surnames are formed from Japanese words associated with said species, plus European roots. For example: Bobby Kumanoff (Japanese kuma, or bear + Russian noff (nov).
- Title Theme Tune: In both versions.
- Vocal Dissonance: Bobby and Johnny, at least in the Japanese version, sound more like they're in their 20s...
- Where the Hell Is Springfield?: Played With. Maple Town Fantasy World, a Japanese photo book from 1986 featuring the toys and supplemental information, confirms that Maple Town is located in North America. Where exactly in North America is still unclear. Palm Town's location is more ambiguous; Fanon places it either in Florida or California because of its warm climate and seaside location.