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Kashi no Ki Mokku (known as Pinocchio: The Series or Saban's Adventures of Pinocchio in the Western world) is an anime adaptation of the story of Pinocchio, made by Tatsunoko Production. It ran for 52 episodes in 1972 on Fuji Television. The first adaptation into English came in 1984 when Jim Terry of Force Five fame cut several episodes into movie form; this version was distributed by Harmony Gold. Then in 1990, Saban Entertainment adapted the entire series into English, as one of several Tatsunoko shows they dubbed around the same time. This version ran on HBO in 1992, on BBC1 in the UK, and all over the world via Fox Kids.

Unlike the Disney version, this version is far more like Carlo Collodi's original story, which was rather dark. In one infamous episode, Pinocchio tries to kill a boy and take his heart to become human. Pinocchio himself was characterized as being prone to all the flaws of humanity, and he had to learn how to overcome them. It's also a very loose adaptation of Collodi's novel, as Pinocchio has his own share of adventures, none of which are based on the original story.


See also Piccolino no Bouken, a later adaptation of the story.

This anime contains examples of:

  • Adaptation Inspiration: The basic premise is the same as the book and more popular re-tellings, you can even see some episodes that were influenced by parts of the original story, but Tatsunoko managed to make it their own story.
  • Adaptation Name Change: In the original Japanese version, Pinocchio is known as Mokku, and Gepetto is simply called Ojisan ("Grandpa"). Foreign dubs return the characters to their more commonly known names.
  • Adaptation Species Change: The cat that was the fox's partner-in-crime in the book and other adaptations is replaced with a weasel named Willie. In the Italian dub, however, Willie is still referred to as "The Cat".
  • Adaptational Villainy: Similar to the Disney movie and the Russian Buratino, the Puppet Master is depicted as a villain instead of being a Jerk with a Heart of Gold who sympathizes with Pinocchio and gives him money for his father. His incarnation in this anime, called "Sneeroff" in the Saban dub (Zampino in the Harmony Gold dub), is arguably the most cruel and evil take on the character, so much so that he's a recurring villain.
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  • Alternative Foreign Theme Song: The Harmony Gold and Saban English dubs have different theme songs, which are both different from the Japanese.
  • And I Must Scream: In the original book, the marionettes of the puppet theater were just as sentient as Pinocchio was, while in the Disney movie they were inanimate objects (thus making Pinocchio an attraction for being a miraculous living puppet) this anime instead goes for something in between, where the puppets cannot move, but they're conscious and only Pinocchio can hear them, and they're far from happy about being unable to do anything when the living people destroy or burn them when they break or get too old to use. Yikes.
  • Animate Inanimate Object: The main character is one.
  • Anti-Villain: In the Japanese version, the cat that convinces Pinocchio to kill a boy was avenging the death of her child, which the boy took his anger out on and killed.
  • Become a Real Boy: As in most adaptions.
  • Bowdlerize: The aforementioned episode where Pinocchio nearly commits murder had so much cut from the Saban dub that it ran several minutes short.
    • The way the episode is cut makes it seem like they fully dubbed the uncut version but they left the dubbed dialogue unchanged when they censored it, as Johnny somehow knows Pinocchio is trying to take his heart without Pinocchio telling him and the part where Johnny's father calls him a good-for-nothing as part of a Secret Test of Character where he pretended to let Pinocchio kill him and Johnny's father explaining why he put them through the Secret Test of Character were still left in even though said Secret Test of Character was cut.
    • The death of the cricket was cut, though the cricket is still stated to be dead later.
    • Episode 6 also has Pinocchio's schoolmates being attacked by wolves after attempting to use the cross against them, and some of the soldiers used guns to shoot the wolves in the uncut version, then after that there's a scene where the fathers of Pinocchio's schoolmates crying, subverted in the English dub where their deaths were mentioned.
    • Any scene that shows physical violence (i.e.: thrown down, slapped, whipped) is also cut.
    • In episode 17 a baby bird that hatched earlier in the episode tries to drown himself when the other birds all reject him but is rescued by Pinocchio, the English dub throws in a line about the bird being good at swimming to try and make it seem like he was just running away even further.
    • The Harmony Gold dub simply chose not to adapt these episodes; most of the episodes they did adapt are from the latter half of the series.
  • Butt-Monkey: Being a live toy puppet isn't easy when you are Pinocchio. He would constantly get tormented, persecuted, bullied, humiliated, tricked, ridiculed, and beaten.
  • Cats Are Mean: In the episode where Pinocchio almost kills a kid to steal his heart, a cat is the one who gives him the idea in the first place.
    • In the original version, she was getting revenge on the kid because he killed her child, but she still smiled at him getting hurt and crying before he did that.
  • Child of Two Worlds: The world of nature recognises him as one of their own due to his mother being a tree, but he keeps seeking acceptance from humans
  • The Conscience:
    • The Cricket, of course. Much as in the original book, he died in the beginning of the series and appeared as a ghost after that.
    • Georgeo the crow acts as a second one in a few episodes.
  • Cut His Heart Out with a Spoon: Pinocchio attempts to remove a boy's heart with a chisel.
  • Darker and Edgier: If original novel may come off as being too dark for those more familiar with the Disney version, this anime turns it up to 11, with many more characters (children among these) dying, psychologically and physically abusive villains and angst from the main character being unhappy or longing for his father. Not to mention how Pinocchio almost kills a child like a horror movie killer doll in one episode. In the English dub most of the darkest moments have been edited around to be less dramatic or cut entirely, such as Pinocchio setting himself on fire to unfreeze himself and almost burning to death in the series finale. (The earlier Harmony Gold dub simply didn't include those episodes at all, except for of course the final episode.)
  • Death of a Child:
    • In episode 5, a kitten is killed onscreen.
    • In the uncensored version of episode 6, two boys are killed by wolves before the adults could intervene. We get to see their fathers crying while clutching their bodies.
    • In episode 37, a baby vulture dies in a burning building.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: In the English dub, the cat that tried to get Johnny killed claimed he once threw a rock at her, though she could have been lying. In the original version, Johnny instead killed her kitten to vent his frustrations, thus she wanted her revenge.
  • A Dog Named "Dog": The cricket's name in the original version is "Koorogi," which is Japanese for "cricket." He was renamed Timothy in the Harmony Gold dub.
  • Dub Text: In episode 10 Pinocchio causes trouble by lying, culminating in Gepetto convincing the Mayor to call off an Angry Mob in exchange for a carving he'd admired, later a traveling bandit tricks him into breaking into the Mayor's house while he robs the safe and then leaves Pinocchio to take the fall. In the original the Mayor refuses Geppetto's plea to stop the townsfolk from killing his son because he's been pushed too far, the dubbing team took issue with that and changed it to him following the letter of the law... think about this for a minute: the town doles out the death penalty for theft, even if the culprit's a child.
    • The infamous episode 5 contains a line that was cut from the English version that implies Pinocchio thinks stealing his classmate's heart will just make them switch species; that he'll turn into a living puppet while Pinocchio will become human. True the scene is still scary, but it's a little better knowing he doesn't fully understand his actions.
  • Easily Forgiven: In episode 11 Pinocchio deliberately rips up a drawing Jocko made of his mother, the last thing she has left to remember him by, and she just forgives him by the end.
  • Exposed Extraterrestrials: Crom, a little alien boy from episode 35 wears only a baseball cap.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: The cricket is accidentally crushed by a mallet, with its insides frothing out of its mouth. In the dub, the part where the cricket falls over dead was cut.
  • Failed a Spot Check: Played with a few times, namely at the end of episode 3 when Charlie tries to saw Pinocchio's head off with a knife despite being in the one-room home of a woodcarver and actual woodcutting tools being just as easy to reach.
  • Good Parents: Geppetto is always willing to step in and help Pinocchio when he's upset or in trouble. The Fairy uses magic to save him a few times, helps him find a way to get out of bad situations safely, never doubts he'll one day become human even when he messes up, and lets him know she's proud of him when he makes the right choice.
  • Grey-and-Gray Morality: In episode 11 Pinocchio finds himself morally conflicted when one of his bullies dies.
  • Heel–Face Turn: A few examples, Jack, Willie, Charlie & Nora all become more friendly in later episodes.
    • Played strait in episode 43 with both the boy Pinocchio befriends and later his father.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Barely averted in several episodes including episode 44 when he offers to let a group of children he's stranded in a blizzard with burn him, episode 50 when he tells the fire monster to punish him and let Geppetto & Gina live, Episode 51 when he offers to let the army take him if they'll let a wheelchair-bound girl keep her dolls
    • Played strait in episode 36 when the lion lets himself drown in a swamp to save Pinocchio from the same fate (though the lion was dying anyway).
    • In episode 39 as well when Debbo the dog volunteers to jump off the balloon and onto a piece of driftwood so everyone else can make it to land safely.
    • Pinocchio gets some more minor ones earlier in the series when his limbs are damaged to help others in episodes 4, 7, 14, 15, and 33. Though in those cases the damage isn't permanent since his damaged limbs can be replaced.
  • Hide Your Otherness: In one episode he's given an outfit that covers most of his puppet features and spends most of the episode trying to keep up the masquerade for a girl he befriends.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: A few of these happen, most notably in episodes 19 & 20 when Pinocchio attempts to use a magic violin to earn money and ends up getting arrested when his music isn't as good as he promised, in the next episode a king tries to use it to create money but it ends up insulting him.
  • Honor Before Reason: There are a few examples, such as in episode 31 when Geppetto refuses to eat the bread Charlie brought him after learning it's stolen and demands he return it What makes it this is that the bread was a day old, and Charlie (a mouse) dragged all over town.
  • Improbable Infant Survival: In episode 4 Pinocchio successfully rescues a nest of baby birds from a burning building.
  • Infant Sibling Jealousy: An odd variation, Charlie the Mouse has shades of this with Pinocchio and skirts Cain and Abel territory at one point. He eventually warms up to the puppet and eventually comes to genuinely care about him, but not until he's made several direct & indirect attempts on his life.
  • Innocently Insensitive: In episode 11 one of Pinocchio's classmates falls in the river and drowns, he gets the idea to take his place and shows up on the mother's doorstep shortly after the funeral offering to be her new son...she takes it as well as you'd expect.
  • I Owe You My Life: Jack & Willie become much nicer to Pinocchio after he saves their lives multiple times, eventually becoming his friends.
    • Sets the plot of episode 27 in motion when a baby crow helps him learn to fly after he saves him from a farmer.
  • Karma Houdini: Pinocchio's schoolmates who manipulate him, torture him, and get him in trouble, are never seen receiving their comeuppance.
  • Kids Are Cruel: Many kids often pick on Pinocchio in the beginning of the show.
  • Killed Offscreen: The Cricket in the English dub.
  • Knight Templar: The soldiers who are hunting down Pinocchio and Geppetto believing Geppetto to be a sorcerer and Pinocchio to be some kind of demon. They don't even relent when they clearly see Pinocchio helping others in the town.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Pinocchio get this in an episode when he is forced to be adopted by a Nobleman and becomes the Prince, but becomes a huge Jerkass to his servants and randomly riding down any person who gets in his way, laughing at the horror, indignity and danger inflicted upon others for his personal amusement. But then gets punished by the blue fairy and turns his nose into a tree. And his stepfather who could not stop laughing at Pinocchio kicks him out, and the people he tormented come back to plan on killing him but is saved by his real father.
  • Living Toys: The main character is one (Level 4) while all other toys are Level 1, and of course he's the only one who can hear them. This ends up being important to the plot of a few episodes, namely episode 2, 33, & 51.
  • Magic Music: Episodes 19 & 20 feature a violin that does this, with a clause that it cannot be used for selfish ends.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Most characters Willie and Jack, and Charlie the mouse who lives in Geppetto's house are special mentions.
    • Special mention for Franco as well, in the first episode he tells Pinocchio to wait for him in the pawn shop so they can sell their books to see a puppet show while he really plans to sell him to the puppeteer. From there he regularly uses him, drags him into dangerous schemes, and frames him for pranks.
    • Sneeroff cons both Pinocchio & Geppetto into working for him under the pretense of helping them and manages to play nice in front of other humans.
    • Downplayed with the Mermaid from episodes 24 & 25, who lied to Pinocchio to get him to help her, but mostly did so because she was worried he wouldn't help her if he knew what he wanted was impossible.
  • Missed Him by That Much: Charlie's attempts to do away with Pinocchio in the earlier episodes, particularly the aforementioned attempt in episode 3 which has a cliffhanger ending where Charlie is about to try biting through the puppet's neck. The next episode picks up and shows Pinocchio survived by rolling over in his sleep.
  • Narrating the Obvious: A recurring issue in the English dub.
  • Nature Spirit: The Oak Fairy, she isn't the only one of her kind either, all trees have one.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Happens multiple times in the series, one of the biggest ones being episode 41 where Pinocchio revives a giant tree to try and save a cedar forest from being felled to make warships, but both the tree and part of the forest catch fire as a result.
  • Papa Wolf: In the two parter about the vampiric witch, Geppetto low-key becomes a Vampire Hunter when he comes to the rescue.
    • When Pinocchio attempts to kill a boy to take his heart, the boy's father retaliates by almost killing Pinocchio via throwing him down a burning chimney.
  • Pinocchio Nose: As is common to all versions of the story. It wasn't used very often, though.
  • Pinocchio Syndrome: He's fine for the first day or so, then he's sold to a puppeteer and learns how toys are treated, then it hits him like a ton of bricks and spends the rest of the series trying to become human and jumps on pretty much anything that could potentially do it.
  • Punny Name: In the Japanese version his name is Mokku, derived from "Moku" meaning wood
  • Related in the Adaptation: The fairy is treated as a mother figure in most Pinocchio stories, but this one goes so far as to make her his actual Mother (by way of him being carved from a branch of her tree) and even gives him an Adaptation Dye-Job so they both have blue hair.
  • Stripped to the Bone: In Part 2 of the Magic Violin story, this is what happens to the General's horse after getting hit by a cannon Pinocchio controlled with the violin. Despite clearly being Played for Laughs and being a gag you'd find in an American cartoon, Saban felt the need of cutting it out in the English dub.
  • Sympathy for the Devil: Episode 16 features Pica, a trained chimpanzee who agrees to teach Pinocchio but ends up confusing him with his interpretation of the world, making him his assistant and mocking him when he gets into trouble. Despite all of this when Pica himself gets in trouble he asks his owner to give him a second chance and feels sad over him being sold to the circus.
  • Tone Shift: Played with, the series has a more slice-of-life feel to it where most stories are episodic or at most a two-parter, until episode 29 when the series suddenly has story arcs that span several episodes and the setting is changed completely.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Look back to the Laser-Guided Karma trope.
    • Another example is episode 37, where Pinocchio uses the diamonds he received in the previous episode to enjoy a lavish lifestyle, again adopting an arrogant attitude and antagonising others for his amusement (this time without the negative relationship he had with the people of his home town). He also buys a house that was about to be purchased as an orphanage, puts off freeing a baby vulture who has giving him advice, waves off a traveling carpenter as being a beggar (not realising it's his father), and finally when his house catches fire he runs away without saving the baby vulture. He never backslides anywhere near this badly after this episode.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Pinocchio becomes more compassionate as the series goes on, eventually being willing to put himself in danger to save others.
  • ToyReminder: A rare example of this being applied to a Level 4 Living Toy, there are times when parts of him get damaged but are easily replaced, except episode 15 where his leg is infested with termites and the replacement doesn't work without the fairy's magic.
    • Becomes a "Plant Reminder" in episode 28 when he thinks a magic spring will make him grow into an adult human, he ends up growing tree roots instead.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Pinocchio often gets annoyed by Cricket's advice when it goes against what he wants, and Pinocchio's stubborn and selfish streaks frustrate Cricket, but they do genuinely care about each other. Especially true in later episodes when their relationship is better.
  • Wacky Sound Effect: The Saban dub has added a lot of cartoonish sound effects that the original dub and the Italian dub lack. With often jarring results.
  • Wise Tree: The tree spirits are presented as such, and have no problem letting Pinocchio know when he isn't meeting their standards.
  • Would Hurt a Child: It's all over this series.
  • Yuki Onna: One appears in episode 45.