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Anime / The Littl' Bits

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The Littl' Bits, known in Japan as Mori no Youkina Kobito-tachi: Belfy to Lillibit (Cheerful Dwarves of the Forest: Belfy and Lillibit) was a children's anime created by Tatsunoko Production and aired on TV Tokyo (then known as Tokyo 12 Channel)note  in 1980note , brought to North America and shown on Nick Jr. in the U.S. and YTV in Canada in the early 1990s after having already aired in most of Europe and Latin America. It focused on a race of tiny people living in a place known as Foothill Forest. While the show usually had lessons to teach, it did so in a subtle, non-Anvilicious manner.

Not to be confused with The Littles (though both deal in Lilliputians). Also noteworthy for being an early voice role for future seiyuu superstar Mayumi Tanaka, as the male lead.

This show contains examples of:

  • The Ace: Willabit is a minor version
  • Adults Are Useless:
    • Subverted; the children go on a lot of wild adventures but their parents and other guardians are always there to worry about them and help them out.
    • However, there were a few moments when the adults actually WERE useless and needed the kids to show them the errors of their ways - notably, the "Election Day" episode, where the kids have to remind the apathetic adults to cast their ballots; and the "Wanderbits" episode, in which a tearful Lillibit decides to leave the village with her parents after her parents are rejected by the adults, and Willibit and the other children declare their intentions to leave with her, thus forcing a change of heart in their parents.
  • Alternative Foreign Theme Song: The Japanese theme song is different from the English theme song and the Spanish one.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Teenybit (Chuchuna), to Willibit (Lillibit).
  • Beach Episode: "Let's Go To The Sea".
  • Betty and Veronica: Gender-flipped and averted; while the two guys fought over the girl, Lillibit made her preference for Willabit perfectly clear, though she did like Snagglebit very much as a friend.
  • Bowdlerise:
    • Uncle Snoozabit was originally a habitual drinker; in English they edited that to his being simply lazy. And what was obviously wine that he was drinking was explained away as "dandelion juice."
    • Also, numerous scenes in which the kids are nude while swimming (although presented tastefully and in a non-sexual way) were cut in the English dub.
  • Children Are Innocent
  • The Complainer Is Always Wrong: Snagglebit, sort of. He tended to argue with the others and want his own way a lot, but he was never painted as a bad person because of it or humiliated into learning a lesson every episode.
  • Cultural Translation: Although the original Japanese version predated The Smurfs (1981), the show did not make its way Stateside until the early 1990s, thus the reason why a Smurf-like naming scheme is used in the English version. Most other versions of the show kept the original Japanese names for the characters or some variation thereof, but in English, this resulted in a Dub Name Change for virtually every character: Belfy became "Lillibit", Lillibit became "Willibit" (yes, Lillibit was the name of the male, and not the female, lead in the original), Chuchuna became "Teenybit" and so on. The English name changes even carried over into some later European dubs (e.g. Dutch).
  • Determinator: Chip in episode 2. He wants to be a doctor and he won't take no for an answer, he'll even wait out in the rain until Dr. Snoozabit agrees to take him on as an assistant.
  • Dub Name Change: The biggest example of this would be the English version, which changed virtually all of the characters' names (see Cultural Translation above). Also in one of the French dubs, Belfy and Lillibit became Lutinette and Lutinou.
  • Eyelid Pull Taunt: Teenybit gives Willibit one in "The Strange Egg," after getting him in trouble for losing his temper with her.
  • Festival Episode: Episode One, "The Children's Festival."
  • Filling the Silence: Quite a bit in the English dub as was the norm for anime dubs in that era. This becomes obvious watching the uncut (and more faithfully dubbed) Spanish version.
  • Friend to All Living Things: Lillibit, so much that she can even communicate with animals
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Snagglebit's feelings for Lillibit every now and then
  • It Was with You All Along: Browniebit's quest to find a certain feather he was told would grant him courage. Though he failed to actually get it, the fact that he'd climbed a treacherous mountain in order to find it was bravery in and of itself.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Snagglebit and his father, Mayor Bossabit
  • Lethal Chef: Inverted in the episode "Poor Old Helpabit." Mayor Bossabit is entering Helpabit's signature honey recipe into the village tasting contest, and is enthusiastic about his chances of winning since Helpabit allegedly has a secret ingredient: the nectar of a special flower. However, after the nectar is added, the honey tastes awful, and Helpabit gets such a severe dressing-down from the mayor that he decides to leave the village, convinced his recipe is a failure. Later on, however, on a second tasting, the honey is delicious, and Helpabit decides to stay just in time for his honey to win first prize. See also the Adventures of the Little Koala episode "Papa Makes a Pie."
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: Dr. Snoozabit is a lazy drunk, but when there's serious medical business to be dealt with he'll do it 110%. Even if he himself is in pain after falling into a hole.
  • Lilliputians: They are even specifically referred to as such in the Spanish version, and "Lillibit" (the name of the male lead in most versions and of the female lead in the English version) is likely a reference to Lilliput as well.
  • Mouse World
  • My God, What Have I Done?: In "The Mystical Monument". Snagglebit, after being a first-class Jerkass to Browniebit over losing a bullfrog rodeo, immediately regrets his behavior when he finds out Browniebit has gone off to explore a dangerous cave. He even outright admits it's his fault.
    • "Help the Squirrel": Willibit and Snagglebit experience this after they injure a mother squirrel who was in the process of stealing their picnic basket - as it turns out, to feed her hungry brood. The squirrel subsequently develops a life-threateningly high fever and the boys, racked with guilt, head off for the mountains to gather much-needed ice.
    • "Madam Bella the Weaver": Rosiebit, who is competing against Lillibit for the job of being the village's next head weaver (a position Rosiebit believes is rightfully hers, since she's Madam Bella's granddaughter), steals Lillibit's yellow dye to jeopardize Lillibit's chances of winning. Lillibit heads to the mountains to gather flowers to make more dye, and not until she and Willibit (who has gone out to look for her) are trapped by an avalanche does Rosiebit realize how wrong what she did was.
    • "Earthquake!": Snuffly the flying squirrel keeps disrupting Lillibit's games with her friends, and Lillibit finally loses her temper and yells at him to leave her alone. As a result, Snuffly runs away, and Lillibit feels horrible when she realizes how she hurt his feelings.
  • Name and Name: The show is titled the vernacular equivalent of Belfy and Lillibit in just about every foreign dub but English.
  • The Napoleon: Snagglebit. His original name even was Napoleon! (and was kept as such in other languages like Spanish and Portuguese).
  • Never Say "Die": The English dub is inconsistent on this. In "Earthquake!", Doctor Snoozeabit relates the story of how he found Snuffly (the flying squirrel) as a baby next to his dead mother, but regarding the mother's fate, only says that she "hadn't been so lucky" as her son. However, in "Help the Squirrel," it's made perfectly clear, even in the English script, that the ailing mother squirrel may die and her children may be left motherless. And of course, there was no way to whitewash the fact that Lillibit believes her parents are dead until episode 25.
  • One-Shot Character: Susiebit in "Forget-Me-Nots." Despite being one of the principal characters of that episode, she wasn't seen again except for a brief cameo in the final episode.
    • Also, Rosiebit in "Madam Bella the Weaver."
  • Parental Abandonment: Lillibit is an orphan who lives with her uncle. That's what she's been told, anyway. It's later revealed that her parents are actually still alive, but were members of a shunned race called Wanderbits and gave up their daughter to Dr. Snoozabit - who is not Lillibit's blood uncle - so she could live a normal and happy life in Foothill Forest.
    • Missing Mom: In addition to Lillibit, Snagglebit's mother died when he was very young.
  • Pink Girl, Blue Boy: Character designer Akiko Shimomoto used this trope in not only this series but several other Tatsunoko shows she worked on, including Superbook, Paul's Miraculous Adventure, and Temple the Balloonist.
  • Plucky Girl: Lillibit. While she isn't a Tomboy, she's as brave and adventurous as any of the boys, and even plays sports such as hockey with them.
  • Say Your Prayers: How Teenybit saves the day, and possibly the village, in the episode "The Red Rainbow." After losing the fruits and vegetables Scarybit and the kids intended to use as an offering to the angry forest spirits, Teenybit drops to her knees and sweetly asks the gods to have mercy. Her prayer changes the titular red rainbow to a regular rainbow, a sign that the gods are no longer angry, and everyone rejoices.
  • Sneeze Cut: Happens in the episode "Scarybit the Witch," when Willibit's mother warns the children about what might happen if they run into the titular witch. Cut to Scarybit's house, where she lets out a huge sneeze. The English dialogue even references the origin of the joke indirectly by having Scarybit comment, "I'm gettin' vibes that somebody in this forest is talking about me."
  • Tagalong Kid: Willabit's sister Teenybit
  • Three Plus Two: Snagglebit, Willabit and Lillibit are the lead trio. Chip and Browniebit are Snagglebit's close friends outside the two others and while important (and even the protagonists of their own episodes), they don't get so much face time as the former three. In later episodes Chip's role as Snaggle's sidekick is often taken by another boy, called Ricky by Snagglebit in one episode.
  • True Companions: Seen in the episode "The Wanderbits." After Lillibit declares that if her parents have to leave Foothill Forest, she'll go with them, her friends and the rest of the children in the village announce they're leaving as well unless the grown-ups let Lillibit's parents stay. The grown-ups are forced to relent, lest they lose their children.
  • Two Guys and a Girl: Lillibit, Willabit and Snagglebit most of the time
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Willibit and Snagglebit. They get along fairly well most of the time, but when they don't, it's likely to be over Lillibit. This is occasionally Played for Laughs, in moments when Lillibit witnesses their arguments and gives them a Kubrick Stare, leading the boys to immediately make up and act like best friends.
  • Wham Episode: The end of the series gives us not one, but two. In episode 25, Lillibit's parents return after having been presumed dead for the entire series thus far. And in episode 26, just as everything seems idyllic, Foothill Forest is destroyed by an earthquake. Although all of the main characters appear to be safe and unhurt, they do lose everything and even consider abandoning their ruined village until the kids convince them to stay and rebuild.