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Anime / The Story of Pollyanna, Girl of Love

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The Story of Pollyanna, Girl of Love is a 1986 anime produced by Nippon Animation and one of the entries in World Masterpiece Theater franchise. It consists of 51 episodes. The anime is based on two novels - Pollyanna and its sequel Pollyanna Grows Up written by Eleanor H. Porter. The premise of that show is similar to the novel: Pollyanna is a cheerful girl whose parents have died at young age. She is sent to Beldingsville to live with her Aunt Polly Harrington whom she never met before.

The anime provides the examples of:

  • Adaptation Dye-Job: In the anime, Pollyanna's hair color is brown in contrast to blonde in the novel.
  • Adaptation Expansion: The anime version adds the part about Aunt Polly's relationship with her older sister Jennie (Pollyanna's mother) in the past.
  • Age Lift:
    • Pollyanna is eight years old in this version, compare to the novel where she is eleven.
    • Aunt Polly and Dr. Chilton are younger in the anime, but retains the part from the book where they haven't spoken for fifteen years.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Polly is this to her older sister Jennie in the past. She was a bit of a brat and liked to play pranks, but for the most part she cares for the latter very much.
  • Bears Are Bad News: In Episode 2, Pollyanna and Karen are chased by the bear in the forest. Fortunately, they're saved by a man who is wandering the area and kills the bear.
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  • Brilliant, but Lazy: Pollyanna isn't enthusiastic about taking lessons and doing household chores that her aunt instructed, but she managed to get a high score in school entrance exam in later episodes.
  • Canon Foreigner: Karen and Mary are some one of the characters who only appear in the anime version.
  • Childhood Friends: Mr. Pendleton and Dr. Chilton were friends since there were young in this version. This is the reason why the former choose the latter as his family doctor.
  • Cool Big Sis:
    • Nancy to Pollyanna. She quickly becomes protective of Pollyanna and does what she can to make her mistress's niece as comfortable and happy in her new home as possible.
    • Jennie (Pollyanna's mother) was this to Aunt Polly.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Polly. She’s initially cold and dismissive towards Pollyanna, but her niece’s cheerfulness causes her to soften up with time. She warms up considerably after Pollyanna's injury and her reconciliation with Dr. Chilton.
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  • Downer Beginning: The first two episodes focus on Pastor John’s deteriorating health and death.
  • Fainting: Polly has a tendency to react this way whenever something shocking occurs. A bit of an exaggerated trope, given that it happens four times.
  • Foreshadowing: In episode 2, a member the Ladies Aid Society finds a black velvet dress in Pollyanna's size (instead of it being bigger or smaller and needing appropriate sewing work). Mrs White sees this as a bad omen, since she believes children shouldn't wear black. This is also the episode where Pollyanna's father dies, and the next episode shows Pollyanna wearing the dress to his funeral.
  • Flashback Nightmare: Pollyanna dreams about her father's death in Episode 24.
  • Friend to All Living Things: Jamie likes feeding squirrels in the park.
  • The Glomp: Pollyanna has a habit in jumping on some people for hug. Lampshaded by her Aunt Polly in Episode 5.
  • Good Shepherd: John Whittier was a kind-well liked man who respected everyone in his congregation and was likewise treated with the same respect, on top of being a good father to his rambunctious daughter despite their near-poverty. In fact, he teaches Pollyanna the "glad game" shortly after her mother's death because he reasons that since the Bible has happiness referenced so much (at least 800 times according to Pollyanna) because God wants people to be happy.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: After receiving a letter from Pollyanna in Boston, Jimmie gets jealous of hearing her talk about her spending time with a boy named James and angrily declares he’ll never go to Boston. For a while, his jealousy continued into other episodes and he would get upset whenever Pollyanna talked about James in front of him before he eventually gets over it.
  • Happily Adopted: In Episode 22, Mr. Pendleton decides to adopt Jimmy in order to make Pollyanna happy from her injury.
  • Heroic BSoD:
    • Pollyanna becomes quite depressed after her accident in Episode 20 leaves her unable to walk again. Her change in behavior is so serious that she refuses to eat and she has a hard time finding anything to be happy about.
    • Tom loses the motivation to work properly around the house when Chilton dies. He snaps out of it when Jimmy reminds him of Tom reprimanding him for cursing God for Pollyanna’s accident and asking Tom if he was lying about what he said back then.
  • Ill Girl: Pollyanna becomes sick with fever in Episode 18 and becomes ill from stress in Episode 28. Then in Episode 20, loses the use of her legs for a while from a car accident.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Mrs. White from the Ladies Aid Society. Sure she's prickly and stern, but does genuinely care for Pollyanna's well-being, takes her in after her father's death, actively protests sending Pollyanna to live with her aunt and wants to adopt her, and even buys the girl her first non-charity bin dress.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Jimmy is Jamie Kent, the real nephew of Mrs. Carew.
  • Memento MacGuffin: Pollyanna has her mother's mirror, which as shown in a flashback, Aunt Polly fought with Jennie for it, nearly breaking it.
  • Men Can't Keep House: Dr. Chilton's bedroom is littered with many medical books. This is because he's too busy working on his job as a doctor and he has no time on cleaning his room.
  • Missing Mom: Pollyanna's mother died when she was four from illness.
  • Named by the Adaptation: In this version, the name of Mr. Pendleton's dog is Talim, while Dr. Chilton's horse is named Coney.
  • Parental Substitute: The women of the Ladies Aid Society all helped raise Pollyanna, with Mrs. White most likely to scold her for her tomboyish behavior.
  • Preacher's Kid: Pollyanna's father John was a pastor in a small Midwestern town. Of course, while not flawless, she fits the "Angelic" variety best.
  • Rage Against the Heavens:
    • In Episode 22, Jimmy showed his anguish to God for causing Pollyanna losing her hope in curing her legs.
    • Episode 43 has Mr. Durgin expressed disappointment about Dr. Chilton's death to God in the gardens.
  • Recap Episode: Episode 26 has Polly remembering her memories with Pollyanna while waiting at her niece's operation.
  • Setting Update: From the early 1900's to 1920.
  • Shipper on Deck:
    • Pollyanna is this to her Aunt Polly and Dr. Chilton.
    • In Episode 48, Sadie seems to think that Pollyanna and Jimmy are meant for each other. She also supports Mr. Pendleton and Mrs. Carew.
  • Tomboy with a Girly Streak: Pollyanna likes to do handstands and wears her favorite jumper, but loves wearing nice dresses.
  • Train-Station Goodbye: Happens twice in the show. In Episode 24, Dr. Chilton reveals to Mr. Pendleton that he witnessed Jennie and Pastor John leaving Beldingsville to go to West. Then in Episode 25, Pollyanna, Aunt Polly and Dr. Chilton go to Boston for Pollyanna's operation.
  • Wham Episode: The show gets really serious after episode 20 where Pollyanna is struck by a car and finds out in the following episode that she may never walk again.
  • When She Smiles: Aunt Polly is usually stoic, but when she looks at her older sister's mirror and then her hair is fixed by Pollyanna, it's just awesome to see her smile.
  • Widow's Weeds: After Chilton’s death in episode 43, Polly is seen wearing a black dress and frequently cries while thinking about her dead husband. When she goes to the cabin with Pollyanna and their friends, she’s back to wearing colorful dresses.
  • You Remind Me of X: Pollyanna tells Dr. Chilton that she reminds him of his deceased father John. The latter isn't happy about the comparison, considering that he knew John well and understood that he's more suitable to Pollyanna's mother Jennie.