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Anime / The Wizard of Oz

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The Wizard of Oz is a 1982 Animated Adaptation of L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. It's a feature film produced by Toho and Wiz Corporation, directed by Fumihiko Takayama, written by Yoshimitsu Banno and Akira Miyazaki, and animated by Topcraft (which later became part of Studio Ghibli), with music by Ghibli's later go-to composer, Joe Hisaishi.

The story follows a young girl named Dorothy Gale as she travels through the magical land of Oz, trying to find her way back to Kansas. While there, Dorothy befriends various inhabitants on her adventure.

Unusually for an anime, the film was released first in English in the United States, with Aileen Quinn as Dorothy and Lorne Greene as the Wizard, and was a staple on U.S. cable and syndicated broadcast television during the '80s. The Japanese dub (featuring Mari "Lunlun" Okamoto as Dorothy) wasn't released until 1986. It's also one of the few directorial credits for Takayama, who is best known for Mobile Suit Gundam 0080: War in the Pocket and generally wrote for and directed sci-fi or giant-robot shows such as Super Dimension Fortress Macross.

Not to be confused with the 1986 OTHER anime adaptation of the Land of Oz book, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, which was also written by Miyazaki.

This film provides examples of:

  • Adaptational Attractiveness:
    • While not conventionally attractive, the Wicked Witch of the West is much younger and less ugly than she is in the book.
    • The Wizard's true form looks less stylized and more ordinary than depicted in the original book art.
  • Adaptational Curves: Aunt Em is more stout than her standard portrayal.
  • Adaptational Hairstyle Change: Most depictions of Dorothy show her with her hair in pigtails. Here, her hair is tied behind her in a ponytail with ribbon.
  • Adaptational Nice Guy: In the original book, Dorothy cleans up the Wicked Witch's remains and throws it out the door. It comes off as Innocently Insensitive to modern readers. In this adaptation, other men clean up the water.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job:
    • Played With for Dorothy, who is portrayed as a blonde instead of a brunette. This comes from John R. Neil's illustrations, starting with the third book, depicting Dorothy as having blonde hair. Illustrations for the first book, however, depict Dorothy as a brunette.
    • Dorothy's slippers are red, not silver.
    • Glinda is blonde instead of a redhead.
  • Affectionate Gesture to the Head: When Dorothy reunites with her Aunt Em and Uncle Henry, the latter shows his relief and joy by rubbing his hand through Dorothy's head and hair.
  • Alternative Foreign Theme Song: The Japanese release has theme and insert songs by Mitsuko Horie, replacing the original English songs by Aileen Quinn.
  • Amazing Technicolor Population: The Wicked Witch of the West has purplish skin.
  • And There Was Much Rejoicing: When the citizens of Winkieland realize the cruel Wicked Witch is dead, they all celebrate as they are no longer under her tyranny. When they realize that Dorothy and her friends were the ones who saved them, they form a celebration that consists of citizens cheering from two opposites sides of buildings while Dorothy and her friends walk out of the town and back to the Emerald City as if they were a passing parade float.
    • And to top it all off, the song "Wizard of a Day", an upbeat and celebrating feature song sung by Aileen Quinn, is playing in the background for the second time.
  • Animated Adaptation: The film is an animated adaptation of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz book.
  • Beautiful Dreamer: When Dorothy has to sleep for the night, Scarecrow watched her because he cannot sleep, is accompanying Dorothy, and has nothing better to do. He hears her mumbling dreamily in a soft tone, and he smiles, touched that she can sleep so peacefully and cutely.
  • Black Bead Eyes:
    • Subverted with Dorothy. She appears to have black pupils from a distance. However, while at a broken section of the gold brick road over a stream, a close-up of her face reveals that she just has VERY dark blue eyes and a little white sclera.
    • Played straight with Scarecrow, though.
  • Body Horror: The Tin Man. While most characters blink downwards, the Tinman blinks SIDEWAYS. Justified, as he is probably a machine in this adaptation.
  • Break the Cutie: Dorothy has this reaction when she realizes that in order to get back home, she must travel to a dangerous and foreboding castle in order to kill the insane Wicked Witch. She bursts into tears and clings to Scarecrow as she sobs.
  • Cheerful Child: Dorothy is shown to be very happy, optimistic, and loving while at Aunt Em and Uncle Henry’s, despite the dull scenery and lack of anything to do. This ties in with the original book, in which she behaves the same way.
  • Chubby Mama, Skinny Papa: Aunt Em is a large and somewhat short woman, while her husband Uncle Henry is tall and lanky.
  • Compliment Backfire: When the Wicked Witch of the West meets Dorothy for the first time, the Witch tried to ease her into giving the slippers by calling Dorothy a brave and pretty girl while putting a comforting gnarly hand on her shoulder. Dorothy is visibly not pleased with this flattery, and has Toto bite the Witch’s hand to release her.
  • Composite Character: Glinda looks a lot like Ozma (who isn't introduced until the second book and doesn't meet Dorothy until the third). She wears a similar ringlet and dress as her.
  • Cry into Chest: When Dorothy is asked by Scarecrow how her meeting with the Wizard went, in which he told her that she must kill the Wicked Witch of the West in order to get back to Kansas, she starts to tear up and then hugs Scarecrow as she is crying. She then sobbingly begs for her friends to help her get back to Kansas as Scarecrow has a hand on the back of Dorothy's head in comfort.
  • Dull Surprise: Dorothy has a nice smile and bright eyes. However, she hardly expresses alarm when confronted with danger, nor sadness when feeling depressed. This is averted with Break the Cutie and Cry into Chest as shown above.
  • Eyepatch of Power: The Wicked Witch has one over her right eye. This is a faithful detail from the book.
  • Fluorescent Footprints: The Wicked Witch uses this with magic at one point to find Dorothy who ran out through the castle.
  • Free-Range Children: As a part of the Deliberate Values Dissonance, Aunt Em and Uncle Henry leave their young niece to take care of their farm for the day.
  • Ghibli Hills: Joe Hisaishi composed the score, and the animation studio, Topcraft, was later absorbed into Studio Ghibli. To go with this, the Land of Oz in this version is filled with rolling green hills, which the yellow brick road sweeps and tumbles here and there.
  • The Glomp: When Dorothy and her friends defeat the Wicked Witch of the West, she starts celebrating by giving Scarecrow a big hug with joy, having accomplished their mission and she can go home.
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy: The guards of the Wicked Witch's castle are shown to be very bad at spotting the gang. And when they try to run for their targets, they are incredibly clumsy and trip easily.
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: It's unclear if Dorothy was blonde in the books due to a lack of explanation in the text itself and differing illustrations, but is definitely the case in this version. She has blonde hair and is also very caring towards her friends and gives them big hugs several times.
  • Homesickness Hymn: While Dorothy is sleeping in the abandoned shack after a long day walking, she has a memory of her home life in Kansas. While this scene is playing, a song sung by the actress who plays Dorothy (Aileen Quinn) called "I Dream Of Home", in which she sings that she dreams of her home in Kansas and asking why did she have to go so far away from it.
  • Incredible Shrinking Man: When the Wicked Witch has water poured all over her. Instead of melting like most versions, in this one she shrinks smaller and smaller, until she vanished to nothingness.
  • I Have You Now, My Pretty: When Dorothy is brought to the castle of the Wicked Witch of the West, the Witch, who is beside herself with glee for getting so close to obtaining the slippers, comes up to Dorothy and sweetly compliments her by calling Dorothy brave and pretty while putting a hand on her puff sleeve, and telling her to be a good girl and give her the slippers.
  • Leave the Camera Running: When Dorothy is rinsing off her face with water, the camera focuses on her for half a minute for some reason.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: Dorothy throughout most of the journey appears helpless and relying on others to look after her. However, when she gets to the Witch's castle with all of her friends captured as prisoners, she decides that she is their only hope and leaps into action.
  • Limited Animation: The animation in this case is sort of stiff, in particular Dorothy rarely expresses facial emotion at times.
  • Little Miss Badass: Dorothy is seen in this version siccing Toto on the Wicked Witch, freeing her friends whom are tied up, tripping over guards, and pushing a pale of water down the stairs which knocks the Wicked Witch to the ground!
  • Mood Whiplash: Late in the film, there is an intense scene where the group escapes from a Kalidah, with the Tin Woodsman chopping down the makeshift bridge he made and sending the predator to the ravine below. It then immediately cuts to a shot of the group walking down the yellow brick road, with pretty flowers falling down the trees, as the upbeat "Wizard of a Day" song plays.
  • Mythology Gag: The anime takes a lot of inspiration from the MGM film:
    • Dorothy hits her head before the tornado transports her house to Oz.
    • Dorothy wears ruby slippers. In the original books, the slippers are silver.
    • The Emerald City is genuinely green. In the first book, the characters wore tinted glasses that only made it look green. This element varies book to book.
  • No Ontological Inertia: When the Witch is killed, all of the bleak atmosphere, guards, and creepy features in the castle disappear. Unless the Witch was controlling it the whole time, being a witch and all.
  • Oh, Crap!: When Scarecrow, Lion, and Dorothy first see the massive and ferocious Kalidahs, they each have a Reaction Shot, with a close up to each of their faces looking frightened and gasping.
  • Picnic Episode: At one point while Scarecrow and Dorothy are walking to the Emerald City, they stop to have a picnic, with Dorothy eating food from a basket she was carrying. While doing so, she and him reminisce about what they plan on doing after the adventure and get to know each other more.
  • Platonic Kissing: Before sending Dorothy off on her mission, the Good Witch grabs Dorothy's head and gives her a kiss on the forehead. This kiss protects Dorothy from any magic targeted directly at her from the Wicked Witch.
  • Say My Name: Dorothy says Aunt Em and Uncle Henry several times as she's running to meet them in reunion, with them likewise doing the same for Dorothy.
  • Through a Face Full of Fur:
    • When the Cowardly Lion takes Scarecrow over a ravine through the yellow brick road by leaping over it with him holding on, Scarecrow thanks him by hugging him. Lion is shown to be flattered by this and blushes hard.
    • Later on, when Dorothy is running away through a viaduct in the Wicked Witch of the West's castle, a spell that breaks the viaduct causes her to fall off and plunge to the stone landing. Lion then appears and catches Dorothy in mid-air. Gasping with gratitude, Dorothy lovingly hugs him almost the same way Scarecrow did, to Lion's even bigger flattery and blushing.
  • Truer to the Text: Although it takes certain cues from the MGM film, the anime adaptation contains elements of the original book that are rarely shown in most adaptations.
    • The Munchkins are shown wearing mainly blue clothing, in order to represent the national blue color of Munchkinland.
    • Glinda and the Witch of the North are clearly different witches, and each help Dorothy at different times in the story.
    • When each of the main four characters go separately to meet the Wizard, he appears to each one in different forms. For Dorothy, a large green head appears to her. For Scarecrow, a beautiful woman with wings appears to him. For the Tin Woodsman, a large carnivorous beast appears to him. And for the Cowardly Lion, a large speaking ball of fire appears to him.
    • The Wicked Witch of the West shows up after Dorothy and her friends were tasked to kill the witch, instead of being an ever-looming threat.
  • Vocal Dissonance: Uncle Henry is shown to be middle-aged, and yet has an incredibly scratchy and dehydrated voice.