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Anime / Thumbelina

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Thumbelina (Japanese: Oyayubihime) is a 1978 Japanese animated adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale of the same name, directed by Yûgo Serikawa.

Unrelated to the 1992 Thumbelina: A Magical Story, although both of them are adaptations of the same story.

The adaptation contains examples of:

  • Abled in the Adaptation: The Mole is shortsighted instead of blind.
  • Adaptational Attractiveness: The toads are not nearly as ugly as they are constantly described in the book.
  • Adaptational Early Appearance:
    • The prince appears in the very first scenes. He meets Thumbelina among the tulips of her mother's garden.
    • Thumbelina meets the swallow briefly during summer.
  • Adaptational Heroism: Gekoo the toad and his mother, the Field Mouse and the Mole are all much nicer than in the source material.
  • Adaptational Species Change: The butterfly that carries Thumbelina away from the toads becomes a butterfly-winged elf girl from the Sunflower Kingdom. Thumbelina helps her get back home before sunflowers cease blossoming.
  • Anachronism Stew: The Mole owns a TV set.
  • Back for the Finale: Every major character attends Thumbelina's wedding or (in the Moles' case) watches it on TV.
  • Babies Ever After: By the time Thumbelina gets married, the Mole and his wife already have triplets.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: The mole lady is very sweet and gentle, and capable to fight off a huge snake if her beloved's life is in danger.
  • Blue-and-Orange Morality: Gekoo's parents genuinely seem to believe that stealing Thumbelina from her mother and bringing her, asleep, to Gekoo (who speaks only Pokémon Speak and thus has difficulties even explaining what's going on) won't prevent her from agreeing to marry the latter immediately.
  • Canon Foreigner:
    • The friendly bumblebee.
    • Gekoo's father.
    • The Mole's Humanoid Female Animal girlfriend. He eventually rediscovers his feelings for her.
    • The Mole's Butt-Monkey servant.
  • Chubby Mama, Skinny Papa: In the toad family.
  • Easily Forgiven: Thumbelina bears no grudge at all against the toads and invites them to her wedding.
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: Thumbelina has a mass of golden blond hair and is an innocent gentle girl who becomes fast friends with everyone she meets.
  • Henpecked Husband: The toad father. The fact that he is thin and short and his wife is tall and fat doesn't help matters: she bodily drags him around, often by the leg.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Gekoo towards Thumbelina after he learns she loves the prince. When Thumbelina is getting married, it's primarily him who manages to bring the news to her human mother.
  • Lighter and Softer: A lot. Instead of falling into the clutches of one Abhorrent Admirer after another with no hope of her life getting better until she meets the swallow, here Thumbelina's only major problem is the fact that flower kingdoms can't be entered from outside when the flowers aren't in bloom, so she can't make it to her prince as quickly as she'd like. The Mole still tries to marry her during the winter, but there is much less pressure involved than in the original. Unlike in the original, she also reunites with her mother.
  • Love at First Sight:
    • Thumbelina and the prince for each other.
    • Later, Gekoo and then the Mole for Thumbelina.
  • Pokémon Speak: Gekoo can only say his name.
  • Romantic Runner-Up: Gekoo is absolutely adorable, has a tender heart, falls head over heels for Thumbelina, and never has the slightest chance because she already loves the prince. She realizes it all and rejects him very gently.
  • Running Away to Cry: The mole lady when she realizes the Mole has fallen for another.
  • She's a Man in Japan: Or in the swallow's case, he is a woman.
  • Smarter Than You Look: Don't let Gekoo's Pokémon Speak and ditzy look fool you – he is very quick-thinking and imaginative.
  • You Have Waited Long Enough: The Field Mouse's reasoning when she tells Thumbelina it might be good for her to accept the Mole, when it's doubtful that she will ever get together with the prince.