Thumbelina: A Magical Story (おやゆび姫物語 Oyayubi Hime Monogatari, lit. The Story of Princess Thumbelina) is a Japanese anime series produced by Enoki Films and adapted from the original Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale "Thumbelina" by Akiyoshi Sakai. It premiered in Japan on TV Tokyo on March 31, 1992 and ran for twenty-six episodes until its conclusion on September 30, 1992.
The series was edited into an eighty-minute film and released in North America on VHS by Starmaker Entertainment in 1993. In 2006, Digiview Entertainment re-released the Starmaker film to DVD.
The plot is as follows: Unable to control her mischievous young daughter Maya, an exhausted mother seeks the guidance of an old witch living on the edge of town. The witch gives this mother a magical copy of the fairly tale "Thumbelina" and tells her to read this to Maya. Later, when her mother falls asleep, Maya shrinks and is pulled inside the world of the book. A good witch appears and tells her that she is in her mother's dream world and that in order to return to normal, she must find a way to wake up her mother. To do this, she must travel to a far away southern land to talk to the Crystal Prince, who will help her reach home. During her journey Maya faces many trials and hardships; along the way she befriends members of the dream world, who band together to help her reach the land of the South.
Contains the following tropes:
- Abhorrent Admirer: Croven, though he's not nearly as bad as Grundel.
- Accessory-Wearing Cartoon Animal: The frogs, and the swallow.
- Baleful Polymorph: Magical strawberries grown by an elderly frog lady do this to the eater upon consumption; one gives them the heart of a frog, a second one morphs their face into that of a frog, and a third one completes the process and leaves the eater as the aforementioned animal, leaving no trace of their former form. We can see it happen with a grasshopper who eats the strawberries that were meant for Maya.
- Character Development: A key element to the whole story; in order for Maya to escape the world she ended up in, she has to grow out of her problematic behavior and become a caring, selfless individual.
- Compilation Movie: In its original form, Thumbelina: A Magical Story is a series consisting of 26 episodes in total. It was later edited into an eighty-minute movie, cutting out a lot of the original footage - some of which can be seen in the credits and, in tiny traces, at some parts in the movie itself.
- Disney Death: Noble, though technically he didn't die. He fell into water and melted, but got washed up onto a shore and dried out by the sun, allowing him to come back. This happens again later when he is eaten alive and still manages to come back.
- Dream Land: Most of the story takes place within Maya's mother's dream.
- Evil Counterpart: Cassandra is this to Angela. Or so it would seem. In the end it is revealed that she was good all along.
- Fairy Companion: Noble the sugar fairy.
- Good Witch Versus Bad Witch: Angela and Cassandra appear to be this at first, but it turns out that Cassandra was good all along.
- In Name Only: The story resembles The Wizard of Oz more than it resembles "Thumbelina". There are also elements reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland.
- Morphic Resonance: When Croven transforms into a fox, he still has the same color scheme and eye markings.
- Opinion-Changing Dream: Of sorts; Maya starts out as a bratty girl and ends up a well-behaved child after her adventure in a dreamland, which was fabricated by her mother's dreams as opposed to Maya having her own dream.
- Save the Villain: Maya grabs Cassandra hand to prevent her from falling to her death, which leads her to decide that Maya has learned her lesson and reveals that, as stated elsewhere on this page, she was good all along.
- Secret Test of Character: Cassandra turns out to be helping Angela give one of these to Maya.
- Trapped in Another World: Maya gets trapped in her mother's dream.