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Anime / Trapp Family Story

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Trapp Family Story is a 1991 anime produced by Nippon Animation and part of World Masterpiece Theater series. It is based on the memoir The Story of the Trapp Family Singers written by Maria Augusta von Trapp. It ran for 40 episodes, airing every Sundays in 1991. The anime shares the premise similar to the book: Maria arrives in Nonnberg Abbey to become a nun. However, she is ordered by Mother Abbess to be the governess of one of Baron von Trapp's children. When Maria arrives in the mansion, she the meets the Baron as well as his seven children who have distrust towards her. Maria learns that the children have lost their mother from sickness few years ago and the Baron plans to engage another woman.

While the anime is generally based on the first section of the book with some mix of the plot from The Sound of Music, the show has several subplots and twists incorporated that made it somewhat different and all of their own. The characters are aged down similar to My Daddy Long Legs, the names of the Trapp children are correct but their birth order is changed and the time period changed from 1920s to 1936.


The anime (in addition to those shared with memoir and movie) provides examples of:

  • Adaptation Expansion: The anime expands on the scenes where the Trapp children occasionally getting the focus on them for at least an episode each. It also includes Maria's backstory before she arrived in Nonnberg.
  • Adaptation Name Change: In the memoir, the name of Maria's uncle is "Franz" but changed to "Siegfried" in the anime to avoid confusion.
  • Adults Are Useless: The reason why the children (especially Hedwig) hate Maria is because they think that the governesses they met compete each other in front of Baron and Matilda.
  • Age-Gap Romance: The Captain is twenty years older than Maria.
  • Age Lift: In the book, Raphaela is an old nun who assists Maria to leave Nonnberg. In the anime, she becomes young and acts as Maria's best friend.
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  • All Periods Are PMS: Hedwig suffers from bad stomach cramps in Episode 22. Maria said to Hedwig that she's becoming a woman and isn't ready to be independent.
  • Alone in a Crowd: Hedwig does this when she runs away from home and then lost her money.
  • Alternative Foreign Theme Song: The first Japanese opening theme is based on "Do-Re-Mi" song in the movie version.
    • The Arabic, Portuguese and Spanish version use the adapted version of the first Japanese opening theme while the German version uses its own version of Japanese version's second opening theme. The French and Italian version have their own opening song.
  • Ambiguously Jewish: Dr. Vortmann. Episode 38 confirms that he is captured by the Nazis.
  • An Offer You Can't Refuse: The Nazi secret police invites the Trapp family to sing at Hitler's birthday party.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: Downplayed. Matilda ensures the children and the Baron to have good manners proper to a true aristocrat, not above giving them Denied Food as Punishment. The captain himself can't stand it, and mentions how he moved out of high society life because of it.
  • Arranged Marriage: Georg and Yvonne. Towards the end of Episode 29, Yvonne breaks their engagement after Georg admits that he loves Maria and realize that Maria is more suitable being a mother to the children.
  • Babies Ever After: The last scene in Episode 40 shows the von Trapp family at the picnic with Maria holding her newborn baby.
  • Baby Talk: Martina and Agathe speak this way by imitating the last few words from their siblings.
  • Battle in the Rain: In Episode 14, Rupert and Anton duel each other by fencing outside von Trapp's mansion.
  • Berserk Button: In Episode 16, Martina gets angry at people who touches her teddy bear.
  • Big Sister Instinct: Hedwig is over protective of her siblings against the governesses until she meets Maria. She's also the first one who objects her father in engaging Yvonne.
  • Blunt "Yes": In Episode 30, Maria is asked by the children whether she likes their father, and she accidentally responds yes much to the children's delight.
  • Blush Sticker: Agathe and Raphaela. Martina has this when she becomes sick in Episode 15.
  • Bodybag Trick: In Episode 40, the family hides Hedwig, Johanna, Martina and Agathe inside the coffin in order to avoid the Nazis.
  • Book Dumb: Werner and Johanna are slacker in school sometimes.
  • Born in an Elevator: In Episode 5, Maria reveals to Matilda and Clarine that she was born in a train boarding from Tyrol to Vienna.
  • Bowdlerise: The French dub edited the last five episodes due to appearance of Nazi symbols and Hitler. Made worse when it cancelled some complete episodes.
  • Bratty Teenage Daughter: Hedwig. In Episode 8, she gets over it when she watches her siblings enjoy singing with Maria.
  • The Butler Did It: Hans. In Episode 38, he revealed that he joined the Nazis in 1936.
  • Canon Foreigner: Thomas, Nastassja, Anton and Karl.
  • Celebrity Cameo: In Episode 38, Maria and Georg encounter Hitler at the restaurant. In Real Life, they actually met him.
  • Character Narrator: Maria serves as this, which is appropriate considering that she's the author of the memoir.
  • Character Tics: Maria touches her neck every time she is confused or nervous. She also touches her head using her left hand to indicate that she's very happy or doesn't know what to do.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • Georg's Navy knife in Episode 24. In Episode 39, the knife is used in slicing Han's Nazi flag.
    • Mr. Wagner's business card in Episode 36.
  • Clifftop Caterwauling: Maria does this in the opening sequence. Then in Episode 1, she tells Raphaela that she decided to become a nun after she watched the sunset in the Alps.
  • Companion Cube: Martina and her teddy bear Nikola.
  • Corporal Punishment: Agathe gets spanked by Matilda twice from her mischievious behavior. In Episode 28, Maria spanks Agathe as a last resort to discipline the child from playing the scissor.
  • In Episode 10, Johanna and little Maria attempted to wear make-up. Maria finds them hilarious.
  • A Day in the Limelight:
    • Episodes 4 and 5 focuses on Little Maria trying to cope and move on from the loss of her mother.
    • Episode 6 has Johanna being lost on the road. She is also focused in Episode 37 where she's trying to follow her father's belief in distrusting the Nazis.
    • Episodes 13 and 14 are centered around Rupert trying to gain Nastassja's friendship before she leaves to Russia. Then in Episode 25, he's trying to make a decision whether he will follow his father's footsteps or not.
    • Episode 15 is all about Martina and her teddy bear.
    • Episode 17 and 18 are devoted to Werner taking care of a wounded fawn and his struggle being a child of an aristocratic family.
    • Episode 7 is all about Hedwig's behavior in distrusting adults. Then in Episode 22, her attempts in becoming independent and experiencing puberty.
    • Episode 28 has Agathe showing her behavior to other adults.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Maria does this around few times, like in Episode 11 where she made snide comments about Matilda after being kicked out in the latter's room.
  • Denied Food as Punishment:
    • Maria experienced this several times when she was in the abbey.
    • Happens twice to Werner. In Episode 6, he is told by Matilda not to take lunch from losing Johanna. Then in Episode 18, he doesn't get lunch because he keeps a fawn in secret.
  • Distant Finale: The ending of the show takes place a year later after the von Trapp's escape.
  • Diving Save:
    • In Episode 1, one of the nuns saves Maria from falling down the abbey using the laundry.
    • In Episode 20, Maria managed to grab Yvonne from falling down the stairs. However, this causes Maria to have concussions and ended up in hospital.
    • Maria does it again in Episode 28 but this time she rescued Agathe by catching her from falling in the fountain and then getting away from the scissor.
  • Dub Name Change:
    • In Italian dub, Agathe becomes Agatha and Nikola becomes Nicoletta. Maria's surname was changed from Kutschera to Kutschala.
    • In Filipino dub, Georg becomes George while Agathe is named Agatha after her mother.
    • In French dub, Little Maria becomes Anna.
  • Due to the Dead: Towards the end of Episode 18, Georg accidentally killed a deer and buried it as a compensation.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Hans. Despite being a Nazi sympathizer, he seems to have some piety towards the Trapp family. This is the reason why he hides the navy flag in Captain and Maria's bedroom instead of destroying it.
  • Evil Uncle: Maria's uncle Siegfried sometimes hit Maria and his mother-in-law using a whip. Justified that Maria said to the children that her uncle has neurosis.
  • Expy: Maria in the anime looks like Julie Andrews' Maria in the movie version, while Yvonne is similar to Baroness Elsa Schräder.
  • Forgets to Eat: In Episode 4, Maria went to little Maria's room to convince her student to eat with her family together. Then in Episode 6, Maria forgets to eat lunch and decides to find Johanna first.
  • Fortune Teller: Matilda has an ability to predict people's future by reading cards.
  • Freudian Excuse: The main reason why Yvonne hates to get along with the Captain's children is that her father remarried when she was a child. It is implied that her father never paid attention to her very much after that.
  • Friend to All Living Things: Maria again. In Episode 18, she said to Werner that she enjoyed taking care of some animals such as birds.
  • A Glass of Chianti: Towards the end of Episode 36, Hans drinks champagne as a celebration of Nazi's arrival in Austria.
  • Good Girls Avoid Abortion: In Episode 38, the doctor in Munich suggests Maria and the Captain to give up having a baby because it might affect Maria's kidneys. Maria, as a religious person, is opposed by that idea. In the memoir, this actually happened.
  • Hand on Womb: Maria does this several times since Episode 38, which indicates that she's pregnant with Georg's child.
  • Happily Married:
    • Maria and Georg from Episode 32 onwards and then Mimi and Karl at the end of Episode 34.
    • At the beginning of Episode 30, Yvonne is seen engaged to a British nobleman and they'll be married next month.
  • Held Gaze: Maria and the Captain share several of these ever since he thanked her for making his children happy during Christmas season, hinting that they show their growing feelings towards one another.
  • Hypocritical Heartwarming: Mother Abbess and Sister Dolores have mixed views about Maria, giving that she's not suitable in the abbey but when Maria tells them that she lost her parents when she was a child they decided to give her another chance. Sister Dolores, in particular urges Maria not to give up taking care of the Trapp family.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: In Episodes 17 and 18, Georg and Werner felt this way because they can't stand living in aristocracy. This is one of the reasons why Georg wants to marry Maria.
  • Ill Girl: Little Maria is recovering from scarlet fever but has a weak heart. She slowly gets better after Episode 5.
    • Martina suffered from pneumonia in Episode 15. Fortunately, she is recovered.
  • Imagine Spot: Maria sometimes imagine about the people she will meet.
  • Injured Limb Episode: In Episode 17, Werner finds a wounded fawn in the forest.
  • Insert Song: Given that it's an anime based on a memoir about the family of singers, it has several of these such as "Wild Rose"note , "Mountain Feast"note , "Carefree Monday"note , "Cat Days in a Week"note , and "Farewell Song"note .
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Matilda may have been strict to Baron's children and hates Maria, but she shows that she likes listening to their songs sometimes and once played games with them. She even goes to Maria and Georg's wedding to say goodbye to the family then supports them in their concerts.
  • Kids Are Cruel: Johanna's classmates seem real happy about pledging alliance to Hitler and denouncing her refusal to perform the salute.
  • Kissing Discretion Shot: Happens twice between Maria and Georg. The only time that they are seen kissing is when they're married, and the camera just pan upwards during that scene.
  • Love Epiphany: Maria's feelings became clear when she finds out that the Captain is waiting for her all night to return.
  • Manchild: Maria is a female version. Werner and Hedwig lampshade about her. Even Georg lampshades it as well in Episode 33 by wondering if he gained another kid instead of a wife.
  • Mars-and-Venus Gender Contrast:
    • In Episode 19, the four older children have an argument about differences between boys and girls when it comes to accepting nobility.
    • Lampshaded in Episode 23, when Hedwig sees Rupert and Werner having fun in snowball fight:
      Hedwig: "I wonder why boys are so childish."
  • Memento MacGuffin: In the last episode, the Captain gives Franz his pipe as a farewell present.
  • Military Salute:
    • Maria and Franz use this to the Captain as a greeting sometimes. The Captain also responds with this to them.
    • Played straight with the Nazis and its supporters in Episode 37 onwards.
  • Missing Mom: The von Trapp children's mother died from scarlet fever around two years ago.
    • Maria's mother died from pneumonia when Maria was two years old.
    • In Episode 22, Thomas never mentioned about his mother. He said to Hedwig that he's living with his grandfather.
  • Mr. Fixit: In Episode 25, Rupert managed to fix the skiboard which was damaged by Werner.
  • My Card: Mr. Wagner gives his business card to Georg in case his family wants to perform in America.
  • Narrator: The Arabic dub has a man narrate several events about Maria's life in the abbey.
  • Named by the Adaptation: In the anime, the mute, unnamed nun who asks Maria to go to Mother Abbess is named Lucia while the Mistress of Novices is Dolores.
  • Never Say "Die": Hans warns the Captain that anyone who oppose the Nazis will be "disappeared" including their families.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Georg looks like the real version of Baron von Trapp in terms of appearance and personality.
  • One Steve Limit: There are two characters named Maria. Lampshaded by Maria herself in Episode 3 and then Mimi in Episode 4. Played straight with the Captain in Episode 3 and Matilda in Episode 5.
    • The reason why Father Wasner is called by his surname because he shares the same name from the Captain's old friend and gardener who is also named "Franz".
    • Then, there are two characters named Hans - one of Maria's students in Nonnberg and a butler in Trapp household.
  • Out-of-Character Moment: Hedwig and Rupert act extremely ashamed of Werner's behavior due to their social status in Episode 17, and that's about the only time they had ever cared about their aristocracy in the series. Out of the episode, they're just as playful, scheming and willing to throw away their nobility for the sake of their family.
  • Passing the Torch: In Episode 32, Matilda gives her watch to Maria implying that her job as a housekeeper is done and the children are happy to have another mother.
  • Rage Breaking Point: The Captain managed to stay calm in meeting with the Nazis, but when he heard his children complaining about being forced to salute Hitler at school and finds out that Hans is a Nazi symphatizer, he becomes furious.
  • Raised by Grandparents: Thomas is raised by his stubborn grandfather.
  • Re-Release Soundtrack: The anime originally opened with a Japanese version of "Do-Re-Mi", but reruns and the DVD change the song to "Smile Magic".
  • Riches to Rags: In Episode 33, the Trapp family lost their fortune due to the economic depression in Austria. They resort on using their mansion as a boarding house for university students and join in singing contests to make their income.
  • Sadist Teacher: Johanna's teacher after the Nazis take power, encouraging her students to pledge their alliance to Hitler, and encouraging the students to bully Johanna, though it could be because she's afraid of what will happen if she doesn't.
  • Scary Shiny Glasses: Hans is this implying that he's a member of the Nazis in Episode 36 onwards. The Nazi members who wear glasses are this, too.
  • Scholarship Student: Part of Maria's backstory had her attending a teacher's college in Vienna because her uncle refused to give her tuition fee.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Sitting on the Roof: Maria sits on the abbey's rooftop in Episode 1.
  • Skewed Priorities: Matilda often worries more about the opportunities and repercussions of the family's aristocracy rather than their well-being, this reaches a peak in Episode 22 where she denies Maria's pleas for helping Hedwig in fear it'll cancel the Baron's engagement and would create a public scandal.
  • Smoking Is Cool:
    • Georg, Yvonne and Franz.
    • In Episode 23, Rupert admits to St. Nicholas that he secretly smokes in the living room.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Downplayed. In the memoir, Matilda retires from housekeeping after she broke her leg from an accident, but in the anime she stays in Trapp household until the day Maria and the Captain married.
  • Swallowed a Fly: In Episode 36, Johanna accidentally swallowed a mosquito during her family's concert in Vienna. Fortunately, her mother Maria cheers the audience and the concert turns successful.
  • Theme Tune Cameo: In Episode 1, Maria whistles a small tune of the ending theme while picking some potatoes.
  • Think Happy Thoughts: When the children are sad or worried, Maria sings at them sometimes.
  • In Episode 7, Rupert teased Hedwig for being a tomboy due to her stubbornness.
  • Tragic Keepsake:
    • Little Maria's box of ribbons which belonged to her mother Agatha in Episode 5.
    • Agatha's violin and sewing machine in Episode 10. The former is given by little Maria from her father while the latter is used by Maria to sew her new clothes. The Captain is disappointed when his deceased wife's things are used by them, but Maria tells him that it's the only way to make little Maria more motivated instead of keeping them in the storage room.
  • Train-Station Goodbye:
    • At the end of Episode 14, Maria and the von Trapp children sing their farewell song to Nastassja. After that, Rupert decides to give his wooden carving to Nastassja in the last minute.
    • In the last episode, Karl says goodbye to the Trapps when they're leaving Austria by train to escape.
  • True Companions: Georg and Franz. Maria lampshades about them in Episode 33 after she tells her husband that Franz is the one who gave some money to them.
  • Truer to the Text: Inspired from The Sound of Music aside, this one is by far the closest adaptation of the memoir.
  • The Runaway: In Episode 22, Hedwig ran away because she couldn't stand her father's engagement with Yvonne. She tried going to her grandparents in Vienna but her money is stolen. She is found by Maria with the help of Thomas and Raphaela.
    • In Episode 27, Maria revealed that she left her uncle at the age of 14 to be independent and go to college.
  • Wardrobe Malfunction: In Episode 7, Hedwig pulls Maria's right sleeve to show Maria's true nature to her siblings. Instead of remorse, Maria kindly asks Hedwig to return her sleeve much to Hedwig's surprise.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Raphaela is never seen again since Maria married the Captain.
  • What Is This Feeling?: In Episode 23, Maria goes through this when she experiences attraction for the first time at the sight of the Captain. Confused by the new feeling, she mused that Christmas gives strange feelings to people sometimes.

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