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Anime / Twelve Months

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Twelve Months (Sekai Meisaku Douwa: Mori wa Ikiteiru) is a 1980 fantasy anime movie by Toei Animation in partnership with Soyuzmultfilm.

Twelve Months is the story of an orphaned girl named Anya. When a spoiled Queen, who is also orphaned, sees a picture of a galanthus flower (snowdrop), she immediately wants one. However, the galanthus only blooms in spring, in the month of April. It is New Year's Eve and there was no way that such a flower can be found in the middle of the winter. The Queen offers a basket of gold to anyone who can bring her a bag of galanthus and Anya's cruel guardian sends her out in a blizzard to find some. There she is saved from freezing to death by twelve spirits, each representing one month of the year, who entrust her with a precious secret.

The film was based on a children's book which was itself based on an old European fairytale.

Tropes featured in Twelve Months include:

  • Adaptational Angst Upgrade: Anya is much more traumatized by her life than her counterpart from the play. Notably, in her first scene, when she is gathering tinder in the forest, she is downcast and on the verge of tears, while in the play she happily watches the forest animals.
  • Adaptational Nice Guy: The Queen's temper is less explosive and she reforms much quicker and more decisively than in the play.
  • Adaptational Romance Downgrade: The clearly romantic relationship between April and the girl from the play gets reduced to a few moments of Ship Tease. He is more protective of her than the rest of the Months but doesn't indicate he feels anything but Big Brother Instinct towards her, and she calls him "brother".
  • Adaptational Seriousness: The Months are stern, serious and quiet (except for a single moment when they burst out laughing at the idea of snowdrops in winter), a big change from the play's cheerful and friendly characters who sing a merry song.
  • Adaptational Villainy: The stepmother and her daughter are even worse than in the original, tormenting Anya with unhidden sadistic glee.
  • Adaptational Wimp: The professor is a lot more timid than in the play. He barely dares to speak in the Queen's presence, while his counterpart in the play even argues with her and sometimes actually manages to convince her to do something right.
  • Flowers of Romance: In one of the few moments with romantic subtext, April hands a snowdrop to the girl, standing on one knee.
  • Forced Transformation: The mother and the daughter are transformed into dogs at the end of the movie and cursed to stay that way until they change for the better.
  • Gold Makes Everything Shiny: The queen's clothes are all golden. And she has a golden crown. And golden hair, for good measure.
  • Heartwarming Orphan: Anya is an orphan and an absolute selfless sweetheart.
  • An Ice Person: The winter months, especially January, come off as this being the personifications of the coldest time of year.
  • Innocent Blue Eyes: Pure-hearted Anya has big blue eyes.
  • Insistent Terminology: In the English dub. Everyone refers to the flowers by their scientific name (galanthus) rather than their much more commonly known name (snowdrop).
  • Kick the Dog: Even after Anya gets them the basket of the galanthus flowers, the daughter still steals her ring while she's asleep.
  • Named by the Adaptation: The stepdaughter gets the name of Anya.
  • "Number of Objects" Title: For the personifications of the twelve months of the year.
  • Red-Headed Hero: Or heroine in her case, Anya.
  • Ring of Power: The Twelve Months give Anya one so she can see them again if she speaks the necessary magic words.
  • Royal Brat: The Queen is spoiled and self-centered, though she does get a little better by the end.
  • Spoiled Brat: The Queen and the daughter. The former especially, Anya and the Captain muse it's because she had no one to say no to her.
  • Stealth Pun: The horrible mother and daughter get turned into a pair of dogs. Female dogs.

Alternative Title(s): The Twelve Months