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Title (English) Bushbabies
Title (Japanese) kusabara no chiisana tenshi busshu beibii

book cover

Fantasy Novel

Notes Bush Baby, Little Angel of the Grasslands; Ger.= "Buschbabies - Im Land der wilden Tiere"
From a novel by: William Stevenson (The Bushbabies)
A title in Fuji TV & Nippon Animation's World Masterpiece Theater (meisaku)TV anime series of adaptations of classic children's books.
This is based on a novel, The bushbabies (1965), by a Canadian author, William Stevenson. The novel was also adapted as a live action movie,The Bushbaby (1970), USA/UK.
Classification WMT
Synopsis The story begins in 1964, in the area of Killimanjaro, Kenya when young Jackie begins to travel the savannah. Her father is a game warden, who has a loyal African assistant, Tenbo. The area is troubled by poachers, whom the wardens are unable to catch. After some time, Jackie's father loses his job because of Kenyan-isation, and Jackie's family prepares to return to England. At Mombasa, Jackie realised she has lost the papers for her pet bush-baby, and leaves the ship, which sails without her. She luckily meets Tembo, who has been over-zealous in spying on the poachers' export warehouse.
Review At first I thought that this series, though it looked well- researched, was going to be one of those rather boring "lets be nice to animals" things, and I didn't much like the principal character's design. However the episodes after Jackie misses her ship are altogether superior, with a richly detailed background of the real Africa, and with a silently worried Tembo dodging the poachers, and also the police, who he entirely distrusts, while looking after a lively blonde, blue-eyed girl who perhaps does not grasp as well as the viewer what a mess she and Tenbo are in.
This is one of the most contemporary of the WMT series and, at its best, contains a realism and subtlety light years away from trashy American cartoons. Tembo's comments on the police, while unflattering, ring as true as a broadsheet newspaper headline. Well worth checking out.
The book:The story starts much later than the anime, with the sailing from Mombasa occuring within a few pages. Interestingly enough, this is the point at which the anime "catches fire", being generally more dramatic and better observed from this point on. Just about all the incidents of any significance from the book appear in the anime, and the characters of Jackie and Tembo are similar. Surprisingly, though, the book is almost a Jackie/Tembo two-hander - no annoying fat boy, and no poachers. Apparently it was based on the author's own experiences with his daughter in Kenya.
Credits Seris director:Takayoshi Suzuki
Data from Ben Ettinger
Episodes 40
Release Jap:VHS, Ger:TV
TV Showing See the whole series for free? This series may be syndicated to regional cable, satellite or terrestial TV stations. For Europe click here.
Date 1992 January 12 - 1992 December 20
Production Nippon Animation, Fuji TV
References & Help Look up the latest data on this title at:
Richard Llewellyn's Animated Divots, or
Anime News Network (see Encyclopedia section) ,
or in "The Anime Encyclopedia" (Clements & McCarthy, Stone Bridge Press, 2001).
Help & further information.



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