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Title (English) Remi the Homeless Girl
Title (Japanese) ie naki no remi

book cover

Fantasy Novel

Notes English name: Homeless Child Remi. Video & overseas have 26 eps.
Creator: Hector Malot (Sans famille)
A title in Fuji TV & Nippon Animation's World Masterpiece Theater (meisaku)TV anime series of adaptations of classic children's books.
Classification WMT
Synopsis Girl loses her home and travels with wandering musician.
Review The last WMT anime made, cancelled after only 23 episodes because of low ratings. I have seen a number of episodes, the first two episodes being in Japanese, in a not particularly good copy, but on the strength of that it seems that the WMT "Remi" is worth a look. The animation, in common with much recent anime (eg Hana Yori Dango) looks fairly true to life, with little if any distortion of eyes, etc and it's noticeable that the characters move in a very realistic way. In the scene where Remi and her small sister tickle each other it's almost as fluid as a live-action scene. The 10 year old Remi is extremely pretty and appealing, - a notably intelligent-looking child - though it has to be said that her face is somewhat reminiscent of generic "cute anime girl" drawings I have seen elsewhere. Some of the scenes are quite moving, as when Remi arrives on a cow decorated with flowers, for her mother's birthday party. We know it's all going to end badly.
I watched a number of episodes in Arabic, giving me a slightly fragmented impression of the story. Initially Remi's father returns home drunk, reveals that he and his wife are not her real parents, and sells her to a travelling musician, who teaches her to read. There's an episode where someone is leaving little booklets for her to find, tied to the branches of a tree.
A criminal sets a series of fires, including their caravan, and destroys a drawing that Remi has made of him. The musician is thrown into prison, leaving Remi to wander the streets. Remi is injured by the police while besieging the police station, and is taken in by a rich woman.
Remi befriends the rich family's son, a depressed boy who is confined to a wheelchair, and tries to rescue him after his wheelchair rolls over a cliff.
The musician is released from prison, and he and Remi resume their travels on foot. It is winter, two of the performing dogs are killed by wolves, and as they reach a city the musician dies of disease, cold and hunger, leaving Remi with one dog and the performing monkey, Joli-Court.
Remi goes into Paris, apparently searching for a particular address, and finishes up at a tenement run by Gaspard, a thug who provides orphans with accomodation in return for all the money they earn from street selling and begging. Remi stays here for quite a number of episodes, gradually becoming friends with the children and especially the oldest boy, Michel.
She encounters a family of travelling entertainers, the mother and daughter being, like Remi, red-haired. The daughter seems very hostile to Remi until she sees how badly Remi is treated by Gaspard. When the family leave, Remi (rather inexplicably) doesn't go with them.
Michel starts learning the violin.
Gaspard takes the children into the countryside, apparently so that they can work on the grape harvest. The smallest girl explores a disused mine, and while trying to get her out, Remi is herself trapped by a rock fall. Michel leads some locals in a rescue, while Gaspard doesn't want to bother.
Michel rejects an opportunity to be trained as a violinist.
Meanwhile the rich family with the crippled son, and their maid (also red-haired!) are searching for Remi. There are some near misses, but eventually they make contact with Gaspard, who evidently scents the prospect of a large amount of cash.
Now solely interested in Remi, Gaspard takes her away in a cart and locks her up. Tracked by her faithful pets, Remi is able to make her escape from Gaspard and his thuggish cronies, but he makes a determined pursuit. He captures Remi and Michel again, and makes a triumphant visit to the rich family. However it turns out that Gaspard has overplayed his hand, and there's a happy ending.
After watching all this I'm none the wiser about Remi's singing career.

You can tell from the detail of this account that the narration is highly visual. I suspect that most of the story was written afresh for this TV version and, looked at in isolation from the charming heroine, it's fairly exciting but not particularly distinguished stuff.

Note that another anime version of "Remi" exists - Remi the Homeless Boy, (ie naki ko) made for TMS by Osamu DEZAKI. Many of the characters are recognisable from this other "Remi" anime, in which Remi has to leave his poverty-stricken home and travel with an old wandering musician, his monkey, Joli-court, and his performing dogs; and doubtless from the book.
The Nippon Animation site had many artworks for this series when I visited. Remi & musician | Remi & dog

Credits Series Director: Kozo Kuzuha
Data from Ben Ettinger
Image gallery & characters on Nippon Animation website.
Episodes 23
Release Jap:VHS
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 1996 September 1 - 1997 March 23
Production Nippon Animation
Broadcaster 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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