Haikara-san ga Tōru

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Haikara-san ga Tōru
Haikara-san ga Toru.jpg
Cover of the first manga volume
はいからさんが通る
Genre Comedy, Drama
Manga
Written by Waki Yamato
Published by Kodansha
Demographic Shōjo
Magazine Shōjo Friend
Original run 19751977
Volumes 8
Anime television series
Directed by Kazuyoshi Yokota
Studio Nippon Animation
Network TV Asahi
Animax, BS2
Original run June 3, 1978March 31, 1979
Episodes 42
Live-action television film
Directed by Shinji Ueda
Network KTV
Released 1979
Live-action television film
Network Fuji TV
Released 1985
Live-action film
Directed by Masamichi Satō
Written by Takaya Nishioka
Studio Toei
Released 1987
Live-action television film
Network TBS
Released 2002
Portal icon Anime and Manga portal

Haikara-san ga Tōru (はいからさんが通る?), also known as Smart-san or Mademoiselle Anne, is a Japanese shōjo manga series by Waki Yamato. It was serialized by Kodansha in the magazine Shōjo Friend from 1975 to 1977. The title can be literally translated into English as Here Comes Miss Modern, Here Comes Miss High-Collar ("haikara" being the Japanese version of "high collar"), or Fashionable Girl Passing By. In 1977, it was awarded the 1st Kodansha Manga Award for shōjo.[1]

The series was later adapted as a 42-episode anime television series produced by Nippon Animation, which aired across Japan on TV Asahi from June 3, 1978 to March 31, 1979. The anime was later rebroadcast across Japan on the anime satellite television network Animax and on NHK satellite channel BS2. The manga was also adapted into three television drama specials and theatrical film.

Plot[edit]

The haikara of the title is Benio Hanamura (voiced by: Keiko Yokozawa), a 17-year-old schoolgirl in Tokyo circa 1920 (during the Taishō era). Benio lost her mother when she was very young and has been raised by her father, a high-ranking official in the Japanese army. As a result, she has grown into a tomboy - contrary to traditional Japanese notions of femininity, she studies kendo, drinks sake, dresses in often outlandish-looking Western fashions instead of the traditional kimono, and isn't as interested in housework as she is in literature. She also rejects the idea of arranged marriages and believes in a woman's right to a career and to marry for love. Benio's best friends are the beautiful Tamaki (voiced by: Rihoko Yoshida), who is much more feminine than Benio but equally interested in women's rights, and Ranmaru (voiced by: Kazuko Sugiyama), a young man who was raised to play female roles in the kabuki theater and as a result has acquired very effeminate mannerisms.

One day, Benio has a series of embarrassing encounters with the handsome army lieutenant Shinobu Ijuin (voiced by: Katsuji Mori). Shinobu witnesses Benio crash into a tree and fall while riding her bicycle, and Benio slaps him for laughing at her. Later, Shinobu also rescues Benio when she falls from a tree while flying a kite. Benio encounters Shinobu again when she arrives home that day, and promptly attacks him with her kendo stick, only to receive a shock when her father (voiced by: Ichiro Nagai) tells her that Shinobu is to be her husband, due to a pact made between the Hanamura and Ijuin families before Benio's birth. Shinobu (who is of mixed Japanese and German ancestry) wishes to fulfill the dream of his grandmother, who once fell in love with a man of the Hanamura family but was unable to marry him because of the difference in their social standings. In keeping with her feminist ideals, Benio flatly refuses and even attempts to elope with Ranmaru, but is caught when she become involved in a brawl at a local tavern. Since Benio's friend Tamaki is in love with Shinobu, Benio also wants out of the engagement to avoid hurting Tamaki. Benio finally agrees to move into Shinobu's household to learn how to be a good wife, according to Japanese custom.

Initially, Benio's plan is to purposely err in her wifely duties in every way imaginable, from cooking badly to embarrassing her fiance in public, in the hopes that his family will cancel the engagement. Benio frequently argues with Shinobu's grandfather and is a constant irritant to the family's strict governmess. Ranmaru even moves into the Ijuin house and poses as Benio's personal maid. However, her scheme fails - Shinobu genuinely loves Benio and patiently forgives her for her many blunders, and Benio soon realizes that in spite of herself, she is also falling in love with him. However, a major in the army who holds a grudge against Shinobu then sends the young lieutenant to fight in Manchuria.

Benio stays on in the Ijuin home to care for Shinobu's grandparents and wait for his return. She cuts her waist-length hair short and decides to get a job to help out with the family's dire financial situation. After a failed try as a geisha, Benio becomes a reporter for a small local newspaper and convinces her misogynistic boss, Tosei (who is allergic to women because of his hatred of his mother, but somehow appears to be immune to Benio), to send her to Manchuria to cover the war. Once in China, she learns that Shinobu is missing in action and feared dead. Heartbroken, Benio attempts suicide (by trying to drown herself first in a bowl of water, and then in a jar of sake, which only results in her getting drunk), but is convinced to return to Japan and move on with her life.

Some time later, Benio is assigned to cover the visit of a Russian noble couple to Tokyo. She notices how much the count looks like Shinobu, and Shinobu's army friend Onijima (voiced by: Yoshito Yasuhara) proves Benio's hunch to be true. Unfortunately for Benio, Shinobu is suffering from amnesia and believes himself to be the husband of the countess Lalissa. Lalissa's sad story complicates the situation even more - she lost her previous husband and is herself dying of tuberculosis. In addition, the Ijuin mansion is about to be repossessed - until a mysterious good Samaritan steps in to pay the mortgage on the mansion. The mystery benefactor is in fact Benio's boss, Tosei. Moved by this unexpected show of kindness, Benio decides to forget Shinobu and accept Tosei's proposal of marriage. Meanwhile, Benio's friend Tamaki has fallen for Onijima, although the two try to deny their feelings since they are from different social classes.

Everything appears to be set in stone, until Benio and Tosei's wedding day, when the Kanto earthquake of 1923 rocks Tokyo and forces a bittersweet ending to the story. Lalissa is fatally injured in the quake trying to save Shinobu, and as she lies dying, she tells Shinobu to marry Benio and be happy. Shinobu, memories restored and himself severely injured, finds Benio amid the wreckage of the ruined city, and the two vow to never be separated from each other again. Tosei tries to save Benio, but Benio refuses, preferring to die alongside her beloved rather than face life without him; thus, Tosei rescues both Benio and Shinobu. In the end, Tosei comes to terms with his feelings about his mother and rededicates himself to his business; Onijima returns to Manchuria, and Tamaki decides to obey her heart and follow him; and Benio and Shinobu are wed at last.

Distribution[edit]

The manga was serialized in Kodansha's Shōjo Friend magazine in Japan from 1975 to 1977. It remains a popular nostalgia item in Japan to this day, considered a classic work from the same 1970s shōjo manga boom that gave birth to such popular titles as Candy Candy, and copies are still in print. The anime adaptation of the story, which aired across Japan on the terrestrial TV Asahi network from June 1978 to March 1979, spanned 42 episodes, was directed by Kazuyoshi Yokota (Spaceship Sagittarius, Grimm's Fairy Tale Classics, My Daddy-Long-Legs), and featured character designs by future Ranma 1/2 director Tsutomu Shibayama.

Due to disappointing ratings, Nippon Animation was forced to end the series early and craft an ending to the anime that was different from that of the manga, cutting the story off after the arrival of Shinobu and Lalissa in Japan. In the final episode, Benio is told that the mysterious Russian count is not Shinobu (Lalissa has a photograph of their wedding day to prove it). However, an epilogue narration reveals that Lalissa found Shinobu in Siberia. He was severely hurt, and was the spitting image of her late husband. The final episode concludes with Benio finally being reunited with Shinobu. Up until this point, the anime had been a very faithful adaptation of the manga, even incorporating redrawn stills from Yamato's original work (although the anime portrayed Benio with reddish-brown hair, and Yamato's colorized drawings often showed her as blonde).

The anime has been discovered by new audiences in the years since thanks to the enduring popularity of the original manga (as well as a live-action movie version of the story released in Japan in 1987). In 2005, Haikara-san ga Tooru was listed at #95 in a TV Asahi poll of the top 100 animation series of all time, based on a nationwide survey of Japanese of all age groups.[2] The anime has also been aired across Japan by the anime satellite television network, Animax, and the NHK satellite channel BS2.

Both the manga and anime have also enjoyed considerable success in the European market. The manga was released in Italy in the late 1990s under the title Una ragazza alla moda (A Fashionable Girl). The anime was successful on Italian TV in 1986 under the title Mademoiselle Anne, and a French dub of the series, Marc et Marie, aired on French TV in 1995. The anime has also been dubbed into Arabic, under the title Pino (the Arabic name for Benio). Nippon Animation's official English title for the anime is Smart-san.

Anime staff[edit]

  • Director: Kazuyoshi Yokota, Yoshihiko Umakoshi
  • Script: Nizo Takahashi
  • Storyboards: Hiroshi Yoshida, Teppei Matsuura, Yokoo Yoko
  • Music: Masuhiro Yamaguchi
  • Original Story: Waki Yamato
  • Character Design: Tsutomu Shibayama
  • Animation Directors: Eiji Kawakita, Eiji Tanaka, Takashi Saijo, Tatsuhiro Nagaki, Yoshiyuki Kishi
  • Background Art: Kazu Setouchi, Takafumi Kase
  • Executive Producer: Koichi Motohashi
  • Theme Songs: OP - Haikara-san ga Tōru, ED - Gokigen Ikaga? Benio desu, performed by Shosuke Sekita

The theme song for the late 1980s movie was performed by Yoko Minamino; it is a different song from that used in the anime series.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Joel Hahn. "Kodansha Manga Awards". Comic Book Awards Almanac. Archived from the original on 2007-08-16. Retrieved 2007-08-21. 
  2. ^ TV Asahi Top 100 Anime, Anime News Network

External links[edit]