Saban's Adventures of Pinocchio
|Saban's Adventures of Pinocchio|
Screenshot from the TV series Saban's Adventures of Pinocchio, displaying Gepetto and Pinocchio
(Mokku of the Oak Tree)
|Anime television series|
|Directed by||Seitaro Hara|
|English network||BBC (United Kingdom)
HBO (United States)
|Original run||January 4, 1972 – January 1, 1973|
Saban's Adventures of Pinocchio, also known as Mokku of the Oak Tree (樫の木モック Kashi no Ki Mokku?), or Mokku Woody the Oak Tree in Japan, is a 52 episode anime series by Tatsunoko Productions first aired on Fuji Television in 1972. The story is based on the novel The Adventures of Pinocchio by Italian author Carlo Collodi.
Unlike the lighter, more cheerful tones of the Disney Version and Nippon Animation's version Piccolino no Bōken, this series has a distinctly darker, more sadistic theme, and portrays the main character, Pinocchio (Mokku), as suffering from constant physical and psychological abuse and freak accidents.
This version of tells a story of an extremely gullible, naive and morally confused wooden doll brought to life by a mystical blue fairy. Pinocchio (Mokku) is characterized as having many character faults which he must learn to overcome in order to be worthy of being granted humanity. Some of these character faults include selfishness, rudeness, insensitivity, indolence, obstinacy, over- trusting, self-pity, stupidity, disobedience, compulsive lying, arrogance, greed, cowardice, recklessness, cruelty, foolishness and an inability to learn from mistakes. 
For example during the fifth episode, 'What is a Heart', Pinocchio actually resorts to committing attempted murder to acquire a child's heart because he thinks it will help him become a real boy. In the tenth episode, 'When my nose gets longer', Pinocchio is forcefully adopted by a Nobleman and becomes a Prince, whereupon he becomes so corrupted with wealth and privileges that he becomes extremely rude and aggressive to his servants and charges about his adopted father's estates on horseback, randomly riding down any person who gets in his way, whilst laughing at the terror, indignity and danger inflicted upon others for his personal amusement. Pinocchio is of course severely punished by the blue fairy for these acts of utter selfishness who makes his nose turn into a small tree. Pinocchio is consequently disowned and cast out naked into the wilderness by his adopted father who can't stop laughing at him as he is dragged away crying out in vain for mercy. The episode ends with a forlorn Pinocchio weeping bitterly as he fumbles through the castle's surrounding brambley undergrowth, naked and cold because his ex-adopted father has taken away his expensive attire. There are clearly illustrated scratches etched into the wood of his body from the surrounding vegetation. The sequel episode sees Pinocchio transform into a small tree with a face and with roots fixed deep into the soil so that he can no longer move. He is eventually found by a wood cutter who chops him down and sells him as a novelty singing tree. In the last episode, he is even shot by a group of Russian cossacks.
Throughout the entire series Pinocchio (Mokku), partly due to his own delinquency and repetitive disobedience, must undergo other costly ordeals of hardship and pain in which he is continuously tormented, persecuted, bullied, humiliated, tricked, ridiculed, ostracised, beaten, downtrodden and subjected to degrading and inhumane treatment. Its plain depiction of the austere reality of what it would be like to be literally subhuman growing up in a world of danger and hardship, makes this another good example of traditional Japanese stories, which teach moral observance through tough endurance.
The cultural backdrop of these episodes seem to suggest an alpine region during the mid to late 19th century, only with an added mythical theme which includes creatures such as vampires, fairies, witches and mermaids as well as talking animals not to mention of course a living puppet. Such backdrops could include countries such as Switzerland, Austro-Hungary or even the Papal States.
A separate English version was created by Jim Terry (Force Five). Titled The Adventures of Pinocchio, it consisted of several episodes edited together to create a 90-minute movie. This version, released on video in 1989, was dubbed by Harmony Gold, using different voice actors than the Saban version.
The on-screen title was given as 'Pinocchio The Series', to emphasize the fact that this was an independent production, unrelated to the Disney feature.
English voice actors cited are from the 1990s Saban dub.
- Pinocchio Voiced by: Yuuko Maruyama (Japanese), Thor Bishopric (English)
- Geppetto Voiced by: Minoru Yada (Japanese), Walter Massey (English)
- Puppetmaster Sneeroff Voiced by: A.J. Henderson
- Dr. Sorrow Voiced by: Arthur Grosser
- Executive Producer/Planning: Tatsuo Yoshida
- Producer: Kenji Yoshida, Motoyoshi Maesato
- Chief Writer: Jinzo Toriumi
- Series Director: Seitaro Hara
- Music: Nobuyoshi Koshibe
- Character Design: Yoshitaka Amano
- Chief Animation Directors: Masayuki Hayashi, Sadao Miyamoto
|#||Episode Name||Original air date|
|01||"The Puppet is Alive!"
|January 4, 1972|
|02||"I Don't Want to be a Puppet"
|03||"Mind Your Father!"
|04||"Who Can I Trust?"
|05||"What is a Heart?"
|06||"Field of Witches Part 1"
|07||"Field of Witches Part 2"
|09||"The Magic Ring"
|10||"Never Tell a Lie"
(ぼくの鼻がのびる時 (When My Nose Gets Longer))
|11||"A Mother's Love"
|12||"I Won't Be Fooled Around"
|13||"I Have a Dream, Too"
|14||"Save the Oak Tree!"
|15||"I'm Falling Apart!"
|18||"From Rags to Riches"
|19||"The Magic Violin"
|20||"Greedy Kings are Evil Kings"
|21||"The Treasure Island"
|22||"The Sorrowful Stranger"
|23||"The Money Tree"
|24||"Mermaids and Pirates"
|25||"I'll Be a Pirate!"
|26||"The Snake with Three Heads"
|27||"I Want to Fly!"
|28||"Nobody Can Save Me Now!"
|29||"Captured by Bandits"
|30||"Be a Clown!"
|32||"Lost at Sea"
|33||"Pinocchio Saves the Day"
|35||"Guardian of the Tomb"
|36||"The Princess and the Dragon"
|38||"You Must be Brave, Pinocchio"
|39||"Over the Sea in a Balloon"
|40||"Down With Sneeroff"
|41||"The Evil Spirit"
|43||"The Fortress of Doom"
|44||"A Freezing Snowstorm"
|47||"How Many Pinocchios Are There?!"
|48||"Fury of the Sea Devil"
|50||"The Fire Monster"
|51||"A Sad Christmas Eve"
|52||"Flowers in the Snow"||January 1, 1973|
This series uses several pieces of theme music for different adaptations. The original Japanese opening is "Kashi no Ki Mokku (樫の木モック)" which is sung by Kumiko Onoki. The original Japanese ending theme is "Boku wa kanashii ki-no ningyo (A Sad Wood Puppet Doll)" which is sung by Moon Drops. Whereas the intro carries an upbeat, "friendly" kids tune, the ending reflects the overall mood of the series.
The English adaptation has two songs, one for the mini movie made from the series, and the other for the actual 52 episode series that aired on HBO. These songs were "Whoa, Oh, Pinocchio" sung by Bullets for the movie, and "He's Pinocchio" produced by Saban. however in addition, when this series aired on HBO in 1992, Saban used a completely different instrumental theme song with no lyrics which differed from the "He's Pinocchio" song.
In the Saban version, Shuki Levy reused a lot of the Music from the The Adventures of Ronald McDonald: McTreasure Island TV special Produced by Dic Entertainment
A selection of Pinocchio episodes are available in the UK at Amazon.co.uk under the title "The Magical World of Pinocchio". These are the American dubbed Jetix/Saban episodes, with the usual censorship (e.g. the cricket's death is not shown). A DVD of the Jim Terry feature-length version is also available on Amazon.com as "The Adventures of Pinocchio" from Warner Home Video.
- Kashi no ki Mokku at the Internet Movie Database
- Kashi no Ki Mokku (anime) at Anime News Network's encyclopedia
- Pinocchio at TV.com