World Masterpiece Theater

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Anne of Green Gables (1979), the first release under the "World Masterpiece Theater" title.

World Masterpiece Theater (世界名作劇場 Sekai Meisaku Gekijō?) is a Japanese TV anime staple that showcased an animated version of a different classical book or story each year on 7:30 p.m. on Sunday. It originally aired from 1969 to 1997 then resumed in 2007.

The first several series were produced by Mushi Production and then by Zuiyo Eizo, and then by Zuiyo's successor Nippon Animation, which was officially established in June 1975 during the run of A Dog of Flanders. In both cases, the series originally aired primarily on Fuji Television. Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata both worked on several of the series. World Masterpiece Theater as produced by Nippon Animation lasted for 23 seasons, from A Dog of Flanders in 1975 to Remi, Nobody's Girl (家なき子レミ, Ie Naki Ko Remi, Sans Famille) in 1997. Nippon Animation restarted the series in 2007 with the release of Les Misérables: Shōjo Cosette, which premiered on BS Fuji on January 7, 2007, with Porufi no Nagai Tabi (The Long Journey of Porphy) subsequently airing on the same network beginning on January 6, 2008, making it the 25th World Masterpiece Theater series. The most recent and 26th series is Kon'nichiwa Anne: Before Green Gables (lit. Hello Anne ~ Before Green Gables).

To date, only three series were ever dubbed in English for the American market: Tom Sawyer (1980), Swiss Family Robinson (1981), and Little Women (1987). The anime satellite television network, Animax, who also aired numerous installments of the series across Japan, later translated and dubbed many of the series' installments into English for broadcast across its English-language networks in Southeast Asia and South Asia, such as Princess Sarah (小公女セーラ, Shōkōjo Sēra), Remi, Nobody's Girl (家なき子レミ, Ie Naki Ko Remi), Little Women (愛の若草物語, Ai no Wakakusa Monogatari), and others. The serials also found success in Europe, with Anne of Green Gables (1979, Miyazaki's last work for Nippon Animation before leaving the studio), Heidi, Girl of the Alps as well as the aforementioned Princess Sarah.

The series has been known by various names over the years (as shown below), but "World Masterpiece Theater" is the name most commonly used by viewers. Nippon Animation's official English name for the series is "The Classic Family Theater Series".[1]

Productions[edit]

Before Nippon Animation - Calpis Comic Theater (1969–1974)[edit]

Nippon Animation - Calpis Children's Theater (1975–1977)[edit]

Calpis Family Theater (1978)[edit]

World Masterpiece Theater (1979–1985; no title sponsor)[edit]

House Foods World Masterpiece Theater (1986–1993)[edit]

World Masterpiece Theater (1994–1997; no title sponsor)[edit]

House Foods World Masterpiece Theater (2007–2009)[edit]

Series length[edit]

  • Dororo - 26 episodes
  • Moomin - 65 episodes
  • Andersen Monogatari - 52 episodes
  • Moomin (1972) - 52 episodes
  • Fables of the Green Forest - 52 episodes
  • Heidi, Girl of the Alps - 52 episodes
  • Dog of Flanders - 52 episodes
  • 3000 Leagues in Search of Mother - 52 episodes
  • Rascal the Raccoon - 52 episodes
  • The Story of Perrine - 53 episodes
  • Anne of Green Gables - 50 episodes
  • The Adventures of Tom Sawyer - 49 episodes
  • The Swiss Family Robinson: Flone of the Mysterious Island - 50 episodes
  • Lucy of the Southern Rainbow - 50 episodes
  • Story of the Alps: My Annette - 48 episodes
  • Katri, Girl of the Meadows - 49 episodes
  • Princess Sarah - 46 episodes
  • The Story of Pollyanna, Girl of Love - 51 episodes
  • Little Women - 48 episodes
  • Little Lord Fauntleroy - 43 episodes
  • The Adventures of Peter Pan - 41 episodes
  • My Daddy Long Legs - 40 episodes
  • Trapp Family Story - 40 episodes
  • The Bush Baby - 40 episodes
  • Little Women II: Jo's Boys - 40 episodes
  • Tico of the Seven Seas - 39 episodes
  • Romeo's Blue Skies - 33 episodes
  • Famous Dog Lassie - 26 episodes
  • Remi, Nobody's Girl - 26 episodes
  • Les Misérables: Shōjo Cosette - 52 episodes
  • Porphy no Nagai Tabi - 52 episodes
  • Hello Anne - Before Green Gables - 39 episodes

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://nipponanimation.com/catalogue/cata_theater.html

External links[edit]