Moomin (1990 TV series)

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1990 Moomin Anime Title.png
A screenshot of the series' British English dubbed title, featuring Moominhouse behind the logo.
(Tanoshii Mūmin Ikka)
Genre Fantasy, Adventure, Slice of life
Anime television series
Directed by Hiroshi Saitô
Masayuki Kojima
Produced by Kazuo Tabata
Dennis Livson
Written by Akira Miyazaki
Shozo Matsuda
Masaaki Sakurai
Music by Sumio Shiratori
Studio Telecable Benelux B.V.
Telescreen Japan Inc.
Visual 80
Licensed by
Maverick Entertainment
STAX Entertainment
Network TV Tokyo (1990–1991)
English network
Original run April 12, 1990October 3, 1991
Episodes 78 (List of episodes)
Anime television series
Delightful Moomin Family: Adventure Diary
Directed by Takeyuki Kanda
Produced by Kazuo Tabata
Written by Masaaki Sakurai
Music by Sumio Shiratori
Studio Telecable Benelux B.V.
Network TV Tokyo
Original run October 10, 1991March 26, 1992
Episodes 26 (List of episodes)
Anime film
Comet in Moominland
Directed by Hiroshi Saitô
Produced by Kazuo Tabata
Written by Akira Miyazaki
Music by Sumio Shiratori
Studio Telecable Benelux B.V.
Telescreen Japan Inc.
Released August 8, 1992
Runtime 68 minutes
Anime and Manga portal

Moomin (Japanese: 楽しいムーミン一家 Hepburn: Tanoshii Mūmin Ikka?) is a Japanese-European anime television series produced by Telecable Benelux B.V.. It is based on the Moomin novels and comic strips by the Finnish illustrator and author Tove Jansson and her brother Lars Jansson.[1] It was the third anime adaptation of Moomins but the first to be distributed and dubbed in other countries worldwide. Moomin first aired on TV Tokyo from April 12, 1990 to October 3, 1991. The series has also been dubbed English and aired on CBBC in United Kingdom during the same year.

Moomin takes place the peaceful Moominvalley, where young Moomin along with his parents Moominpappa and Moominmamma live at the large and blue Moominhouse. The series follows many fun or even obscure adventures of Moomin family and their friends around the Moominvalley or sometimes outside of it. Most of the stories involve discovering magical objects/creatures, adventures in different locations or dealing with everyday situations. While many episodes are faithful or at least loosely based on the novels and comic strips, the series has its own consistent continuity.

Moomin has received high popularity in Japan, Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Nordic countries, including Jansson's home country Finland, where it has been re-aired almost continuously since its first broadcast by Yle. The series helped fuel the "Moomin boom" of the 1990s, including an obsession with The Moomin plush toys in Japan.[1] After the high success, a sequel series called Delightful Moomin Family: Adventure Diary (楽しいムーミン一家 冒険日記 Tanoshii Mūmin Ikka: Bōken Nikki?) was made. When the sequel series aired around several countries outside the Japan, it was considered as the second season of the Moomin. CBBC has left out the sequel series and has never dubbed it in English. The original series also spawned a theatrical prequel film Comet in Moominland that is based on the second novel of the same name and video games releases. After Tove Jansson's death the series' producer Dennis Livson was planning to make a second film based on Moominpappa at Sea but Tove Jansson's niece Sophia Jansson didn't give him permission for it.[2]

The music of the series is composed by Sumio Shiratori and the original theme song as well as other singing heard in the series is performed by his wife Emiko Shiratori. Outside Japan the series has been shown with different opening and ending theme songs which are composed by Dutch composer Pierre Kartner.


Alt text
The Moomin family and friends. From left to right, Snufkin, Little My, Sniff, the Snork Maiden, Moominpappa, Moomin (Moomintroll) and Moominmamma.

The series begins with the arrive of spring in Moominvalley. Moomin, along with Little My, Moominpappa and Moominmamma wake up in Moominhouse, while Snufkin also comes back from his south travel on the first day of spring. The first eight episodes create coherent storyline that is based on the third novel, Finn Family Moomintroll. During the storyline, Moomin and his friends find out the magical silk hat, that turns out to belong to the Hobgoblin. He later gets his hat back from the Moomin family. The Moomins later find a wrecked boat, fix it and travel to a lonely island which is full of Hattifatteners. Next, two creatures called Thingumy and Bob with a large suitcase arrive to the Moominhouse, and they are followed by the Groke. After the Moomins manage to evict the Groke from their way by giving her Moomin's seashell, it turns out that Thingumy and Bob are keeping the large "King's Ruby" in their suitcase. After Thingummy and Bob return Moominmamma's missing handbag, the Moomins celebrate the event with a large junket, where suddenly the Hobgoblin also arrives. Finally the problem of the King's Ruby's ownership is solved with the Hobgoblin's magic.

Moomin takes place between a three-year period of time. Moomin and his family or friends manage to take part in two winter periods through the series, despite that the Moomins are normally supposed to fall into hibernation. Through the series, Snork, the Snork Maiden's inventor brother, designs and creates two flying ships of different type; the first is destroyed due sabotage and the second one gets finished at the end of the series. Before the second winter period, the Moomins and their friends also get to know Alicia and her grandmother, who is a witch. She teaches Alicia to become a real witch and has a negative opinion about the Moomins and their nice nature. As the series goes on, the witch however begins to appreciate them. At the end of the series, Snork decides to go on a journey with his finished flying ship while Alicia and her grandmother also leave the Moominvalley for the third winter period. The series concludes when the winter arrives, the Moomins fall into hibernation and Snufkin travels to the south once again.


Moomin is the third anime adaptation based on the novels and comic strips. Before the production, author Tove Jansson was already displeased with the previous Moomin anime adaptation from 1969 due to how unfaithful the series' characters and stories were to her original source material.[3][4] Because of this, both of the first Moomin and New Moomin from 1972 were never distributed or aired outside Japan. Since 1981, Finnish animation and commercial producer Dennis Livson began to beg the rights from Tove and Lars Jansson to make another animated adaptation.[2] Eventually, Livson managed to win both of them over after they saw his previous produced animated series Alfred J Kwak, and rights for another series were obtained. A year later in Tokyo, Livson showed a small preview of the anime series for both Tove and Lars Jansson. According to Livson, Tove commented it by saying "Dom lever ju" ("They are living!”).[2]

Unlike previous two anime adaptations, Moomin was co-production of Dutch company Telecable Benelux B.V. (later re-titled as Telescreen since 1998 until the acquisition to brand management & media company m4e in 2008) and Japanese animation studios Telescreen Japan Inc. and Visual 80. Hiroshi Saitô and Masayuki Kojima were the series' main directors while Akira Miyazaki did the screenplay for the first 12 and many later episodes. Tove and Lars Jansson were also involved with the screenplay by doing certain changes in scripts.

Differences from the books[edit]

The series includes plotlines taken from following Moomin books: Finn Family Moomintroll (eight episodes), Moominland Midwinter (three episodes), Moominsummer Madness (three episodes), The Exploits of Moominpappa (three episodes), Moominpappa at Sea (two episodes) and several short stories from the collection Tales from Moominvalley (five episodes in total). Roughly twenty episodes in the original series and dozen more in the sequel series are based on stories taken from Tove and Lars Jansson's Moomin comic strips. The series does have differences from the books and comic strips, more strongly than European stop-motion series The Moomins that aired between 1977 and 1982, but not as much as the previous two anime adaptations. Certain events and characters from the books and comic strips are missing in order to fit the series' own continuity or for reasons unknown. Many new plotlines and some new characters have been added, especially in the later episodes. Some notable differences include:

  • Moomintroll is called simply "Moomin", except in the first episode in the Japanese version, where the narrator introduces him as "Moomintroll".
  • Little My appears in the series from the beginning, but appears only in later volumes in the books.
  • Lady of the Cold looks very different from the description in the books.
  • In the books the Moomins exchange the King's Ruby for the Hobgoblin's top hat and the Hobgoblin later arrives, to collect the King's Ruby, with a new hat. In the series however, Hobgoblin gets his top hat back in the second episode and in the seventh episode the Moomins instead exchange the King's Ruby for a heart-shaped sea-shell Snorkmaiden gave Moomin.
  • A Fillyjonk raises Moominpappa in the orphanage in the series, while in the books it's a Hemulen who raises him.
  • Snorkmaiden and Sniff who disappear occasionally in the book series have bigger roles in the TV series and they appear quite often throughout the series. 
  • Snufkin takes a friendly attitude towards people who are not in the Moomin family. He doesn't smoke a pipe in the series.
  • Alicia and her grandmother (the witch) are characters who were invented for the series, they did not exist in the books or comic strips.


The first anime series consists of 78 episodes, although only 76 episodes have been aired in certain countries. The series was first aired in Japan on TV Tokyo on April 12, 1990. The last episode aired in Japan on October 3, 1991. After its first run in Japan, many other television channels have re-aired the first series. The series was distributed to many countries worldwide. In Tove Jansson's home country Finland, the series first aired on Finnish Broadcasting Company's YLE TV1 on August 1, 1991 and a Swedish dub first aired three days later. After the first run, the series has been moved to YLE TV2 and has been rebroadcasting along with the sequel series in almost every year, either with the Finnish or Swedish dub.

During the early 1990s, the first anime series has also been dubbed into British English for Children's BBC (later renamed as CBBC) in the United Kingdom under the title Moomin. The series was distributed by Maverick Entertainment, while the dubbing was recorded at Cardiff's Eco Studios. The full voice cast includes Susan Sheridan, Toni Barry, Pat Starr, Peter Whitman, John Chancer, David Graham, Garrick Hagon, Jeff Harding and Stacey Jefferson. The series has never aired in the United States with the exception being Hawaii, where the series has been called The Tales of Moomin Valley and aired on television station K-5.[1] Despite the different opening and ending themes, Hawaii airings featured the British dub from Children's BBC.

Delightful Moomin Family: Adventure Diary[edit]

After the high success of the first anime series in Japan, a sequel series titled Delightful Moomin Family: Adventure Diary (楽しいムーミン一家 冒険日記 Tanoshii Mūmin Ikka: Bōken Nikki?) was made. TV Tokyo aired it in Japan from October 10, 1991 to March 26, 1992. Consisting 26 more episodes, the sequel series does not feature any adaptations of Jansson's books but some of its episodes were based on Moomin comic strips. Outside Japan only a few countries have aired Tanoshii Mūmin Ikka: Bōken Nikki and it has usually been featured as a new season of Moomin. The sequel series has been aired for example in Tove Jansson's home country Finland (but only in Finnish dub), Israel, Norway and Poland. The sequel series has never been dubbed to English and it hasn't been aired on CBBC. Producer Dennis Livson was later highly critical towards the sequel series and stated that "we had nothing left to mine from by way of Tove’s own stories."[2]

Related media[edit]

Anime film[edit]

Home releases[edit]

In Japan, the series was released both as individual DVD volumes and box sets by Victor Entertainment. A Blu-ray Disc Box Set was also released on December 21, 2012.[citation needed]

During the 1990s, selected amount of episodes of the English dub were released on VHS, and in 2005 a R2 DVD of the first five episodes, entitled Moomin Mania was released by Maverick Entertainment, but was later discontinued. As of 2009, four DVD volumes has been released in the UK by STAX Entertainment, while Telescreen has released eight volumes and two box sets for the American market.

In the Nordic countries, the series was released by Svensk Filmindustri and by Finnkino in Finland. The Finnish DVD release had both the Finnish and the Swedish dub, while the Swedish release had only the Swedish.


  1. ^ a b c Clements, Jonathan; McCarthy, Helen (2006). The Anime Encyclopedia: A Guide to Japanese Animation Since 1917 (Revised and Expanded ed.). Berkeley, CA: Stone Bridge Press. p. 428. ISBN 978-1933330105. 
  2. ^ a b c d Helsingin Sanomat - Tuomas Kaseva: Snufkin and the sea: Moomin animator at 60 at the Wayback Machine (archived April 28, 2014) Retrieved 7 July 2015.
  3. ^ Toole, Michael (23 October 2011). "The Mike Toole Show - Anime... Or Not?!". Anime News Network. Retrieved 18 October 2014. 
  4. ^ Brubaker, Charles (5 March 2014). "The Animated History of "Moomin"". Cartoon Research. Retrieved 18 October 2014. 

External links[edit]