The Littl' Bits
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|The Littl' Bits|
The children of The Littl' Bits, from left to right: Willibit, Lillabit, Snagglebit, Chip, Browniebit
(Mori no Yōki na Kobitotachi: Berufi to Rirubitto)
|Anime television series|
|Directed by||Masayuki Hayashi|
|Original run||January 7 – July 7, 1980|
The Littl' Bits (森の陽気な小人たち ベルフィーとリルビット Mori no Yōki na Kobitotachi: Berufi to Rirubitto?, "Cheerful Dwarves of the Forest: Belfy and Lillabit") is a Japanese anime television series with 26 episodes, produced in 1980 by Tatsunoko Productions in Japan. First shown on TV Tokyo (then called Tokyo 12 Channel), its Saban-produced English translation was featured on the children's television station Nick Jr. from 1991 to 1995 alongside other children's anime series such as Adventures of the Little Koala, Maya the Bee, Noozles, The Mysterious Cities of Gold, and Grimm's Fairy Tale Classics.
Due to their similar size and naming scheme, an analogy is often drawn between the Littl' Bits and the Smurfs.
The series describes the adventures of a race of tiny people who live in a simple village in Foothill Forest. It focuses in particular on a group of children: Lillibit, Willibit, Snagglebit, Chip, and Browniebit. Snagglebit, the spoiled son of the mayor, is enamored of the beautiful Lillibit, but she's best friends with Willibit, the moral role model and main protagonist. Thus, even though they generally get along well, Willibit and Snagglebit often butt heads, especially over Lillibit. Snagglebit usually pals around with the short-in-stature Browniebit, who is something of a coward (and is often teased by Snagglebit for this), and Chip, who idolizes Lillibit's uncle, Dr. Snoozabit, and wants to be a doctor like him.
Another frequently recurring child character is Teenybit (Willibit's younger sister), who befriends Scarybit, an ill-tempered, superstitious old woman assumed to be a witch and shunned by most of the other villagers. Teenybit can see that, under Scarybit's tough exterior, she's just a lonely old lady who needs a friend.
The children are watched over by, and often scolded by, the older Littl' Bits including the doctor Dr. Snoozabit, the wood-cutter Chopabit, the baker Bakeabit, Willibit's father Grumpabit, Helpabit, the elder Elderbit, Mayor Bossabit (Snagglebit's father), and others. Snoozabit has a tendency to drink too much, forcing his young niece, Lillibit, to watch out for him and do her best to keep him on the right track (In the American version, Snoozabit's drunkenness was rewritten as being constantly sleepy and needing a nap, hence his English name).
Dr. Snoozabit has raised Lillibit since her infancy, and has always told her that her birth parents died shortly after she was born. Not having a mother and father around occasionally depressed Lillibit, especially when she observed her friends having fun with their parents. However, in the second-to-last episode of the series, it was revealed that Lillibit's parents were in fact alive and were "Wanderbits" (descendants of the "Builderbit" race who were exiled from Foothill Forest for how they treated the animals who rose up and nearly drove them to extinction). In the end, the villagers decided to allow them to stay in Foothill Forest, and Lillibit and her parents were joyously reunited - just in time for a devastating earthquake to ravage Foothill Forest in the final episode, forcing the villagers to band together to rebuild.
When they're not involved in politics (for example, one episode in which they attempted to get their apathetic fellow villagers to vote on election day), the children spend much of their time exploring and interacting with the animals of the forest, both friendly and unfriendly, including raccoons, bears, bullfrogs, squirrels, fish, and horses. Lillibit can even speak directly with animals. They often take advantage of their animal friends for transportation, particularly Snuffly the flying squirrel and Blue the hedgehog.
The show espoused harmony between human beings and the animal kingdom. The plot in every episode of the show had an important lesson for the young audience - amongst the important issues which were addressed in the series, were responsibility, patience, prejudice, hard work and the value of family and friends.
A few episodes of the show were released on VHS in the early 1990s; one of these tapes, called Litt'l Friends (sic), is still available on Amazon. The show was never released in DVD, but homemade DVDs of the Italian and Arabic versions are available for purchase from some websites, as are some additional English episodes.
- Lillibit (alternate names: Berufi, Belfy, Tiptip, Belfi, Lutinette, Basma)
- Voiced by: Yōko Asagami (Japanese); Anik Matern (English)
- A sweet, beautiful orphan girl who lives with her uncle Dr. Snoozabit and watches over him due to his habit of drunkenness. While usually even-tempered and level-headed, Lillibit sometimes loses her temper with her uncle because of his laziness. Lillibit can speak directly to animals which includes Snuffly.
- Willibit (alternate names: Rirubitto, Lillibit, Tiptipon, Lutinou, Abdo)
- Voiced by: Mayumi Tanaka
- The moral role model and main protagonist who is Lillibit's best friend. He is brave and has a strong sense of justice but also has a tendency to act impetuously.
- Snagglebit (alternate names: Napoleon)
- Voiced by: Sachiko Chijimatsu
- The spoiled son of Mayor Bossabit. He has a crush on Lillibit and considers himself to be Willibit's rival for Lillibit's affections, but he and Willibit usually get along fairly well.
- One of Snagglebit's cronies, the son of Chopabit the woodcutter. He idolizes Dr. Snoozabit and became the doctor's unofficial assistant in one early episode, until he realized how much work the medical profession really involves.
- Voiced by: Sonja Ball
- The third member of Snagglebit's gang, considerably shorter in stature than the other children. He tends to be somewhat of a coward and is often teased by Snagglebit and Chip for this.
- Teenybit (alternate names: Chuchuna, Cuccuna)
- Willibit's younger sister, a precocious girl and very observant for her age. Teenybit has a brave streak to rival her brother's, which sometimes gets her into trouble. She is the central character in several episodes which involve her befriending the village outcast, Scarybit.
- Dr. Snoozabit (alternate names: Daggurin, Docklin)
- Voiced by: Terrence Scammell
- Lillabit's uncle, the town doctor who enjoys drinking dandelion wine ("dandelion juice" in the English version). Lillabit does her best to keep him sober but often gets frustrated with him. Despite his debauchery and laziness, he is a skilled doctor and is highly respected by the citizens of Foothill Forest.
- Mayor Bossabit
- Voiced by: Arthur Grosser
- Snagglebit's father and the mayor of the village in Foothill Forest. He is raising Snagglebit on his own as his wife (Snagglebit's mother) died when Snagglebit was still very young. His job often leaves him little time for his son, but he loves and is very protective of Snagglebit.
- An antisocial, superstitious old woman assumed to be a witch. Initially, she seems to relish her outsider status, but she is eventually befriended by young Teenybit and is soon more accepted by the society of Foothill Forest.
- The wood-cutter, Chip's father. He wants his son to become a woodcutter like him, but Chip has other ambitions, which causes some friction between father and son.
- The baker.
- Voiced by: A.J. Henderson
- Willibit and Teenybit's father. Despite his grumpy exterior, he is a very strong, kind-hearted and hard-working man who cares deeply for his family. His wife is known in the series simply as "Mrs. Grumpabit."
- Elderbit (Japanese name, Ronji)
- Voiced by: Rick Jones
- Snuffly (Japanese name, Monga)
- A flying squirrel who is Lillabit's friend and constant companion and often joins in the children's games. He doubles as a mode of transportation for Willibit and Lillabit on their adventures.
- Blue (Japanese name, Pion)
- A hedgehog who is also a companion of the children.
- "The Children's Festival" -
- "Doctor Snoozabit" -
- "The Old Mill Stream" -
- "The Rainbow Firefly" -
- "Election Day" -
- "Scarybit the Witch" -
- "Winter Strawberries" -
- "The Snow Woman" -
- "Save the Raccoon!" -
- "Madame Bella the Weaver" -
- "The Baby Bears" -
- "Looking at the Stars" -
- "Poor Old Helpabit" -
- "Storm Baby" -
- "The Mystical Monument" -
- "Help the Squirrel" -
- "The Legend of Red Light" -
- "The Cowardly Colt" -
- "The Strange Egg" -
- "Let's Go to the Sea, Part 1" -
- "Let's Go to the Sea, Part 2" -
- "The Red Rainbow" -
- "Earthquake!" -
- "Forget-Me-Nots" -
- "The Wanderbits" -
- "Awful, Awful Days" -
- Belfy (Lillabit): Yōko Asagami
- Lillibit (Willibit): Mayumi Tanaka
- Napoleon (Snagglebit): Sachiko Chijimatsu
- Chuchuna (Teenybit): Tsuneko Shitomi
- Daggurin: Kaneta Kimotsuki
- Ronji (Elderbit): Ryuji Saikachi
- Mayor Meimondo (Mayor Bossabit): Minoru Nishio
- Narrator: Toshiko Maeda
NOTE: It is often mistakenly believed by Westerners that the Japanese "Belfy" (Berufi) and the English "Willibit" are the same character, and that the Japanese "Lillibit" (Rirubitto) and the English "Lillabit" are the same character. In fact, "Belfy" is the name of the female, not the male, lead of the series in the original Japanese, and "Rirubitto" is the male, not the female, lead. This can be confirmed by consulting the English-language section of Tatsunoko Productions' Website.
- Sonja Ball - Browniebit
- Arthur Grosser - Mayor Bossabit
- Dean Hagopian -
- A.J. Henderson - Grumpabit
- Arthur Holden - Snagglebit
- Rick Jones - Elderbit
- Liz MacRae -
- Walter Massey - Narrator
- Anik Matern - Lillabit
- Terrence Scammell - Dr. Snoozabit
- Jane Woods -
- Rachelle Cano - Lead Vocal Opening and Closing Themes
Japanese Version (Mori no Yoki na Kobito-tachi Berufi to Rirubitto)
- Created by: Shigeru Yanagawa, Tomoyuki Miyata, Tatsunoko Production
- Executive Producer: Kenji Yoshida
- Planning: Tatsunoko Production Planning Team, Tokyu Agency
- Production Supervisor: Ryoichi Yamada, Masakazu Fujii
- Chief Director: Masayuki Hayashi
- Episode Director: Masayuki Hayashi, Norio Yazawa, Shinichi Tsuji, Mizuho Nishikubo, Hiroshi Iwata, Hideo Furusawa, Masakazu Higuchi, Shigeru Omachi
- Screenplay/Storyboards: Akiyoshi Sakai, Naoko Miyake, Takao Koyama, Yoshiko Takagi, Yu Yamamoto, Shigeru Yanagawa, Yuji Suzuki, Osamu Sekiguchi, Norio Yazawa, Masayuki Hayashi
- Music: Takeo Watanabe
- Character Design: Akiko Shimomoto, Hiromitsu Morita
- Animation Director: Hiromitsu Morita, Hayao Nobe
- Theme Song Performance: Kumiko Oosugi (OP- Mori he Oide Yo; ED- Oyasumi Chuchuna)
- Camera: Studio Gallop
- Laboratory: Orient Laboratory (now IMAGICA)
- Broadcaster: Tokyo 12 Channel (7 January to 7 July 1980)
- Production: Tatsunoko Production Co., Ltd.
English Version (The Littl' Bits)
- Script: Michael McConnohie (episode 2)
- Music: Haim Saban, Shuki Levy
- Associate Producer: Eric S. Rollman
- Executive Producer: Jerald E. Bergh
- Producer: Winston Richard
- Supervising Producer: Winston Richard
- Supervising Writer: Robert V. Barron
- Voice Director: Tim Reid
- Opening and Closing Theme Vocalist: Rachelle Cano