Sunday, October 7, 2007

Little House on the Kanto Plains

It seems like some kind of postmodern joke, like a a daguerrotype of a computer processor or a silent film about the internet. Or something. But it's true: There exists a anime adaptation of Little House on the Prairie called Laura, the Prairie Girl. (Yes, of course that's what they would have called it.)

the familiar garth williams version
and laura, chibi pioneer moppet
Released in 1975, the short-lived TV series is alternately translated as Laura, Girl of the Prairies and is known in Japan as Sôgen no shôjô Laura. Hardly any info about it can be found online, a fact which may stem from the series relative unpopularity. Series directors Seiji Endo and Mitsuo Ezaki certainly didn't catapult to fame from it; it appears on IMDb near the end of both of their filmographies. (And it's with a smirk that I note that Ezaki's work before Prairie includes titles like Seven Beastly Men: Proclamation of Blood, The Harbor of No Return and The Woman Police, Part II.)

Laura, the Prairie Girl was never translated for English-speaking audiences, which seems somewhat odd given how popular the books have been in the United States and that a lot of series were ported over here before any children watching them would have had a clue what anime was. What I could find of interest, however, was a list of episode titles which, to me, indicate jus how the show's creators twisted this bit of Americana into something suitably Japanese. Below are a few:
  • A Wolf Cub Arrives
  • Bear Cub We Met at the Waterfall
  • A Fawn Is Calling
  • Bullets Made by Dad
  • Bearded Guest
  • Dreams and hope! Departing for the Prairies
  • Big adventure! Crossing the Frozen Lake
  • Come Back, Jack, My Dear Dog!
  • Build It Quickly! Our New House
  • A Cute Calf Has Arrived!
  • Perilous Well-Digging
  • Something Terrible Happened!
  • Wheat, Grow Tall!
Curiously omitted episode titles: "Mary, Go Blind," "Nellie Oleson Dies of Diptheria," "It Got Cold for a Long Time!"

In fact, "Wheat, Grow Tall!" is the series finale. I guess we'll just have to wonder where that wheat grew tall after all. I suppose it's for the best that the actual Laura Ingalls Wilder didn't live to see herself reduced to a grinning anime moppet. That's a fate no one deserves.

a head that big would not have survived frontier days

1 comment:

  1. This is amazing. You made me laugh while filling me with an unholy desire to find this thing.