A lot of people are averse to watching adaptations of novels, and they are so because of valid reasons. The adaptations, in the media of drama and animation alike, often tend to do injustice to the novels by not being able to capture the atmosphere or the features of the characters according to the readers' imaginations, or by skipping small or big details that make the story coherent (the simplest example of this would be Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2). As a viewer, I have come across some exceptions of this, one of them being the animated adaptation of Anne of Green Gables, a renowned classic by Canadian author Lucy Maud Montgomery. The 1979 World Masterpiece Theatre adaptation was done by Studio Ghibli's Isao Takahata, who also happens to be the creator of legendary animated films like Grave of the Fireflies and The Tale of the Princess Kaguya.
Set in the late 19th century, the main character of the story, Anne Shirley, is an 11-year-old orphan who's sent to the elderly Cuthbert siblings of Green Gables by mistake. The siblings had wanted to adopt a boy from the orphanage, but in the face of Anne's constant pleading, they agree to keep her. With her gift of imagination and immense positive energy, Anne continues to grow up happily in the country under the supervision of the Cuthbert siblings, going to school, making friends, hurtling towards adolescence, and discovering more “kindred spirits” in the process.
The progression in the series deserves great appreciation. The changes in Anne and her surroundings occur very naturally without the viewer ever realising it. For instance, the physical and mental growth of Anne never seems sudden; it absolutely goes with the flow. Once you get towards the end of the series, you start reflecting on the beginning of it all and can't help wondering when the changes had occurred.
The animation is top notch and Ghibli-esque. The characters, locations, and the world of Anne's imagination are portrayed wonderfully and in detail. Some viewers may be discouraged by the old art style, but in my opinion, it fits the plot well since the old customs and traditions can be perfectly captured in said style. The soundtracks of the series mostly consist of soothing classical music, which is highly relevant to the tone of the series.
It is a very simple tale, clichéd at times, yet extremely relatable and it teaches you things you thought you had already known all about. Anne makes you meander about your own childhood and laugh at the differences you notice between your younger and older selves. If you are a fan of both animation and literature, Akage no Anne is a perfect fit for you.
The writer is a student of grade XI at Viqarunnisa Noon School and College, Dhaka.