Kaze no Shoujo Emily, or Emily of the New Moon as its English title, is the third of what I’d like to call the “big three” of the spring-season 2007, along with Toward the Terra and Bokura no. These three form the cream of the crop of the series that have been released for the past half year, perhaps even for the past year.
The problem is, though that there’s a good chance that many people haven’t even heard of this series. It’s a sad thing, but in addition to being one of the best series of the season, it’s also one of the most neglected ones. Seriously, only the kiddie-shows like Bakugan Battle Brawlers have gotten less coverage than this one. I’ve often said that popularity is no way to determine the quality of an anime, and Kaze no Shoujo Emily is the perfect example of this.
The biggest problem with this is probably the fact that this is a Shoujo-series. I have no idea why, but the fansubbers have always tended to neglect the Shoujo-series. Only half of them ever gets subbed, while there are some true gems among the genre, beyond this series as well.
Okay, enough blabber, what about the content of this series? Well, it consists out of standalone episodes that tell the story of Emily Byrd Starr, a eleven-year-old girl who lives in Canada, about a century ago, and her three friends Perry Miller, Teddy Kent and Ilse Barnley. It’s loosely based on the life of Lucy Maud Montgomery, who wrote it and who some might recognize as the author of Anne of Green Gables.
The series is basically a slice-of-life series with lots and lots of drama, and this formula turns out to work so well. Emily is a wonderful character; she differs from the usual Shoujo-lead by acting rude and energetic. She longs to be a writer someday, and she often fantasizes in her own world in an extremely poetic mood, and this personality of her often clashes with those of others, resulting in some amazing dramatic climaxes.
The side-characters of Perry, Teddy and Ilse provide wonderful support for it. They’ve all got their own story as well, and throughout the series, we can see the four of them clash, grow and interact. A major theme of the series is living towards your dreams, and some of the episodes are just incredibly inspirational.
One of the things I loved about this series is how it’s so delightfully consistent. There are maybe four or five lesser episodes, but apart from that, you just know that nearly every episode you’ll watch will leave you with a heart-warming feeling, unlike many other anime, which often need episodes for introductions and aftermaths.
When this already is quite amazing, this series turns even better once the characters actually start growing up. The majority of the series shows Emily as an eleven-year-old girl, but starting with episode 20, we actually see her time in high-school, and the final episodes show the major events of the last years of her youth, ending with Emily being around twenty. During this, this series becomes a real tear-jerker, delivering one awesome episode after the other.
The character-designs will take a bit to get used to, though. Emily is drawn in a really shoujo way, and it’s hard to not label this series as some kiddie-series (trust me, it’s not). The colours used in both the backgrounds and the character-designs are bright and colourful, though the production-values are quite high, and this series ends up looking beautiful, as soon as you get used to it. The soundtrack also consists out of a collection of beautiful classical tunes, which strengthen the series even more.
Overall, if there ever was a series that deserves to get subbed, it’d be this one. Not only does it deliver memorable characters, it’s also a valuable chance to see anime tackle the Canadian culture of a century ago, and I must say that it does a pretty good job. The differences between the Japanese culture are definitely there, probably influenced by the books of Lucy Maud Montgomery. If you ever have the chance to watch this series, I recommend you to take it, unless you really need action.