Perrine was created in 1978. And really, it’s amazing to think that already at that time, when anime was just in its adolescence and only fifteen years old, it already had its share of masterpieces produced. When thinking of the early WMT-series, usually you think of Isao Takahata‘s Anne of Green Gables and 30000 Leagues in Search of Mother, but Perrine also really belongs amongst them.
Perrine Monogatari has a great story, but I do want to say that I probably have never seen another series that spends so much effort into building up for it. To put things into perspective: the original novel by Hector Malot only starts around episode 20. Before that, it’s all original material, portraying the lead character Perrine and her mother as they journey from Bosnia to Paris. and even when the story starts for real, it still takes its time in order to really make Perrine’s journey as realistic and believable as possible.
And it works, because this series is meticulously detailed. All of the events of the series, bot the uplifting and tragedic ones, really come across as realistic, both in the dialogue, the scenario and the way in which the characters are animated (which really is impressive for a 53-episoded TV-series of its time; there really are very few still frames here), even simple things as buying bread are given plenty of time to signify their importance.
Needless to say, the character-development here is amazing. Perrine slowly grows into an amazing character, but also the side-characters are all very realistic, with both their charms and flaws, and even the characters who only appear for one or two episodes are portrayed as actual people, rather than a bunch of stereotypes. There are no villains here whatsoever, and instead the drama around the series is all created around the flaws of each character, while it explores themes as hard work and honesty.
Now, there are times at which this series plays around with fate a little too much, and the language barrier also gets ignored throughout the first half of the series, but the only reason why this will catch your attention is because the rest of the series is just so incredibly realistic. This obviously is not a series for those looking for action, but for the people who are interested in slice of life and travelling series, it’s an excellent recommendation. It never tries to force any artificial drama when this isn’t necessary and it always remains wonderfully down to earth. It’s the series like this that showed that anime can be refined and mature, and not just silly entertainment for kids, opening up the door to more and more anime aimed at older audiences.
|Storytelling:||9/10 – Very realistic, very detailed, a ton of build-up, but note that it’s very, very slow.|
|Characters:||10/10 – Wonderful development, charming and realistic side-characters.|
|Production-Values:||8/10 – Quite good for its time, though a bit messy for today’s standards. Especially the sound quality will be hard to get used to.|
|Setting:||9/10 – A very detailed portrayal of the places that Perrine visits, from Yugoslavia to France.|