Posted by psgels on 10 January 2011 with categories: Anime Reviews




… this was made in 1977. It’s amazing to think that even at a time when anime was only fifteen years old, and mostly consisted out of cheesy and episodic kiddie shows, some people were already making these highly detailed, imaginative and well told storylines.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Ie Naki Ko’s graphics were the best out of any TV-series at its time: Osamu Dezaki as a director was consistently experimenting with new animation techniques in order to simulate movement. The backgrounds also give a wonderfully detailed and realistic depiction of the french landscapes of 140 years ago.And I mean, the show is old, so the graphics obviously look dated, but there still is enough great art and eye candy for today’s standards. I especially liked the technique where layers of background art moving on top of each other. The things that worked least were probably the “shocking moments”. Those were probably a bit too dramatically drawn.

This series tells the story of the travels of a young abandoned child. Unlike most of the World Masterpiece Theatre Series that first take about twelve episodes of build-up, it immediately starts off as an engaging series. The show is 51 episodes long, but it has plenty of material to fill it up with, perhaps with only the episodes between 15 and 25 dragging on a bit. The show goes through some huge changes in both mood and storyline, and there’s an array of very different and interesting goals and trials that the creators throw at the poor young Remi.

Because of this, his growth throughout the series is a really memorable one, but the side characters are also wonderfully portrayed. The major side characters all receive their own share of development, and the minor ones all feel wonderfully down to earth and realistic. Even all of the animals in this series have their own personalities, flaws and strengths.

Now, comparing Remi to other World Masterpiece Theatre series, there are two areas at which it is unfortunately notably weaker than some of the best ones. The first is the acting, which sometimes gets a bit too dramatic and not as realistic as the best WMT series out there (emphasis on “best”; with that I mean series as Perrine Monogatari and Les Miserables, not the Trapp Family Story or even Romeo’s Blue Skies). The show really tries to be out there and catch your attention, and with that come these sacrifices as the almost theatrical type of acting, plus a rather worrying amount of disasters that seem to cling to Remi. Seriously, the amount of coincidences that hit this kid may be a bit worrying here…

Overall though, this is a wonderful series for both kids and adults. It’s just one of those examples that show that the gems of anime can be found in any decade; it leaves many series behind it, both modern and old. If you like the World Masterpiece Theatre type of series but would like to see a different twist on them, then by all means give this one a chance.

Storytelling: 8/10 – The acting is a bit too theatrical at times, but it’s an excellent take on a classic story with a diverse plot that keeps moving forward.
Characters: 9/10 – Great character development, themes and just about every character has something to like.
Production-Values: 9/10 – For its time: just fantastic. For today’s standards it does look a tad dated but there is still a lot of neat stuff to look at if you don’t mind the vastly different art style.
Setting: 9/10 – Very realistic, well detailed believable. An excellent backdrop for this series.

Suggestions:
Ashita no Nadja
Perrine Monogatari
Porfy no Nagai Tabi

9 Responses

  1. Ncky says:

    Omg I saw this anime when I was 4 years old! I think it was a movie,but your pictures look exactly the same as I can remember in the movie!! It’s one of the saddest story’s ever!!

  2. senerikfred says:

    This isn’t actually a WMT, although the 1997 version was. For more background on and singing the praises of this show, I suggest going to ANN’s ‘Buried Treasure’ entry: http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/buried-treasure/2008-08-14/nobody-boy-remi

  3. Firechick says:

    Seriously? JUST 87,5? I thought you’d rate it at least 90 or even 92,5! I gave it a 93/100 in my review of it on My Anime List. Well, it is your opinion after all, and I have nothing against it. But you’re right, it IS great!

  4. Joe says:

    This is a great show for children to watch. That is if you hate little kids. Compare this anime to kiddie shows currently being aired today, their parents will be furious to see them being subject to the horribly sadistic things Remi went through. On the other hand it might be a great character builder. Let the little buggers learn some empathy.

  5. chuu says:

    Everyone of my generation knows that show, it played on TV when I was around ten. We were completely traumatized by its sadness!

    However, I do remember that the quality was especially good. The layering technique was something I had never seen before, and I don’t think I’ve seen anything similar in any other serie since then.

  6. Ingenu says:

    I’m surprised noone mentionned it’s based on a french novel, which explains why it’s so different from kiddy shows.
    “Sans famille” written by Hector Malot.
    You might want to read the original story.

  7. Reid Gheith says:

    I really wish I could get this anime. I remember watching Showtime’s American adaptation for it, and I have never forgotten the show. It was the very first slice-of-life anime that captivated my attention, during a time and age in my life where such drama would typically bore me to sleep. In America it was titled, “Nobody’s Boy”, and ran the length of 90 or so minutes. I have been looking for it since the start of consumer broadband being made available to the public. I am surprised (and quite pleased) that someone remembers the show. You’ll find this series at AnimeFlavor.com when I find it!

  8. windy says:

    Ncky: I’ve also seen this, or some episodes of it, when I was under ten years old, but then I rewatched the whole series. I rewatched every series I watched under that age because, when you’re a child, you have your own way of watching, we could have been distracted by many outfictional factors and besides, since then we forget almost all the details! Maybe, when you watched the series, at the time you pictured it as a movie because you watched one episode of it. It makes me remember the time when “Candy Candy” was airing, I used to catch it some mornings when I was five or six, but then I rewatched it and it’s something totally different!

  9. pi says:

    Oh… god… I remember watching this when I was a child–just as much as I remember crying in practically every episode. I wish you didn’t make this post. Now I’m tempted to watch it and bawl my eyes out.

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  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Apr 28. 2015 03:39 AM)
    Madhouse is still a very descent animation studio, and some of those older talents still remain with the company, but the market demands that they pander to the supposed “core” anime demographic. Although Masao Murayama did take a lot from Madhouse when he left to form studio MAPPA tho.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Apr 28. 2015 03:35 AM)
    Nagai was definitely imaginative and creative enough to come up with ideas and works that broke convention all in the name of entertainment, an tags why he was such a trend-setter in the manga/anime scene.
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Apr 28. 2015 03:28 AM)
    It says something interesting though about me when I was younger though, as much as the rape put me off when I was a kid I was always switch back to get something out of the gore…how interesting that we seem so much more comfortable with violent content =P
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Apr 28. 2015 03:25 AM)
    @Bam: Violence Jack however I felt about it and however I feel about it now that I’m older, it was like a baptism for crazy for me.
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Apr 28. 2015 03:20 AM)
    But theres stuff I so sorely miss, I mean come on anime you had a nazi doctor surfing on missiles in the sky, I can’t see that any more.
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Apr 28. 2015 03:19 AM)
    It really doesn’t say much for some comedy anime though when stuff like Kenya boy and Garzeys wing end up being funnier.
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Apr 28. 2015 03:17 AM)
    @Bam: Its so sad to see Madhouse, who made Shigurui-death frenzy make mahouka.
    Ha I recently skimmed apocalypse zero (which coincidentially shares shigurui’s author), Mars of destruction level awesomeness there.
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Apr 28. 2015 03:12 AM)
    @Bam: I respect the man for going out of his way to genuinely fuck with peoples heads with the content of his material.
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Apr 28. 2015 03:10 AM)
    @Bam: Nagai’s lighter stuff is hella’ fun too though, shin mazinger is my favourite mech show =P And Dororon-enma showed that even crude humour in his hands could work. I don’t think I was ready for violence jack when I was younger but I know I was still half-drawn to it because I kept switching back to the channel it was on.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Apr 28. 2015 03:01 AM)
    @Emma: you already know that the early 90s style is my jam.
    I also don’t know how to feel about the DM reboot. The old ones captured the feel pretty well, and formed a strange connected web with other Go Nagai works, like Dante and even Violence Jack. Very weird and curly stuff. Lewd but endearing at the same time.

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