Posted by psgels on 27 February 2011 with categories: Anime Reviews

So, time for me to review another installment of the World Masterpiece Theatre. Little Princedss Sara tells about about a young, really rich girl who joins a boarding school in London. What happens after that though… let’s just say that I’ve rarely seen so much suffering in just one series. If you’re planning to watch this series, be prepared for a gruelling journey.

It’s hard to talk about this series withuot spoilers, but let me just say that Little Princess Sara has very strong messages against poverty and the hypocricy to which people look at it. It’s a long series, 46 episodes. In this time it delivers a haunting and very in-depth portrayal of poverty and neglect on children. Beyond that, ti also has strong morals and values that are delivered with heart, instead of cheese.

The scenario really helps by being wonderfully realistic. Seriously, a ton of time in this series is spent on very mundane tasks and nothing else. The creators strike an excellent balance between this and character development, leading to an entire cast of characters with a lot of depth and development, miles away from your usual stereotypes.

Like all good WMTs, it also really knows how to build up. It’s a very one-sided series, but the final climax is without a doubt a highlight of the entire series in which everything it built up to comes together. This show definitely knows how to do drama well, and even if the animation is dated at this point, it still manages to bring the characters to life with more detail than most series nowadays can.

I’ve got lot of praises for this series, but at the same time I also want to say that I do not consider this series amongst the best of the World Masterpiece Theatre. I’m going to be nitpicking a bit here, but the standard of this franchise is just so damn high. My issue with this series was that at times, it was a bit too “shoujo”, if that makes any sense. Some twists were delivered with a sense of shoujo-ific melodrama that definitely could have been done more subtle, and some characters spend a long time as cliched and boring rivals who do exactly what you predict them to do, and there is one twist near the end that is just… way too convenient. Sara herself is also way too pure. It’s like she could have been the love child of Mahatma Gandhi and Mother Theresa, or in that direction. All of this does not create characters as realistic, as some of the other WMT series, plus the one-sidedness of the plot also doesn’t create them as dynamic as the others.

At this point I’vwe managed to finish 10 WMT-series, so here I present an updated ranking of my favourite WMT-series to close off this reivew (the ones that I fully finished, at least), in the order of the ones I liked the least to the ones I liked the most. Little Princess Sara ranks fifth. It’s a wonderful series with amazing and unique characters, despite my above criticisms I really recommend it if you like the kind of children series that really try to tell an excellent story that takes both itself and its target audience seriously.
10. My Daddy Long Legs
9. Konnichiwa Anne
8. Tom Sawyer
7. Ie Naki Ko Remi
6. Romeo’s Blue Skies
5. Little Princess Sara
4. Anne of Green Gables
3. Porfy no Nagai Tabi
2. Perrine Monogatari
1. Les Miserables – Shoujo Cosette

Storytelling: 8/10 – Realistic, detailed and down to earth, though a bit one-sided and melodramatic at times.
Characters: 9/10 – Realistic and full of depth and development.
Production-Values: 8/10 – Dated, but very detailed. The soundtrack is a bit disappointing, though.
Setting: 9/10 – Excellent social commentary, themes and messages. Plus a wonderful portrayal of London of more than a century ago.

Perrine Monogatari
Anne of Green Gables

15 Responses

  1. Firechick says:

    I didn’t know you’ve been following Licca Subs’s work on this! But still, it’s great! I love it! I have yet to finish it, but it’s a wonderful series! I’m glad you enjoyed it!

  2. Doll Licca says:

    Your review was pretty much spot on. This was going to be difficult for you to review without spoiling the vast majority of the plot.

    If you haven’t read the novel, it is available for free online and you can see the differences. Also, since the novel is actually relatively short, I would have been very much surprised if they could have stretched it to the standard 52 episodes.

  3. TRazor says:

    I remember watching this when I was younger… Good stuff.

    eBay, here I come :D !

  4. AlexS says:

    A pity that from the top 3 only Perrine has been fully subbed. I guess I’ll start with that one, while hoping for more to come.

    From the list which ones have been subbed? From what I understand it’s the following:
    – Anne of Green Gables (nice!)
    – Little princess Sara (not seen)
    – Daddy long legs (read the novel, so less interested)
    – Perrine Monogatiri (my next series, it seems)

    Any other? I would really have liked to see Porfy

  5. Doll Licca says:

    Les Miserables: Shoujo Cosette is almost fully subbed; that should be done reasonably soon as well.

  6. JBM says:

    I take it that you haven’t seen Little Prince Cedie (Little Lord Fauntleroy/ Shoukoushi Ceddie).

    I can say it’s marginally better than Little Princess Sara, and in many ways they’re a bit similar but I generally prefer Cedie as it has lesser shoujo elements.

    I’m a big fan of WMT, in the 1990s my work involved translating a lot of WMT animes for a local station in SEAsia and it was an arduous task having had to beat deadlines since the shows aired daily and another WMT would start right after the previous one ended. The WMT hasn’t returned to local channels here now that people are more interested in Naruto, and Bleach and other shounen anime. Aaah I miss those days.

  7. Maureen says:

    A Little Princess is pretty shoujo as a book, so I can only imagine how shoujo it gets as an anime. :)

    FYI: Frances Hodgson Burnett’s mom was a big reader of old Gothic novels (and yeah, I mean like Castle of Otranto old). She used to tell her daughter the stories of the plots (and in Burnett’s later opinion, much improved them in the retelling). So Burnett’s books are strongly Gothic, albeit child-ified. A Little Princess is strongly reminiscent of her mom’s retelling of Fatherless Fanny, for instance, although the plot is mostly quite different.

  8. gandalf8 says:

    I’ve already read and totally loved the novel, so I don’t think I’ll watch this one. I just much more prefer reading these classics than watching their anime counterparts.

  9. Alec says:

    brings back memories

  10. thatoneman says:

    @JBM: Do you by any chance still have the scripts for your translation work on such WMT series? I know many people would be very interested in seeing them and creating proper subtitles.

  11. AKI says:

    I had the privilege of watching almost every WMT series everyday when I was a kid. I remember this, Cedie, Remi 1997, Romeo’s Blue Skies and Daddy Long Legs airing. Surely brings back memories.

  12. JBM says:


    Unfortunately it’s been more than 15 years and I’m no longer connected with the network, moreover the translation was not done in English but in a local dialect and some liberties were done to change names, places, etc.

    But if memory serves me right, the series still exists in our local networks until today as I used to see reruns of Little Princess Sara, and Cedie sporadically but I can’t remember if it was the same dub nor translation we used back in the day as the WMT series usually airs at 10 or 11 in the morning where I’m usually at work away from a television set.

    I was actually also hoping to get a copy of the scripts myself as it was only recently that I came to revisit the WMT and appreciated its beauty with the help of psgels and this blog.

  13. Petran79 says:

    Very nice review and I agree with most of your points.

    Regarding Cedie, while animation and backgrounds were more detailed than this series, it had some flaws that prevent it from becoming as epic as this.also if you read the book, cedies final chapter is condensed to just a few minutes.

    Sara is the best directed wmt series, excluding the 70s. Unfortunately the sara of the series is much more lenient than that of the novel. At least the world of the novel comes alive like the 70s series.

    From the 3 novels i prefer the secret garden (there is also an anime series but is far from wmt standards).

    I’d like to watch les miserables too, but after reading the book and watching the french tv version, i find the anime character design hideous and after one episode it turned me off.

    Porfy and anne from episodes i watched have more in common with remi of 1996 than heidi,perrine, rascal, marco or even sara. Classic? Maybe. Epic? No way…

  14. Firechick says:

    @Psgels: I forgot to mention! You seriously hate the soundtrack?! I thought the OST fit well with the show, especially in the suspenseful and tragic scenes. Though I do agree it IS rather dated and old.

  15. johntoreno07 says:

    I seriously have a question for you !

    you can tolerate all those multi-colored GIGANTIC eyes&hair and all the stupid anime stereotypes like hyper-active blond girl and love-sick girls

    but you cannot take that this actually plays like a ‘shouju’ even though you know that the focus in on a girl living in a girl’s only hostel -_- and this actually doesn’t portray her ‘unrealistically’ FYI girls used to live like tolerating all the nonsense and smiling away

    and i don’t give bananas about it being ‘outdated’ seriously what the buck is outdated here ?

    Its just 2d animation for god’s sake its been always like that !

Leave a Reply


Mail will not be published
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Dec 1. 2015 04:46 AM)
    @Kaiser: so far it’s good. I’ve been hearing the buzz but I wished someone had nodged me to watch it sooner.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Tuesday, Dec 1. 2015 04:42 AM)
    You’ve reminded me Bam that I’d been meaning to pick up ash vs the evil dead sometime.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Dec 1. 2015 04:39 AM)
    @Kaiser: the remake was still pretty entertaining, but it lost the silly comedy edge the series was known for. I still think that the 2nd film had the most unique and prominent voice of its own, and all of that is present in the new series’ pilot. If anything Raimi cranked it up a couples of notches here and there.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Tuesday, Dec 1. 2015 04:35 AM)
    There was a mean spirited feel to the remake I found pretty appealling.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Dec 1. 2015 04:27 AM)
    @Kaiser: the original Evil Dead was playing the horror genre straight, but it had a strata of slap-stick that was partially unintended. With Evil Dead 2 he doubled down on the strange horror/comedy dynamic and it became fantastic. Army of Darkness was very entertaining, but it strayed very far from the series’ roots. The remake was only produced by Raimi, while he got back on the writer/director chair for the pilot of the new series, and proved that he still got it sharp as ever.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Tuesday, Dec 1. 2015 04:19 AM)
    Then again I believe Raimi was fairly involved with the remake.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Tuesday, Dec 1. 2015 04:18 AM)
    The remake as far as remakes go should have been worse but it worked much better than I would have thought and I say this as someone who hates reboots/remakes.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Tuesday, Dec 1. 2015 04:16 AM)
    @Bam: I’ve only partially seen the first evil dead but I don’t think its aged well, the second one I’ve seen and its hugely entertaining later on but its army of darkness that was the most enjoyable of the three for me.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Dec 1. 2015 03:47 AM)
    Wow Ash Vs the Evil Dead 01 was a blast; I really should’ve gotten into this sooner. I was smiling thru most of it, either because it was funny or slap-stick gory, or because it was a blast to see that Sam Raimi still got it. I guess the only time that Evil Dead works is when he’s involved. Seeing Bruce Campbell again with the chainsaw was a treat which I didn’t know I needed in my life.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Monday, Nov 30. 2015 10:31 PM)
    I’m trying not to get my hopes up however, given that it wouldn’t be surprising if he gave us another filler chapter like he did with that pointless flashback.

1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · 5 · »

Featured Posts

Subete ga F ni Naru – 08

At this point the theory of Magata being pregnant before she was locked down on the Island is looking very likely as during Souhei’s revelation of the answer to everything, we get a brief glimpse of a pregnant woman. But lord only knows what the Ostriches are supposed to symbolize. What I really wonder is […]

One Punch Man – 08

I wish I knew just what that girl at the beginning was parodying as she’s clearly been overdrawn in a completely different style. My closest guess would be the poster girls of creature features in the 60s and 70s as she wouldn’t look out of place if pasted into a movie poster. I don’t think […]

Young BlackJack – 08

While I find the level of risk in this two part arc to be inconsequential, I must admit that I like how it all turned out. For this is the first time in this series that Blackjack failed. While he was able to discern the cause of Johnny’s lack of pain, he was unable to […]

Subete ga F ni Naru – 07

Oh those poor seiyūs that had to act in today’s episode. I can only imagine the horror when a Japanese speaking seiyū is told they need to have an entire conversation in English in a fairly dialogue heavy show. Japanese and English happen to be two of the hardest languages to learn so if they […]

One Punch Man – 07

This episode mainly focused on a giant Meteor about to annihilate the city and the introduction if S class heroes, Metal Knight and Bang. Bang makes it a point to say how the top class heroes are hardly very heroic with most not showing up at all to stop a city’s total destruction. Even one […]

Young BlackJack – 07

Racism is always a thorny topic to deal with. Regardless of intent there are just so many ways of messing it up, be it by using strawmen or one dimensional caricatures. It’s a topic that requires a delicate hand to prevent pushing it to its extreme all to make an obvious point of Racism being […]

Subete ga F ni Naru – 06

I can’t say I enjoyed this episode of Subete too much, mainly because there was less investigating and more character building. That wouldn’t be a problem if the character building wasn’t so focused on our main leads. The leads are fine, what we need is to expand on the other characters present on the island […]

One Punch Man – 06

It is interesting that the challenges that Saitama faces that get him worried that truly the most mundane and ordinary. Saitama can punch a monster into oblivion but when it comes to essays or going to sales he’s powerless. Here we have him about to be kicked out of the hero association if he doesn’t […]

Young BlackJack – 06

There are times when Blackjacks over the top nature can be entertaining presentation wise and others when it can remove any sense of surprise. While I do like the things Blackjack explores, it is very clear cut on how it shows it. In this episode the man that Blackjack and the army Medic have been […]

Latest Reviews

Gangsta. – 58/100

Gangsta is an anime with a lot of things going for it. A mature cast, gritty themes, a interesting setting and a trio of main characters who can carry the show. However due to a number of factors it never quite reached its potential. The main trio of characters are unconventional and quite interesting with […]

Gakkou Gurashi! – 80/100

Gakkou is one with a good facade as promotional material would have you believe it was some dime a dozen moe slice of life. I was one who wasn’t fooled by the cute cuddly exterior but I was truly surprised with just how good this anime ended up being. Gakkou is one of those rare […]

Little Witch Academia The Enchanted Parade – 81/100

I wonder when it was that a film being childish became a flaw. As a medium grows it takes steps to aim to mature itself and seek a more intellectual level of presenting entertainment. Animation did it as Anime aimed to explore terrontry that cartoons refuse to explore and video games only recently broke away […]

Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Bladeworks Review – 85/100

For a long time now this adaption has been the dreams of many a Fate fan with many believing it would never come to pass, but now that it is here is it everything that we dreamed? Short answer to this is no, long answer is nearly. I feel this show will have many divided […]

Shirobako Review – 80/100

When you see a harem anime and sigh as the breasts of the female lead jiggle with every step and wind that can flip a skirt it’s easy to forget that somewhere in Japan a group of people worked hard to get that jiggle right and draw each frame of animation. The hardships of the […]


Nerawareta Gakuen Review – 84/100

Let me talk a bit about Ryousuke Nakamura. For a long time, this guy was my hero. He started off as an assistant director to Monster, in my opinion a big reason why that series got such a ridiculously solid adaptation, and then in 2008 he came with the groundbreaking Mouryou no Hako. No TV-series […]


Kick Heart

Okay, so I didn’t want to exit 2013 without having seen Masaaki Yuasa’s Kick Heart. It’s only twelve minutes anyway, and I consider him to be one of the best anime directors out there. The story here is pretty silly and mostly serves as a backdrop, so I mostly want to talk about the nature […]


Kyousogiga Review – 90/100

Everyone’s taste is different, and that’s a wonderful thing because that allows us to have so many different forms of media that all aim toward their own niche. My blog is obviously written from the perspective of my own taste, and even when a show doesn’t cater to it (which is nearly always), I love […]


Ore no Nounai Sentakushi ga, Gakuen Lovecome o Zenryoku de Jama Shiteiru Review – 80/100

Noucome! You do not want to know how long I have been waiting for a series like this. More than half a decade, at the very least. Finally a series comes along and puts the incredibly overused harem genre in its place. And it actually does it well. Thank you! So to elaborate: the harem […]