Little Women (partially lost Japanese and English dub of anime adaptation of American novel; 1981)

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Little Women (1981 TV series).jpg

The March sisters as they appear in the show. Clockwise from lower right: Jo, Amy, Beth, and Meg.

Status: Found (Japanese Dub)
Partially Found (English Dub)

Date found: 06 Jul 2018 (Japanese Dub)

Found by: Permidion (Japanese Dub)

Little Women, also known as Little Women's Four Sisters (若草の四姉妹 Wakakusa no Yon Shimai) or From "Little Women Story": Little Women's Four Sisters (「若草物語」より 若草の四姉妹 "Wakakusa Monogatari" Yori: Wakakusa no Yon Shimai), is a 1981 Japanese animated television series adaptation of Louisa May Alcott's Little Women. The series is directed by Kazuya Miyazaki (a veteran Toei director whose credits included Cutie Honey and UFO Robo Grendizer among others) and produced by Toei Animation for the Kokusai Eiga-sha (Movie International) company.

This series was a follow-up to the TV special that aired the previous year by the same animation studio, which was also dubbed into English by HarmonyGold, but this series does include a more refined art style. This series is sometimes confused with Nippon Animation's 1987 World Masterpiece Theater TV series Tales of Little Women, as both series were dubbed in English and broadcast on U.S. cable TV in the 1980s (the 1981 series on CBN, now known as Freeform, and the 1987 series on HBO, currently streaming on AmazonPrime). Not helping is that both TV series share two voice actresses: Keiko Han, who plays Beth in this TV series and Meg in the 1987 series, and Taeko Nakanishi, who voices the Narrator here and Marmee in the 1987 anime.


The series follows the original story rather faithfully. However there are some differences. The most glaring example for fans of the book are Jo and Amy's hair colors, as you can see in the page picture. There are also some plots added, for example in episode 13, A Group of Refugees, the March family helps a family of runaway slaves escape Confederate soldiers, and in episode 18, The Field Hospital Raised in Town, the girls and their mother volunteer at a hospital and Laurie ends up getting caught in a battle's crossfire, getting injured.

Also some episodes are based on plot-points only breifly mentioned in the novel, such as episode 17, Aunt March Chooses a Foster Daughter, where Aunt March talks to Marmee about adopting one of the girls, and episode 14, Beth and the Canary, The family deals with the death of a pet bird, Pipin, and Beth taking it especially hard. There are even two episodes that focus on Jo's stories, Jo's Fantasy and Jo's Fantasy 2.


The series was said to do well enough in ratings, and the complete series was released on VHS, but has yet to receive a proper DVD release in it's native Japan, though it has had a DVD release in France and Taiwan (the latter being a bootleg set). There are Japanese clips online in varying quality, as well as the complete series being available in French and Italian on Youtube. According to Wikipedia, the original master tapes were damaged which prevented a DVD release, though this is an un-cited statement.[1]

The full series is available on its French dub however, with courtesy from YouTube user DIO FOU uploading all episodes of it on YouTube on the 23rd of November in 2013.

On July 6th, 2018, nyaa user Permidion uploaded all the original Japanese dub episodes on nyaa. These dub episodes were in Japanese however they are not hardcoded to English, but rather Chinese. Nonetheless, the full Japanese dub was uploaded by Saul-Gman's Anime Archive in the Internet Archive on June 11th, 2022.

The English dub is also mostly lost, aside from the first three episodes, which have been uploaded by 20C History Project due to them finding VHS tapes at a thrift store.[2] It was known that the first 7 episodes of the series in English dub were released on VHS[3][4]. The series was licensed in the US by Enoki Films and is still on their Japanese website, but the company's US branch went defunct in 2010, so a modern-day release is unlikely.[5]. On the 3rdd of December in 2022, the 4th episode in its English dub was uploaded to the Internet Archive by user Media-Monster, marking the total episode count to 4 found episodes.


Note: This series is not meant to be confused with the 1980 anime TV special called "Little Women" by the same studio that made this series (Toei Animation). The series is also not to be confused with another anime series called "Tales of Little Women" which was made in 1987 and made by Nippon Studios and had 48 episodes. The latter series and this series have major differences even if both are adapted from the same source material, with its art style being one key difference from both series.

# Episode Title (English Trans.) Status (Japanese Dub) [26/26] Status (English Dub) [4/26]
1 マーチ家のクリスマスイブ (Christmas Eve in the March House) Found Found
2 長靴をはいた天使 (Angel in Boots) Found Found
3 ジョーのボーイフレンド (Jo's Boyfriend) Found Found
4 ベスの変身 (Beth's Transformation) Found Found
5 気取り屋エミーの退学事件 (Stuck-up Amy's Expulsion Incident) Found Lost
6 対立・ジョーVSエミー (Confrontation: Jo vs. Amy) Found Lost
7 ローレンス家の舞踏会 (Dance at the Lawrence Home) Found Lost
8 罠にはまったメグ (Meg Caught in the Trap) Found Lost
9 屋根裏の編集会議 (Editorial Meeting in the Attic) Found Lost
10 ジョーの料理当番 (Jo's Coocking Duty) Found Lost
11 ピクニック(Picnic) Found Lost
12 ローリーの悩み (Laurie's Troubles) Found Lost
13 難民の群れ (A Group of Refugees) Found Lost
14 ベスとカナリヤ (Beth at the Canary) Found Lost
15 ジョーの秘密 (Jo's Secret) Found Lost
16 おとなになったメグ (Meg is now an Adult) Found Lost
17 マーチ伯母さんの養女選び (Mrs. March Chooses a Foster Daughter) Found Lost
18 町にできた野戦病院 (The Field Hospital Raised in Town) Found Lost
19 ローレンスさんの昔ばなし (Lawrence's Tales of Old Times) Found Lost
20 ジョーのファンタジー (Jo's Fantasy) Found Lost
21 ジョーのファンタジー 2 (Jo's Fantasy 2) Found Lost
22 不吉な電報 (Ominous Telegram) Found Lost
23 ベス死なないで (Don't Die Beth) Found Lost
24 天使の子守唄 (Angel's Lullaby) Found Lost
25 エミーの遺言状 (Amy's Will) Found Lost
26 コンコードの春 (Spring in Concord) Found Lost
Episode one in English

Episode 1 in French. Note the higher quality.