A Little Princess Sara

Alt title: Shoukoujo Sara

TV (46 eps)
1985
3.653 out of 5 from 1,082 votes
Rank #3,008

When Sara Crewe's father left to work in India, she was sent to a boarding school. With her affluent background and beautiful dresses, Sara was ensured a warm welcome to her new home; but this reputation gained her enemies. Tragedy then struck when her father passed away, and her family was forced into bankruptcy, leaving Sara at the cruel hands of the school’s headmistress. Now, life for Sara is as hard as it can get, as she has been forced to become a maid in exchange for her poor room and board. With her friends and imagination at her side, Sara will try to make the best out of her bad situation.

An adaptation of A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett

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Reviews

mdchan
4

For all the recommendations and hype surrounding this, I started to get bored at around episode 20 (I did finish watching it, but there were a chunk of uninteresting episodes).  It's not a bad seires, but situations often get repetitive in the middle. Story Young Sara Crewe stays at a boarding school in London after living in India with her father for years.  Though her father returns to India to look into a diamond mine, Sara remains.  Despite all the money Sara has, she isn't stuck up or egotistical, but rather kind-hearted.  However, disaster strikes on her birthday which flips her entire world upside down. Characters Sara Crowe - Aka, "Jesus".  The anime representation of her is so perfect that it's hard to see her as "human".  Her only flaw would be that she's a doormat in the anime (apparently, she has a backbone in the book). Ermengarde - A heavyset and cowardly girl who is known as the class dunce.  Despite that, she shows an interest in her eccentric aunt and is also a kind person. Lottie - A four year old child who takes a liking to Sara.  At first, she's a crybaby (and even throws what is obviously a temper tantrum), but started to get braver as she continues to look up to Sara Lavinia - The typical "mean girl".  She's super wealthy and likes to flaunt that wealth; she also doesn't like it if anyone else is better off than she is or has a higher status.  She shows psychopathic tendancies in her inability to sympatize or empathize with others and even smirks when there's mention of death. Peter - A "street kid" who seems to be an anime-only character.  He starts off as the one who drives Sara around by horse/pony and carrage, but is shown to know his way around the market (and the streets of London).  He's humble when faced with most adults, but is a bit cheeky and optimistic otherwise. Becky - A young girl who traveled from the countryside to become a maid at the boarding school in order to earn money for her poor family.  She's a bit clumsy (at first) and scatterbrained, but is also very kind and humble.  Along with Ermengarde, she becomes one of Sara's best friends. Miss Minchin - The Headmistress of the boarding school; she is greedy and cruel, only interested in the students due to their wealth value.  Due to that, she treats the richer students better...though she quickly gains a hatred for Sara when the girl accidentally shows her up during French lessons. Amelia - Younger sister of Minchin and a "teacher" at the boarding school (though what she teaches, I have no clue).  She seems to come off as shy and kind, and appears to put the students before money and think of them. Music and Animation Just a brief touch on this.  I'm not fond of the music; the opening and ending songs do nothing for me, and there are times when the BMG sounds like something bad is happening (typically at the end of an episode) when nothing bad has happened (for once). The animation is poor, even taking into account that it was made in 1985.  There are countless times when a character is "talking" but their lips aren't moving, or that the mouths just open and close during talking which makes it very jarring.  I've been watching a lot of World Masterpiece Theater anime lately, and even the ones from 1979 weren't this bad. Repeated footage is also an issue (a common one in the WMT anime, though), and there are annoying flashbacks to something which just happened one or two episodes ago in order to presumably waste time (or perhaps there wasn't any animated footage for that segment, so they used a flashback). Many interactions where characters hug one another are awkward and stiff as well, which just makes things weird. Overall It started off...well, okay, the first two episodes were boring (especially the second episode).  After that, it picked up a little bit and started to get really interesting as Lottie and (especially) Becky came into the picture.  Then, of course, was the incident where Sara's life completely changed. After that, it gets repetitive for a long time.  The anime feels like the same "song and dance", even before Sara's life changed.  Only this time, Lavinia's bullying of her and the staff's callous/abusive behaviors intensivied. Even so, it always became a situation of "something sort of good happens to Sara, then it gets taken away", or "Lavinia bullies/frames Sara", or "Sara is forced into trouble by the staff because they're just nasty people".  Some episodes even contain two of the above. I started to lose interest at around episode 24 or so when that pattern just continued.  It was the same antagonists and the same general things just in different situations. What didn't help was how much of a doormat Sara (in the anime) is.  She was either a doormat, or felt too "perfect" which made it hard to associate with her character.  I felt closer to Becky's character because she felt more "real" and more "human". In fact, all of the characters remain exactly the same as when they were first introduced (with a small exception of Lottie...and a bit from Becky).  A series with such static characters which don't grow or change (again, with those two exceptions) makes for a boring series. I feel it took WAY too long to get to the ending; there were some incidents which had zero impact on the plot and only served to show how dark things were...and to be honest, it started to get old very quickly. Also, I HIGHLY suggest NOT watching the final episode.  I learned afterwards that it strays from the book, and is COMPLETELY UNSATISFYING.  The book supposedly has a much more satisfying ending.  Leaving off at episode 45 is much more satsifying in regards to the other characters (and looking up how the book ends...or reading it for yourself.  I don't have a copy, so I looked it up). I rated the story so low because though it had potential and (after the first two dull episodes) drew me in, it then got boring again around episode 20...and that spanned about 15 episodes of similar incidents happening before finally something different started to happen as it got closer to the climax of the story.  The pacing just felt far too slow.  The CONCEPT deserves perhaps a slightly higher score, but the anime's way of handling it caused me to lower said score quite a bit.

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