STORY Anne, like many of our favorite protagonists, is an orphan. Throughout the series she will be handed from one family to another, often only being appreciated for being useful (cleaning the house, prepping dinner, washing infinite diaper rags, babysitting 4-8 children...). It's a long journey before Anne will find someone who truly loves her and can afford not to ditch her when hard times strike. She builds a handful of close relationships as she spreads joy in each town she's in, so you do shed a few tears each time she is torn from them and must move yet again.
CHARACTERS Anne "with an e" Shirely is the most talkative, optimistic orphan girl in existence. She's an avid student, though her circumstances prevent her from getting the proper education she desires. Her imagination never turns off, and she's always talking. She even talks to her own reflection or echo when no one else is around for her to speak with! (Yes, it can be over dramatic sometimes.) Her red hair and freckles often have her at the center for bullying, too.
Mr. Thomas, the father of the first family that originally raised Anne, is another notable character. For much of the time he’s a useless drunkard with violent tendencies, but eventually he learns that he’s putting his family through such hardship and starts changing his ways. He really struggles to hold onto any job he lands and nobody trusts him to begin with, making improving his life even harder. I almost enjoyed his development more than Anne’s since he has only recently started to see that happiness can still exist in his poor life, while Anne always* sits on the bright side. His fate may also be seen as more tragic than Anne's as well... ;_;
*Well, most of the time. Anne does have plenty of tough times that do crush her hopes and spirit, making her silent and emotionless, especially in the last quarter of the show
OVERALL This series is a real pity case - all you can do is feel bad for Anne the whole time and have your heart yanked at each tragedy that befalls her. That isn’t to say you don’t enjoy it - the way Anne finds happiness in little tasks reminds me of how Studio Ghilbi films often glorify a simple life. She works so hard and deserves a happy ending, so you watch and watch and wait to see... will she ever find a home that treats her like a daughter, not a maid, and that will never let go of her?