Tuesday, June 12, 2007
Lady Georgie; animated drama / romance series, Japan, 1983; D: Shigetsuga Yoshida, S: Yuriko Yamamoto, Hideyuki Hori, Isao Nagahisa, Miyuki Ueda, Eiko Yamada, Reiko Kifuji
19th Century. Family Bateman is living in a farm somewhere in Australia's countryside. It consists of mother, father and their two little kids, Arthur and Abel. One night, the father finds a woman trapped by a fallen tree. She is a wife of an convict and dies, so he adopts her little baby blond girl and gives her the name Georgie. Equipped with a golden bracelet, Georgie was never told she is adopted. In an accident, when he was trying to save her from a river, the father was injured and died, and since then the mother always despised Georgie. But the situation will become even more complicated when the kids grow up into teenagers: Arthur and Abel's lives became very unpleasant since they both fell in love with Georgie, not regarding her as a sister, and ignoring other girls. But she falls in love with a British lord, Lowell. The mother finally looses her patience and tells Georgie she is not her daughter, rejecting her from her home. Georgie boards a ship to go to Lowell, and Arthur and Abel eventually follow. Lowell breaks his engagement with Elise for Georgie and gets disinherited. The couple lives in poor circumstances, so Georgie brings Lowell back to Elise, since he became sick and couldn't afford medicine. Georgie, Arthur and Abel eventually returned to Australian soil.
Incredibly emotional and refreshingly uncynical and serious Anime series from Japan deservedly enjoy cult status, and "Lady Georgie" is a small classic of shojo genre. Nobody can show such emotions on the characters's faces like the Anime authors (for instance, in the scene where Georgie is in her bed thinking about Lowell's eyes) while the story somehow manages to make the characters from the 19th Century seem close and real, to make the conflict between two brothers over the love for their foster sister exciting until the end, although the story ends rather openly, while the title heroine seems amazingly realistic, irresistibly cute, innocent, honest and introverted, where a crucial scene where she is naked (after being saved from drowning) only deepens her fragile state. Still, leaving the slightly loose structure aside, "Lady Georgie" suffers from unnecessarily childish pilot episodes from the childhood of the characters and from a weak ending. But as a whole the story is a dream for melancholic Anime fans, a beautiful "impossible" quadruple romance with a shining sense for touching drama.
All the highlights of this 45 episodes long series mostly play out during the teenage part of the story and feature amazing situations, sometimes even with a little touch of humor. For instance, in one of them, Abel saves a rich, spoiled girl, Becky, who was riding on a horse out of control. The scene where she looks at him with those eyes is magic. She later invites him, Arthur and Georgie to her home where she licks his wound on his arm, making him confused and leave. In another, Arthur accidentally spots Georgie in a cleavage on a window and becomes all red. She wants to wash the laundry and takes her "brother's" clothes off thinking that's normal, while he is even more ashamed to be in underwear in front of her. In a brilliant parallel continuation to this situation, Georgie meets Lowell, a young British Aristocrat, in a meadow, and jumps with her horse over him, making him fall in a creek. In an automatic house sitter reaction, she starts taking Lowell's clothes off in order to wash to them, but in the middle of the process, she realizes what she is doing and becomes all red, abruptly leaving the place. Even the most simple, irrelevant situations, gently portray the feeling of the confusing, nostalgic teenager hood, like in the scene where Georgie wears a fancy dress for the first time, observing herself on the reflection of the creek, noting how the cleavage of the dress is too big for her breasts. "Lady Georgie" is a humane and psycholigcally rich (melo)drama, capturing the weirdness of change, an animated feature so real, so gentle it will make you wonder if the real world is hiding in animation.