Anne of Japan
April 26, 2017 10:53 PM   Subscribe

Canadian World, a now-abandoned Canada-themed amusement park in Japan, prominently featured Anne of Green Gables, the subject of a new CBC miniseries (as well as the classic Megan Follows version).

Anne is absurdly popular in Japan, where the story was one of a handful of English stories translated into Japanese available after WWII, which became part of the official school curriculum there in 1952, and was one of a very small handful that featured orphans (as Japan suddenly had a large number of them, and little cultural tradition of orphans, as they'd previously been absorbed into extended family networks). The eloquent descriptions of nature in Anne are said to echo Japanese nature writing and provide an entree for Japanese readers. Anime: Akage no Anne.

75 facts about Lucy Maud Montgomery. The NYT remembers Anne as one of its most prominent book reviewing errors (they didn't like it in 1908). She's also big in Poland, where she's associated with Solidarity.

The CBC series is airing now in Canada; Anne airs in the US on PBS at Thanksgiving 2017.

Project Gutenberg (& amazon for those under copyright):
Anne of Green Gables (1908)
Anne of Avonlea (1909)
Anne of the Island (1915)
Anne of Windy Poplars (still under copyright -- 1936)
Anne's House of Dreams (1917)
Anne of Ingleside (still under copyright -- 1939)
Rainbow Valley (1919)
Rilla of Ingleside (1921)
The Blythes are Quoted (recently published -- 2009)
posted by Eyebrows McGee (40 comments total) 38 users marked this as a favorite
Ok, but did Canadian World feature the Prince Edward Island Potato Museum, which features the world's largest potato sculpture? Because I wasn't all that into all the Anne of Green Gables stuff when I visited PEI, but I do remember that giant fiberglass potato fondly.
posted by zachlipton at 11:34 PM on April 26, 2017 [5 favorites]

Hey, very cool. I had no idea about Canadian World! (The promo video embedded in the linked CBC article is well worth watching. From what I can see, they did a great job of mimicking the look and feel of some of our national parks.) Nor did I know about the final Anne book published in 2009, though I feel I may have read the severely abridged version, The Road to Yesterday.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 11:54 PM on April 26, 2017

Speaking of PEI, I have to admit my ex-wife got me started on Avonlea, which was a long running guilty secret pleasure of mine.
posted by Samizdata at 1:18 AM on April 27, 2017

Wikipedia appears to indicate that if Anne of Windy Poplars and Anne of Ingleside were first published in Canada on those dates, they'll have been public domain for a quarter-century this year. The link I put above for the former goes to a site which asserts that it's in the public domain in Canada and offers downloads, and which lead me to the latter link to Project Gutenberg of Australia where it says, "Copyright laws are changing all over the world. Be sure to check the copyright laws for your country before downloading or redistributing this file."
posted by XMLicious at 1:42 AM on April 27, 2017

And that site's author page for Montgomery has the text of a few of the short stories from The Blythes are Quoted which were originally published early enough to currently be in the public domain in Canada, as well as many of her other works.
posted by XMLicious at 1:54 AM on April 27, 2017

Akage no Anne is a fricking gem. It was dubbed in French, like a lot of anime at the time, which means French-Canadian kids got a real head start on appreciating the work of Studio Ghibli. If you know animation nerds, you can totally blow their mind with this one: 50 episodes of beautiful, weird, intensely soothing magic by the masters.
posted by Freyja at 2:05 AM on April 27, 2017 [8 favorites]

Anne goes live on US Netflix May 12. Hopefully it will be better than the movie PBS showed on Thanksgiving
posted by rikschell at 4:06 AM on April 27, 2017 [3 favorites]

Martin Sheen as a slapstick Matthew, red hair from a bottle and poorly drawn on freckles? Megan Fallows must've been turning in her grave.
posted by rikschell at 4:21 AM on April 27, 2017

Sorry, to be clear, there are two new screen adaptations: the series of TV movies (shown in the US at Thanksgiving on PBS), and the Netflix/CBC co-production.
posted by rikschell at 5:03 AM on April 27, 2017 [1 favorite]

I was very surprised to find that the book I remember from my childhood as Anne of Windy Willows was known in Canada as Anne of Windy Poplars, and assumed that this was some interference by the English publishers. But according to Wikipedia it's the opposite:
"...the edited novel was published in the United States and Canada as Anne of Windy Poplars. Her UK publisher, however, did not see the need for the edits and published the unabridged version under the original title, Anne of Windy Willows."
I wonder how much text was edited out of the US/Canadian version?

The Anne books were the first series I came across that had different publication order and chronological order: as an eleven-year-old I vaguely noticed that some characters seemed to "leapfrog" books, and only realised years later that this was because the intervening books had actually been published first. The twenty-year publication gap between the later childhood of the Blythe children in Rainbow Valley, and their earlier childhood in Anne of Ingleside still surprises me now.
posted by Azara at 5:04 AM on April 27, 2017 [1 favorite]

I adored the Megan Follows version as a kid as a fellow redhead, but found the Canadian accent a little tricky to my Australian ears. I had a doll I named Diana Berry and it was not until years and years later I found our her name was actually BARRY.
posted by wingless_angel at 5:24 AM on April 27, 2017

The martin sheen series is a travesty. I gave up in horror. I have my fingers crossed for the Netflix series though.

The whole series is something I dip into all the time (although, I do tend to read Ingleside and Rainbow Valley less often) for comfort reading and just pure enjoyment.
posted by halcyonday at 6:04 AM on April 27, 2017

Also, good as the Megan Follows series was, I had this terrible nightmare that they made a fanfic sequel where she followed Gilbert to WWI.
posted by rikschell at 6:58 AM on April 27, 2017 [6 favorites]

Good thing they never did that.
posted by rikschell at 6:58 AM on April 27, 2017 [5 favorites]

On Prince Edward Island, one can see shop signs printed in English, French and Japanese. The Islanders know their market.
posted by Mogur at 7:02 AM on April 27, 2017 [4 favorites]

Addendum: I grew up on the Island, but now live "away".
posted by Mogur at 7:03 AM on April 27, 2017

Megan Fallows must've been turning in her grave.

Unless she's a vampire or possibly a zombie, Megan Follows doesn't reside in a grave.
posted by cooker girl at 7:34 AM on April 27, 2017 [4 favorites]

RIP Jonathan Crombie, though. I (and many of my contemporaries, I'm sure) had a huge crush on him as Gilbert Blythe.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 7:50 AM on April 27, 2017 [4 favorites]

Jonathan Crombie previously on Metafilter.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 7:54 AM on April 27, 2017

On Prince Edward Island, one can see shop signs printed in English, French and Japanese. The Islanders know their market.

On the ferry from PEI to Îles-de-la-Madeleine, there are signs in English, French, German, and Gaelic. I am not sure who their market is.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:55 AM on April 27, 2017

I tend to confuse Megan Follows and Sarah Polley in my head (both child actresses from actorly families?) I have to call up both of them in my mind to sort out which one I'm supposed to be picturing.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 8:12 AM on April 27, 2017

The martin sheen series is a travesty. I gave up in horror.

I think I got 4 minutes in. When Matthew took a pratfall and came up with a face full of mud, I was out. Who thought this was a good idea? Oh Martin Sheen No.

I am excited about the CBC production, though.

Unlike many people, I did not read Anne as a child. I think maybe it was out of print in the US in the 60s and 70? Certainly my local library didn't have it, and I don't recall ever seeing it in the stores until I was out of college in the mid-80s. I gobbled them up even at that point, but I wish I'd been able to read them earlier.
posted by suelac at 8:17 AM on April 27, 2017

I'm a weirdo but while a Japanese Anne of Green Gables theme park intrigues me, an abandoned Japanese Anne of Green Gables theme park makes me want to book a flight.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 9:10 AM on April 27, 2017 [7 favorites]

This new Netflix/CBC Anne was written and produced by Moira Walley-Beckett, who wrote for Breaking Bad (including the episode "Ozymandias"). It's weird hearing those two show titles in the same ad on the radio.
posted by paperback version at 9:51 AM on April 27, 2017

I had a doll I named Diana Berry and it was not until years and years later I found our her name was actually BARRY.

FYI - we pronounce berry, barry, bury, beary and Barrie all the same way.
posted by PatchesPal at 10:26 AM on April 27, 2017 [2 favorites]

Anne of Ingleside is mostly made up of rehashed versions of earlier stories, volumes of which were collected and published in the 80s and 90s.
posted by brujita at 11:37 AM on April 27, 2017

Here's a review of the new CBC series from the New York Times that makes me a little nervous. It sounds like they're trying to make the whole thing grimmer and darker, as is the fashion in television right now. For instance, the review says:

On Anne’s first journey to Green Gables in the new TV show, she is still, as in the book, so overcome by the beauty of a drive thick with apple trees in bloom that she renames it “the White Way of Delight.” But in an invention of the show, she is also overcome by memories of being beaten by her former employer.

I'm not sure that's a version of Anne of Green Gables that I want to watch. Maybe I'll just go back and re-watch the Megan Follows version instead of following this new series.
posted by colfax at 12:33 PM on April 27, 2017 [1 favorite]

I wish Japan had a 'Trailer Park Boys' theme park.
posted by My Dad at 12:53 PM on April 27, 2017 [1 favorite]

FWIW, the Anne of Green Gables CBC home page is totally Canada. I don't know what it is. The colour? The contrast? Alls I know is that the webpage reminds me of stepping into an Air Canada plane coming home from somewhere. Blandly Canadian.
posted by My Dad at 12:56 PM on April 27, 2017

The NHK did a half-year long miniseries about the Japanese translator of Anne of Green Gables, which I understood to be quite well received for a morning drama.
posted by Metro Gnome at 1:53 PM on April 27, 2017

Mogur: "On Prince Edward Island, one can see shop signs printed in English, French and Japanese. The Islanders know their market."

I hadn't really realized the Japan connection when my wife and I went to PEI on our honeymoon. Seeing a ton of Japanese people milling about Charlottetown was a bit of a surprise.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:09 PM on April 27, 2017

I have my fingers crossed for the Netflix series though.

"In “Anne With an E,” Anne is constantly remembering her abuse, filmed in jerky, tightly framed, intentionally disorienting flashbacks of, for example, Mr. Hammond’s dying of a heart attack while beating her with his belt. "
The other side of Anne of Green Gables
posted by betweenthebars at 11:05 AM on April 28, 2017 [1 favorite]

So they've made an Anne of Green Gables I won't necessarily feel comfortable showing to my six-year-old? Nice.
posted by bq at 1:35 PM on April 28, 2017

I've only seen a couple of episodes (or parts of episodes), but if you want my impressions, here they are:

I really, really like the young actress playing Anne. She's exactly what I pictured in my head Anne looking and sounding like. The way she delivers her lines is absolutely glorious, especially for some of the speeches where Anne tends to go off into her imagination or offers her understanding of the way things work. (For the record, I've always thought Megan Follows was physically wrong for the part).

The actress playing Diana also has the perfect look for the character.

The actress playing Marilla is fine.

Normally, I adore R.H. Thomson, but there is something about his Matthew that is just off and doesn't work for me.

When the character came on screen, I guessed she was Rachel (as I said, I only caught parts of episodes, as I mostly busy in the kitchen doing some baking), but that was accomplished by evaluating the situation rather than looking at the woman and saying, "that's Rachel."

I don't know that you couldn't view the show wit ha six-year-old, but they've definitely added "dramatic and edgy backstory" to Anne's recollections. I saw a scene where she recalled being bullied at the orphanage. In one flashback, a group of mean girls surrounded her while taunting her. I think they were trying to get her to touch a dead rodent.

Sadly, the rodent comes up again, as Anne attempts to explain obvious male sexual attraction to her school chums, using information she picked up at the orphanage. (And no I won't say more to avoid spoilers, except to note there are two school teachers, a man and a woman, which all readers know is ridiculous. Avonlea could never afford to have two teachers at one time.)

When Marilla accuses Anne of stealing and losing a piece of jewellery, Anne runs away. This is turned into a major action/adventure chase. We see Anne conning her way to the city. We see the actions she takes to earn her passage off the Island. We see Matthew chasing after her and the desperate steps he takes to find her, including suffering a major injury. We see the dramatic and very stagey way they find each other and reconcile.

Overall, I can understand what the writers and producers are trying to do. They're trying to add a bit more drama and action and gravitas to the story. They're also trying to create something new that isn't just the same old Anne version 12 (or however many number of adaptations there have been).

Personally, I've always been one to appreciate an adaptation that sticks as closely to the source material as possible, so I can't really say this is entirely for me, even though I can appreciate a lot of what they've accomplished, especially with the casting of Anne. That actress deserves a better (or perhaps I should say truer) script than she has been given. She really should be the Anne everybody thinks of when they think of watching Anne in a visual medium. She's really that good. Unfortunately, I don't think she's going to gain that status, due to the nature of the project. Mind you, I could be incredibly wrong, and it could be the changes hit home with the girls of today. You never know.
posted by sardonyx at 8:09 PM on April 28, 2017 [1 favorite]

I've started a Fanfare thread (books included) for the first episode now.
posted by oh yeah! at 6:59 AM on May 12, 2017

Sardonyx, I finished the pilot thinking, "maybe sardonyx is being too hard on the show, I like this Matthew, how bad can the rest of the changes be?". And now I've finished the bingewatch, and I'm still trying to pick my jaw up off the ground, amazed by how utterly wrong-headed an adaptation that was, and thinking "wow, sardonyx was too kind."
posted by oh yeah! at 4:12 PM on May 13, 2017

For those who want a super faithful adaptation, look no further than the Takahata/Miyazaki anime. 52 episodes gives the story plenty of room, Anne looks sufficiently scrawny and gawky, and the only scenes not taken directly from the book are borrowed from Emily of New Moon, another L M Montgomery novel.
posted by rikschell at 12:49 PM on May 14, 2017

Where can you get that anime? I've wanted to see it for years!
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 4:25 PM on May 14, 2017

I got a fansubbed set of DVDs from eBay years ago. There are various semi-unsavory places you can stream or download episodes. Googling "Akage no Anne subbed" will find you links. Since I started knitting I fell out of the whole fansubbing anime scene (harder to read subtitles while knitting). There used to be a whole network of ICQ and torrent hangouts, but the tech has changed a lot since then. I don't think there's an officially licensed way to see that series in this country, though, which is too bad. It's totally worth paying for.
posted by rikschell at 8:20 AM on May 15, 2017

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