Tuesday, August 16, 2011

World Masterpiece Theater: Targeting the Source Materials

It has been eons since I last saw a re-run of one of those shows.

I am a member of that Pinoy generation whose mornings were not complete without an episode of the Tagalized versions of the ‘World Masterpiece Theatre,’ a special Japanese cartoon staple in the 90’s. I was a flighty little schoolgirl then, and having good series to partner with breakfast was enough to keep me feeling all sunny and happy throughout the day.

The morning routine made me a wee multitasking machine: making sure I have finished all homework, shoveling spoonfuls of milked champorado into my mouth, cramming placemats and shoe-rags and multi-layered pencil cases into my knapsack, tying my hair into pigtails—all the while keeping my eyes glued to the idiot box. ABS-CBN channel 2 would be airing shows like Sarah, Ang Munting Prinsesa (Princess Sarah); Cedie, Ang Munting Prinsipe (Little Lord Fauntleroy); Mga Munting Pangarap ni Romeo (Romeo’s Blue Skies); A Dog of Flanders; Remi, Nobody’s Girl, etc. Except for the stories of Cinderella, Little Women, and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, the preteen me was not aware that almost all those shows were based on books.

Nostalgia kicked in hard upon recollection, and I had this urge to search the dubbed versions at Youtube and rewatch them all. But then I realized that my 2011 readings lacked a lot of classics, especially the source materials of the cartoons I mentioned above. That’s why I made a mental note on adding some vintage lit gems to my to-read list. Here’s a few:

1. WMT title: Mga Munting Pangarap ni Romeo/ Romeo's Blue Skies
Book title: The Black Brothers (Die Schwarzen Brüder) by Lisa Tetzner and Kurt Held


Who can forget those little chimney sweeps frequenting the streets of Milan? This is the story of Romeo, a kind-hearted kid who offers himself as a payment to Luini when his sick father cannot provide money for medicine. At that time, children are sold to strangers to be slaves. Romeo becomes a chimney sweep and meets up with a group of kids expert in the trade, the Black Brothers. In the book, I think the protagonist is named Giorgio. I'm trying to secure a copy of the original manuscript online, but it seems like the new graphic novel edition is the only version available.  :(  But, no matter! It's a graphic novel anyway and I'm actually on a GN binge right now.

2. WMT title: Remi, Nobody's Girl
Book title: Sans Famille/ Nobody's Boy by Hector Malot


That's right: the original protagonist is a he. I know there's another cartoon that's more faithful to the book, but I've grown way too fond of this French girl Remi. I don't remember much about this anime, except that she's looking for her real mother after she finds out that she's only adopted, she meets a group of kids that are coerced to work by a bad guy (I find this quite similar to Romeo's Blue Skies), and then...I don't know, there's some kind of love story there with the boy named Mattia. I have the Ebook version of the novel but I haven't  finished it yet; reading the friendship between Remi and Mattia in it made me think that the Japanese desperately wanted to insert some romantic subplot into the story. Anyhoo, Fullybooked doesn't have a copy of this, so maybe I'll just be content with the electronic version.

3. WMT title: My Daddy Long Legs/ Judy Abbott
Book title: Daddy Long Legs by Jean Webster


This is one of my favorites because it has a character I can truly resonate with (seconding only to Jo March of Little Women). Our common denominator is the desire to be a writer someday. :) I've already read the book and I think the cartoon is very faithful to it. It's a little more detailed because the book's content are only Judy's letters, but overall they have the same feel. My Daddy Long Legs is the story of an orphan girl who's granted a scholarship to an exclusive girl's college after a mysterious benefactor sees a potential in her of being a writer.

4. WMT title: A Dog of Flanders
Book title: A Dog of Flanders by Marie Louise de la Ramée


Nello and Patrashe's story is perhaps one of the saddest among the WMT titles. Just thinking about the ending reminds me how I wept loudly as a kid before going to school, ruining my well-powdered face with tears while watching the last episode. It's so heartbreaking. :( A Dog of Flanders is about Nello, a young boy who helps his grandfather sell milk in town in order to earn money. Patrashe pulls the dogcart of milk to assist Nello.

4. WMT title: The Trapp Family Story
Book title: The Story of the Trapp Family Singerrs by Maria Augusta Trapp


Who doesn't know what this story is all about? Anyone who's heard of The Sound of Music would be familiar with the Trapp family. I didn't know that the book is a memoir until I saw the name of the author, but a friend who already read this said it was a bit fictionalized. That didn't diminish my excitement, though. I stumbled upon a copy of this in the Tutuban branch of National Book Store recently. I'll definitely come back to purchase it, I know it will be worth it. :)

No comments:

Post a Comment