I used to watch this anime television show when I was little in the eighties and I loved it then. Recently I got the Dutch-dubbed DVD as a gift, I watched it again just recently and I still loved it.
The story is based on a book by Hector Malot. It is set in France and is about an abandoned boy, Remi, who is raised in a poor family by sweet mother Barbarin and not-so-sweet father Jerome Barbarin, who luckily isn't home very often and works elsewhere. Despite their poverty, Remi is happy in the loving care of his mother. The story takes off when the Barbarins get so poor that Jerome decides to sell Remi to a traveling artist group led by the stern Vitalis, and we follow Remi's adventures, which are like a roller-coaster of happiness and sadness.
Remi is a warm-hearted gentle boy with a positive outlook on life despite everything that happens to him. I cried my eyes out at times, both when I was young and now that I saw it again. Somebody here called it a children's telenovela, and it really is like that.
This show made a deep impression on me as a child. It is well-paced, taking the time for each character to develop. It is animated beautifully. Just watching the landscapes is fantastic and they have such a great way of animating Remi's dreams and thoughts.
I would definitely recommend this anime, both for children and adults. It teaches life lessons, but without the lessons getting tiresome or being too obvious.
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