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Image from the TV series displaying the main characters
Anime television series
Directed byMasaaki Osumi (Eps 1-26)
Noboru Ishiguro, Satoshi Dezaki, Ryosuke Takahashi, Rintaro (Eps 27–65)
Written byTadaaki Yamazaki et al.
Music byComposer/songwriter:
Seiichirō Uno
Toshiko Fujita
(opening/closing song:
"Nē! Mūmin" (Hi, Moomin!))
StudioZuyo Enterprise
Tokyo Movie Shinsha (Eps 1-26)
Mushi Productions (Eps 27–65)
Original networkFuji TV
English networkBBC
Original run October 5, 1969 December 27, 1970

Moomin (ムーミン, Mūmin) is a Japanese anime television series produced by Zuiyo Enterprise and animated by Tokyo Movie until episode 26 and by Mushi Production after episode 27. The series is loosely based on the Moomin books by the Finnish author Tove Jansson[1] and was broadcast on Fuji Television from 1969 to 1970. A sequel series entitled Shin Muumin (lit.'New Moomin') was later released in 1972.

Jansson never approved of the series or its successor, due to their dramatic changes with the plots, overall atmosphere, and character personalities.[2][3] Because of this, the series was never translated into any languages or released outside Japan except Taiwan and some others like United Kingdom.[4] Also, the series has never been released in principle since 1990 including in Japan, when a new anime television series Moomin was released with the full involvement of Jansson herself.

The anime series is also the second entry in what is now known as World Masterpiece Theater (Calpis Comic Theater at the time). Zuiyo Enterprise, would split in 1975 into Nippon Animation Company, Ltd. (which employed some of the Zuiyo's production staff and continued with the World Masterpiece Theater franchise) and Zuiyo Company, Ltd.


Moomintroll holding a rifle in the fifth episode of the series. This and other situations throughout the series displeased Jansson.

The anime series is notably different from the later anime television series Moomin, released in the early 1990s, which was translated into many languages,released in dozens of countries, and relies more on the original Moomin books and comic strips.

While the series itself was well-liked by the Japanese public as an adventurous and comedic series for boys, it was dramatically different in areas like the adaptation and overall atmosphere. For example, Moomintroll was portrayed more as an ordinary boy; while still friendly like in the books, he is somewhat ill-tempered, occasionally fighting or behaving slyly. This, along with elements such as Snork being a driver, common use of firearms, one scene in an early episode featuring characters getting drunk together at a bar, and the Snork Maiden's name being translated into Non-Non (ノンノン), infuriated Jansson.

After Tokyo Movie's contract was cancelled, With Mushi Production taking over, the designs were changed accordingly and the series had many more faithful episodes, which included the source's stories and points of mystery, horror, comedy and tragedy. Despite this, Jansson's consent was still not obtained and the program was ended after well over 60 episodes.

Since 1990, Moomin Characters, Ltd, which manages the Moomin copyrights, has not released this series to the public in principle.

Episode 1 of this series is introduced on the company's official website, but this was illegally uploaded to YouTube without Tokyo Movie's consent, and the link is displayed on the website.[5]


In the 1960s, sports dramas and slapstick comedies were the mainstream of Japanese TV animation at that time. Therefore, Calpis Co., Ltd., the sponsor of the animated program in Fuji TV, wanted to offer a family-oriented animation that was distinctly different from those fields. At that time, "Moomin," which had just been imported from abroad as children's literature, caught their attention. And so the project was launched.[6][7]

A short time later, the proposal was sent to Tove Jansson. Jansson's response was positive, so Shigeto Takahashi, a producer at Zuiyo Enterprise who was in charge of the project, decided to meet directly with Jansson to proceed with negotiations.[6] Jansson suggested the following conditions for the production of the animation.[6]

Development and pre-production

Tokyo Movie, now TMS Entertainment, was chosen to produce the animation.

The director was chosen to be Masaaki Osumi, who has the unique background of having come from a puppet theater company. Osumi, who knows Moomin well, initially thought the content was too static to be suitable for animation, but accepted the position.[4]

The company hired Yasuo Otsuka as the animation director. He was considered to be one of Japan's foremost animators, and he was an important mentor to Hayao Miyazaki. He thought the cuteness of movement and the roundness of his drawings as important, and never used straight lines to draw characters such as the Moomins.[4]

The initial meetings were confusing. Takahashi, who respected Jansson's opinions and aimed for a plot that was faithful to the original work, was at odds with the advertising agency, which aimed for a plot that did not respect Jansson's original work on the grounds that "the style as it is will not be popular in Japan".[6] When Osumi attended a meeting invited by the advertising agency, he felt that the meeting was amazingly stupy, because comments such as "Let's run a bullet train in the Moomin Valley".[clarification needed][citation needed] He thought about quitting the job, but, he was fascinated by the animation shown by Mr. Otsuka just before leaving company, and he broke off that thought.[4] Osumi later said of the participants in this meeting, "Perhaps, but they had not even read the original work and were only thinking about the character business.". Later, the bullet train idea was rejected due to opposition from Osumi and others.[4]

In making the animation, Osumi decided to base it on Moomin comic strips rather than the Jansson novels. The strips had a freer plot than the novels, and he thought that "the style of the comic would work as an animation. Therefore, Osumi claims that he did not create a plot that was different than the comic strip.[4]

Hisashi Inoue, a distinguished novelist and dramatist, participated as a screenwriter.[6]

Thus was created "Moomin," a children's animation mixing fantasy by Jansson and Japanese culture.

Change of production company

When the broadcast began, Tokyo Movie and Zuiyo Enterprise asked Jansson to watch episode 5. This was to get her endorsement. But, she gave the episode a low rating and submitted a letter to the staff with a series of complaints and requests.[8][6] Tokyo Movie ended production after episode 26 and exited the project because of this letter from Jansson.

But this reason was ostensible. The Moomin project was initially intended to be a low-budget production, but the animators and staff on site insisted on producing high-quality work, and as a result, the budget was far exceeded. Also, Due to its popularity with viewers, the number of broadcasts was suddenly increased from the planned number, but Tokyo movie could not cope with this. For this reason, Tokyo movie's upper management wanted to withdraw from the project and used Jansson's claims as an excuse to Zuiyo Enterprise, the sponsors, and the Fuji TV, who were willing to continue the program.[6][7]

With the departure of Tokyo Movie from the project, Osumi and other key staff and animators were also dropped from the production. The animators on site were summoned by the president and informed of the sudden termination. They were disappointed, but also relieved. Yutaka Fujioka, who was in charge of the site and wanted the project to continue, was on a business trip that day and was angry when he heard the news of the termination the next day. However, the CEO had already made that decision, and it was too late. They were soon transferred to the Lupin the 3rd Part I: The Classic Adventures project.[4]

Mushi Production became the animation production company from episode 27.

Episode 27 was greatly innovated and changed in response to Jansson's request, with the character design being adapted to drawings by Jansson and the plot of the story being changed as well.[8] Unfortunately, however, after the program ended, the TV station was inundated with many complaints. The children wrote such comments as, "The characters' faces suddenly changed and became scary," and "Why did the atmosphere of the story change and it became boring? ". Also, The sponsor, Calpis, which had been satisfied with the Tokyo movie, expressed its dissatisfaction.

This evaluation led to a meeting with Jansson, and as a result, a few elements, such as character design, were returned to a status similar to Tokyomovie, provided that it would be broadcast only in Japan.

The program was ended after well over 60 episodes.


Critical response

Tove Jansson had difficulty viewing all of its animations due to historical issues. So, having watched only the episode 5, which had just been completed at the time, she explained the following.[8]

First of all, the starting point is wrong. That is, the Moomin Valley and the Moomin way of thinking are all expressed differently.

The Moomin family members do not live in today's modern society. They live in a society that is benign and kind. Of course, incidents do occur. The Moomin family likes incidents. However, they never argue. It is unthinkable for Moominpappa to slap his son on the buttocks, and no one in this world slaps anyone on the buttocks. If they do get angry, for example, they will only hit each other's heads with umbrellas and never use force of arms.

Overall, the feeling of the Moomin Valley has been lost. It seems to me that the only way to save this mistake is for everyone involved in this work to read the Moomin books well, to become integrated into the Moomin world, and to feel and understand that feeling.

— Tove Jansson, [8]

Jansson also included the following other requests in her letter.[8]

However, Jansson did not dismiss all of the work, praising the colors used in the background as "The effects of colors such as water and sky are well done. Also, She stated in 1971, "At first, they told that I was angry that the Japanese Moomins were different, and in a way this is true. I have not yet had a good look at them in Japan, As far as the films sent to me, the Japanese Moomins are aggressive. besides, the Japanese Moomins have problems with cars and money, but my Moomin Valley has no such problems. but, I began to think it would be nice to have a Moomin with a Japanese flavor.".[9]

In 2008, Masaaki Osumi saied to one of Jansson's reviews by stating.

My biggest regret is that I should have had a knee-to-knee talk with Tove Jansson, although there is nothing I can do about it now. If I had talked to her properly, we would have understood each other.

As you can see from the actual work, it is based on the "no money, no car, no fight" philosophy of the original Moomin story. Certainly cars make an appearance, but they get flat tires as soon as they come out. Other times, various civilizations are tried to be brought into the Moomin Valley, but all fail. That is a consistent theme. We used a rudimentary approach to drama: the car is there as a visual, but the reason for it is to denigrate the car society.

I had faith that Mr. Jansson would understand the theme.

— Masaaki Osumi, [4]



# Original Title Japanese English translation
1 " シルクハットのひみつ" The Secret of the Silk Hat
2 "悪魔のハートをねらえ" Aim for the Devil's Heart
3 "雨だ!あらしだ!!洪水だ!!!" Rain! Storm!! Flood!!!
4 "ふしぎの泉はどこにある?" Where is the Wonderful Spring?
5 "パパの思い出のライフル" Papa's Remembered Rifle
6 "かえってきたノンノン" Nonnon Who Comes Back
7 "さよならガオガオ" Good-bye, Gao-Gao
8 "ノンノンがあぶない" Nonnon is in Danger
9 "ムーミン谷の列車大強盗" Train Great Robber of Moomin Valley
10 "ふしぎなこびと" Mysterious Midget
11 "消えたコレクション" Collection Which Disappeared
12 "ムーミン谷のクリスマス" Moomin Valley Christmas
13 "パパは売れっ子作家" Papa is a Popular Writer
14 "ムーミン谷最後の日" The Last Day in Moomin Valley
15 "帆を上げろ!ムーミン号" Put Up the Sail! Moomin Ship
16 "謎のグノース博士" Dr. Gnos of Mystery
17 "ベビーはどこに" Where is a Baby?
18 "乞食になりたい" (再放送で「金持ちはもうやだ」に変更される) I Want to Become a Beggar (changed to "I Already Got Tired of the Rich Person" at the time of rebroadcast)
19 "月着陸OK! " Moonlanding, O.K.!
20 "スキーでハッスル! " Hustle on Skis!
21 "ふしぎな家なき子" Strange Child Without Home
22 "山男だよヤッホー! " Mountaineer, Yoo-hoo!
23 "チビのミー大作戦" The Big Operation Plan of Little Mee
24 "おさびし山のガンマン" The Gunman of Deserted Mountain
25 "おめでとうスノーク" Congratulations, Snork
26 "ノンノンこっちむいて" Nonnon, Please Turn Around to Me
27 "顔をなくしたニンニ" Ninny Who Lost a Face
28 "小さな大冒険" Small, Great Adventure
29 "ひこう鬼現わる" Flying Demon (The Hobgoblin) Appears
30 "天国からの贈りもの" Present from Heaven
31 "ごめんねスティンキー" Sorry, Stinky
32 "森のゆうれい屋敷" Haunted House in the Forest
33 "おくびょうな豆泥棒" The Cowardly Beans Thief
34 "金の馬銀の馬" Golden Horse, Silver Horse
35 "夏祭りのオーロラ" Aurora of Summer Festival
36 "ムーミンパパのノート" Moomin's Papa's Notebook
37 "小さなみにくいペット" Small, Ugly Pet
38 "人魚さんこんにちわ" Miss Mermaid, Hello
39 "家にいるのは誰だ" Who is in the House
40 "ニョロニョロのひみつ" The Secret of Nyoro-Nyoro (=Hattifattener)
41 "マメルクをつかまえろ" Catch Mamelk
42 "大きな大きなプレゼント" Big, Big Present
43 "あらしの怪獣島" Stormy Monster Island
44 "海の星はどこに" Where is the Sea Star?
45 "悪魔の島がやってきた" Devilish Island Has Come
46 "真夏の雪を探せ!" Look for Snow of Midsummer!
47 "なくしたペンダント" The Lost Pendant
48 "歩いてきた山びこ" Echo Which Has Walked
49 "ピアノなんか大嫌い" I Hate Pianos
50 "眠りの輪をぬけだせ" Slip Out the Ring of Sleep
51 "秋はおセンチに" To Be Sentimental in Autumn
52 "月夜に踊る人形" The Doll Who Dances in the Moonlit Night
53 "凧が知っていた" The Kite Knew
54 "さようなら渡り鳥" Good-bye, Migratory Bird
55 "鳩は飛ばない" Doves Don't Fly
56 "ムーミン谷のカーニバル" Carnival of Moomin Valley
57 "お婆ちゃんのひみつ" The Old Woman's Secret
58 "ノンノンがいなくなる? " Is Nonnon Gone?
59 "手品にはタネがある" There is a Trick in Magic
60 "ひとりぼっちの冬" Lonely Winter
61 "消えた雪うさぎ" Snow Rabbit Which Disappeared
62 "氷姫のいたずら" The Ice Princess' Mischief
63 "一日だけのお姫様" Princess Just for a Day
64 "影なんか恐くない" Who's Afraid of Shadow?
65 "おやすみムーミン" Good Night, Moomin

Home media

In 1989, The series saw VHS and Laser Disc releases in Japan. This is the only home media.

Vol.1-7 (episode 1-26)
"The volume of love" (episode 37, 49)
"The volume of dream" (episode 34, 64)


  1. ^ Jonathan Clements, Helen McCarthy (2006). The anime encyclopedia. Stone Bridge Press, 2006. ISBN 9781933330105.
  2. ^ Tove Jansson kauhistui väkivaltaisista muumeista – ”Se tv-sarja oli Tovelle shokki”Kotiliesi (in Finnish)
  3. ^ Tiesitkö? 1970-luvun taitteessa Japanissa tehtiin kummallista Muumit-sarjaa, joissa ryypättiin ja tapettiin vihollinen keihäälläYle (in Finnish)
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h おおすみ 正秋 (September 4, 2008). "連載対談 第4弾 大塚康生氏" [Serial dialogue Part 4: Mr. Yasuo Otsuka]. おおすみ正秋の仕事場 Masaaki Osumi Official Site (in Japanese). Retrieved October 30, 2022.
  5. ^ Moomin animations: Moomin (1969-1970) & Shin Moomin (1972)
  6. ^ a b c d e f g ちば かおり (2017). "3章 『ムーミン』という試金石". ハイジが生まれた日 [The day Haiji was born] (in Japanese). ja: Iwanami Shoten. ISBN 9784000244824.
  7. ^ a b "liner notes".Moomin LaserDisc Vol.1-7 (1989). Bandai Co., Ltd.
  8. ^ a b c d e 山崎 忠昭 (2007). 日活アクション無頼帖 (in Japanese). ワイズ出版. pp. 133–135. ISBN 9784898302132.
  9. ^ "T・ヤンソンさん来日" [Tove Jansson Visits Japan]. Yomiuri Shimbun (in Japanese). Japan. November 11, 1971.