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Princess Sarah
Title screen of Princess Sarah
(Shōkōjo Sēra)
GenreHistorical, drama, slice of Life
Anime television series
Directed byFumio Kurokawa
Produced byJunzō Nakajima (Nippon Animation)
Taihei Ishikawa (Fuji TV)
Written byKeiko Mukuroji
Ryūzō Nakanishi
Music byYasuo Higuchi
StudioNippon Animation
Original networkFuji TV
English networkAnimax Asia
Original run 6 January 1985 29 December 1985
Episodes46 (List of episodes)
 Anime and manga portal

Princess Sarah (小公女プリンセスセーラ, Shōkōjo Sēra, lit. Little Princess Sarah) is a Japanese anime series produced by Nippon Animation, based on Frances Hodgson Burnett's 1905 novel, A Little Princess.[1] Spanning 46 episodes, it originally premiered in 1985 across Japan on Fuji Television as the 11th series of Nippon Animation's World Masterpiece Theater.


This work is one of the most well-known works in "the World Masterpiece Theater", the story describes an orphan girl who endures persistent bullying in the dormitory. Negative factors such as orphan, poverty and child abuse are fully adopted. It is one of the most well-known Japanese mangas/animes on the theme of "bullying" of the juvenile world, the highest audience rating marked five eighteenths.[2] The series has also been selected as one of the best 100 Japanese anime series of all time by viewers of TV Asahi.

It was also later aired across Japan by the anime television network, Animax, who also later broadcast the series across its respective networks worldwide, including its English language networks in South Asia and Southeast Asia, dubbing and translating the series into English under the title Princess Sarah. Animax's adaptation was the series' only English translation and the series has yet to be commercially released in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.

In the Philippines, Princess Sarah was aired on ABS-CBN in 1991 with some rebroadcasts since then. Its popularity inspired a live-action film Sarah... Ang Munting Prinsesa and a primetime TV drama series. The show was also dubbed in Arabic[3] under the title (سالي, Sally) and was a huge success in the Arab World and widely popular. The show had reruns in the 1990s and early 2000s and was subsequently added to Netflix Middle East on November 19, 2020.[4]


In the year 1885, the story follows Sarah Crewe, the young daughter of, Radcliffe Crewe, who is extremely wealthy due to running a diamond mine in British-ruled India. She starts attending an all-girl's seminary boarding school in London, where she excels in her studies and is loved deeply by many of her friends and classmates.

Tragedy strikes when Sarah's father passes away and her family goes bankrupt, leaving her to become a poor orphan. The school's headmistress, Miss Minchin, takes advantage of this situation and makes her an unpaid maid in the school, trying hard to make her life as miserable as possible. However, Sarah, with the help of her friends, perseveres and tries to endure all her hardships until redemption comes at last.

When Miss Minchin continues to mistreat her further, Sarah befriends Mr. Carmichael who wanted to rescue her from Miss Minchin's mistreatment until she meets her father's lifelong friend Tom Carrisford who lives next door to the seminary. Tom decides to adopt Sarah to redeem himself over his guilt for the loss of her father and to restore her status as a diamond princess. Miss Minchin angrily confronts Tom to get Sarah back to the seminary but to her dismay Sarah has already been adopted, causing her to return to the seminary in shame as her younger sister Amelia angrily berates her for the mistreatment she had put on Sarah by making her a maid and forcing her to stay at the horse stable, making Miss Minchin emotionally regretful for her actions.

Sarah waved goodbye to her friends in the dormitory as she and Becky return to the British-ruled India for 4 months to finish the necessary formalities regarding her dad's inheritance and to visit her parents graves by travelling in the cruise ship. But she does not forget when she was poor, she gives money to people on the street, maybe Sarah and Becky will return to London again after 4 months.


Main characters

Sarah Crewe as she appears in the series
Sarah Crewe as she appears in the series
Sarah Crewe (セーラ・クルー, Sēra Kurū)
The story's protagonist, the daughter of Captain Ralph Crewe, who runs a diamond mine in British-ruled India, therefore she was nicknamed as "Diamond Princess". Brought to Miss Minchin's seminary in London to learn how to be a proper lady, after being raised in India.
At the age of four, she lost her mother. Due to being pampered and doted on her entire life, Sarah's knowledge of the world is limited, but she is still a very friendly girl.
After her father died and she was left destitute, Miss Minchin forced Sarah to work as an unpaid servant in the seminary, but Sarah instead feels like that she is a princess inside. She refuses to lose hope and remains thoughtful and compassionate. After persistent bullyings, she was falsely accused of arson and expelled from Miss Minchin's seminary, where she was taken over by Peter's house. Eventually Sarah was taken over by Tom Carrisford, and her father Ralph's bankruptcy was cancelled and she became rich again.
Maria Minchin (マリア・ミンチン)
The main antagonist is severe headmistress of the seminary where Sarah is sent to.
Minchin established the seminary from the plebeian birth, she hated Sarah due to the wealthy birth. Minchin was swayed by the selfishness of Sarah's father Ralph and was forced to prepare a servant, a horse and a special room for Sarah.
Minchin hid hatred to Sarah due to Ralph's vast fortune and the appearance of her seminary and herself. When Sarah was reduced to poverty and an orphan, Miss Minchin stopped masking hatred and persistently maltreated Sarah.
Becky (ベッキー, Bekkī)
A country girl who comes to work at Miss Minchin's seminary in order to support her family.
Despite her situation, Becky is optimistic and something of a dreamer. She is maltreated by Miss Minchin and her fellow staff, but befriended by Sarah.
Lavinia Herbert (ラビニア・ハーバート, Rabinia Hābāto)
The secondary antagonist. A daughter of a petroleum new rich of the United States, and a prideful and very manipulative girl.
Lavinia was originally the most popular student at Miss Minchin's seminary, and thus becomes madly jealous when Sarah begins to get more attention than her. Even when Sarah was reduced to a servant, Lavinia continued to make her life miserable. The reason why she hated Sarah is "calm even if she has fallen".[5]
When Sarah became rich again, with Lavinia telling Sarah that "When you become the Diamond Queen, I will be the wife of the President of the United States."
In "bullyers" in Japanese mangas and animes, she is the second most well known after Gian in "Doraemon".
Peter (ピーター, Pītā)
A street-smart boy who becomes Sarah's carriage driver when his father cannot accept the job.
He was fired when Ralph died and Sarah fell to a penniless, after this he was employed in another workplace. Peter thinks very highly of Sarah, and continued to call her "ojōsama" (princess) even after her fall to hired help and harbours a crush on her.

Servants & Students of Miss Minchin's seminary

Ermengarde St. John (アーメンガード・セントジョン, Āmengādo Sentojon)
  • Voiced by: Maki Yaosaka
A plump girl who becomes one of Sarah's friends after Sarah defends her from Lavinia's abusive treatment towards her.
Ermengarde frequently does poorly in her studies, while her father, a university professor, pushes her to excel. She has an aunt, Eliza (イライザ, Iraiza), who is somewhat absentminded, but is quite skilled in herbalism, which proves pivotal in curing Sarah when she becomes seriously ill.
Lottie Legh (ロッティ・レイ, Rotti Rei)
The youngest student at the seminary who is four years old. At first, Lottie acts contrary, but the little girl calms down significantly after Sarah becomes her surrogate mother. She is a crybaby, and screaming as "Sarah Mom" every time a certain thing.
Jessie (ジェシー, Jeshī)
One of Lavinia's friends. She and Gertrude are initially somewhat in awe of Sarah, much to Lavinia's consternation. But once Sarah is demoted to live-in help, they willingly join in Lavinia's tormenting of Sarah.
Gertrude (ガートルード, Gātorūdo)
One of Lavinia's friends.
Molly (モーリー, Mōrī)
  • Voiced by: Asami Mukaidono
A harsh head maid.
James (ジェームス, Jēmusu)
A chef that is picky on what he cooks. Like Molly, he is also harsh on other servants, especially Becky.
Amelia Minchin (アメリア・ミンチン, Ameria Minchin)
  • Voiced by: Yuri Nashiwa
Miss Minchin's younger sister. The personality is gentle but submissive. Amelia was raised by her elder sister Maria Minchin and her aunt, so she cannot resist Maria Minchin.
Monsieur Dufarge (デュファルジュ先生, Dyufaruju sensei)
The Miss Minchin seminary's French teacher. He is impressed by Sarah's aptitude at speaking French from the start and is the only member of the faculty who continues to treat Sarah with unqualified kindness and civility after her demotion. He was expelled from the Miss Minchin seminary's due to Lavinia's dissatisfaction that "He patronizes Sarah who has fallen to a servant".
Mr. Barrow (バロー弁護士, Barō bengoshi)
A corporate lawyer at Miss Minchin's seminary. He invested in Ralph's diamond mine, and is more obsessed with Ralph's diamond mine than Miss Minchin's seminary. When the diamond mine went bankrupt and Ralph died of fever, he confiscated Sarah's property and personal belongings.

Relatives and other people

Ralph Crewe (ラルフ・クルー, Rarufu Kurū)
Sarah's devoted father. He invests in a diamond mine in India, but finds them failed, leaving himself and therefore Sarah, utterly bankrupt. He died from fever shortly after.
Mr. Herbert (ハーバート氏, Hābāto shi)
Lavinia's father, a petroleum new rich of the United States. He is basically generous to his daughter Lavinia, but strict about terrible behavior. When Lavinia tried to make Sarah a servant, he slapped Lavinia and blocked it.
Ms. Herbert (ハーバート夫人, Hābāto fujin)
Lavinia's mother. She has the same prideful personality as her daughter Lavinia.
Tom Carrisford (トム・クリスフォード, Tomu Kurisufōdo)
A lifelong friend of Ralph Crewe who convinced him to invest in the Indian diamond mine. Believing himself guilty for Ralph's death, Carrisford makes it his mission to find Sarah and reinstate her wealth. At the end, he took over Sarah.
Ram Dass (ラムダス, Ramudasu)
An Indian man who serves Tom Carrisford.
Mr. Carmichael (カーマイケル弁護士, Kāmaikeru bengoshi)
Mr. Carrisford's solicitor and confidant. He journeys across Europe to find Sarah Crewe in the bedridden Carrisford's stead.
Donald Carmichael (ドナルド・カーマイケル, Donarudo Kāmaikeru)
Mr. Carmichael's polite and generous son who befriends Sarah, unaware of her connection to his father's client.
Janet Carmichael (ジャネット・カーマイケル, Janetto Kāmaikeru)
  • Voiced by: Asami Mukaidono
Mr. Carmichael's daughter, an elder sister of Donald Carmichael.
Teddy (テディ, Tedi)
Becky's younger brother.
Martha (マーサ, Māsa)
Becky's younger sister.
Soldier (兵隊, Heitai)
An unnamed soldier who helps Sarah pick up the potatoes during a rainy day, but he doesn't speak.
Old priest (老司祭, Rō shisai)
A kind-hearted priest in a church in the city. When Sarah picked up a four-pence silver coin and delivered it to the church, she preached that it was "God's gift" and brought it home.
Baker's wife (パン屋の夫人, Pan-ya no fujin)
The owner of a bakery in the city. When she saw Sarah giving bread to a poor girl, Anne, who was hungry, she described her as an "angelic child." Later, Anne was taken to the bakery.

Animal characters

Ceaser (シーザー, Sīzā)
A domestic cat of Miss Minchin's seminary.
Bonaparte (ボナパルト, Bonaparuto)
A parrot that Sarah brought from India at the time of admission. The cliché is "Sarah".
Jump (ジャンプ, Jampu)
A horse that Ralph kept in Minchin. After Ralph's death, this horse was confiscated by Mr. Barrow.
Surya (スリャ, Surya)
Ram Dass'es mischievous monkey.


Theme songs

(Both songs)


Main article: List of Princess Sarah episodes


The anime was remade into a live-action film by Star Cinema in the Philippines under the title Sarah... Ang Munting Prinsesa ("Sarah... The Little Princess") in 1995 starring Camille Prats as Sarah Crewe. The movie was also dubbed in several languages and subbed in English. In 1996, Camille Prats was nominated for Best Child Actress at the FAMAS Awards. The movie was digitally restored and remastered by ABS CBN Film Restoration Project (which to date are restoring old damaged classic Filipino films) to a more high depth 1080p HD format, and was also released back into the cinemas along with a Red Carpet premier. The movie is also set to be sold on DVD by ABS CBN.

The anime was remade in 2007 into a television series, also titled Princess Sarah, by ABS-CBN in the Philippines. Starring Sharlene San Pedro as Sarah Crewe, the drama was aired on ABS-CBN's Primetime Bida evening block and worldwide on The Filipino Channel from November 12, 2007 to December 21, 2007. The series was shot in Camp John Hay in Baguio City and the Coconut Palace in Manila. Unlike the 1995 Filipino film and the Japanese anime series it was based from, which in turn was based on Burnett's original novel, the "teleserye" adaptation took further creative liberties from the original story, with Lavinia as Miss Minchin's daughter, Ram Dass being depicted as a female sorceress, and fantasy elements being introduced in the story.

Notes and references

  1. ^ "Princess Sarah – Animax Asia". Animax Asia. Archived from the original on January 3, 2010. Retrieved March 28, 2013.
  2. ^ TV Asahi: SmaStation, aired on 28 February 2009
  3. ^ "Princess Sarah – Anime News Network". Anime News Network. Archived from the original on March 16, 2017. Retrieved September 11, 2008.
  4. ^ "Princess Sarah – Netflix MENA".
  5. ^ From 39th episode.

See also

Same as this work, a TV drama about a girl who endures poverty and bullying. Broadcast in 1983.
During mid-1980s, this TV production produced TV dramas which depicts girls who gains success after many hardships like "Princess Sarah".