Tales of Little Women
The March sisters, clockwise from upper left: Jo, Meg (in chair), Amy, and Beth.
(Ai no Wakakusa Monogatari)
GenreHistorical drama, Civil war drama
Anime television series
Directed byFumio Kurokawa
Produced byJunzō Nakajima
Taihei Ishikawa (Fuji TV)
Written byAkira Miyazaki
Music byKazuo Ōtani
StudioNippon Animation
Original networkFuji TV
English network
Original run January 11, 1987 December 27, 1987

Tales of Little Women (愛の若草物語, Ai no Wakakusa Monogatari, "Love's Tale of Young Grass"), also simply known as Little Women, is a Japanese animated television series adaptation of Louisa May Alcott's 1868-69 two-volume novel Little Women, produced by Nippon Animation.[1] It was first aired in 1987 (January–December) by the Fuji TV network.[2]

A sequel series, Little Women II: Jo's Boys, premiered in 1993.


The animated series is loosely derived from Part One and partly on the beginning of Part Two of the book, and introduces new material and characters.[3] The series begins with the introduction of the March family happily living near Gettysburg (the nearby town of York in the English version), until one day during a picnic, Mr. March notices Confederate scouts at a riverbank. As an officer of the Union Army on leave with a broken arm, Mr. March hesitantly leaves his family to inform his superiors and to prepare for the upcoming battle. Meanwhile, his family endures the Confederate occupation and even helps an escaped slave named John from being forcibly recruited to fight for the Confederacy.

Eventually, Union forces arrive and in the ensuing battle the March family home is destroyed and their investment (which had also been their savings) stolen. With no other options, the family leaves Gettysburg to Newcord, where they hope to be taken by an estranged aunt of father. Upon arriving in Newcord, they are coldly received by the old woman and even less so by David, an egotistical nephew who constantly asks for loans and antagonizes the family. Despite the reception, Aunt March allows the family to stay at home until they can get back on their feet.

Determined to have a sense of normalcy and persevere their hardship, Meg finds work as a Governess while Jo alternates between being a companion to Aunt March and Author. During a sales pitch to sell a short story to a local newspaper, her work and her character are presumptuously criticized by Anthony, a local reporter. Upset and resolute, Jo throws herself into her writing ultimately earning the respect of Anthony and forms an amicable relationship.

In time, the March family moves into a new home and the events that follow begin to reference the plot of the original novel: The 18th episode is based on Chapter 3 and follows the first part of the book. The storyline from Chapter 1 (Christmas 1863) begins in episode 21.


For more information on the main characters, including the March sisters, Laurie, and Mary, see Little Women.

Writer Akira Miyazaki introduced several new supporting characters not in the original novel:

Name and character changes

In addition to the town of Concord itself being renamed "Newcord" for the anime version (which carried over into the English dub), several characters also underwent name changes in this series. For example, the March parents, named Margaret and Robert in the original novel, are Mary and Frederic in this series, and Mr. Brooke is renamed from John to Carl in Japanese and some of the European dub versions (although the English dubbers changed his name back to John). Also, the March family's live-in help, Hannah, is African-American in this version instead of Irish and Caucasian, perhaps to draw more attention with Japanese viewers to the plight of black Americans in the 19th century.[4]


Little Women aired on Fuji Television from 11 January 1987 to 27 December 1987 as part of Nippon Animation's World Masterpiece Theater. The series features contributions from several well-known Studio Ghibli staffers, including co-character designer Yoshifumi Kondo and animation director Atsuko Otani. The chief director was Nippon Animation/WMT veteran Fumio Kurokawa with storyboard duties handled by various other directors, and Akira Miyazaki is credited with scripting all 48 episodes. Kurokawa, Otani, and character designer and chief animation director Toshiki Yamazaki had all been involved in the previous WMT series Princess Sarah, as had Jo's voice actress, Eiko Yamada. The series was broadcast aired across Asia by the anime satellite television network, Animax.

Little Women was first dubbed into English by Saban Entertainment and was broadcast across the United States by HBO in 1988 under the title Tales of Little Women, making it one of only three WMT serials to have been broadcast on television in the United States. From 2009 to 2017, the series aired in the United States on Smile of a Child and in the Philippines on DZOZ-TV. Unusual for a Saban Entertainment dub of an anime series, the English dub version of Ai no Wakakusa Monogatari kept the original Japanese musical score by Kazuo Otani, although the theme songs were replaced with a new one by Haim Saban and Shuki Levy, who also composed some additional music for the series itself. The series has not yet been released on DVD in English, although a compilation of two episodes was released on VHS in the United States in 1992 as Little Women's Christmas Story. The full series was released in 2017 on Amazon Prime under the title Tales Of Little Women.[5]

The series has also achieved a high level of popularity in Europe, Israel, Iran, Türkiye, Arab World, and Latin America.


Theme songs

Opening Themes
  1. Invitation of Young Grass (若草の招待状, Wakakusa no Shōtaijō) (eps 1-14)
  2. Someday, for Sure! (いつかきっと!, Itsuka Kitto!) (eps 15-48)
Ending Themes
  1. Sunset, Wind and Melody (夕陽と風とメロディ, Yūhi to Kaze to Merodi) (eps 1-14)
  2. A Lullaby for Father (お父さまへのララバイ, Otōsama e no Rarabai) (eps 15-48)
    • Singer : Satoko Shimonari
    • Lyricist : Yumi Ōkubo
    • Composer and arranger : Kōichi Morita

Episode list

Toshiki Yamazaki is animation director for the first five episodes, for odd-numbered episodes 7 through 17, and for even-numbered episodes 20 through 48. Takumi Koyama is animation director for even-numbered episodes 6 through 16 and for odd-numbered episodes 19 through 47. Atsuko Otani is animation director for episode 18 only.

All episodes are written by Akira Miyazaki.

All episodes are directed by Fumio Kurokawa, who also drew storyboards for episodes 2, 3, and 48. Other storyboard artists included:

# Original title English title Original air date
01"Papa Came Home!!"
Transliteration: "Papa ga kaette kita!!" (Japanese: パパが帰って来た!!)
The March FamilyJanuary 11, 1987 (1987-01-11)
02"Milky Ann Has Been Found"
Transliteration: "Mirukī An o hirouta" (Japanese: ミルキー・アンを拾った)
The War Draws CloserJanuary 18, 1987 (1987-01-18)
03"Watch Out! Escape Quickly!!"
Transliteration: "Abunai! Hayaku nigete!!" (Japanese: あぶない!早く逃げて!!)
The Deserter / The Hidden GuestJanuary 25, 1987 (1987-01-25)
04"The Battle Begins!"
Transliteration: "Sensō ga hajimaru!" (Japanese: 戦争がはじまる!)
The Gift of FreedomFebruary 1, 1987 (1987-02-01)
05"The Town Burns Down!"
Transliteration: "Machi ga moete shimau!" (Japanese: 町が燃えてしまう!)
The Friendship PinFebruary 8, 1987 (1987-02-08)
06"Goodbye Hometown!"
Transliteration: "Sayonara furusato!" (Japanese: さよなら ふるさと!)
Running from the WarFebruary 15, 1987 (1987-02-15)
07"Auntie is Ill-Tempered!"
Transliteration: "Obasama wa ijiwaru!" (Japanese: おば様はいじわる!)
The Unwelcome MatFebruary 22, 1987 (1987-02-22)
08"A Loan for a House, Please!"
Transliteration: "Oie o kashite kudasai!" (Japanese: お家を貸して下さい!)
Living With Aunt MarchMarch 1, 1987 (1987-03-01)
09"Short-Tempered Jo!"
Transliteration: "Okorinbō no Jō!" (Japanese: 怒りん坊のジョオ!)
Nice Work If You Can Get ItMarch 8, 1987 (1987-03-08)
10"Praise and Critiques"
Transliteration: "Homerarete kenasarete" (Japanese: ほめられて けなされて)
Jo's Civil War StoriesMarch 15, 1987 (1987-03-15)
11"Aunt Martha is Pitiful!"
Transliteration: "Māsa-obasama wa okinodoku!" (Japanese: マーサおば様はお気の毒!)
A Heart to Heart TalkMarch 22, 1987 (1987-03-22)
12"I Hate Thunder!"
Transliteration: "Ikazuchi nante daikirai!" (Japanese: 雷なんて大嫌い!)
The Worn-Out WelcomeMarch 29, 1987 (1987-03-29)
13"Our Strange House"
Transliteration: "Watashitachi no hennaie" (Japanese: 私たちの変な家)
A Home At LastApril 5, 1987 (1987-04-05)
14"Amy and Bad Friends"
Transliteration: "Eimī to nikui tomodachi" (Japanese: エイミーと悪い友だち)
New Friends / A New Life In A New TownApril 12, 1987 (1987-04-12)
15"The Strange Boy Next Door!"
Transliteration: "Otonari kara nozoku fushigina shōnen!" (Japanese: お隣からのぞく不思議な少年!)
The Boy Next DoorApril 19, 1987 (1987-04-19)
16"Terrible! Meg is Not a Thief!!"
Transliteration: "Hidoi! Megu wa dorobō nanka jinai!!" (Japanese: ひどい!メグは泥棒なんかじゃない!!)
Meg's First DanceApril 26, 1987 (1987-04-26)
17"Jo and President Lincoln's Speech!"
Transliteration: "Jō to Rinkān-daitōryō no enzetsu!" (Japanese: ジョオとリンカーン大統領の演説!)
Lincoln's Gettysburg AddressMay 3, 1987 (1987-05-03)
18"Meg and Jo's Debut at the Ball!?"
Transliteration: "Megu to Jō butōkai ni debyū!?" (Japanese: メグとジョオ舞踏会にデビュー!?)
Invitation to the DanceMay 10, 1987 (1987-05-10)
19"The Burnt Dress and the Nice Gentleman"
Transliteration: "Okoge dress to sutekina shinshi" (Japanese: おこげドレスと素敵な紳士)
A Formal AffairMay 17, 1987 (1987-05-17)
20"Vigorous Jo's Visit!"
Transliteration: "Jō no mimai wa genki ippai!" (Japanese: ジョオのお見舞いは元気いっぱい!)
A Neighbor In NeedMay 24, 1987 (1987-05-24)
21"Announcement! Jo's Enthusiastic Work of Self-Confidence"
Transliteration: "Happyō! Harikiri Jō no jishin saku" (Japanese: 発表!はりきりジョオの自信作)
One Dollar Christmas PresentsMay 31, 1987 (1987-05-31)
22"A Hungry Christmas"
Transliteration: "Onakanosuita Kurisumasu" (Japanese: おなかのすいたクリスマス)
A Christmas DinnerJune 7, 1987 (1987-06-07)
23"Beth! The Great Joy of an Unexpected Gift!!"
Transliteration: "Besu! Omoigakenai okurimono ni ōyorokobi!!" (Japanese: ベス!思いがけない贈物に大喜び!!)
A “Grand” OfferJune 14, 1987 (1987-06-14)
24"The Beginning of Meg's Little Love?"
Transliteration: "Megu no chīsana koi no hajimari?" (Japanese: メグの小さな恋のはじまり?)
Lost in the MusicJune 21, 1987 (1987-06-21)
25"Novelist Jo's $2 Masterpiece!"
Transliteration: "Shōsetsuka Jō no kessaku!" (Japanese: 小説家ジョオの2ドルの傑作!)
Jo Shares Her FortuneJune 28, 1987 (1987-06-28)
26"Shy Beth and the Old Gentleman Next Door"
Transliteration: "Kowagari Besu to otonari no oi shinshi" (Japanese: 怖がりベスとお隣の老紳士)
It's Downright UprightJuly 5, 1987 (1987-07-05)
27"Amy is Punished at School!"
Transliteration: "Gakkō de oshiokisareata Eimī!" (Japanese: 学校でお仕置されたエイミー!)
Forbidden SweetsJuly 12, 1987 (1987-07-12)
28"Amy! What Are You Doing!"
Transliteration: "Eimī! Nante koto suru no!" (Japanese: エイミー!なんてことするの!)
Amy's RevengeAugust 2, 1987 (1987-08-02)
29"Don't Die! Amy Has Fallen in the River!"
Transliteration: "Shina naide! Eimī ga kawa ni ochita!" (Japanese: 死なないで!エイミーが川に落ちた!)
Skating on Thin IceAugust 9, 1987 (1987-08-09)
30"I Wish I Could Say I'm Sorry!"
Transliteration: "Kowagari Besu to otonari no rō shinshi" (Japanese: 怖がりベスとお隣の老紳士)
Forgive And ForgetAugust 16, 1987 (1987-08-16)
31"Meg is Not a Doll!"
Transliteration: "Meg wa kisekaeningyou ja nai!" (Japanese: メグはきせかえ人形じゃない!)
Out of CharacterAugust 30, 1987 (1987-08-30)
32"Aunt Martha is a Worrywart"
Transliteration: "Komata Māsa-obasan no seikaku" (Japanese: 困ったマーサおばさんの性格)
Jo's Spoiled PlansSeptember 6, 1987 (1987-09-06)
33"A Fun, Fun Outdoor Party!"
Transliteration: "Tanoshī tanoshī yagai pāti da!" (Japanese: 楽しい楽しい野外パーティだ!)
Laurie's Lake PartySeptember 13, 1987 (1987-09-13)
34"Amy Had a Bad Dream!"
Transliteration: "Eimī wa nikui yumewomita!" (Japanese: エイミーは悪い夢を見た!)
Amy's NightmareSeptember 20, 1987 (1987-09-20)
35"Meg, So That's Love!!"
Transliteration: "Megu, sore wa yappari koi na no yo!!" (Japanese: メグ、それはやっぱり恋なのよ!!)
Meg Falls In LoveSeptember 27, 1987 (1987-09-27)
36"Jo's Story is in the Newspaper!"
Transliteration: "Jō no shōsetsu ga shinbunninota!" (Japanese: ジョオの小説が新聞にのった!)
Jo in Black and WhiteOctober 4, 1987 (1987-10-04)
37"Father is Dying... Jo Sells Her Hair!"
Transliteration: "Chichi kitoku... Jō ga kami wo utta!" (Japanese: チチキトク・・・ジョオが髪を売った!?)
A Small Price To PayOctober 11, 1987 (1987-10-11)
38"The Telegram of Bad News!"
Transliteration: "Warui shirase no denpo ga kita!" (Japanese: 悪い知らせの電報がきた!)
A Sign Of HopeOctober 18, 1987 (1987-10-18)
39"Letters, Letters, Letters We All Wrote"
Transliteration: "Minna ga kaita tegami, tegami, tegami" (Japanese: みんなが書いた手紙、手紙、手紙)
Letters From HomeOctober 25, 1987 (1987-10-25)
40"Beth Caught the Scarlet Fever!"
Transliteration: "Besu ga shokonetsu ni kakatta!" (Japanese: ベスが猩紅熱にかかった!)
Scarlet FeverNovember 1, 1987 (1987-11-01)
41"Mother, Come Home Quickly!"
Transliteration: "Okāsama hayaku kaette ki te" (Japanese: お母さま早く帰ってきて!)
Marmee, Come Back!November 8, 1987 (1987-11-08)
42"God, Please Save Beth!"
Transliteration: "Kamisama, dōka Besu o tasukete!" (Japanese: 神様、どうかベスを助けて!)
Shout For JoyNovember 15, 1987 (1987-11-15)
43"Go to New York, Jo!"
Transliteration: "Daitokai Nyūyōku e ikō! Jō" (Japanese: 大都会ニューヨークへ行こう!ジョオ)
In Search Of A DreamNovember 22, 1987 (1987-11-22)
44"The Case of the Fake Letter - Who's the Culprit?"
Transliteration: "Nise tegami jiken - hannin wa dareka?" (Japanese: ニセ手紙事件・犯人は誰か?)
The Case Of The Forged LetterNovember 29, 1987 (1987-11-29)
45"Grandfather Hit Laurie!"
Transliteration: "Ojisama ga Rōrī o nagutta!" (Japanese: おじいさまがローリーをなぐった!)
Laurie Pays the PriceDecember 6, 1987 (1987-12-06)
46"An Unexpected Christmas Present"
Transliteration: "Omoigakenai Kurisumasu puresento" (Japanese: 思いがけないクリスマスプレゼント)
A Very Merry ChristmasDecember 13, 1987 (1987-12-13)
47"Goodbye, Anthony!"
Transliteration: "Sayonara! Ansonī" (Japanese: さよなら!アンソニー)
The ProposalDecember 20, 1987 (1987-12-20)
48"Springtime! Everyone Sets Out"
Transliteration: "Haru! Sorezore no tabidachi" (Japanese: 春!それぞれの旅立ち)
The End, And A BeginningDecember 27, 1987 (1987-12-27)

Alternative Titles

See also


  1. ^ Alberghene, Janice M.; Lyon Clark, Beverly (2004) [1st pub. 1999]. Little Women and the Feminist Imagination: Criticism, Controversy, Personal Essays. Routledge. p. 379. ISBN 9781135593254.
  2. ^ Dollase, H. T. (2010). "Shōfujin(Little Women): Recreating Jo for the Girls of Meiji Japan". Japanese Studies. 30 (2): 247–262. doi:10.1080/10371397.2010.497588. S2CID 145246498.
  3. ^ Erickson, Hal (2005). Television Cartoon Shows: An Illustrated Encyclopedia, 1949 Through 2003 (2nd ed.). McFarland & Co. p. 824. ISBN 978-1476665993.
  4. ^ Morrissy, Kim (February 3, 2016). "How would a black woman speak in anime? A case study of Little Women". frogkun.com. Retrieved December 27, 2017.
  5. ^ "Tales Of Little Women". www.amazon.com. Retrieved December 26, 2017.