Sunday, July 08, 2012

Candy Candy

This is a must-read for anyone who has interest in Yumiko Igarashi's fancy and emotionally expressive, finely detailed illustration style, as well as people with interest in Japan and the influences of westernization / Christianity on the culture. Candy is an orphan who grew up with two moms, both nuns, who eventually leaves Pony's Home by Lake Michigan to live an adventurous life that takes her to the other side of the Atlantic and back. The scenery is breathtaking, whether the backdrop is in the early 20th century Midwest or London, and the haute couture dresses and parasols are oh-so-frilly as is the cake served at the estate, hand-decorated piece by piece with lavender.

A word of caution: In the original Japanese manga version, Candy, the main character, gets slapped in the face by her first love, Anthony, like Rita Hayworth as Gilda gets smacked by Glenn Ford's character in the movie, Gilda (1946). Needless to say, there are moments such as these in the story that would not be considered kosher by today's standards. I remember there were also some moments where certain ethnic groups were not depicted in good light, comparable to awkward moments of racism found in the old Disney, Bugs Bunny or Tom & Jerry cartoons. Here's a link to Candy Candy translated into English, but please read it with these points in mind, as it is an older series, and I haven't looked through all of the pages that were translated in the online version to see if anything was censored. From what I was able to gather, the artwork is authentic and the translations are quite accurate; the only difference is that it now reads from left to right.

With all its faults, Candy Candy is one of the greatest comic book series ever produced, a timeless classic that has endured over the years since the 1970s, a work of art that will show international readers the level of excellence to be found within the variety fueled by freedom of expression that makes up the Japanese legacy of manga and anime art.

Candy Candy on Wikipedia