Based on a short section of the novel Cuore by the Italian Edmondo de Amicis, Marco is a young boy living in Genoa, Italy, together with his father Pietro. But the family is not complete, for Marco`s mother left for Argentina around a year earlier in order to find work. Letters from her arrive regularly until one day they suddenly stop. Worry for his mother and what might have happened to her overcomes the young boy. Marco thus decides to embark upon a journey to Argentina in the hope of being reunited with his mother. At first, Pietro is opposed to Marco`s plan, but moved by his son*s enthusiasm, he eventually allows the boy to go. So begins Marco`s long journey of the heart. Marco encounters many people throughout his travels, and finds maturity and self-acceptance as a result of his experiences.
I often reminisce over those beautiful and irreplaceable moments from my childhood when I was in a loving embrace with my mother, and now that I am 22 years old I feel I need to grow up a little as this appreciation for a loving embrace hasn't budged a single inch. This concept of a child's love, is the foundation for everything that this anime is and about and oh boy does it do it well.
As I mentioned in the introduction. This show is about the importance of being able to be close to those that are important to you, and I don't imagine many things would be more important to a child then family. The story being told is very simple, but it is the many other aspects of the series that make it quite emotionally complex.
Before I go on, I must commend the first episode of this series for being one of the best introductory episodes that I have seen in quite a long time. If the whole series had captured the power and emotional intensity that was emitted during the first episode alone I would have easily given this a 10/10. Whilst it is a little unfortunate that it does not maintain this consistent quality, I am still glad to say that it does not stray too far.
One thing that makes this series stand out compared to other long series is that it establishes everything that needs to be established within the first part of the series and never fails to revisit them later on in the series. There were quite a few astonishingly well positioned moments of foreshadowing scattered throughout the first third of the series that constantly hinted at a larger scheme of events. Many clever uses of symbolism were also added in for good measure, which is something I always appreciate. If I say any more on this though, I will be spoiling the series, so I will leave it at that.
Because of the series relatively slow pacing, it takes a while to get going, besides this fact, once it gets going its hard to put down. Whilst watching this series I actually was tempted to look up a fair bit on Argentina's history mid-way through my run, and I must say that this setting was practically the most perfect pick for a story such as this. It works amazingly well, the vast plains of Argentina brew a storm within me for every moment I witnessed them on-screen. It felt very lonely, and this landscape shoved it down my throat to the point that it almost hurt. It made me sympathize with our protagonist and captured his loneliness as well. And the further into the series you get, the more powerful the backdrop becomes as a presentation. It really feels like I, a member of the audience has traveled 3000 leagues.
While I did find the ending to be slightly rushed in comparison to the pacing of the rest of the series, strangely enough, I am still satisfied with it as an end product. No loose ends were noted, nothing felt out of place. The show was simply about the journey, longing, craving for the warmth at the end of the road, and I felt that the production team did a fantastic job at capturing its essence.
I feel a good series has its characters and story very heavily intertwined, and this series has that down-pat. The setting of this series is in the late 1800's, early 1900's in Italy and Argentina, and the series does little in romanticizing this period. A particular highlight for me was how human everything was and the show does well in matching many peoples action with the period of time. Everything was a struggle, many characters were cruel, selfish and worried little of moral ambiguity but many characters were also charitable, appreciating and caring.
Saying that the characters are very human, is a positive indicator as to how well made they are. Each character has their own personality and traits, even the characters that are on-screen for a short period of time are given remarkable development. One notable character was an elderly woman who, while only being on screen for five minutes in one episode. Her character was as striking and as noticeable as an erupting volcano in the middle of an empty paddock.
The characters were also surprisingly diverse, taking a look at many potential people one would encounter on a journey as epic as this. Probably the only archetype here that can be considered cliche is that of the protagonist, but what sets Marco apart from the common shounen archetype, is the shows simple commitment to developing and identifying him as a complex and potentially realistic character. Marco learns from his mistakes and experiences, and gains a more mature and somewhat adult perspective on life. Comparing him as a character at the start of the series to how he is at the end, whilst it isn't a drastic change as his personality remains somewhat consistent, it is still a change nonetheless and the way this show presents it left me in awe.
The family of performers were particularly entertaining to watch, and Marco's family members were well developed also. Giving insight into each and everyone's every day frustrations and their goals and what they strive to achieve. Whether it be to make a play that will make the audience cry or studying to become an engineer or the struggles of running a non-for-profit business.
There were many heartwarming moments between our lead protagonist and a potential love interest and these moments didn't seem to be shallow, but more close to what many would romantically be described as "an innocent love". These moments are witnessed pervasively and is a key factor in making this series as memorable as it is. (For me at least)
I like to see our protagonist Marco, as a superhero of sorts. A presentation of a human beings capabilities if they yearn to achieve something and if they are willing to be relentless in their commitment and effort. Now I know this ain't exactly original, but it is a timeless theme, and this series handles it better than most series I have encountered that look at something similar. In spite of his constant failings and how his situation gradually gets worse and worse as the series develops. With a little push from those around him, he was able to shine brightly.
In spite of my love for the main character, I must say I was rather annoyed on a few occasions by his naive actions. Though this can hardly be considered a criticism but more of me being a cynic, as I recall back to my childhood the few times I ran away from home. At least our main character here has a goal in mind.
The art in this series is literally quite phenomenal for the period of time in which the series came out. Sure it makes a couple of short-cuts here in there, namely with how the show animated the Atlantic ocean, but other than that nothing really sticks out as being poorly animated. The whole show maintains a consistency with its artwork that was nice to look at and easy on the eyes.
There were a few particular moments where the art on-screen was simply fascinating to look at, without spoiling anything, one particular scene I want to take note of was a nightmarish dream sequence, and the contrast of colors on screen was both mesmerizing and scathing with how eerie it was. It felt desolate.
Another scene that takes a similar form and probably one of the most memorable for me, was a screenshot of our lead sitting astride on his horse. Pausing to look down a long road. The palette that the picture was drawn on was a saturated white and it matched the series tone tremendously well. I feel it was an example of the fragility of a child's emotions. A memento to the human spirit of wanting to be embraced by another, and the consequences of not being given this opportunity. So all in all great artwork.
I wouldn't say the sound holds up quite as well as the art in the technical department. Probably the only slightly memorable part of the soundtrack were the Opening and Ending credits. Regardless of this criticism, I need to commend the sound for being able to capture each and every moment, it may not have captured many scenes to their full potential but at least it made me more engaged with the series. It was smooth, and never felt rugged or out of place.
On a few occasions the characters broke out in song like what you would see in many Disney films, those moments were more memorable than the actual soundtrack, unfortunately these moments that I am referring to are few and far between. One particular song that I liked was when our lead was being comforted in a local bar when he had been fiercely rejected by someone based on his ethnicity and economic position. I wouldn't call the song catchy, but it managed to put a smile on my face.
There was one particular song performed by one of the lead characters that is repeated over and over in the series. It was a comedy act, and whilst it was mildly amusing at first, it got a little tiresome by the end of the series, but it was not what I would call a bad experience either. So for the sound, the only problem is this. I have simply heard "better" soundtracks elsewhere, and that is really the only thing keeping me from giving this a more commendable score.
Being classified a G rated anime, I was quite surprised to find some unusually violent moments in this series. Especially in the later half with some moments of animal abuse and graphic punishments, some of the scenes and concepts that the show portrayed were literally quite unnerving, probably made all the more potent by the series fairly positive nature. That said, it treats these many moments very maturely and respectfully, neither patronizing nor condemning them. Here's what I say to the producers for that, good on them. Kids aren't stupid, it's time we treat them that way.
Blending all these elements together, the result is nothing but an explosion of fireworks. "Haha wo Tazunete Sanzenri" is a special series that is well-deserving of the title as a classic, and I am sure it will be treasured by those that have had the pleasure of viewing it for years to come. Though being slightly juvenile, it manages to maintain a mature and sympathetic observation of one of the most simple but ultimately important things in our own human existence and that alone is enough for me to recommend this series to almost anyone.
I am usually fairly sore over the fact that many anime adaptions of World Masterpiece Theatre are rarely given the recognition that they deserve. As the synopsis for this series describes; this show is based on a small section of a piece of Italian literature. Having not read this book. I am quite glad to say that this show has made me somewhat enthusiastic in wanting to pick up the original story and savour every moment of its contents, and I encourage to all of you reading to do the same.
Overall 9/10read more
Fist of aul sory for my english not are so good (just kidding). But seriously, my english isnt so god, but since nobody got to review this masterpiece, I decided to try.
The story is about an Italian boy who gets separated from his mother who went to Argentina to find work as an imigrant. However in one of the letters of his mother, Marco find out that she was sick. Then begins his painful journey From the Appenines to the Andes.
The story is just so sad, Marco gets screwed for people that he dont even know all the time, but he never get nothing in return. The moments that he get lucky are so rare that chance that it would made you cry is very high.
Probably 70% of the people who got here are from Israel, since this anime got an huge popularity in the 90´s there, by th name of HaLev
Maybe I´m overvaluing this anime by giving such an high score but after all.....childhood animes are always overreted.
I don´t know if I would recomend this to anyone, but one thing is certain:
The team of Director Takahata and Layout by Miyazaki are back for round two. After their international success with "Heidi", they tried for another anime adaptation of a novel. This time they cover the story of a young boy named Marco Rossi living a very poor lifestyle in Genoa, Italy during the 1800's. During this era, Italy was going through extreme poverty and immigrants were primarily moving to Brazil and Argentina to find more work, much like the rest of the world. Go to the new world and start a better life.
In the case of the Rossi family, the father runs a free-clinic for the poor, and due to financial issues leads Marco's mom to go to Argentina to raise more money for the family in order to help pay off some family debt.
Marco is devastated about missing his mama, and works his butt off to raise all the money he can for either the family to bring his mom home quicker, or hop on a boat to bring his mom home from Argentina himself. A heart wrenching story in your chesticles for sure.
This young boy goes from a small simple minded child to a mature and extremely devoted hard working person. The story develops slowly, but will bring all of the viewer’s emotions into full effect from sadness, true fear, all the way to happiness. All throughout Marco's journey he learns countless life experiences at such a young age without ever losing his naïveté.
The art is a little more advanced compared to "Heidi" and the music isn't anything special at all. However, character development for each and every person especially the people that grow close to Marco is amazing. Even Marco's pet monkey (adorable) has a bit of development.
In other words, watch this anime. If you like Studio Ghibli movies and are willing to hang in through the slow sections, you will not be disappointed. I am still getting over some emotions I didn't know I still had. read more