Nello Tarth is a poor but happy orphan who lives with his grandfather Jehan in a little village nearby Antwerp. Nello has a talent for drawing pictures and has been fascinated by it since he saw one of Rubens (a famous artist) pictures as a little boy. Helping Jehan with the daily milk delivery to Antwerp, Nello one day discovers Patrash, a working dog who has been mistreated and abandoned by his former owner. He treats the exhausted animal and after a little while a close and dependable friendship develops. Alois Cojez, the daughter of the richest and hence most influential man in Blacken Village, is Nellos best friend. When Nello decides to become an artist he has to experience firsthand the ignorance and cruelty of the villagers. Especially Alois father thinks of him as a slacker who cannot earn his living by drawing pictures. Nontheless Nello perseveres and never gives up to achieve his dream and to win their appreciation and respect while strenuously struggling with his poverty.
While this anime didn't make me cry as much as 'nobody's girl, remi' did, it did touch my heart and leave a feeling with me. Flanders no inu is an anime based off a book with the same name, and although their are other anime versions of this story, I believe that this version is the best one.
Honestly, I think one of the best things about this anime is the art, because honestly if you look at the other anime versions of this story, the art and character designs are kinda of a turn off. They looked 'blah'. I mean, yeah they were
detailed but they lacked the magic that this one had.
Every character here had a their own personality, which, besides the art, made this anime so magical. The characters here did not fit in the cliche anime roles that I expected them to have. And to be honest, the opinon of the characters that I had before watching the show and coming in to it, is not the same coming out. And that is a good thing. Although, for a while I thought that Geroge and Paul were characters that directors or the studio made up, because of the way that they were so loyal and great to Nello. I thought that were characters added to the show, by the animation studio, out of sympathy for Nello, but I was wrong. It's still sad how it ended though.
Let me guess, why just a '9'? Well, the plot and the pacing of the story was good, but there were some epsiodes that I skipped through, because of unnecessary they were to the plot. In other words, fillers. Yes there were fillers and there were plenty of them. I mean, I heard a reviewer for another anime made by the same animation studio, mention how there were so many fillers in the anime that they were watching, so I guess that stuck with me as I watchrd this one. (Not the same anime that the other reviewer of another anime was talking about .) However I'm not gonna hate on the fillers too much, because even though they were in a way unnecessary to the plot, they did allow the certain characters to grow on me and allowed me to watch them grow. So some of the fillers were ok, but the ones that weren't, just made me tired and annoyed enough to look up what happens in the end of entire anime and skip through the episode. Yeah I looked up what happens in the end, while I was still in.the middle of watching the series. I had to, or else I would have definately given up on it, I'm glad I didnt, because it was worth it in the end. Anyway, yeah I looked up the spoilers, but didn't look up enough that would make me lose interest in the show, but just keep me in it. Waiting for the promised events to happen. At times, I would be like, 'but that wasn't supposed to happen.' So this show took me by suprise, even though I knew what was going to happen in the end.
Enough of that...
Overall, I enjoyed the series.
****************SPOILERS* **************PRECEDE AT YOUR OWN RISK*******--
Warning, this part contains spoliers and overall thoughts and explanations about the ending if you want them.
Alright I'm going to be clear here, the feeling that I mentioned earlier, is the feeling that of understanding Nello's death. Not that is there is a mystery behind it, but if you put yourself in his shoes, then it becomes understandable why he chose to die.
You see, after Grandfather Jehan died, Nello fell into depression and never recovered from it. The anime hints this greatly, but never directly says it. It was said that the grandfather was always in his heart, and being that he was the one that was always there with Nello and practically raised him, his death (the grandfather) deeply affected Nello. It affected Nello so much that Nello wasn't able to do the thing he loved the most, and that was drawing. It was only until Alois showed him the picture that she drew of the grandfather, that Nello realized that there was a way that he could keep the grandfather alive, besides in his heart because I think he wanted the grandfather to still be around in some way, and that was through drawing. Drawing the grandfather and using it piece to enter the contest, was a way Nello could use to not only to keep the grandfather alive somehow in his heart, but to use as a source of strength. This is even implied by the anime, when a couple comments on Nello changed behavior, since they had noticed that he had been in a depressed state since the grandfather died. Nello replies to this saying that the grandfather is alive and is watching th house for him, as Nello works.
Besides the grandfather's death, Nello 's depression can also be blamed on the constant harassment that he faced from his landlord, Hans who showed not much mercy to Nello and came after him for the rent, as soon as he heard that the grandfather had died. And this was seriously just a day or two days later after the death. Hans also was one who indirectly and secretly Nello to lose his job anyway. So he really hated a Nello, who even just the same or around the same age as his own son. Besides the grandfather's death and Hans' haressment, the villagers abandoment, mr. Cogez banning hin from ever seeing Alois again (which she disobeyed anyway) , mr. Cogez overall treatment of him
and the other problems; including the poverty, his art piece being rejected, and the accusations that he faced, were also the causes of his depression that worsen and led to his death. And if you look if that way, you can understand why Nello chose to die.
The reason why I say that Nello chose to die is, because when Michel found out about the grandfather's death and wanted to take in and care for Nello, Nello kept refusing and telling Michel to give him until a certain day, well days. And these days were the days that Nello worked on the picture and waited for the announcement of the winner. This probably means that Nello had maybe already given up everything in life. Maybe not all at once, but gradually to the point where his only hope in life was winning the contest. Can you honestly blame him? Like he suffered so much and was going through alot that his only hope and joy in life became the picture of his grandfather and winning that art contest. So he could finally rest.
The only other reason why he survived as long as he did, because of the support and kindess he received from his friends.
I don't know if you guys understand this or not, but the reason why losing the contest affected Nello so much, was because his picture was rejected. That picture that became his only hope and strength in life, because it was the reminder to about his grandfather. Remember, Nello's grandfather struggled to buy the panel for Nello, by working two jobs for him and ended up dying from. The same panel that Nello himself, spend so much time on and suffered for, was rejected. And that's why the rejection affected Nello so much.
His only hope in life, was if he can just win that contest. If he can just win, then he and patresch would finally be able to rest. But that failed, so Nello probably felt that life was so cruel and unfair, and was probably tired.
So he rejected warmth and food from Alois and her mother, which was something that could've saved him since hadn't eatten in a while, and rejected help from MIchel or anyone else, because he had already given up on life. That's why he tried to give Alois patresch, but patresch just loyally followed him. And when you think about it, that's really sad.
Nello was only just a little boy and couldn't have been older than 12 or 10. I dont know his exact age, but all I know is that he was a still a child, and that went through and suffered alot. He didn't have to die, but he chose to because he was tired of the cruel and sad life he lived.
And although the anime just ends right there with him going to heaven with patresch, I felt unsatisfied by it and wanted to see the reactions of the other characters once they find out about his death. So I went to movie version of this, and skipped right to the end, for the reason that I had just come from the anime, and watching the ending of the movie which included Alois, George and Paul as adults at the end, disappointed me. Bscause it did not go as i wanted, and plus everything just felt so out of place.
I mean Alois a nun? And George just seemed so casual as he mentioned Nello's death, when in the anime he cared for Nello so much that he would do anything for him. It may be his wah of coping with it, but it didn't feel right or sit well with me, especially Alois being a nun. I mean it just felt like a random fanmade ending, which it was anyway.
So I disregarded it and went back to the anime and made up my own ending. Seeing the way everyone, especially Mr. cogez was acting at the end, and seeing a real picture of a Nello and patresch statue in a town, made me think of a ending where after they find that Nello and patresch dead, everyone mourns and the gulity people regret treating Nello the way the did omce they also find out about the truth along with the news about his death. And Mr. Cogez, feeling so gulity and remorseful, makes and craves a statue of boy simlar to Nello and patresch as an atonement to him. Since he did say ij the anime that he wanted Nello to forgive him, and wanted to make up for his sins against him. The statue is in the town, which people come to pay respects to. And the artwork that Nello left behind, is hanged somewhere in a museum, out of honor for Nello's love of art, by order of Mr. Cogez. So people can see Nello's art. And prehaps there is now a place of somehelp for children who become orphens and poor somewhere in the town, inspired by Nello's death. And the last scene, yes Alois, Geroge, and Paul are adults and they pay their respects to Nello's grave, with George still sadden by Nello's death, but not so much. And Alois as a beautiful young woman who reflects along with the others about Nello and their time with him. And recall how much he suffered. Then George says that Nello is in a better place with his grandfather and patresch. Alois with a small smile, agrees and looks up unto the sky and as if she imagines Nello and patresch, she mentally asks Nello if he's happy there. To which the image of Nello smiling down at her from the sky, answers her question. And she is pleased at this and walks away from the grave with Geroge and Paul.
I'm sorry, that I wrote so much.I was just expressing my thoughts about the ending. Overall this anime, Flanders no inu is a good anime that is practically another gem that the world's masterpiece theatre has to offer. I would recommend this anime to anyone, and would probably maybe watch it again, because this anime holds a special place in my heart.