This is a part of Nippon Animation's World Masterpiece Theatre, and I believe it to a masterpiece indeed. The story chronicles the life of an orphan girl named Jerusha 'Judy' Abbot through her teen-aged years up to her young adulthood.
The many characters in this series truly have depth and are far from being one-dimensional - It is amazing that the writers can introduce such characters and without giving them hours upon hours of screen time are able to define their persona. The feelings and opinions of Judy that is conveyed through her actions, interactions
with other characters, narrations, and letters (she writes them a lot - like a journal) are very sincere but most of all original and this makes a very interesting main character and a very interesting series.
The animation itself is very good, showing a very early late eighties to early nineties style with beautiful frame-by-frame hand-drawn characters and watercolour backgrounds - none of that cheap cg you get nowadays.
This anime is not a kiddy anime, it is suitable for all ages and not only children but adults will enjoy it as well, and are sure to appreciate the more complex storyline. This anime also slips in some nice americana and historical references in once in a while that is absent from the book (e.g. the first solo transatlantic flight by Charles Lindbergh on the Spirit of St. Louis in 1927). This is truly a classic anime that is not to be missed, especially if you are as big an anime fan as I am!
Once you have seen the first episode, you are sure to continue on and follow Judy throughout her adventures from a child yearning to break free from the shackles of an orphanage and attend school; to her coming of age years when she discovers love and has her first crush; and in high-school where she develops ambitions of becoming a writer and a fully independent woman!