10 August 2012 | chrbubb-386-447636
Just to clarify the previous reviewer's comment... the Serendipity book series were NOT Japanese in origin although this TV series is. It's not uncommon for a Japanese animation studio to adapt a popular work of Western literature into anime, although it was considerably more common in the '60s, '70s and '80s. One company (Nippon Animation) actually built an entire franchise around it (the World Masterpiece Theater). But I digress...
This TV series originally aired in Japan in 1983, but although a number of European countries got the entire series intact, all Americans got was a 90-minute feature-length edit of several TV episodes, released (apparently) direct to video in 1989 by Celebrity Home Entertainment. The video edit can be found on YouTube. The company that produced this anime, Zuiyo Enterprises, is probably best known for the acclaimed 1974 TV series "Heidi, Girl of the Alps" (made with the involvement of Isao Takahata and Hayao Miyazaki - in fact, an assistant of Miyazaki's, Keiji Hayakawa who also worked on other series including "Urusei Yatsura" and "Belle and Sebastian", was involved in this work).
The animation is mostly good by the standards of early 1980s TV anime, and holds up fairly well today. Upon watching the video edit the colors do look slightly washed out, but that may be due to its age. Jim Terry, who produced many similar feature-length compilation films in the '80s from anime TV series, is responsible for the dubbing job, which is a mixed bag. Pila-Pila never fails to make me laugh, but the kid Bobby (apparently known as Kona in the original version) is annoying. Watching the video edit, it also becomes very apparent when they transition from Takeo Watanabe's original score into the additional music composed by "Bullets" for the U.S. version - suffice to say, the Japanese score is far superior, and while Bullets' songs are pleasant for the most part ("Paradise" would be my favorite), they are unmemorable, and I would have rather heard more of the original Japanese music.
All in all though, it's still an enjoyable watch, and a capsule of a Japanese kids' anime that got far better treatment overseas than it did in the country where the character of Serendipity was created. The sardonic "bad seed" Pila-Pila alone is worth the price of admission.