30 September 2017 | Dawalk-1
Very Well-Done Anime That Combines Fact And Fictional
I first came across this Nippon anime while searching on Wikipedia and this is the second Nippon anime I watched, after Jungle Book Shonen Mowgli. After watching the series on a few video sites that I kept switching either due to videos of the episodes being removed or problems with the sites, I eventually made it through the whole series. It's great and I loved it. There are two anime series that are inspired by the 19th century American popular song, Jeanie With The Light Brown Hair (although in both cases, it would be more like Jeanie With The Light Blond Hair) as well as the real Jeanie MacDowell, and this is the second, which is 4x longer than the previous Jeanie series's run. When I did a search of this show on this site, it previously was unavailable and I contributed mostly to creating this page after learning how to do it.
Making a T.V. series based on a song seemed kind of odd to me and I wondered how that could work. But it managed to be done, since it's not just about the song. The series is somewhat based on fact, I'd say. And the reason I say this is because there's little fact about it and it seems to be more fictional than factual. For example, the relationship between Jeanie and her future husband, Stephen Foster, is true, in addition to Foster's song and others that would become well-renowned. But there are still differences between this Jeanie and her real life counterpart. Such as the real Jeanie MacDowell had a sister named Agnes whereas this Jeanie seems to have no siblings. Also, the real Jeanie MacDowell was a telegraph operator rather than an aspiring nurse, unlike the Jeanie in this anime. Another thing of note, the Jeanie from the other anime, shortened to Kinpatsu no Jeanie, has the last name of Reed. Most other events and all else that are involved in the story are fictional.
There are several lessons, messages, and topics covered in this, such as death, compassion, and being orphaned. All of these are seen throughout the three years that the series takes place. The fictional Jeanie MacDowell is a great protagonist, as are Stephen, their black friend Bill, and many others. Through it all, Jeanie already has some friends in her hometown of Lawrenceville (now Philadelphia), Pennsylvania, makes some new ones at the college she later attends (although since midway into the series she becomes a teenager, it should be between middle school and high school), and meets some orphans and their caretaker among others along the way. In one way or another, she always seems to make an impact on just about everyone she comes across. There are a few anachronisms, like jazz existing in the 19th century, but I'm not complaining. I like that some fun is had when it comes to that. This not only has drama and revolves around romance, but there are some adventures too.
The animation moves fluidly and the colors are flawless. The backgrounds and layouts are nice to look at as well. Many of the characters are fine, some may not seem so, at first, but there are good explanations as to why that is so to understand the motives behind them and some backstories as well. The voice acting is fine. The theme song has a brisk, poppy feel to it and in addition to featuring the real Foster's compositions, some of the incidental music sounds at least similar to that used and heard in Nippon Animation's Jungle Book anime. I'm guessing that that could just be the style. One more piece of trivia: Although it's not seen in the anime as it doesn't get that far, there's a picture or poster with one of the events in Jeanie's life is her holding her baby daughter, Billie, with two other events, which are her near the forest and mountains and the other of her at the college.
Viewing this anime has been a pleasurable experience, I'm glad I picked out a right one. Those who are against anime and find all of it to be jacked-up should see this one, as that's not true and it will prove them wrong. Only a limited amount of Nippon anime ever got English dubs. There should've been more dubbed into English, including this one. I can imagine in my head just how, at least, some of the characters would sound in an English version, if done well and properly. I wish there were, at least, a DVD of the complete series released in the U.S. with English subtitles, that's another one of the DVD sets I'd buy if it were available. It deserves it. Now this is underrated. We need more better stuff to outweigh the mostly tripe that airs nowadays. See this for yourselves and y'all will know what I'm talking about right away. I wonder what the real-life Jeanie MacDowell and Stephen Foster would've thought of this take on their lives. Definitely recommended.