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Maeterlinck's Blue Bird (Office Academy, 1980)

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This Office Academy production ran in 26 episodes in 1980. Titled in full Maeterlinck's Blue Bird: Tyltyl and Mytyl's Adventurous Journey (Maeterlinck no Aoi Tori: Tyltyl Mytyl no Bouken Ryokou), it is a free adaptation and expansion on Maurice Maeterlinck’s classic children’s play.

Character design was provided by Leiji Matsumoto, already famous for his Space Battleship Yamato sagas (1974+), which were likewise produced by Office Academy. Matsumoto also was the creator of the Space Pirate Captain Harlock manga series (1977-79), which had become a successful anime and was continuing to inspire its own series of spin-off movies and OVAs. The overall animation director for Blue Bird was Toyoo Ashida, who had served in the same capacity for the Space Battleship Yamato movie (1977) and later was overall animation director for Hotoko no Ken/Fist of the North Star (1984+) and the Vampire Hunter D OVA (1985).

The series was never licenced in North America, where Maeterlinck’s fantasy remains unfamiliar. But it has become very popular in Europe, mainly through an Italian adaptation, L’Uccellino Azzurro. First broadcast in 1983, the series was successfully revived in 2007 on cable TV for a new generation. A huge hit, the Italian version was rebroadcast by popular demand, then issued on DVD. According to Anime News Network, it is still in syndication on kids’ TV in Italy and other regions of Europe.

Streaming video of this version (available from a variety of sites) shows it to be an anime series with vivid action and memorable characters. One wishes it were available in an English version.

For more background on Maeterlinck’s original play (for which he won the 1911 Nobel Prize for Literature) and on the very interesting place that this series holds in the history of Japanese anime, click here!

 The Blue Bird: OP

 The Travelers on the Magic Slipper: OP

 Tyltyl and Mytyl at the Window

 We’re off to find the Blue Bird!

 The Aoitori-tachi move ahead

 The Helpers

 Mytyl and Time

 A Moment of Hilarity

 The Fire and The Water

 An unborn child with The Milk

 The Queen of the Night

 The Light

 Worried Queen of the Night

 Queen of the Night caught off guard

 Tyltyl offering his arm

 Mytyl is worried

 Mytyl surprised

 Tylô and Mytyl

 A worried pair

 “Can I Keep Him?”

 Mytyl and Tyltyl with the Bird

 Mytyl sees her brother fall

 The Real Bird

 Happy ending back home
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Curator: 60something-sensei
Gallery Created: 8/3/2002
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