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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.

 Tyltyl and Mytyl in Trouble: A2 and A3

 Tyltyl and Mytyl in Trouble: A4

 The Aoitori-tachi at a fork in the road: A1

 The Aoitori-tachi at a fork in the road: A2, A3

 Pencil Board 1

 Pencil Board 2
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Curator: 60something-sensei
Gallery Created: 8/3/2002
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