Little-known anime adaptations of Western literature (Topic)

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Little-known anime adaptations of Western literature


Western adaptations of manga or anime are often a terrible thing. Few things come out well, but there is a downside, and there are quite a few high-quality anime adaptations of Western literature that are little known among anime fans. You may have heard of some of the Ghibli titles, or you've watched works like When Marnie Was There or Howl's Moving Castle. However, there is a whole world of quality anime adaptations of Western literature that you have not heard of. These fascinating creations adapt works ranging from classics dating back centuries to children's books of this millennium. We've put together some notable anime adaptations of Western books for you.

Anne of Green Gables / Akage no Anne / Anne of Green Gables

Since its release in 1908, Anne of Green Gables has sold over 50 million copies. The story has been translated into at least 36 languages and adapted by several films, TV series and stage productions, making it a classic novel for all ages.


In the story, brother and sister Matthew and Marila Carpert decided to take a boy from the orphanage to help them farm on the Green Gables farm. However, by mistake, the red-haired girl Anne was brought to them. She is developed beyond her years, speaks a lot and always uses many long and highly intelligent words. And most importantly, she is in love with the world and wants to live happily. Marila was against it and wanted to send the girl to an orphanage, but Matthew was deeply moved by Ann, and as a result, she becomes a member of the Carpert family.

The anime adaptation follows the book and tells about Anne growing up, going to school for the first time, making friends, falling in love and getting smarter. The anime was directed by Isao Takahata with mock scenes by Hayao Miyazaki at Nippon Animation, six years before they founded Studio Ghibli.

Frankenstein / Kyoufu Densetsu Kaiki! Frankenstein / Frankenstein

Hailed as the best novel by one of the greatest female writers of all time, Mary Shelley's Gothic novel Frankenstein has generated a wave of culture shock since its publication two centuries ago. The story of the scientist Victor Frankenstein and his creation is considered one of the earliest manifestations of science fiction, and it addresses such important topics as the reckless pursuit of knowledge and existence itself.


Kyoufu Densetsu Kaiki! "Frankenstein" is based not only on the original novel by Shelley, but also on the Marvel comic "The Monster of Frankenstein". The anime talks about Victor and the aftermath after his creation went missing. In turn, his monster embarks on a harsh journey of self-discovery. By the way, if you are a fan of manga, I advise you to read the adaptation of this horror novel by mangaka Junji Ito, which we wrote about earlier.

Treasure Island / Takarajima / Treasure Island

The influence of Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island on the modern romanticized portrayal of pirates cannot be understated. For example, it was from this book that the stereotypical image of a one-legged pirate with a parrot on his shoulder and a treasure map with a cross indicating the location of the treasure appeared.


The main character of the story, 13-year-old Jim Hawkins, enters the world of pirates when a sailor dies in his house, leaving a treasure map leading to the hidden money of the infamous Captain Flint. On his journey to Treasure Island, Jim faces betrayal from all sides in the pursuit of fame and fortune.

The Diary of Anne Frank / Anne no Nikki / Anne Frank's Diary

Anne no Nikki is a Madhouse feature film [yes, this is not a mistake], based on the diary of Anne Frank, a young woman who hid in an attic for two years to escape persecution during World War II.


The anime is great, but as noted by many, even it could not fully reveal the topic. However, it is 100% recommended for viewing from the entire list.

A Christmas Carol / Machi Ichiban no Kechinbou / A Christmas Carol


Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol is the most important piece of Christmas literature. This adaptation shows the Japanese vision of famous Christmas fiction. She faithfully portrays Scrooge as a wealthy grumbler who embarks on a journey of self-reflection and personal redemption. The adaptation perfectly conveys the moral that money cannot buy happiness.

Starship Troopers / Uchuu no Senshi / Starship Troopers

Most of the anime on this list are novels or historical fiction, making the Starship Troopers a rare anime adaptation of science fiction.


The action takes place in a dark future. Starship Troopers are operated by a military government known as the Terran Federation. The story follows Juan "Johnny" Rico, who serves in the Mobile Infantry, the Space Marine Division, and ascends to military rank in the middle of an intergalactic war between humanity and an alien species called "arachnids" or "bugs".

The anime adaptation was dedicated to the author of the novel, Robert A. Heinlein, who died before the adaptation was released.

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland / Fushigi no Kuni no Alice / Alice in Wonderland

Given the amount of anime and manga inspired by Lewa Carroll's tale, it's not hard to guess that there is an anime adaptation of the original tale. Fushigi no Kuni no Alice is a project of Nippon Animation and the German studio Apollo Films.


Differs from the original in that Alice returns to the real world at the end of each episode, and then again finds herself in Wonderland at the beginning of a new one; these transitions were often depicted as dreams.

Little Women / Ai no Wakakusa Monogatari / Little Women

The work "Little Women" is a family drama where goodness prevails over wealth. It is also a story of how women try to overcome the gender constraints that hold them back. ”


Ai no Wakakusa Monogatari is an anime masterpiece that has been dubbed and shown more than once in the United States and Europe.

Zorro / Kaiketsu Zorro / Zorro

Zorro first appeared in the 1919 novel The Curse of Capistrano. This iconic character has appeared in over 40 film adaptations, numerous television shows, radio dramas, comics, theatrical productions and even video games.


Don Diego de la Vega returns from his studies and discovers that his house has come under a harsh dictatorship. Outraged, he dons the mask and becomes Zorro's avenger, and fights this brutal regime, leaving his trademark "Z" on all his opponents. The legend of Zorro is about danger, justice and romance.

Around the World in Eighty Days / Anime 80-nichikan Sekai Isshuu / Around the World in Eighty Days

Jules Verne's novel Around the World in Eighty Days tells about the journey of inventor Phyllis Fogg around the world in just eighty days. He dared to do it and if he can, he will receive 20,000 pounds [today almost 3 million US dollars]. Fogg and his valet Jean Passepartout travel to Egypt, India, Hong Kong, Japan, the United States and then return to England.


Anime 80-nichikan Sekai Isshuu was a collaboration between Nippon Animation and the Spanish studio BRB Internacional for a Western audience. In the United States, fees were small, but the adaptation became popular in the UK and Spain.

The Topic of Article: Little-known anime adaptations of Western literature.
Author: Jake Pinkman