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Archive for October, 2011

The first episode is “Lottie the Crybaby”.

In this episode, we meet Lottie. I think she is one of the youngest students in the school. She certainly acts like it. It doesn’t help that Lavinia and Miss Minchin both have zero patience for her. Lottie ends up running away. Concerned, Sara convinces Miss Minchin to let her go out with her horse and buggy to try and find Lottie. She only spots Lottie as she comes back. Even back inside, Lottie still won’t stop screaming and kicking on the floor. Miss Minchin and Miss Amelia are at their wits end when Sara offers to see if she can do anything. When Lottie finally notices Sara she says she is upset she doesn’t have a mother, but she is startled out of her cry when Sara says she has no mother either. Sara shows Lottie the amusing things in her rooms, especially Emily. Sara tells Lottie that she will be her mother. Lottie seems much happier after this.

The second episode is “Becky, Covered in Ash”.

Miss Amelia convinces Miss Minchin to let Sara go out with her horse and buggy to drop of the students’ mail -after Miss Minchin has looked at it, a very disturbing practice. Miss Amelia then asks Sara to pick up for her some scented soap from France, something we later learn Miss Minchin does not approve of. On the way back, Sara (and Lottie) run into a girl named Becky who is in fact looking for Miss Minchin’s school. Sara shows Becky to Miss Minchin, which shocks her since Becky is not there to be a student but to work. Poor Becky, it really is too much for her so no wonder there are accidents. It doesn’t help that the cook and what passes for a housekeeper intend to work Becky as hard as they can. Sara does what she can to keep away Miss Minchin’s ire from Becky and her clumsiness. When Becky tends the fire where Sara tells a story (Cinderella), Sara deliberately includes Becky, much to Lavinia’s disgust. I have no doubt that Becky sees a lot of herself in the story. I wonder if anyone besides Sara is still up when Becky finally does go to bed.

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The first episode introduces Nat Blake, an orphan who is sent to Plumfield by Mr. Lawrence. It is a bit of a topsey-turvey welcome, but Mr. and Mrs. Bhaer are glad to receive Nat who seems a nice child tossed about by poor circumstances. Nat finds a refuge there – and just in time perhaps given that he is sick. Nat is also a wonder on the violin. Everyone at Plumfield is glad to make Nat welcome.

In the second episode, we see what Sunday is like at Plumfield. Nat stays home with Mrs. Bhaer and her two little ones, still not well. He is introduced to the land about Plumfield and Tommy decides to make Nat a business partner. Jo explains how she keeps a record of all her students and discusses their progress every Sunday. Nat is worried about starting school the next day having never had formal schooling. There seems so much to learn. Mr. Bhaer tells to have courage and that he will help Nat.

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In the first episode, the students go strawberry picking. Rob really wants to go, but being only three or so is really too small to go without supervision and Jo can’t go with them. Nan agrees to take care of him. Only one problem – Nan’s competitive nature lures her into the forest. This would not be so bad except a storm rolls in as night falls and Nan can’t find the way back. She does manage to find a cave and leaves Rob there while she goes back to find the strawberries he picked for his mother. When Nan gets back, Rob is gone . . .

In the second episode we find out that Rob was too scared to stay in the cave. Fortunately he does find Nan, and Nan and  Rob are found by the others. So all ends well. The next day, however, Jo is dismayed to find that Nan boasting of the experience. Seeing that Nan does not truly value freedom, Jo does what her mother did when she ran away – ties up Nan for a day. Nan almost decides to escape, but hearing Jo’s words about how Nan is honorable she decides to stay. At first the others try to help. Rob even ties himself up too since he also was disobedient in leaving the strawberry field. However, everyone gets distracted and Nan is left alone. By the end of the day Nan does have a much greater appreciation of freedom.

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In this volume we find plenty of trouble for Natsume. First there is a tiny Yokai who has a ring that doesn’t belong to it. If Natsume doesn’t find and return it to the owner, the owner will burn down Natsume’s home. Only one problem. The Yokai who has the ring travels in a pack, and all together they can be vicious . . . Then other Yokai are after the book of friends. However, the reason is because an exorcist is causing them trouble. Yep, Matoba is back. Can Natsume keep the Book of Friends safe from him? (And yes, Natsume, I agree it is time to find out more about Reiko . . .) Finally, a short where a girl observes Natsume before he goes to live with the Fujiwaras. She is observant and while Natsume does seem to be at the center of a lot of disturbances, she sees what the teachers don’t – that being at the center of disturbances doesn’t also mean he is the cause of the disturbances. All in all, another great volume!

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First, a disclaimer. I have read the original book by Louisa May Alcott. In the book there is no one particular point of view. In the anime things always get pulled back to Nan. Which brings up another point. The stories are not in the same order as the book. I point these two fact out to to say that the book and the anime are different, not that one is better than the other. (As they both exist, we get to enjoy both!)

In the first episode, a grown-up Nan has come back to the school at Plumfield which seems to be prospering. She reminisces about growing up there. Then we get to the main story. It seems when Nan was younger she was quite the tomboy who was the despair of her tutors and governesses. So as a last resort she is sent to Plumfield. When she finds no one waiting for her at the station she decides to walk to Plumfield herself, somehow managing to drag her luggage with her. Her approach is noticed and a particularly rambunctious boy named Tommy who is also something of a prankster decides to give a not so nice welcome to Nan. Big mistake. Nan is no Daisy (the only other girl in the school, a quiet and lady-like girl). By the time Mr. and Mrs. Bhaer realize what has happened and get back to Plumfield, Nan has made her mark on just about everyone. Fortunately, Mrs. Bhaer, Jo, understands Nan having been a tomboy herself growing up. Still, Nan is definitely going to need some training.

In the second episode, well as much as Mrs. Bhaer sympathizes with Nan she is also going to teach Nan manners. And really, after the events of the first episode, Nan does deserve some punishment. First, Stuffy who is something of a cry-baby gets hurt and when Nan scorns him he tells Nan to knock her head against the wall, which she keeps doing until forced to stop. She agrees it hurts but refuses to cry. After this, Nan is informed that she is going to have to teach the school, including the teachers, and it has to be something that no one else knows. So what does Nan end up teaching them about? Herself!

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The first episode is “The First Day in School”.

So it is Sara’s first day of school. She doesn’t eat breakfast with the others but in her room. When she understands this is not usual, she decides this will not be a regular habit. After being introduced, the first lesson is French. However, there is a misunderstanding between Sara and Miss Minchin. Miss Minchin is under the impression that Sara doesn’t want to learn French. This is far fro the truth which is that Sara is half French and grew up speaking it nearly as much as English. However, the way Sara decides to deal with this is to speak in flawless French to the French tutor. This highly embarrasses Miss Minchin who now considers Sara an enemy. We also meet Lavinia, who until Sara’s arrival was the star pupil of the academy.

The second episode is “Good Friend Ermengarde”.

It doesn’t take long for Lavinia to dislike Sara who has taken her place as the star pupil at Miss Minchin’s academy. Who Sara does take to is Ermengarde, a girl who is not bright and is therefore looked down on. Sara says she will help Ermengarde with her studies. In addition, Ermengarde has an Aunt she needs to visit but didn’t make arrangements or get permission and Miss Minchen is out. Sara says she will take Ermengarde and they get Miss Amelia’s permission – sort of. They get back late and it doesn’t help that Lavinia tattles on them. Sara takes all the blame on herself, knowing that Miss Minchin will be less likely to punish her, but this doesn’t endear her to the headmistress.

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The first episode is “Miss Minchin’s Girl’s School”.

Sara Crewe has everything, well, except for a mother but as Sara doesn’t remember her she doesn’t feel the loss too much. She does have a very loving and wealthy father. Sara grew up in India, but as was the custom of the time she is now being taken to England to go to a boarding school. She has not only a private apartment but two rooms, a maid, and a horse and buggy. She takes immediately to Peter, her young coach. Miss Minchin, the headmistress, doesn’t think much of Sara but does want her wealth and so flatters her young new charge shamelessly.

The second episode is “In Search of Emily”.

It is almost time for Captain Crewe to return to India. However, one thing must be done first – Sara is to pick out a special doll to be named Emily. They search everywhere. Finally they find her. At first the owner doesn’t want to sell her (it is a dress shop, not a doll shop), but Emily soon charms him. She charms everyone except Miss Minchin. They buy tons of clothes and accessories for Emily. Sara and her father have a tearful farewell, but none of this is seen by Miss Minchin who thinks Sara is a cold child.

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