90s Children TV Series in the Philippines
Growing up, books were not the first companion most children have. Most of the time the television serves as an ever comforting friend to kill the time. Even more than two decades ago, I also had a similar encounter. The cable TV was not a big hit yet at that time, so children would have to wake up early to catch the morning cartoons.
Dubbed European-Looking But with Japanese Origin
Many of the morning cartoons in the mid to late nineties are dubbed to Filipino but are originally Japanese anime. The storyline varies but western culture, setting, and characters are used in the shows. Some of the viewers may even be surprised to know that their favorite morning cartoon during that time was originally Japanese.
However, these days, most Filipinos call these shows as a Tagalized-version (dubbed in Tagalog). Even though the story shows blondes, brunettes, princes, and princesses, they all speak in the country's vernacular. The shows gave comfort, hope, and lovable characters that many of the children growing up in the nineties still remember. Somehow, the adults of today may have had a bit of memory of each of these stories in the list.
Of Princes and Princesses
In this decade of Japanese animation penetrating the Philippine local television, there were popular stories that were followed by a lot of viewers. The stories of princes and princesses are the common plot to see.
The interesting parts in the TV series were not the typical fairy tale story-telling, but the use of relatable characters. Even with the differences in skin color or setting, many children enjoyed seeing themselves in the shoes of the characters, or if not, befriending them instead. After all, it would not be that easy to be close to a prince or a princess in real life. With the TV though, it was easy with just a click of the remote.
Until now, this TV series is shown and introduced to young viewers. This show was originally released in 1985. This is known as 小公女セーラ in Japan and was televised in the Philippines in the nineties. The young Filipinos of that time enjoyed and even adored the story of Princess Sarah.
This is a story of a seemingly perfect young girl who came from a prominent family, but later on experienced a great fall which led to her forced labor under the hands of the cruel headmistress, Ms. Minchin. However, even though she had lost almost everything, the young girl continued to be positive, helpful, and understanding. The lost was later given just and even greater compensation at the end.
The show made a different take to the Cinderella story. The makers created someone who young girls could somehow relate to and the formula they used in giving Princess Sarah challenges really worked well in keeping the audience attached to their TV screens.
The show really had a great following that it was later on made into a movie with the same title, and was led by famous young stars at that time. However, with the re-showing of the series, it received a very different reaction. Now, it is a source of ridicule for the witty memes going viral online.
Cedie: Ang Munting PrinsipeClick thumbnail to view full-size
Cedie: Ang Munting Prinsipe in the Philippine television gave way to the ever-lovable character who many Filipinos felt close to during its run. The Japanese animation was first released in 1988 (小公子セディ --- Little Prince Cedie). This was inspired by Frances Hodgson Burnett's Little Lord Fauntleroy.
The cartoon tells the story of a young boy who was later found out to be the heir to a great British earldom. However, he faces some difficult time away from his mom and has to live and learn from his grandfather who is the Earl. It shows how simple encounters can help this young boy grow and even teach some life lessons to his grandfather. This is all despite the struggles he has to face just to prove his right as an heir.
The show was again picked up for a movie release in 1996 in the Philippines. The movie was loosely inspired by the original TV cartoon series.
Another favorite: Heidi
This animation is an older show televised in Japan in 1974. The story is based on a Swiss story by Johanna Spyri in 1880 titled Heidi's Years of Wandering and Learning.
The show dealt with the daily experiences and challenges of a young, five-year-old girl named Heidi. She was an orphan who was put to the guardianship of her aunt, but later on given to her frightening grandfather who lives on the Swiss Alps. Even though the setting was very different for Heidi, she found joy and adventure which helped her cope with the loss and also helped her grandfather to open up to her.
Heidi became a good friend to young viewers and also an inspiration. The story showed more adventures and introduced new characters. This was viewed in the late '90s and early 2000 already.
My Daddy Long Legs
This final TV series was a companion to young girls and early teenagers when it was shown to the public in the Philippines.
私のあしながおじさん in its original Japanese animated series is based on Jean Webster's novel Daddy-Long-Legs which tells the life of Judy Abbott. This show covered almost three to four years in Judy's life. It started when she was still staying in the orphanage. Judy was given an opportunity to study in a prestigious school thanks to her benefactor who she calls Daddy Long Legs because of the mysterious shadow that she always catches whenever he comes to visit. Even though the suspense of knowing Daddy Long Legs came to children's minds which made them more interested in waiting for the next episode.
This show became young girls routine and much-awaited show in the early mornings. Judy Abbott became a very familiar name and can be heard in most young teenage girls' conversations at that time. However, the twist of the story with the identity of Daddy Long Legs can be a little problematic in the eyes of parents, the show really touched and hooked a lot of girls.
Which cartoon have you seen when you were younger?
Filipinos' take to Japanese Animation
Throughout the decades, many more Japanese anime shows came to the consciousness of young Filipinos. The genres presented were really varied which made a few years apart seem a whole different generation. There were superhero animations which stood the test of time and are still (surprisingly) shown on local TV. Many viewers even tried to catch an original copy of the printed stories, but as it seems, many young minds will still witness good Asian animation.
These are just some of the shows that touched and inspired a whole generation. I hope that artists will continue to be a source of good memories for young children. Which of these were you able to watch and how was the experience of seeing them?