Wednesday, June 29, 2011

And now the show is over...

It's been a year, but I've finally finished watching the old cartoon series The Wonderful Wizard of Oz this afternoon. This was a series that was originally made in Japan, but the English version was put together by Cinar, and for some reason decided to totally disguise its roots as an anime. It was originally shown on premium cable channels in the '80s, so I never got a chance to watch it then, and for some reason, it's never been released complete on DVD in English (although it is available in other languages). I've seen some of the compilation movies, named after the books the storyline is based on (The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, The Land of Oz, Ozma of Oz, and The Emerald City of Oz), but I still wanted to see the whole show. When Jaroo started streaming it online, I figured that was my chance — until I found they were about thirty episodes in, and they only kept episodes up for a few weeks at a time! Ah, but I am a patient Oz fan, and figured it would eventually start over again — which it did last year at about this time. So I started watching, and enjoyed myself. There are fifty-two episodes in the series, and they put up a new one each week, so it took a year to watch the whole show. Episode 52 went up today, and now I guess I have to find something else to watch every week.

Despite the differences, and some of the limited animation, I liked the designs for the characters, and I really grew to enjoy most of their voices. The show started off as a pretty straightforward adaptation of The Wizard of Oz, but about two-thirds of the way through the animators started taking a few liberties. You know something is up when Mombi and Tip show up right after the Wicked Witch of the West is melted! Yes, they set up the events of the later books (they also had an encounter with the nomes on the way to Glinda's). The China Country was different, and the Hammerheads got a major reinterpretation. Then, after Dorothy got home, she ends up in Oz again, accompanying Tip in the events of The Land of Oz! Those of us who know the book know this is wrong, of course, but it actually worked all right, and she felt like part of the story. Surprisingly, Ozma was left behind at Princess Lulu's in Ev for the events of Ozma of Oz, and Billina had only a small part. Then the show almost went its own way with The Emerald City of Oz, but enough of the original story was there as to at least be recognizable.

So, yes, now I can say I've seen it, and I'm not unhappy about that. And with the series ended, that means that they're very likely going to start at the beginning again next week. So, if you want to do the same thing, go to, bookmark the page, and be sure to watch for a new episode every Wednesday.

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