Princess Sarah (小公女(プリンセス)セーラ, Purinsesu Sēra), also known as Little Princess Sara(h), is a 1985 Japanese Anime series produced by Nippon Animation and Aniplex, based on Frances Hodgson Burnett's novel, A Little Princess. Spanning 46 episodes, it originally premiered in 1985 across Japan on Fuji Television as the 11th series of Nippon Animation's World Masterpiece Theater.
It was also later aired across Japan by the anime television network, Animax, who also later broadcast the series across its respective networks worldwide, including its English language networks in Southeast Asia and South Asia, dubbing and translating the series into English under the title Princess Sarah. Animax's adaptation was the series' only English translation, and the series has yet to be commercially released in the United States. The series has also been selected as one of the best 100 Japanese anime series of all time by viewers of TV Asahi.
It was also aired in numerous countries worldwide and translated into several languages, including French, Italian, German, Polish, Arabic, Hindi, Filipino and Spanish. In the Philippines, it was aired by ABS-CBN in the 1993 (with some rebroadcasts at the 21st century), with the spin-offs live action film Sarah... Ang Munting Prinsesa, and a primetime TV drama series.
Princess Sarah tells the story of Sarah Crewe, In the year 1885, Sarah Crewe is a young daughter of a wealthy English family in British Raj, who starts attending an all-girl's seminary selection boarding school in London, where she excels in her studies and is loved deeply by many of her friends and classmates. However, tragedy soon strikes when Sarah's father passes away and her family goes bankrupt, leaving her to be a poor orphan. The school's headmistress, Miss Minchin, takes advantage of this situation and makes her a maid in the school, trying hard to make her life as miserable as possible. However, Sarah, with the help of her friends, perseveres and tries to endure all her hardships until redemption comes at last.Sarah Crewe (セーラ・クルー, Sēra Kurū)Voiced by: Sumi Shimamoto
The young heroine, who is brought to Miss Minchin's seminary in London
to learn how to be a proper lady, after being raised in Bombay, India. Due to being pampered and doted on her entire life, Sarah's knowledge of the real world is limited, but she is still a friendly and imaginative girl. After her father dies and she is left destitute, Miss Minchin forces Sarah to work as a servant in the seminary, but Sarah instead pretends that she is a princess inside; while not looking as one. She refuses to lose hope and remains thoughtful and compassionate.Ralph Crewe (ラルフ・クルー, Rarufu Kurū)Voiced by: Banjō Ginga
Sarah's devoted father. He invests in a diamond mine in India, but finds them failed, leaving himself, and therefore Sarah, utterly bankrupt. He dies from fever shortly after.Miss Minchin (ミンチン先生, Minchin Sensei)Voiced by: Taeko Nakanishi
The main antagonist. Miss Minchin is the severe headmistress of the seminary Sarah is sent to. After a misunderstanding where Minchin believes that Sarah purposely undermined her, she subsequently holds an intense grudge against the girl. However, she is very willing to use the noble, talented Sarah for the sake of the appearance of her seminary and herself. When Sarah is no longer wealthy, Minchin stops masking her hatred, and takes every opportunity to break Sarah further.Amelia Minchin (アメリア・ミンチン, Ameria Minchin)Voiced by: Yukiko Nashiwa
Miss Minchin's gentle but submissive younger sister. She finally learns to stand up to her sister in the last few episodes.Lavinia Herbert (ラビニア・ハーバート, Rabinia Hābāto)Voiced by: Eiko Yamada
Also a main antagonist. A proud and manipulative girl, Lavinia was originally the most popular student at the seminary, and thus becomes madly jealous when Sarah begins to get more attention than her. Even when Sarah becomes a servant, Lavinia continues to try to break her spirit.Jessie (ジェシー, Jeshī)Voiced by: Seiko Nakano (1st) / Harumi Iizuka (2nd)
One of Lavinia's henchman-like friends. She and Gertrude are initially somewhat in awe of Sarah, much to Lavinia's consternation. But once Sarah is demoted to live-in help, they willingly join in Lavinia's tormenting of Sarah.Gertrude (ガートルード, Gātorūdo)Voiced by: Run Sasaki
One of Lavinia's henchman-like friends.Ermengarde St. John (アーメンガード・セントジョン, Āmengādo Sentojon)Voiced by: Maki Yaosaha
A plump girl who becomes one of Sarah's closest friends after Sarah defends her from Lavinia's abusive treatment toward her. Ermengarde frequently does poorly in her studies, while her father, a university professor, pushes her to excel. She has an aunt, Eliza (イライザ, Iraiza)
, who is somewhat absentminded, but is quite skilled in Herbalism, which proves pivotal in saving Sarah's life when she becomes seriously ill.Lottie Legh (ロッティ・レイ, Rotti Rei)Voiced by: Naoko Watanabe
The youngest student at the seminary who is four years old. At first, Lottie acts contrary and throws many temper tantrums, but the little girl calms down significantly after Sarah becomes her surrogate mother. Following Sarah's descent into poverty, Lottie proves herself one of Sarah's most devoted companions.Becky (ベッキー, Bekkī)voiced by: Mie Suzuki
A country girl who comes to work at the seminary in order to support her mother and younger siblings. Despite her situation, Becky is optimistic and something of a dreamer. She is mistreated by Miss Minchin and her fellow staff, but befriended by Sarah. In the end of the series, she joins Sarah upon returning in India.Peter (ピーター, Pītā)Voiced by: Chika Sakamoto
A street-smart boy who becomes Sarah's carriage driver when his father cannot accept the job. He thinks very highly of Sarah, continues to call her "ojou-sama" (princess) even after her demotion from student to hired help, and harbours a crush on her. He also joins Sarah upon returning in India.Molly (モーリー, Mōrī)Voiced by: Asami Mukaidono
A harsh assistant chef.James (ジェームス, Jēmusu)Voiced by: Daisuke Gouri
A chef that is picky on what he cooks. Like Molly, he is also harsh on other servants, especially Becky.Monsieur Dufarge (デュファルジュ先生, Dyufaruju-sensei)Voiced by: Toshiya Ueda
The seminary's friendly French teacher. He is impressed by Sarah's aptitude at speaking French from the start, and is the only member of the faculty who continues to treat Sarah with unqualified kindness and civility after her demotion.Ram Dass (ラムダス, Ramudasu)Voiced by: Hideyuki Tanaka
An Indian man who serves Mr. Carrisford. He keeps a sweet but mischievous monkey named Surya (スリャ)
.Tom Carrisford (トム・クリスフォード, Tomu Kurisufōdo)Voiced by: Shūsei Nakamura
A lifelong friend of Ralph Crewe who convinced him to invest in the Indian diamond mine. Believing himself guilty for Crewe's death, Tom makes it his mission to track down Sarah and reinstate her wealth.Mr. Carmichael (カーマイケル弁護士, Kāmaikeru-bengoshi)Voiced by: Yūsaku Yara
Mr. Carrisford's solicitor and confidant. He journeys across Europe to find Sarah Crewe in the bedridden Carrisford's stead.Donald Carmichael (ドナルド・カーマイケル, Donarudo Kāmaikeru)Voiced by: Mitsuko Horie
Mr. Carmichael's polite and generous son who befriends Sarah, unaware of her connection to his father's client.Original work: Frances Hodgson Burnett's A Little PrincessPlanning: Shōji Satō, Eiichi Kubota (Fuji TV)Director: Fumio KurokawaScreenplay: Ryūzō NakanishiCharacter design: Shunji SaidaAnimation directors: Toshiki Yamazaki, Kuniyuki Ishii, Atsuko ŌtaniBackground artist: Shōhei KawamotoArt director: Nobuo NumaiLayout editing: Yasuji MoriMusic: Yasuo HiguchiProducers: Junzō Nakajima, Taihei Ishikawa (Fuji TV)Executive producer: Kōichi MotohashiProduction manager: Mitsuru TakakuwaProduction: Nippon Animation, Fuji TVOpening theme: "Hana no Sasayaki" (花のささやき, lit. "Whisper of a Flower")
Lyrics: Rei NakanishiComposition: Kōichi MoritaArrangement: Katsuhisa HattoriPerformance: Satoko ShimonariEnding theme: "Himawari" (ひまわり, lit. "Sunflower")
Lyrics: Rei NakanishiComposition: Kōichi MoritaArrangement: Katsuhisa HattoriPerformance: Satoko Shimonari
The anime was remade into a live action film by Star Cinema in the Philippines under the title Sarah... Ang Munting Prinsesa ("Sarah... The Little Princess") in 1995 starring Camille Prats as Sarah Crewe. The movie was also dubbed in several languages and subbed in English. In 1996 Camille Prats was Nominated for Best Child Actress at the FAMAS Awards. From this day the movie was digitally restored and remastered by ABS CBN Film Restoration Project (who to date are restoring old damaged classic Filipino films) to a more high depth 1080p HD format and was also released back into the cinema along with a Red Carpet premier. The movie is also set to be sold on DVD by ABS CBN.
The anime was remade in 2007 into a television series, also titled Princess Sarah, by ABS CBN in the Philippines. Starring Sharlene San Pedro as Sarah Crewe. The series was aired on ABS-CBN's Primetime Bida evening block and worldwide on The Filipino Channel from November 12, 2007 to December 21, 2007. The series was shot in Camp John Hay in Baguio City and the Coconut Palace in Manila. Unlike the 1995 Filipino film and the Japanese anime series it was based from, which in turn was based on Burnett's original novel, the Teleserye adaptation took further creative liberties from the original story, with Ram Dass being depicted as a female sorceress, Lavinia as Miss Minchin's daughter, and fantasy elements being introduced in the story.