June 29, 2008

Studying a 70's japanese masterpiece

Haha wo tazunete sanzenri, also known as 3000 Leagues in Search of Mother or just Marco is an amazing anime tv series aired around 1976, directed by Isao Takahata.
It is based on the chapter "From the Apennines to the Andes" of the novel Cuore, by the italian writer Edmondo De Amicis, and it's part of the project World Masterpiece Theatre, a number of TV series based on classics of literature from around the world, produced by Nippon Animation over the course of 30 years. It includes "Heidi", "Anne of Green Gables", "The adventures of Tom Sawyer" and many other jewels of japanese animation.

With a bit of surprise I figured out that really few people out of Europe know about it. Fortunately this show was very popular in Italy when I was young and for what I can remember it kept me entertained for many hours of my childhood.
Recently I had the chance of watching it all again after many years, and I was completely stunned.
I don't think I've ever seen a tv show with such an intensity of storytelling, richness of atmosphere, backgrounds, emotional intimacy of the characters and music. The soundtrack is performed by a quite impressive orchestra and includes more than 120 beautiful and all different tracks. Hayao Miyazaki also worked on this series, he was responsible of layouts and continuity and to me he had done a great work on that, as you really feel like you "know" the town, with its narrow streets, the squares, the harbour, and you would be able to actually walk from a place to another if you happened to be there.

The story initially takes place in Genoa, Italy. Marco is a young boy who lives with his father Pietro and a cute little monkey called Amedio, while his mother left for Argentina to find work. Letters from her arrive regularly until one day they suddenly stop. So, worried for what might have happened to her, Marco decides to embark upon a long journey to Argentina in the hope of finding his mother.
The animation is surprisingly good too, great posing, right emotional timing.. and it's "just" a tv show! What would I give to see on tv something like that these days.

So during the weekend I decided to take some time and rewatch a few sequences, observing and sketching. I really enjoyed that.
Here are some drawings I made on Flash.

p.s. The dvds were pretty hard to find, but for those interested I got a good edition with english subtitles here


a.g.barrows said...

ma che beeei disegneeett'
senti per la lasagna direi che il caldo esterno è sufficiente, magari una caprese eh?

pascal said...

holy molley!!
This is awesome Aleina!
I have to find that series now!
Talking about great TV series, have you ever seen Sherlock Hound?

Carlos Ruano said...

What a well done work, look at the last layout... you can get inside to the sketch. Very beautiful places in these series

gamusino Javi said...

ive seen your short film right know , and now your blog...amazing work Alessandra, i m really impresive.

willborough said...

Nice of you to include a link to the dvd's. I was looking for the series on amazon to no avail. I've been hearing a lot of good stuff about it recently. First on 'Conversations on Ghibli' and now here. I must check it out. Your drawings are top-notch too!


tomm said...

great drawings as per usual!

Alessandra Sorrentino said...

Barro' - grazie ;) allora adesso mi specializzo in lasagna estiva..

Pascal - Yes I do know Sherlock Hound (it was called Detective Holmes here) it's one of my all time favourite ;) Still cannot believe it's been coproduced with Italy. I should have been born a couple of decades earlier..

Carlos! Great to hear from you, thanks for the visit and for your nice words.

Gamusino - I'm very glad you enjoyed my film "Marla". Thank you very much for your comment.

Willborogh - many thanks! and yes, you should definitely check it out ;)

Tomm - hey there! Thanks a million ;)

sharad said...

great work!...da las shot has amazing depth!

Alessandra Sorrentino said...

Thanks sharad :)

Eiko said...

Hello Alessandra! Never had any problem with your keys, it was always a great pleasure to work with your scenes. I learned a lot and appreciated the clean drawings. I've become a fan, and I've been visiting this blog for a while and admiring your work. Thanks for your compliments, and I honestly hope I didn't ruin any scene!


A. Riabovitchev said...

Great studyes Alessandra!Really nice!:o)

blauereiter said...

Now I'm really compelled to rewatch this series again. Great drawings by the way ! :]

martin wittig said...

Great studies!!:)

Dave said...

Great post Alessandra! Sadly shows such as Marco, Heidi and La Abeja Maya weren't shown in Ireland. I got hooked on Marco while living in Spain. It's a pity such an amazing show isn't known everywhere. Love your studies of the series.

Jay D Smith said...

Yeah it's a great series!

looks like you got the same 2 box sets as i have. have you got the "dog of flanders" set yet?


gemini82 said...

wonderful studies.

Seb said...

Fresh....very fresh. Thanks!

Anonymous said...


Abz said...

are you kiddin me?!?!?! this is unbeievable!! look at the perspective!! wow!