Candice White (a.k.a. Candy) is an orphan girl with a cheerful disposition and a knack for getting into trouble. She lives happily in an orphanage but dreams of being adopted, like the rest of her friends. Occurring only days apart, two events that will change her life forever take place: she meets her first love and is adopted by an influential family that loves to make her life miserable.
summary by Soundchazer
Highs: Intricate storyline; detailed and evolving characters
Lows: Dated animation; follows a soap opera format at times
Candy Candy was, without a doubt, the most popular anime worldwide during the ’70s and ’80s, with extensive runs and reruns in every conceivable language in the western hemisphere. More importantly, it was the first series that had mass appeal with the female population and helped develop the idea that anime was not only for boys, as it was thought at the time.
Part of the appeal of a story like this comes from a very basic but effective use of the rags to riches format. It appears at first that the series is going to be yet another Cinderella story. But as it progresses, we are in for a rollercoaster of emotions that go from exhilaration to depression and everywhere in between. Unlike Rose of Versailles (perhaps the only anime that could come close to be a fair comparison in terms of popularity and storyline) Candy Candy uses a wider palette of situations. Candy’s cheerful personality helps create funny moments that give a certain degree of levity, much needed in the face of some incredibly dramatic episodes.
Unlike other anime of the ’70s that tended to use music now considered dated and high on the cheese factor, this series uses a style of music both timeless and universal, courtesy of Watanabe Takeo; he can be regarded as the Kanno Yoko of his era in terms of influence on the anime scene.
Unfortunately, I can’t say the same about the artwork. I had the opportunity to revisit some episodes recently, and although the character design is as classic shoujo as you can get, the animation seems rough for today’s standards. In all fairness, few productions from that era have fared better in this department… but it is definitely something that a lot of people not used to “old school animation” will frown upon.
Even if you are not interested in the shoujo genre, you owe it to yourself to give this one a shot if you are lucky enough to find it. Few anime can boast such a wide appeal, intricate storyline and have characters that you can see grow up as the story progresses. If anything, I would let Candy’s charm make a fan out of you.
See also Candy Candy Movie
Candy Candy can be downloaded legally in the United States HERE.