a.k.a. Nobody’s Boy
a.k.a. Rémi Sans Famille
Rémi has lived happily in the French countryside, receiving the tender love of his mother… until his alcoholic father comes back home looking for money to keep alive his love affair with booze. After being sold to a mysterious man called Vitalis and forced to perform in his traveling troupe, Rémi realizes that his life will never be the same and embarks on a journey filled with joy, tragedy and self discovery.
summary by Soundchazer
Highs: Very detailed artwork; addictive storyline and strong characters
Lows: The artwork is dated; has moments bordering on melodrama
Few times in my life have I come across anime that I found appealing as a child, through my teenage years and into adulthood. Ie Naki Ko is one of those pieces of art that work for such a diverse audience because people can connect with it on different levels.
For starters, there are characters abound, many of whom have very pivotal roles in the story and are perfectly paced and fleshed out. It is virtually impossible not to identify with one of them, because they have very defined personalities, mannerisms and quirks that avoid the pitfall of stereotypes and clichés. The artwork is simple but appealing, with very distinctive character designs by a master of the craft, Sugino Akio, and very detailed animation for its time; this animation even presents beautiful “rough sketches” to end each episode and incredible representations of the French landscape. And finally, there is the pacing of the storyline itself, which even at 51 episodes has a way to keep things interesting. There was always that dramatic cliffhanger that leaves you craving for more, and even the “filler” episodes were there to let you know a bit more about the characters.
However, like any story based on serious subjects, there is always a fine line that is walked between drama and melodrama. Sometimes the cross into the latter does exist. There were times while I was watching when I thought that the only thing left for Rémi to experience was a dog peeing his pants. You must really have angered the gods badly to experience as much hardship as he had. Also, remember this anime was made almost 30 years ago, so don’t expect flashy computer-aided cels or incredibly vibrant colors.
The ’70s can be defined as the period when anime companies relied heavily on classic literature to bring animation to television. Based on the novel “Sans Famille” by Hector Malot, Ie Naki Ko was intended to be a part of the trend but ended up transcending it, making this obscure novel widely known and revered by a generation.
Ie Naki Ko can be downloaded legally in the United States HERE.