Toei-Doga’s 1968, 26 episode, black and white, anime TV series AKANE-CHAN あかねちゃん (LITTLE AKANE) was one of the first programs just for girls. Akane-chan was created by Tetsuya Chiba and appeared in weekly Shoujo Friend comics. Manga artist Tetsuya Chiba is well known for several titles like his baseball manga SHONEN GIANTS 少年ジャイアンツ, HARISU NO KAZE ハリスの旋風 (HARRIS’ WHIRLWIND) and co-creator (with Asao Takamori/writer) of the mega popular boxing series ASHITA NO JOE あしたのジョー (TOMORROW’S JOE). The voice of Akane-chan and opening song vocalist was Minori Matsushima who also played Sayaka in MAZINGER Z マジンガーZ and Candice in CANDY CANDY キャンディ・キャンディ.
After living in the country with her uncle, Akane returns home and goes to a prestigious school. Being a confident and high spirited girl, Akane-chan quickly finds she does not fit in with the snobby school kids who look down on her. She soon befriends a misfit kid named Hidemaro (Hidebaro). The snot-nosed twerp is the object of ridicule and a bullies dream. Akane-chan feels bad for him and sticks up for the obnoxious boy. Later Akane-chan and Hidemaro take in a dog name Chibi. The three go on to have many misadventures innocently getting into trouble, usually with the right intentions.
Akane-chan is of course a comedy, yet has serious tones and good stories. Aside from the goofy characters and silliness, Akane (a good role model) is a kind person always helping animals and people in need. The TV show doesn’t even compare to the original manga which is highly detailed and beautiful like most shoujo works. The animation is simple but good. Be sure to check out Tetsuya Chiba’s other works, his art is stunning. ASHITA NO JOE was one of the most read comics in manga history.