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8 Reimagined Fairy Tales

by Lynzee Loveridge,

Western and Eastern fairy tales have been retold since the Dark Ages, whether to warn us about the dangers of the wilderness, scare children into obeying their parents, or reaffirm morals like honesty, selflessness, and chastity. Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen wrote many of today's classics while The Journey to the West inspired anime and live-action adaptations. The following eight anime owe their roots to fantasy classics, with twists audiences expect from the medium.

8. Sailor Moon The back story of Naoko Takeuchi's Sailor Moon manga and Toei's anime adaptation is rooted in the Greek story of Endymion and the goddess Selene. In the tale, Endymion is an attractive shepherd or astronomer who gains the attention of the moon goddess Selene. She requests Zeus to put Endymion into eternal sleep so he many never leave her. Eventually she births 50 children by the sleeping man. Ahem. In Sailor Moon, the main couple's romance is loosely based off this tale. Princess Serenity is a moon inhabitant who falls for Prince Endymion of Earth. They skip the 50 children and reverse Sleeping Beauty part of the story.

7. Pretear Pretear is another magical girl series pulling elements from a fairy tale, in this case, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves and a bit from Cinderella. Himeno is the Snow White of the tale, but the Seven Dwarves are reimagined as magical knights that lend her their powers. Fancy costume changes, evil step-siblings, and the random Norse "Fenrir" tree (Fenrir is the apocalyptic wolf, while Yggdrasil is the tree, so...) and you've got the fairy tale mishmash that is Pretear.

6. Mermaid Melody: Pichi Pichi Pitch Mermaid Melody takes the basic elements of the Hans Christian Andersen story and throws in demons and teen idols. In the original tale, the youngest of seven mermaid daughters saves a drowning prince and falls in love with him. She makes a deal with a sea-witch to become human and must get him to kiss her in a short amount of time or else she'll turn into seafoam. Mermaid Melody follows this basic premise, except Princess Lucia and her two mermaid friends become singing idols that must stop an impending water demon.

5. Fruits Basket Shojo classic Fruits Basket is based on the story of the Chinese zodiac animals and The Great Race to meet The Jade Emperor (or sometimes Buddha). The characters are derived directly from the animals, the personalities assigned to zodiac signs, and left over resentment due to how the race played out. It wouldn't be a shojo series without a good helping of angst, a love triangle, and one of the most dysfunctional families in print.

4. Ceres, Celestial Legend Ceres, Celestial Legend is the anime follow up to Yuu Watase's previous legend-based series, Fushigi Yugi. Based on the 8th century play Hagoromo, the story follows the descendants of a tennyo (celestial maiden) and Mikage, a fisherman that stole her hageromo (feathered robe) forcing her to marry him. Those that carry the blood of the maiden are filled with vengeance to wipe out the Mikage clan. Aya attempts to control her celestial blood while fulfilling story elements Watase is known for: love quadriangles.

3. MÄR Märchen Awakens Romance runs rampant with fairy tale motifs. Lead character Ginta is the "fish out of water" protagonist, accompanied in the fairy tale world by Dorothy (Wizard of Oz), Jack (Jack and the Beanstalk), and Princess Snow (Snow White). Characters Rapunzel, Pinocchio, Ali Baba, and Belle (Tinkerbell) also appear in some form or another. The characters aren't played straight to their inspirations, for instance while Jack is a farmer, he's also girl crazy.

2. Saiyuki Journey to the West is one of the Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese literature written sometime during the 16th century. The story follows four pilgrims as they traverse toward India. The characters include a monk, The Monkey King with magic staff, a reincarnated immortal pig-man, and a hideous immortal. These characters form the main party of Saiyuki, with Japanese names and slight changes to their roles, like demonic overtones and a dragon that changes into a Jeep.

1. Princess Tutu Princess Tutu combines original elements as well as Hans Christian Andersen's The Ugly Duckling and Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's play Swan Lake. Protagonist Ahiru (Duck) takes ballet lessons at a private school where she meets Rue, Mytho, and Fakir. The characters find themselves locked into playing out a fairy tale and search for a way to break free from their "fate." The series turns a lot of expected fairy tale tropes on their head, at least in the way they're typically adapted (Andersen's stories weren't always "happily ever after").

The new poll: Of the following clowns *shivers*, which is the scariest?

The old poll: Last week's poll asked what anime rabbit is your favorite?. Adorable Momiji from Fruits Basket took the top spot but I'm kind of surprised Black Rabbit from ranked so high. Here's the full results:

  1. Momiji Sohma (Fruits Basket) 20.3%
  2. Black Rabbit (Problem children are coming from another world, aren't they?) 16.5%
  3. Usagi Tsukino/Sailor Moon (Sailor Moon) 14.9%
  4. Barnaby Brooks Jr. (Tiger & Bunny) 13.8%
  5. Alice Baskerville (Pandora Hearts) 12.5%
  6. Shirase and Souya (Penguindrum) 3.6%
  7. Cream (Sonic the Hedgehog) 3.0%
  8. Suicidal Black Rabbit (Kämpfer) 2.6%
  9. Ushagi-san (Kobato.) 2.1%
  10. Bunny Higgins (Mobile Fighter G Gundam) 1.9%
  11. Princess Vi (Samurai Pizza Cats) 1.8%
  12. Leila Ibrahim "Rabbitfoot" Faiza (Jormungand Perfect Order) 1.7%
  13. Bunny-san (Miyuki-chan in Wonderland) 1.6%
  14. Chibiusa Tsukino/Sailor Chibi Moon (Sailor Moon) 1.5%
  15. Hell's Bunny (Ramen Fighter Miki) 1.0%
  16. Usahara (Damekko Dōbutsu) 0.5%
  17. Kuromi (Onegai My Melody) 0.4%
  18. Io (Jewelpet) 0.2%
  19. Iyo (Animal Yokocho) 0.2%

Alright everybody, see you all next week! I look forward to your input in the comments and feel free to follow me on Twitter @ANN_Lynzee or e-mail me at [email protected]

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