The Dog of Flanders
Review by: Adam "OMEGA" Arnold
Nello's life has always been full
of hardship. He was raised by his impoverished grandfather in the
old days -- when hard work was an unescapable aspect of life and
only the most well-to-do children got an education. But, Nello is
blessed with a remarkable gift to draw, a loyal dog named
Patrash, and a dear friend in Alois, the governor's daughter.
However, life is hard for the impoverished. Patrash's real owner
wants the runaway dog back, Grandpa isn't getting any younger,
Alois's father is overbearing and disapproving of Nello, and
being in debt is the deepest hole to escape from.
The Dog of Flanders, is adapted by
Miho Maruo from the classic tale by Flemish novelist Oui'da which
director Yoshio Kuroda masterfully brings to life in an
unforgettable way. But, The Dog of Flanders is quite possibly the
most depressing anime movie ever made. The story starts out fun
and hopeful, but quickly falls into a pattern of one bad event
after another. By the time something good actually happens in the
movie, its too late for the characters. Likewise, one important
aspect with the movie is you can actually feel the characters
joy, pain, and sadness. As you watch the movie, you experience it.
You hate the tax collector, you want the kids to succeed in
running away from the dog keeper, and you want to knock some
sense into Alois's dad. You know a movie must be powerful if you
can actually feel for the characters and end up all teary-eyed
when it's all over. This simple aspect makes this movie stand out.
The English dub is exceptionally
well-produced. with Robert Loggia doing an exceptional (albeit
small-parted) job at voicing Grandpa. Brandy Bluhm and Debi
Derryberry present very believable children in Nello and Alois
and add to the overall impact of the movie. Sean Young also does
a equally small-parted framing sequence for the movie as she
voices Sister Alois. Along with those are a number of other anime
voice actors including Matt K. Miller and Sherry Lynn. If you're
in the domestically-released market, this is definitely one
relese whose dub you're going to have to love, because Pioneer is
only going to release it English.
Exclusive to Target stores, this
VHS dub comes bound with a special limited edition'
animated motion picture soundtrack with over 24 minutes worth of
Taro Iwashiro's bitter-sweet score. The tracks include, 1.) View
Of Antwerp, 2.) Through The Market, 3.) Never And Forever, 4.)
Tragic Fire, 5.) Alone, 6.) Into The Rest, 7.) Chapter IV Pie
Jesu (Rest) [Theatrical Mix]. The instrumental tracks are
powerfully compelling and will bring back memories of the scenes
they accompanied. On the technical side, the CD does has some
static points where the scale pitches too high making the music
In conclusion, even though The Dog
of Flanders is aimed at a younger audience, it takes a mature
person to fully grasp the extent of the story. The movie has
simple character designs with backgrounds and costumes that
perfectly represent the Flanders countryside look-and-feel of the
19th Century, and it also has a touch of CG thrown in for added
punch. Track down this anime movie, you will not be disappointed.
The Dog of Flanders
VHS dub, DVD dub
VHS is a Target exclusive.
WARNING: Do not watch this movie if you are depressed or have just watched Grave of the Fireflies.