Anne of Green Gables – Episode 7

Hello everyone, and welcome back to Wrong Every Time. Today I’m delighted to report that the ferry ride has concluded, a carriage has been arranged, and we are on our way to Green Gables. When last we’d visited, Marilla had finally confirmed that Anne can stay, on condition that she be a good girl and learn how to say her prayers properly. Anne broke the first of these conditions pretty much immediately, rushing out the door to tell all the flowers and trees about her victory, and I can’t imagine she’ll have better luck with the second one. But the truth of it is, I doubt Marilla could imagine parting with Anne regardless, and these stern proclamations are simply the last, futile gasps at reasserting some pre-Anne order.

But Anne is not just Anne anymore, she is now Anne of Green Gables. Flush with confidence and standing on ground that is truly hers, Anne’s expansive personality is sure to reshape this family’s lives in all sorts of ways. It’s been a pleasure to spend time with Anne even in the pits of despair, so I can’t wait to see how she tackles this world with a renewed spring in her step. Let’s get right back to Green Gables!

Episode 7

This episode appears to be the first that was storyboarded by Seiji Okuda. His career has taken him all over the place; along with storyboarding and directing plenty of Masterpiece Theater episodes, he’s worked on productions ranging from Ashita no Joe to Future Boy Conan, along with directing a few productions of his own

No critical commentary on the opening this time, as I’ve just realized for the first time that Anne is standing on a bar suspended between two wheels, not an actual carriage or anything. Do those actually exist? Feel like Anne’s performing an incredible feet of acrobatics here, even before we get to the part where the horse starts flying

Having a character’s feelings carry them up into the sky is actually something of a Takahata tradition. He pulls this same trick in Only Yesterday, and does it in reverse in Princess Kaguya, when a loss of earthly attachments actually causes a character to float away. Even Pom Poko has shades of it, in how that film frames its barge headed to the afterlife

That preoccupation seems to point to a subtle but critical difference in the philosophies of Miyazaki and Takahata. Miyazaki creates fantasy worlds, where elements of magic are baked into the world design and acknowledged by the characters. On the other hand, Takahata creates worlds of magical realism – worlds that are altogether like our own, but with the potential hint of magic lurking in the corners, elevating our mundane feelings into fantastical results. It’d be ambitious to further extrapolate this distinction into a reflection on their overall philosophies, but I’m going to do it anyway: I get the feeling Takahata sees great hope and beauty in our own world, whereas Miyazaki is less optimistic about the world we’ve been given, and our ability to live in peace with it

“Mrs. Rachel Lynde is Properly Horrified.” Now that is a promising title

Birdsong and a gentle piano melody lead us into Green Gables, where the family appears to be washing up after breakfast

We’re informed that Anne’s been at Green Gables for two weeks now, meaning the news has spread across the neighborhood

A neighbor visits Marilla for tea. Upon being asked why she kept Anne instead of sending her back, she first offers the “Matthew took a liking to her,” but eventually admits she does indeed like Anne too

“But I don’t want to discourage you.” “I don’t feel discouraged. When I make up my mind to do something, it stays made up.” Oh my god Marilla. I guess she’s just like that to everybody

Lots of beautiful new backgrounds as Anne explores new areas of the estate. This show is such a visual wonder that it doesn’t take any effort to see Green Gables “as Anne sees it” – the scenery speaks for itself. I always wince a bit when a show’s characters describe the “staggering beauty” of a sight while the background artists are utterly failing to realize that description

“She’s terribly homely and skinny, Marilla.” Jeez Rachel, no mercy from you, huh

And Anne won’t have it! Now that she’s actually got some grounding in this place, it’s nice to see her actually sticking up for herself, even if “how dare you say I have red hair and freckles” is a bit of a misguided counterpoint

Anne has had it. She essentially declares a blood feud on this woman, stating she will never forgive her for this enormous insult

We’re certainly seeing a different side of Anne here, though it does build off some specific moments in the past. In spite of being generally mature for her age, she’s also prone to extravagant emotional outbursts, like when she raced out of Marilla’s carriage. Anne seems to feel everything very intensely, and isn’t always able to keep a handle on those feelings

Additionally, it’s clear that Anne is still carrying a great deal of insecurity regarding how unloved she was throughout all her childhood. She may have Green Gables now, but she’s still vulnerable to criticism about her “unworthiness” as a child

Anne urges Marilla to consider how she’d like to be insulted right to her face, and for the very first time, we see Marilla imagining something: her own childhood, where she suffered many similar insults. Anne is going to foster a rich internal life in you yet, Marilla!

Marilla says Anne must apologize, to which Anne counter-offers “shut me up in a dungeon with snakes and toads”

“How can I say I’m sorry for something I’m not sorry for?” One of the great questions of childhood, with the disappointing answer of “because it’s just easier for us to get along that way”

By the next morning, Anne still hasn’t apologized, and is thus still consigned to her room. The light of the morning sun makes a dungeon of her entrapment, projecting the frames of her window over her face like the bars of a cell

“It’s a good thing she gave a calling down to that meddlesome old gossip.” Matthew is all in favor of more dunks on Rachel

Matthew is put off by all these bothersome social games, and heads outside to poke at some dirt with a metal instrument

“I am prepared to stay here all my life.” Anne’s melodramatic pronouncements are always so good. She lives life to the fullest in every moment, and every new event is either the best or worst thing that’s ever happened to her

It’s interesting how the overall pace of life here seems to have slowed now that Anne’s solidly integrated into their family. The day of Anne’s arrival was all frantic activity, but now, consistent sequences of characters either reflecting in silence or slowly walking towards their next destination create a sensation of life proceeding much more slowly

Oh my god, Matthew’s such a kid. He waits until Marilla is busy, then sneaks into the house to visit Anne

Anne is no longer angry, but apologizing would be embarrassing, and so she has resolved to simply live in this room for the rest of her life. The obvious solution

Matthew’s nervous character acting is so delightful. Both his body and face are large, but he moves with a sense of gentle timidity at all times. Just see him walk across a room, and you can already tell he couldn’t hurt a fly

Anne may not like apologizing, but she certainly likes imagining, and so she still finds some fun in plotting out her speech to Mrs. Lynde

GOD DAMNIT, ANNE. And of course, rather than expressing contrition like a normal person, she falls to her knees in despair and remorse. If she has to apologize, she’s at least going to make it the most dramatic apology ever

“Please forgive me. If you refuse, it will be a lifelong sorrow upon me.” She is amazing. How are all these old ladies possibly going to handle her

Rachel forgives her, and what’s more gives her the greatest gift Anne could hope for: a promise that her hair might not be quite so red one day

“It would be so much easier to be good if one’s hair were a handsome auburn.” Goddamnit Rachel, you don’t know what you’ve started

And Rachel identifies the one thing that indeed unites Anne and Marilla: their straightforward, honest stubbornness of perspective

And at last, Anne and Marilla can share that unique warm feeling of knowing you’re coming home

And Done

Anne, you just secured your place in this house, it’s too soon to be making dramatic ultimatums like this! Not that it’s any surprise that Anne and Marilla are still butting heads; the two of them are both as stubborn and opinionated as possible, and their every conversation inevitably turns into a battle between romanticism and pragmatism. Fortunately, we’re not the only ones who can see this – from the outside looking in, it was obvious even in Rachel’s brief time with them that the two are actually quite alike, once you set aside the actual substance of their beliefs. Now we just need to find a subject they can be stubborn about together!

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