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Mon Cheri Coco is an early 70s story about
a half-French, half-Japanese girl trying to follow her fashion design dreams in Paris. Today, that show is practically lost. It’s not entirely lost media because we have the opening, the theme song a couple of animation cels and images we even have the name of the all the episodes and when they aired. But the actual episodes are just not accessible,
assuming they still exist somewhere. You’ll likely have better luck trying to
track down remaining copies of the manga. I wish I could say I’m making this video because I somehow found some episodes of this show, but to be honest the show’s theme song
found me and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it because I’m very interested
in both retro shojo and retro fashion especially when fashion is so clearly
highlighted in a shojo series. So let’s take a look at what we have. The show is an adaptation of a manga
by Waki Yamato which was serialized in 1971 in the now defunct magazine Shojo Friend, and was
compiled into 3 volumes. So, it was a pretty short series. For Waki Yamato, this was the first anime
adaptation of her work She’s most well-known for her later stuff like the manga version of The Tale of Genji or her popular 70s series Haikara-san or Smart-san which is set in the 1920s and follows a high-spirited and rebellious protagonist and her romance
with a half-German soldier. Haikara-san had a late 70s adaptation that
was licensed in some European countries. Unfortunately, is hard to find much beyond
the first episode these days but raw episodes are out there and we do have a recent anniversary
2-part film. But time just wasn’t kind to Yamato’s
first anime. Mon Cheri Coco aired in 1972 for 13 episodes
before being cancelled. According to Lost Media wiki it was mainly
due to financial problems and the resignation of producer Kiyoshi Watanabe. It also mentions the show having retransmission
up to 1990, but well Outside of that, this doesn’t seem to have
gotten any sort of release. And unlike Haikara-san, it doesn’t seem
to have ever gotten out of the country it doesn’t even have a wikipedia entry that’s
not in Japanese. So… I’m assuming no one has seen
this show in almost 30 years and that it’s very likely that no one
has ever seen it outside of Japan. Curiously enough, Italy has recently licensed
the manga of another fashion shojo from the 1970s called Designer by Yukari Ichijo so who knows what the future might hold. Given the circumstances, there’s not much
we can say about the show but it stands out that compared to the manga the Coco from the anime looks like
an entirely different person. Anime Coco has brown hair instead of blond,
and she looks older. Which is fine, but her design seems to reject
the shojo aesthetics of the time in favor of frankly odd choices like weirdly small
and separated eyes. I wouldn’t pick the poodle haircut
over the fuller puffy hair or the pictails of her manga version. I don’t know, that’s just me For comparison, Haikara-san is an example
of a blonde manga version with a more exaggerated cuteness turned into a more toned down brunette
anime version done right, in no small part because it embraces its shojo origins. It’s also hard not to think of the combination
of Coco with Paris and fashion as a reference to one of the world’s
most famous fashion icons… and infamous nazi spy but I’m guessing they were just focusing on the
fun fashion part. Who knows, maybe this was a messy production
with more than a few questionable choices. But we can only speculate and even if it
was a train-wreck who cares, we love drama I for one would have loved to see
what it had to offer even if it’s only as a time capsule of 70s fashion and the shojo melodrama we
can expect from the era.

James Carver

7 Replies to “The Lost 70s Fashion Shojo Anime – Mon Cheri Coco”

  1. Broadcast masters are probably in somebody's archive. As these archives hit the internet, somebody will search them and find it.

  2. The anime looks closer to something animated by Rankin Bass. And Rankin Bass did all their animation in Japan, even the stop motion stuff.

  3. Thank you for bringing more attention to Mon Cheri Coco!! I've been really interested in seeing the show too! I managed to import a CD with the full opening & ending and uploaded for sharing a few years ago (which has definitely been spread around since then so maybe you heard my upload haha) hoping that more people would try to seek it out. Here's hoping more Mon Cheri Coco stuff will turn up!

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