This article is an old
interview with Kyoko Mizuki and Yumiko Igarashi that was published in
an Italian magazine many years ago. We can’t see the date of this
article, but since it is said that Mizuki and Igarashi were both in their early
30's, we can infer that it's around 1982.
We meet in Milan, Kyoko Mizuki and
Yumiko Igarashi, two young Japanese women who created the blonde
young girl with round blue eyes that met with huge success on
The identity of Candy Candy is a girl with long, blond hair parted in pig tails with colored ribbons, big, wide-open,
blue eyes, usually glittering. She’s a young orphan, a beloved little
girl that faithfully followed her adventures in a cartoon lasting 115 episodes. Her fans range
from aged 6 years and a
little more, but there are
18-year-old girls affected by her misfortunes and excited by
her unlucky love for the young Terence. Their mothers watched TV as
well, and their brothers too, after they got intoxicated with robots like
Goldrake, Mazinga, Jeeg, Captain Harlock and so on. And even if they
did not want to admit it, they were fascinated by the adventures of this
girl with the sugary name.
Although the story has ended, Candy
has not. She is still on local TV stations, on the magazines entitled with
her name, on books and handbooks where she teaches little girls sewing
and bricolage. She tells how to look nicer and how to choose the right
So in Italy, the myth of Candy Candy still lasts, while in
Japan, the little girls who gave her success four years ago have grown
up and have stopped a long time ago to feel any interest for the girl with the
sad eyes. But two 32-year-old women from Tokyo have not forgotten her:
Candy had given them bags of money. They are Kyoko Mizuki and Yumiko
Igarashi, writer and illustrator respectively of the story. Six years ago
they got in touch with the agents of a publisher and were asked to
create something new and different from Mazinga and other robots.
was a writer of romantic novels and Yumiko was a successful
comic-strip drawer. They had never worked together, but immediately got
along. They wanted to tell the story of a “human” girl, not a princess
from space or a robot with rotating arms and explosive hair. The
excessively big eyes (to contrast with the almond-shaped ones) and the
blond hair were successful ideas.
“The western look of Candy and
the western setting excited the curiosity of Japanese girls who made
Candy’s success,” the two authors said today in Milan on a business
trip. “You western people feel an understandable curiosity for our
lifestyle. So do Japanese children. They always feel attracted by what
European of their same age do.”
“The studios left us free to create
the character the way we wanted,” Mizuki and Igarashi also said, "But
we lost this freedom when Candy became an anime, an area of the
kingdom of sponsors. They added all sorts of thing to our Candy: bags,
bicycles, even a little pet, in order to attract the youngest viewers too.
We made our complaints and tried to make them see Candy on TV as we had
drawn her, but unfortunately we couldn’t do anything.”
of sponsors, anyway, were not the only differences between the comics
and the cartoon, which is not a masterpiece from a technical point of
view. You don’t need to see movies like Snow White or Fantasy –
where in a single scene dozens of characters can move at the same time. Seeing just a clip of a Walt Disney job is enough to
make you feel
disappointed by the fixed backgrounds and the stereotyped looks of
faces in the Japanese production.
“The fact is," Mizuki and Igarashi
said, "that the mechanism of Japanese production was a race against time.
The producers wanted to release five episodes every week. They had to
rush to satisfy the sponsors, and in these conditions they couldn’t
take enough care of the quality. Despite that, little girls from all over
the world became fond of Candy as if she was a girl in the flesh, and
became protective towards her.”
Unfortunately in certain cases, the
little viewers got anguished at the misfortunes of their beloved one.
In Rome, someone made a survey and asked some schoolchildren how they
thought Candy’s story was going to end. Most of them thought she was
going to die sooner or later. The authors admit that sadness is an
essential feature of their heroine.
Kyoko Mizuki said, “Our Candy is a
real little girl. She has life’s ups and downs; she knows joy and
sadness. When we were studying Candy we thought about everything, but
anything fantastic or different from everyday girls.”
But about this
point Kyoko and Yumiko (two young successful women, valued at
millions) were wrong.
Renata Maderna (author)