Sunday, June 10, 2018

Maple Town: An Introduction

Maple Town, officially known in Japanese as Maple Town Stories or Maple Town Monogatari (Japanese:  メイプルタウン物語), was a 1986 Japanese animated series produced by Toei Animation, created by Chifude Asakura and directed by Junichi Sato (who also worked on Sailor Moon, Neon Genesis Evangelion and Sgt. Frog).

Maple Town was a 52-episode anime that could be described as slice-of-life with elements of adventure and drama.  The series revolved around a young female protagonist named Patty Rabbit.  At the start of the series, she moves with her family to Maple Town, where her father runs the post office.  During her time, she meets Bobby Bear and a number of other town residents like Danny Dog, Fanny Fox, Susie Squirrel, etc. and has run-ins with a local bandit named Wilde Wolf.

The series was animated by Toei and broacast on TV Asashi on Sundays from January 19, 1986 to January 11, 1987.  

After its initial run, a sequel was made called Palm Town or formally as New Maple Town Stories: Palm Town Chapter or Shin Maple Town Monogatari: Palm Town Hen (新メイプルタウン物語-パームタウン編), with this series running for about 50 episodes.  Palm Town only had Patty Rabbit with some of the original Maple Town characters appearing on occasion.  This show originally broadcast from January 18, 1987 to December 27, 1987.

My sources tell me two movies were made - a Maple Town movie was released on July 12, 1986 and a Palm Town movie was released on March 14, 1987.  I know the Maple Town movie is an original story, but I have not viewed it so I can give no more information at present.  In contrast, the Palm Town movie is a compilation of the first episode of Palm Town with the last few episodes of Maple Town spliced in.  I viewed this movie years ago on YouTube but it has been since taken down due to copyright issues.

Sometime in 1987, Maple Town was exported to a number of other countries including (but not limited to) the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Spain, the Netherlands, Finland, Sweden, Hungary, Italy, France, Poland, Hong Kong and various Arabic speaking nations.  Some countries did also get its sequel Palm Town but other did not.

For the United States and Canada, an English language dub was produced by Saban Enterainment and the Maltese Companies in conjunction with Tonka producing merchandise of Maple Town.  The series originally ran in syndication on independent television stations in 1987 and then moved to cable channel Nickelodeon.  For reasons unknown, all 52 episodes were not shown on US television; Maple Town ran until April 2, 1993 on Nick.  

Merchandise was released in Japan and other countries; Tonka licensed the toys here in the USA.  Maple Town toys were collectible figurines with clothes as well as vehicles, furniture and playsets.  The usual other merchandise was released such as puzzles and coloring books.  Home video releases were released too as mentioned on the home video post. 

That's it for now.  I'll have some more posts up during the week.  

Be sure to check out my blog about my comics series Sunnyville Stories and my webcomic Tiffany & Corey.  If you like this blog, be sure to buy me a Ko-Fi.

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