The market


The series has been broadcasted in many different countries. The following is a short overview of the languages for which a version of 'A Little Princess Sara' does exist.

I do not know of any reruns in Japan since the first broadcast on Fuji TV in 1985 but I could be wrong. But there is now a great set of 2 LD boxes of 'Shoukoujo Sara' (original title) in Japanese language available. There is some information on the LDs at Nippon Animation's official homepage but it is all in Japanese. Included in the LD boxes are booklets with interviews with the production staff and the seiyuu (voice actors) as well as a booklet with pencil drawings of the original character design. Additional information includes the complete production credits and more background information. The catalog numbers are SALA-0001 and SALA-0002.
In the meantime the series has been released on DVD as well, by Bandai Visual, together with a couple of other WMT series. A listing of the release dates can also be found on the Nippon Animation home page. The DVDs look appealing and an interview with the director is included into the booklets, but unfortunately they don't have those nice extras known from other DVDs. A short review of the first DVD can be found at Anime on DVD.

The series is re-aired every now and then on the TM3 network. The German title of the series is 'Die kleine Prinzessin Sara'. Unfortunately the whole opening and the closing were cut in the German version. The opening was replaced by a short jingle. However, my anger for this was diminished a little by the really excellent dub. There are also some original Japanese songs to be heard in the German version. At first the series was broadcasted quite often on RTL2. But I had the feeling that RTL2 was giving the series less room in every new rerun. And the broadcasting time was always quite unfavourable so that the VCR has to be used. Since the show's broadcasts moved to TM3, things were looking up. It was shown on weekdays in the early afternoon and sometimes a rerun on weekends.
Those times are over now, alas. TM3 has stopped it's children's programmes altogether in 2001 due to changes in the owner structure. Now all hopes rest on RTL2 again.

Between 1987 and 1991 the series has been shown in France 2 or 3 times on the network 'La 5'. In April 1992, 'La 5' disappeared in France, 'Princesse Sarah', that is the French title, has been shown 3 times since this date (it was on three different channels). To my knowledge it is now on the French sattellite pay-TV channel 'AB Cartoon'. The French version was shown in Belgium, too, on the 'Club RTL' network. The opening features a new French song and pictures compiled from several episodes of the series. It was reused as a closing during the first broadcast but in the newer reruns it was cut.
From the French version there also exist commercial videos, but only episodes 1 to 36 so far, which come in an 8 tapes box. The box is distributed by AB video and is available in French anime shops. Fréderic Goëtzinger provided some links to me, which are useful when you want these tapes:

The Italian version was licensed by Silvio Berlusconi's Mediaset-group. It ran several times on channel 'Italia Uno', the first time in 1986. The name was a very long and complex one at first but it was changed to 'Lovely Sara' afterwards.

On contrary to many other Polish versions of anime, the one of Sara is quite acceptable, though still far from high quality dubs. The opening consists of scenes from the first few episodes and is accompanied by a Polish title song. The closing is the same as the original, but with changed music. The Polish Sara-version has the title 'Mala Ksiezniczka'.

I know nothing more that the Hebrew version does exist.

The series was broadcasted in China not long after it has appeared on Japanese TV and it was quite popular there.

There is also an Arabic version, which is still broadcasted from time to time. Currently I have no further information about it.

I am afraid an English version does not exist so far. But if you are interested, however, There is a little chance to "watch" the series. If it happens that the series is currently airing in Germany, you can use this Web-TV link to get an impression. Your browser must be able to use frames, though. Choose the 'RTL2' channel and eventually click on 'Einstellung' to set the update period (default is 15 seconds).


There are merchandising products available for this series but not too many. I only know of a Karaoke version of the title song and a picture book aimed towards little children. I am not quite sure, but it is possible that there are or have been posters. I am not too content with this. 'A Little Princess Sara' is an excellent drama, produced with high artistic ambition and is hard to understand right or even unsuitable for younger children. Instead of that picture book with all its simple games and hair-slide assembling instructions I would more like to see the following:

It is really a sad thing that the soundtrack does not exist. Some of the best music I have ever heard in my whole life and I cannot have it. (No, I did not say 'anime music', I said 'music'.) But at least there is a slight comfort. There exists a CD featering the title and closing songs of all WMT series from 1980 to 1989 including the songs from Sara. It is distributed by Pony Canyon and has the catalog number PCCG-00002. There is also a complete collection of all the WMT opening and ending songs from Dog of Flanders to Remi, the Homeless Girl, the 'My Favourite Songs from the Memorial Animation' three CD set box. The catalogue numbers of the CDs are COCC-14376 to 78, released by Nippon Columbia. Last but not least, there are also some excerpts from Sara on a video containing several medleys of WMT anime songs.

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Taro Rehrl (e-mail), 1997-01-04, 2002-08-17