Hate the Sin, Love the Cinar

It took me a while, but I finally finished watching the entire series of the 1986 Oz no Mahōtsukai, which was dubbed into English by Canadian studio Cinar (now Cookie Jar) under the title The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. It’s an adaptation of four Oz books: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, The Marvelous Land of Oz, Ozma of Oz, and The Emerald City of Oz. You might notice that they left out two books from the sequence, but they’re the two with the least plot. The English dub features narration by Margot Kidder, not-very-great voice acting, and a cloying eighties theme song that implies the main theme of the Oz series is conquering fear. It’s interesting that Cinar apparently tried to hide the Japanese origins of the series, as the style doesn’t look at all American. The whole thing suffers from something I’ve noticed with a lot episodic adaptations of longer stories, which is that there are episodes where hardly anything happens. While many incidents from the books that would probably have been left out in a movie do appear here, the cartoon takes a lot of liberties with them. The Hammer-Heads are basically giant pegs that pop out of holes, the Wheelers ride unicycles, the Cuttenclips appear and disappear from a single piece of paper, Tik-Tok resembles a toy, Princess Langwidere (here called Princess Lulu) has mood-changing hats instead of a collection of heads, and the Growleywog is a lumpy monster that will eat just about anything. And while the Nomes are basically true to the books, they resemble garden gnomes and aren’t gray in color. There were some elements that making several books into a series allowed them to take on in interesting ways, particularly the character arc for Ozma.

In the books, she basically goes from mischievous boy to pretty princess upon being disenchanted, while here we see her as a tomboy who has to learn responsibility and magic over time. The reinterpretation of General Guph as stereotypically Chinese, while quite possibly racist, worked pretty well; and the rock-eating worm was a fun character with no equivalent in the books. The series definitely dragged in quite a few spots, but it had its moments.

This entry was posted in Cartoons, Characters, L. Frank Baum, Oz, Oz Authors, Television and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Hate the Sin, Love the Cinar

  1. marbpl2 says:

    The Oz no Mahōtsukai series was dubbed into quite a few languages. Did you view the entire series or the edited versions?

  2. Pingback: I’d Turn Back If I Were You | VoVatia

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