Candy Candy Anime Rambling: Fashion in the Candy Candy Anime by Lucia R.

Happy Friday, all!

I’m excited not only because the weekend  is upon us but also for this post, a brand new article published after months of drought.

And I’m even more excited to say that it was written by my very first guest author, Lucy.

Please give her a round of applause for taking the challenge to write her first article. I must say she has done a superb job, from selecting such an interesting topic to analyzing it from different perspectives. Excellent work, Lucy. Keep it up. We’re looking forward to read more articles from you.

As for you readers, please be kind to our guest author and show your support.

PS: If anyone of you wants to follow Lucy’s footstep, becoming a guest author, just let me know. I’ll be more than happy to host you 🙂


For those of us who first encountered Candy Candy by watching the anime adaptation, there are some vivid sweet memories we’ve kept dearly in our minds.

I can recall up to this day how radiant Candy looked in her green gown during her introductions as an Andrew and the jealousy blazing in Elisa’s eyes…

When I was younger, sometimes the topic about Candy and her open-ending story came up in a conversation. Apart from that, we also chatted about some specific outfits that held a special meaning for us. One of these outfits is the green gown I mentioned earlier; the other are the Scottish kilt Candy wore during the tragic Fox Hunting, and the two uniforms, one in Saint Paul’s days and later when she became a nurse.

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As the series progressed, from one episode to another, we can see the quality of the animation continue to decline. The quality is so poor, that it seems as though Candy and the rest of the characters have been trapped in the same outfits. This is different from the manga where we could enjoy from beginning to end a depiction of beautiful styles and detailed character drawings, along with the design of lavish wardrobe.

This disparity has always been there, stuck in the back of my mind, but I’d never put too much thought into it until the time when I watched the rerun on TV. This happened in 2014, which coincided with the WWI Centenary. I began to ponder about it more. It was then I questioned whether the fashion in Candy Candy was accurately illustrated to represent the specific era in the early 1900s, where the series was supposed to take place, or not.

At a quick glance, we can say, “Yes, it is.” The long dresses, hats, capes, coats, etc. Those look like the type of clothes people in the beginning of the 20th century would wear–but we’re not hundred percent sure.
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If we compare Candy Candy with a historical series, such as “Emma”, we can clearly conclude that the production team of Candy Candy anime didn’t nearly put in as much of an effort to present it as a well-crafted historical series, whereas we can see a meticulous and accurate portrayal of the Victorian Era in “Emma”. Although this might not be a fair comparison, considering that Candy Candy was a series produced in 1970s, nearly three decades before “Emma” was created, some of the trivial errors found in Candy Candy anime could’ve been easily be avoided, had the production team decided to invest more in their research by buying a map of the United States.

Despite the flaws, there are plenty of details reminiscent of the early 20th century period that can be found in the Candy Candy anime. One such detail is prominently featured in the style worn by Mrs. Leagan. The lady is always depicted prim and proper, donning her long gowns with “S” silhouette design, characteristic of the elegant Belle Époque style favored by women of the American Elite class, who generally adopted a conservative lifestyle, conforming to society standards and traditional values.

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In contrast, we sense the spirit of the progressive era through our heroine (and her peers) choice of wardrobe. The tight skirts (shorter than the norm back then), form-fitting blouses, and other types of less complicated assembles reflect the image of a modern woman of the era, independent and very self motivated. They actively sought empowerment through higher education and strove for excellence at work places, making bigger impacts. Hence, the more practical clothing.

This notion appears to be aligned with the societal evolution that had continued to intensify since its inception during the late Victorian period. More and more women began to defy the rigid customs that chained them to the role of helpers, housewives, and the like. The first decades of the 20th century brought about significant changes that eventually led to the enactment of women’s suffrage.

I would like to think that Kyoko Mizuki decided to place her story at that very specific period, because it was the dawn of an era for women, and that’s precisely what she aimed to capitalize on her work. Candy Candy, beneath all the cliché romance and drama, is essentially a story about one woman’s perseverance, resilience, and her long quest in attaining happiness.

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As I said before, my first encounter with Candy was through the anime. It was such a profound experience that the lack of accurate historical references didn’t take away the enjoyment factor nor harm the story as a whole. The sweet memory can’t be erased. I cherish the anime as a product of its own time.

Please, let me read your comments 🙂

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