Youngsters will relish the antics of Mimiko, a Japanese girl with as much spunk as another animated favorite, the little French mademoiselle, Madeline. Lighthearted and cross-cultural, this Japanese cartoon, made popular for American audiences through English dubbing, is based on Panda koPanda
("Panda, Little Panda"), the 1972-73 two-parter written by anime
master Hayao Miyazaki (My Neighbor Totoro
). Isao Takahata, another anime
king (Grave of the Fireflies
), directs the production, showcasing some characteristic elements of anime
that surpass usual Saturday morning fare: crisp animation, depth of characters, and sophisticated musical tracks. Cinematography aside, viewers will be captivated by the optimistic orphan who lives with her grandmother and has no fear of "burglars, ghosts, or any old thing." In the first story, "Panda Family," Grandmother must travel to Nagasaki and, reluctantly, leaves Mimiko at home alone. To Mimiko's delight, she is not alone after all when a father and son set of panda bears moves in. Unaware they are zoo escapees, Mimiko adopts Papa Panda and little Panny and writes to grandmother, "I've got myself a daddy and a baby." Rapid-fire adventures begin for the trio, yet Mimiko keeps her cool whether dealing with Panny's mischief, zookeepers' threats, or a close call with a raging waterfall. High-flying fun continues in the second tale, "The Circus in the Rain," as a baby tiger escapes the Big Top to join Mimiko's menagerie, a monsoon floods her home, and a runaway train spells disaster. All in a day's work for this daring do-gooder; Grandmother would be proud. --Lynn Gibson
Cheerful Mimiko has a very strange family for a little girl - a Panda for her Papa, and his son, Panny, calls her Mom! Join this happy family and their many adventures! When Panny follows Mimiko to school, he must pretend to be a teddy bear so Mimiko won't get into trouble, but everyone wants a cute Panda! Despite his efforts to behave, Panny causes trouble in the school kitchen, and now the whole school is after Panny! Then, Panny makes a new friend, Tiny, a baby tiger who's wandered off from the circus. Getting Tiny back to his mom becomes the first adventure, but after a hard rain, the whole town is flooded and Mimiko, Papa Panda and Panny must rescue Tiny and other animals from the trapped circus train!