In this year’s Arabic-dubbed Japanime retrospective (where we unearth the seminal shows that aired in the Arab world during the 70’s and 80’s), we look at series based around female leads.
Zena wa Nahoul (1975)
Based on the German children’s book “The Adventures of Maya the Bee” by Waldemar Bonsels, this anime chronicles the adventures of Zeina (her name as was translated into Arabic) and her soporific sidekick, Nahhoul, as they stray away from their beehive and explore the nearby forest and its insectoid inhabitants, occasionally accompanied and assisted by Farfour, the grasshopper in a tophat (voiced by screen legend Wahid Jalal).
Al Amira Yaqout (1967)
An anime gem from manga deity, Osamu Tezuka (Astroboy, Kimba the White Lion), tells the story of Yaqout, a young princess who must pretend to be a male prince to inherit the throne. Accompanied by Marzouk, a cherubic angel, Yaqout’s battles with the evil Lu’lu’ Khan turn dark towards the end of the show, with the occupation of Silverland and the impending armies of Mr. X.
Lady Oscar (1979)
Based on the manga titled “The Rose of Versailles”, Lady Oscar was one of the earliest, young adult series targeted at a female audience. The lead character is the androgynous Lady Oscar, a woman raised as a man to become her father’s successor as leader of the Palace Guards in France before the French Revolution. A sober mix of European and Japanese, Lady Oscar stands out as a mature tale of unrequited love in aristocratic France thanks to the masterful direction of famous anime director Osamu Dezuki (Jazirat al Kanz).