- "Here we are together, searching for a dream."
- ―English Version Opening Theme, Parachute Club
- "Gently close your eyes and listen to your heart."
- ―Japanese Version Opening Theme
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, known in Japan as Oz no Mahōtsukai (オズの魔法使い), is an anime TV series created in 1986 loosely based on four of L. Frank Baum's Oz novels.
It was originally produced in Japan by Panmedia, and aired on TV Tokyo from 1986 to 1987. In 1987, HBO purchased the rights to the series, dubbed it into English, and broadcast it as The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Production for the English version was done by the Canadian company Cinar Films, now known as Cookie Jar Group. Margot Kidder, known for her iconic role as Lois Lane in the 1978 movie Superman and its sequels, was hired as the narrator for the English version. (There is no narration in the Japanese version.) The Canadian group Parachute Club provided songs for the series and the movies that would be based on the series, including the opening theme, Searching For a Dream.
The series can be split into four distinct story arcs, each freely adapted from four different Oz books written by L. Frank Baum. Season 1 is based on The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, season 2 on The Marvelous Land of Oz, season 3 on Ozma of Oz, and season 4 onThe Emerald City of Oz. The Emerald City of Oz is actually the 6th Oz book. The events of Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz and The Road to Oz are not included in the series. The series becomes progressively less faithful to the books, although the essential plots are based on Baum's original stories. The most significant difference of all is that Dorothy Gale does not end up moving to the Land of Oz with Aunt Em and Uncle Henry as in Baum's books. Her home remains Kansas at the end of the series, thereby preserving the famous adage about home from Baum's very first book.
Season 1: The Wizard of Oz (episodes 1 to 17)
We are introduced to Dorothy's life in Kansas with her Uncle Henry and Aunt Em. Uncle Henry and Aunt Em are concerned as this is the season for tonaadoes, so Uncle Henry shows Dorothy the storm cellar and tells her to go there when she sees a tornado. Uncle Henry brings home a surprise for Dorothy, a little black dog who Dorothy named Toto. While Uncle Henry and Aunt Em are heading into town, a twister approaches. Dorothy remembers to go into the storm cellar, but Toto hides under the bed and she refused to go down without him. Before Dorothy can get Toto from under the bed, the tornado carries the house away. When the house finally lands, she steps outside and finds herself in a strange and beautiful land. The Witch of the North appears and explains to Dorothy that she is in Oz, and to return home to Kansas, Dorothy should fallow the Yellow Brick Road to the Emerald City, where she will find the Wizard of Oz. Along the way, Dorothy and Toto meet a Scarecrow, who wants a brain, Tin Man, who wants a heart, and a Cowardly Lion, who wants courage. They all head to the Emerald City and meet the Wizard, but must destroy the Wicked Witch of the West to do it.
In one episode, events happen that do not happen in the book. Mombi, an aspiring witch, and her apprentice Tip come to the land of the West to meet the Wicked Witch of the West Mombi came to learn magic from the witch, but is disappointed to find out that she was killed by Dorothy. She turns herself into a cat and tries to steal the Golden Cap that Dorothy had just obtained from the wicked witch, but fails. Dorothy meets Tip, so says he's Mombi's apprentice. Dorothy uses the first wish of the Golden Cap to send Mombi and Tip back home.
When Dorothy finally goes home using the magic silver shoes, she keeps them, unlike the book, but loses one of them in the field she lands in, but forgets about it as she is anxious to see Uncle Henry and Aunt Em again.
Season 2: The Marvelous Land of Oz (episodes 18 to 30)
Uncle Henry and Aunt Em have just finished building a new farm house to replace the old house that was carried off by the tornado, and are almost finished with the barn also damaged by the tornado. Toto runs to meet Uncle Henry and Aunt Em, followed by Dorothy. Dorothy tells Uncle Henry and Aunt Em about her adventures in Oz. They don't believe her at first, but she doesn't seem like she's lying, so they are puzzled. Dorothy realizes she lost her other magic shoe and looks for it in the field but no luck. Uncle Henry and Aunt Em take Dorothy to town. They are reluctant to leave her behind again and they have a surprise. They take her to the circus, where she sees none other than the Wizard. She tries to talk to the Wizard, but Aunt Em and Uncle Henry thinks it's just a stranger, and other circus workers laugh at them both. The Wizard does recognize Dorothy, and the two talk for a bit. The Wizard misses Oz, but tells Dorothy that it's best not to talk about it, since nobody believes him either. She goes back and says that he was just a stranger, even though he looked like the Wizard.
Dorothy finds the other magic shoe. She is so excited about being able to visit Oz and come back and talks about going to Oz to visit her friends and being able to take her Uncle Henry and Aunt Em there. Holding them, she tries clicking the heels together. Having mentioned Oz, the shoes magically whisk her there, but she drops them before they do. Uncle Henry and Aunt Em realize Dorothy has disappeared, and now are starting to beleve in Oz. They realize that if the shoes took her to Oz, and are still in Kansas, then she is streanted in Oz.
Dorothy realizes that she is stranded in Oz and deeply regrets that she didn't put the shoes on before trying to click the heels. Dorothy didn't specify any particular place in Oz she wanted to go when saying how great it would be to visit Oz again. She ends up in Gillikin Country in the northern part of Oz. She meets the Tip again, who shows her the pumpkin headed man he's building that would become Jack Pumpkinhead. She leaves with Tip to escape the witch Mombi, and finds out that General Jinjur is plotting to take over the Emerald City. Dorothy wants to go home, but decides to stay in Oz until she helps her friends stop her and Mombi from conquering Oz. So she finds herself setting out on a new journey with Tip, Jack Pumpkinhead, the Sawhorse, Scarecrow, and Tin Man to free Oz from the tyrannical rule of General Jinjur, search for Ozma, the true heir of the throne, and to find out how to get back home to Kansas without her magic shoes. At the end of their journey, Glinda uses her magic to send Dorothy home.
Season 3: Ozma of Oz (episodes 31 to 41)
Season 4: The Emerald City of Oz (episodes 42 to 52)
- Dorothy Gale
- Tin Man
- Cowardly Lion
- Jack Pumpkinhead
- Gump *
- Aunt Em
- Uncle Henry
- Good Witch of the North
- Queen of the Field Mice
- Wizard of Oz
- The Purple Prince of Oz
( * Referred to as the "Moose Bed" in the series. He does not talk in the series.) ( ** Renamed "Princess Lulu" in the English dub. Apart from the name change, the moody and haughty Princess of Ev had a collection of hats, rather than heads. The change was presumably made to soften the character for young children.)
Notes: English title provided along with Japanese in parenthesis
1-17: Wonderful Wizard of Oz, 18-30: Marvelous Land of Oz
31-41. Ozma of Oz 42-52. Emerald City of Oz
- Dorothy Meets the Munchkins (Dorothy and the Tornado)
- Dorothy Finds a Friend (Yellow Road)
- Adventures Along the Yellow Brick Road (Departure to Hope)
- The Journey to Emerald City (The Difficult Road)
- Saved By The Mouse Queen (Black Flower)
- The Emerald City, At Last (Emerald Palace)
- Wizard Wants A Favour (Witch of the West)
- The Wicked Witch of the West (Winky's Battle)
- Dorothy's Magic Powers (Witch's Castle)
- Freedom from the Witch (After the Shoes)
- Mombi, Tip and the Golden Cap (Monbi and Tip)
- Back to Emerald City (New King)
- The Wizard's Disappointing Secret (Identity of the Great King of Oz)
- The Wizard Tries to Help (Left Behind)
- Journey to the South (To The South)
- Glinda, the Good Witch (Witch Glinda's Castle)
- Home Sweet Home Again (Glinda)
- Dorothy Meets the Wizard, Again (Kansas)
- Back to Oz
- The Escape from Mombi (Chip is a Father)
- General Jinjur Attacks (General Ginger)
- Escape from the Emerald City (Scarecrow King Runs Away)
- Tinman to the Rescue (The Woodcutter's a King)
- Mombi's Terrible Magic (Monbi's Magic)
- Trapped in the Palace (Join Strength)
- The Magical Escape (Gump)
- Glinda Agrees to Help (Seeking Help)
- The Emerald City, Captured (Back to Emerald)
- Mombi's Attempt to Trick Glinda (Mombi the Witch?)
- Ozma, Princess of Oz (Tip's Secret)
- Tik-Tok the Mechanical Man (Dorothy and Tick-Tock)
- The Kidnapped Prince (Castle Langdia)
- The Deadly Desert (Desert Journey)
- The Talking Hen (Hen of the Desert)
- Monsters of Stone (Edge of Oz)
- The Underground Country of Gnomes (Gnome of the Underworld)
- The Deadly Guessing Game (The King's Problem)
- Dorothy Outsmarts the King (The King's Favorite Thing)
- The Secret Fear of the Nomes (Scary Room)
- The Nome King Sets a Trap (In Search of the Light)
- Saved by the Sun (Back to the Surface)
- The Nome King Plans Revenge (The Gnome's Counterattack)
- Princess Ozma's Secret (Secret of Emerald)
- Miss Cuttenclip and Mister Fuddle (Land of Chokkinpet)
- The Growleywog Joins the Nomes (Harvest in Oz)
- The Water of Oblivion (Spring of Forgetfulness)
- Nomes on the March (Bakekubi Goes on a Rampage)
- A Winky Helps his King (Guff Becomes a Good Person)
- The Crowning of Ozma (Coronation)
- The Nomes Attack (Victory of the Gnome King)
- Dorothy and Her Friends Defend the Palace (Dorothy Keeps Fighting)
- A Very Happy Ending (Back to Kansas)
- Sumi Shimamoto as Dorothy Gale
- Yoshito Yasuhara as Scarecrow
- Takuzo Kamiyama as Tin Man
- Ichiro Nagai as Cowardly Lion
- Masako Nozawa as Tip/Ozma, Wicked Witch of the East
- Kazuyo Aoki as Jack Pumpkinhead
- Naoko Kouda as Wicked Witch of the West
- Chie Kitagawa as Mombi
- Osamu Saka as Nome King
- Morgan Hallet as Dorothy Gale
- Richard Dumont as Scarecrow
- George Morris as Tin Man
- Neil Shee as Cowardly Lion
- Steven Bednarski as Tip
- A.J. Henderson as Tik-Tok
- Walter Massey as Kaliko
- Kathleen Fee as Mombi
- Dean Hagopian as General Guff
- Susan Glover as Jinjur
- Margot Kidder as the Narrator
- Opening Theme: "Fanshii Gaaru" (Fancy Girl) by Satoko Yamano
- Ending Theme: "Maho no Crayon" (Crayon of Magic) by Lumiko Osugi and Ema Osugi
- Theme Song: "Searching For A Dream" by The Parachute Club
- Shuichi Seki, who worked on many of Nippon Animation's Woeld Masterpiece Theater TV series, served as character designer.
- This anime was released a year later after the film Return to Oz was released.
Comparison with the original stories
- Dorothy has a sequence of dreams in Kansas that serve as premonitions about her forthcoming adventures in Oz. The dreams actually unsettle her. Such a portentous dream sequence is found in no other version of the story.
- Aunt Em and Uncle Henry are away when the tornado strikes, in this series. Upon returning and seeing their farmhouse gone, Uncle Henry believes the worst, but Aunt Em is certain that Dorothy is out there somewhere, alive.
- Toto almost falls through the trap door while Dorothy's house is being carried away by the tornado, just as in Baum's book.
- The Wicked Witches of the East and West are sisters, as are Glinda and the Good Witch of the North (unlike in the original stories)
- The Wicked Witch of the East's Magic Shoes are originally rather unsightly, in the series, but they turn into a pair of dainty Silver Slippers after the Good Witch of the North encases Dorothy's feet in them.
- The Wicked Witch of the East does not cause Nick Chopper's axe to chop him up into pieces, but rather transforms the flesh-and-blood woodcutter into a ("heartless") Tin Man instantenously. Again, this was presumably done to soften the transformation for young children.
- The Wicked Witch of the West's attempt to trick Dorothy into stumbling over an invisible bar doesn't work the way it does in Baum's book. Dorothy realises that something is wrong, and the witch ends up stumbling over the bar herself in anger. When the Wicked Witch threatens Toto, Dorothy actually surrenders one of her Magic Shoes but ends up melting the old woman before she can relinquish the other one.
- Although in most versions Dorothy's killing of the Wicked Witch is entirely accidental, in this version she sees how the witch reacts when hit with a little water and intentionally knocks a barrel of it over her.
- Mombi was never the Wicked Witch of the North, but had frequently visited the Wicked Witch of the West in order to learn dark magic. She and Tip make their first appearance in the Winkie Country, after Dorothy destroyed the Wicked Witch of the West. Mombi tries to steal the Golden Cap which summons the Winged Monkeys, but fails. All of this is unique to the anime series.
- Dorothy was absent in Baum's original sequel to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, yet in this series, she returns to Oz while Tip is carving out Jack Pumpkinhead, and is present during all the events that take place in The Marvelous Land of Oz. This was clearly done with the intention of showcasing Baum's original (and most popular) heroine at all times; indeed, Dorothy appears in every single episode of the anime series.
- Jinjur insists that she will never change her rebellious and trouble-making ways, and Glinda magically makes her reform. In the original stories, Jinjur ultimately reformed of her own accord and got married.
- Princess Ozma does not travel to the Nome King's underground kingdom, unlike Baum's original Ozma of Oz, saying that she has a country of her own to rule. This is a reasonable and wholly plausible change.
- Billina is not one of Dorothy's companions from the outside world, in this series. She is a talking hen to begin with, who is native to the Land of Ev. She only appears in a few scenes, and does not partake in any adventures.
- The Royal Family of Ev is reduced to "Princess Lulu" and her "brother", the Crown Prince. The Queen of Ev and her many children from Baum's original Ozma of Oz were witten out of the series, no doubt to simplify things. Thus, it is only the Crown Prince that is kidnapped and transformed by the Nome King, and the Prince's sister, "Princess Lulu" ruled as regent in his absence.
- The Nome King's Magic Belt was written out of the series.
- Ozma was originally presented as no more than a human girl, in Baum's The Marvelous Land of Oz, but later on in the series, he revealed that she was in fact a fairy. This gradual revelation in the original books is mirrored in the anime series too. Dorothy, Ozma and the Scarecrow stumble into a secret chamber in the Emerald City where Ozma's history has been chronicled, and where they learn that Ozma has special, magic powers. Such an incident never took place in the original books, but the discovery that Ozma has special powers is in keeping with Baum's late depiction of Ozma as a fairy.
- Ozma is much younger than Dorothy in the series, whereas Dorothy was clearly younger than Ozma in Baum's original books. This gives Ozma a more "Kid's Own" quality for younger viewers. In fact, Ozma could occasionally be playful to the point of being mischievous, in the series, and Glinda had entrusted Dorothy with the task of grooming the little princess for her coronation. After reading her own history in the secret chamber, and learning that she has special powers, however, Ozma has an epiphany of sorts and becomes the responsible and diligent ruler depicted by Baum.
- There is no Magic Picture in this series.
- Dorothy almost falls to her death, from a tower in the Emerald City, as the series draws to a close. The Nome King hopes that this will be the end of his young enemy, but Glinda protects Dorothy from afar. This didn't happen in Baum's The Emerald City of Oz, but it's the most climactic part of the series.
To give it a secondary market, episodes of the show were later re-edited into four films and released on video and DVD, in which major plots and storylines are removed in favor of cutting each story-arc down into their retrospective book-canon story. To this day, no release of the show in an uncut episodic format in the US has come to light. The show aired in Australia and the UK multiple times in the early 1990s in the full episodic format on the ABC and ITV channels respectively. The full original Japanese version is available for purchase at YesAsia.