Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Animated collies

Jack, Mametarou, and Hanako

Massugu ni ikou is an animated series from Japan.  Adorable!   It involves the daily life of Mametarou, a little mix breed dog, and his friends - Hanako (Kishu, a breed native to and quite popular in Japan, but virtually unknown in the US), Sebastian (yorkie), and Sora (dachshund).   Mame is the beloved pet of a teenage girl, Ikuko, and he secretly has a crush on Hanako.

The collie "Jack" appears in season two, episode four.  He's an imported British collie, an international stud dog, who has come to Japan to meet a "white lady" - which Mame takes to mean that Jack and Hanako will be mated.   Jack is a handsome guy, and whoever designed the character did a good job using real collies for reference.  He actually has a bit of a British look to him (as opposed to American).   Jack is and objectified by his owner: she refers to him as "it" and sees value only in his breeding capabilities and fine pedigree.   He's self-confident - even egotistical - but has never had a friend. 

Jack slips away from his owner to duel with Mame (swimming, racing, escaping from a collar - each contest easily won).  His owner is furious to find out that her dog has run away.  She threatens to hit Jack, but Mame and Hanako bravely step between the collie and his owner, growling.  Jack decides that having friends is a good thing after all.

This is a cute, cute show.  Some of the episodes have positive messages about responsible ownership - Mame tries to find a home for an abandoned puppy, meets a bad-mannered dog who thinks he's a human, and says goodbye to a neighborhood Husky when the dog's owner gives him away.  The show ran for two seasons (2003/2004), a total of nine episodes.

Link to the episode (it's in 3 parts):

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