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The Littl' Bits (森の陽気な小人たち ベルフィーとリルビット Mori no Yōki na Kobitotachi: Berufi to Rirubitto?, "Cheerful Dwarves of the Forest: Belfy and Lillabit") is a Japanese anime television series with 26 episodes, produced in 1980 by Tatsunoko Productions in Japan. First shown on TV Tokyo (then called Tokyo 12 Channel), its Saban-produced English translation was featured on the children's television station Nick Jr. from 1991 to 1995 alongside other children's anime series such as Adventures of the Little Koala, Maya the Bee, Noozles, The Mysterious Cities of Gold and the show also was on Cartoon Network from 1993 to 1997.

Due to their similar size and naming scheme, an analogy is often drawn between the Littl' Bits and the Smurfs.

Synopsis

The series describes the adventures of a race of tiny people (pixes) who live in a simple village in Foothill Forest. It focuses in particular on a group of children: Lillibit, Willibit, Snagglebit, Chip, and Browniebit. Snagglebit, the spoiled son of the mayor, is enamored of the beautiful Lillibit, but she's best friends with Willibit, the moral role model and main protagonist. Thus, even though they generally get along well, Willibit and Snagglebit often butt heads, especially over Lillibit. Snagglebit usually pals around with the short-in-stature Browniebit, who is something of a coward (and is often teased by Snagglebit for this), and Chip, who idolizes Lillibit's uncle, Dr. Snoozabit, and wants to be a doctor like him.

Another frequently recurring child character is Teenybit (Willibit's younger sister), who befriends Scarybit, an ill-tempered, superstitious old woman assumed to be a witch and shunned by most of the other villagers. Teenybit can see that, under Scarybit's tough exterior, she's just a lonely old lady who needs a friend.

The children are watched over by, and often scolded by, the older Littl' Bits, including the doctor Dr. Snoozabit, the wood-cutter Chopabit, the baker Bakeabit, Willibit's father Grumpabit, Helpabit, the elder Elderbit, Mayor Bossabit (Snagglebit's father), and others. Snoozabit has a tendency to drink too much, forcing his young niece, Lillibit, to watch out for him and do her best to keep him on the right track. (In the American version, Snoozabit's drunkenness was rewritten as being constantly sleepy and needing a nap, hence his English name.)

Snoozabit has raised Lillibit since her infancy, and has always told her that her birth parents died shortly after she was born. Not having a mother and father around occasionally depressed Lillibit, especially when she observed her friends having fun with their parents. However, in the second-to-last episode of the series, it was revealed that Lillibit's parents were in fact alive and were outcast "Wanderbits," exiled from Foothill Forest. In the end, the villagers decided to allow them to stay in Foothill Forest, and Lillibit and her parents were joyously reunited - just in time for a devastating earthquake to ravage Foothill Forest in the final episode, forcing the villagers to band together to rebuild.

When they're not involved in politics (for example, one episode in which they attempted to get their apathetic fellow villagers to vote on election day), the children spend much of their time exploring and interacting with the animals of the forest, both friendly and unfriendly, including raccoons, bears, bullfrogs, squirrels, fish, and horses. Lillibit can even speak directly with animals. They often take advantage of their animal friends for transportation, particularly Snuffly the flying squirrel and Blue the hedgehog.

The show espoused harmony between human beings and the animal kingdom. The plot in every episode of the show had an important lesson for the young audience - amongst the important issues which were addressed in the series, were responsibility, patience, prejudice, hard work and the value of family and friends.[2]

Regional releases

A few episodes of the show were released on VHS in the early 1990s; one of these tapes, called Litt'l Friends (sic), is still available on Amazon. The show was never released in DVD, but homemade DVDs of the Italian and Arabic versions are available for purchase from some websites, as are some additional English episodes.

Characters

The children

  • Lillibit (alternate names: Berufi, Belfy, Belfi, Lutinette, Basma) - A sweet, beautiful orphan girl who lives with her uncle, Dr. Snoozabit, and watches over him due to his habit of drunkenness. While usually even-tempered and level-headed, Lillibit sometimes loses her temper with her uncle because of his laziness.
  • Willibit (alternate names: Rirubitto, Lillibit, Lutinou, Abdo) - the moral role model and main protagonist, and Lillibit's best friend. He is brave and has a strong sense of justice but also has a tendency to act impetuously.
  • Snagglebit (alternate names: Napoleon) - the spoiled son of the mayor. He has a crush on Lillibit and considers himself to be Willibit's rival for Lillibit's affections, but he and Willibit usually get along fairly well.
  • Chip - one of Snagglebit's cronies, the son of Chopabit the woodcutter. He idolizes Dr. Snoozabit and became the doctor's unofficial assistant in one early episode, until he realized how much work the medical profession really involves.
  • Browniebit - the third member of Snagglebit's gang, considerably shorter in stature than the other children. He tends to be somewhat of a coward and is often teased by Snagglebit and Chip for this.
  • Teenybit (alternate names: Chuchuna, Cuccuna) - Willibit's younger sister, a precocious girl and very observant for her age. Teenybit has a brave streak to rival her brother's, which sometimes gets her into trouble.

The adults and animals

  • Dr. Snoozabit - Lillabit's uncle, the town doctor who enjoys drinking dandelion wine ("dandelion juice" in the English version). Lillabit does her best to keep him sober but often gets frustrated with him. Despite his debauchery and laziness, he is a skilled doctor and is highly respected by the citizens of Foothill Forest.
  • Scarybit - an antisocial, superstitious old woman assumed to be a witch. Initially she seems to relish her outsider status, but she is eventually befriended by young Teenybit, and is soon more accepted by the society of Foothill Forest.
  • Chopabit - the wood-cutter, Chip's father. He wants his son to become a woodcutter like him, but Chip has other ambitions, which causes some friction between father and son.
  • Bakeabit - the baker.
  • Grumpabit - Willibit and Teenybit's father. Despite his grumpy demeanor, he is a kind-hearted man who cares deeply for his family. His wife is known in the series simply as "Mrs. Grumpabit."
  • Helpabit - Mayor Bossabit's live-in gardener and handyman. Helpabit is famous for his delicious honey, with its secret ingredient of nectar from the flowers known as "Blue Lovelies."
  • Elderbit (Japanese name, Daggurin) - the village's elder and sage, and teacher to the children (albeit in a non-formal capacity since there is no school per se in the series), who enjoy hearing his stories of days gone by in Foothill Forest.
  • Mayor Bossabit - Snagglebit's father. He is raising Snagglebit on his own, as his wife (Snagglebit's mother) died when Snagglebit was still very young. His job often leaves him little time for his son, but he loves and is very protective of Snagglebit.
  • Snuffly (Japanese name, Manga) - A flying squirrel who is Lillabit's friend and constant companion and often joins in the children's games. He doubles as a mode of transportation for Willibit and Lillabit on their adventures.

Staff

Japanese Version (Mori no Yoki na Kobito-tachi Berufi to Rirubitto)

  • Director: Masayuki Hayashi, Hiroshi Iwata, Mizuho Nishikubo
  • Screenplay/Storyboards: Akiyoshi Sakai, Naoko Miyake, Takao Koyama, Yoshiko Takaki, Yu Yamamoto, Leo Nishimura, Isao Okishima
  • Music: Takeo Watanabe
  • Original Story: Shigeru Yanagawa, Tomoyuki Miyata
  • Character Design: Akiko Shimomoto, Hiromitsu Morita
  • Producer: Ippei Kuri, Akira Inoue
  • Theme Song Performance: Kumiko Oosugi (OP- Mori he Oide Yo; ED- Oyasumi Chuchuna)
  • Broadcaster: Tokyo 12 Channel (7 January to 7 July 1980)
  • Production: Tatsunoko Production Co., Ltd.

English Version (The Littl' Bits)

  • Script: Michael McConnohie (episode 2)
  • Music: Haim Saban, Shuki Levy
  • Associate Producer: Eric S. Rollman
  • Executive Producer: Jerald E. Bergh
  • Producer: Winston Richard
  • Supervising Producer: Winston Richard
  • Supervising Writer: Robert V. Barron
  • Voice Director: Tim Reid
  • Opening and Closing Theme Vocalist: Rachelle Cano

English Cast

Japanese Cast

NOTE: It is often mistakenly believed by Westerners that the Japanese "Belfy" (Berufi) and the English "Willibit" are the same character, and that the Japanese "Lillibit" (Rirubitto) and the English "Lillabit" are the same character. In fact, "Belfy" is the name of the female, not the male, lead of the series in the original Japanese, and "Rirubitto" is the male, not the female, lead. This can be confirmed by consulting the English-language section of Tatsunoko Productions' Website.

References

External links

he:בארץ הקטקטים nl:Belfy en Lillibitpl:Filiputki

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