Sep 18, 2006
It's World Masterpiece Theatre time again! This time based on the autobiographical novel Rascal by Sterling North.
Sterling North is a tender-hearted boy, who loves animals very much. One day Sterling finds a baby raccoon in the woods. He names the raccoon ‘Rascal’ and takes it home, where the baby raccoon becomes Sterling’s constant companion. Rascal grows up very well. Everything seems to be going well, but one day Rascal gets a taste for sweet corn and begins to raid the neighbors’ corn gardens during the night. Sterling realizes that it is truly difficult for men and wild animals to coexist in the same place. One day a misfortune befalls Sterling’s family. His father’s ranches are entirely destroyed by a heavy rainstorm. Sterling must go to Milwaukee to attend junior high school. Rascal is now a young adult. Sterling decides to return Rascal to his natural life in the woods. Sterling goes to a lake with Rascal in his canoe and sets him free in the woods. Next day he leaves town alone on a train bound for Milwaukee.
Looks like it had a German, Spanish and Italian release, but nothing in English. Accoding to Anime News Network, Hayao Miyazaki did key animation for a number of the episodes. Gojefferson.com has a lot of information on Rascal, with some nice shots of art and merchandise from the show. Go take a look, it's a fascinating page as it approaches the show from the point of view of the book and the area it is set rather than from an interest in simply animation. And it really gets over how popular the story is.