Chibi Maruko Chan (ちびまる子ちゃん) is a Japanese shojo manga and anime series by Momoko Sakura. The series consists of illustrated stories which are based on some of the author's own experiences and thoughts during her childhood, communicated through the actions and events encountered by her 9 year-old character nicknamed 'Maruko'.
According to the author, Chibi Maruko Chan's initial manga debut was intended as a means of writing 'essays in comic form' which depict her experiences and thoughts as a child, growing up in Shimuzu city of Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan during the mid-1970s. Her thoughts and experiences are expressed through 9-year old Maruko, who is loosely based on her resemblance and personality.
All of the manga chapters and anime episodes within Chibi Maruko Chan take place in either the year 1975 or 1976, depending on the time frame and season explored in the episode. As a result, the series sticks to wholly depicting the lifestyle of typical Japanese citizens during the era, evidential through the clothing styles and modes of then-modern technology in each chapter and episode. For instance, there are complete absences of computers and cellphones, and landline phones are always depicted in the homes of many characters.
The series makes frequent references to activities and terminology relative to traditional Japanese culture and events based in the era, such as the Tanabata Festival which is observed every 7th July and popular Japanese idols, inclusive of Hideki Saijo and Momoe Yamaguchi .
Initial and current releases
The first volume of Chibi Maruko Chan was released on 15th July, 1987 and serialised in the Ribon Comics magazine. The latest release to date is volume 16, which was last released in April 2009. Current details about the next possible volume's release are unknown.
List of manga volumes released
|Volume no.||Cover Image||Release Date|
|1||15th July 1987|
|2||15th February 1988|
|3||15th July 1988|
|4||13th January 1989|
|5||11th August 1989|
|6||12th January 1990|
|7||11th January 1991|
|8||15th October 1991|
|9||15th June 1992|
|10||14th January 1993|
|11||8th December 1993|
|12||7th December 1994|
|13||7th December 1995|
|14||9th December 1996|
|15||14th February 2003|
|16||15th April 2009|
|17||25th December 2018|
Video games series
Chibi Maruko Chan has also been adaptated into videos games. Games were developed and published by various companies.
- Chibi Maruko-chan: Uki Uki Shopping (1990)
- Chibi Maruko-chan: Okozukai Daisakusen (1990)
- Chibi Maruko-chan 2: Deluxe Maruko World (1991)
- Chibi Maruko-chan: Harikiri 365-Nichi no Maki (1991)
- Chibi Maruko-chan 3: Mezase! Game Taishou no Maki (1992)
- Chibi Maruko-chan 4: Korega Nihon Dayo Ouji Sama (1992)
- Chibi Maruko-chan: Quiz de Piihyara (1992)
- Chibi Maruko-chan: Waku Waku Shopping (1992)
- Chibi Maruko-chan: Maruko Deluxe Quiz (1995)
- Chibi Maruko-chan: Mezase! Minami no Island!! (1995)
- Chibi Maruko-Chan no Taisen Puzzle Dama (1995)
- Chibi Maruko-chan: Maruko Enikki World (1995)
- Chibi Maruko-chan: Go Chounai Minna de Game Dayo! (2001)
- Chibi Maruko-chan DS Maru-chan no Machi (2009)
- Chibi Maruko-chan (2016)
Chibi Maruko Chan has been aired over the course of two anime adaptations; the first series ran between January 1990 to September 1992, and the second series began on January 1995 and runs at present on a weekly basis.
The anime is broadcast every Sunday on Fuji TV at 6.00pm in Japan, before of 'Sazae-san', and is rated amongst one of the most longest-running anime series in Japanese television history, spanning over 1100 episodes in total from both seasons. Some recent airings have been remakes of previous episodes from the first season to tie in with the anime's 20-year and 1000th-episode anniversaries.
References to pop culture
- Female Japanese pop idol Momoe Yamaguchi, well known for hits including 'Hito natsu no keiken (ひと夏の経験)' is shown to be Maruko's most favourite celebrity throughout the series, and makes occasional positive references to her.
- Male Japanese pop idol Hideki, famous for his Japanese rendition of the song 'YMCA' by Village People, is greatly adored by Maruko's older sister Sakiko, and in some instances posters of him are present in their bedroom walls. Hideki has also sung one of the anime's ending songs, 'Hashire shoujikimono (走れ正直者)'.
- References to Doraemon can be seen in some episodes where there is a close-up of Maruko and Sakiko's bookshelf, and town markets which sell masks of other popular characters.
- Chibi Shikaku-chan (manga parody of the main series)
- Nagasawa-kun (Spin-off series starring Kimio Nagasawa and that narrates events in High School)