The tale of an 11-year-old girl in the lower-class neighborhoods of late 70s Osaka, Japan, working hard to keep her family's restaurant afloat, after her mother leaves her gambling lout of a father.
Seems like ripe stuff for a harrowing and depressing drama, but would you believe it's a comedy series? Absolutely beloved in Osaka upon release, and maintaining its popularity even 40-years-plus later, Jarinko Chie is a deeply entertaining and earthy comedy with a touch of pathos. As stated by the animator Yasuo Otsuka, "No other comic has depicted Osaka people in this way, loveable and living without pretension, despite not being cool. The subjects of mainstream animation in Japan are superhumans, legendary heroes and fantasies, so Chie the Brat, with its life-sized humans and a funny cat, was very much a pole apart." Plus, y'know, cat testicles (or the lack thereof) form a running plotline, and now that you know that, you just gotta check it out now!
Adapted from the long-running manga by Etsumi Haruki and preceded by a feature-length movie, Jarinko Chie the TV series began airing on October 3rd, 1981 and lasted for 64 episodes (and 1 special). The director for the series was the same director for the movie -- none other than Isao Takahata himself, of Ghibli fame. Based on that pedigree, it has continuously boggled minds for years now why no one has bothered to try to translate this series before. Most of the blame is placed on the fact that every character in this series speaks with a thick Kansai accent. Even with the manga as reference, and even with all of the original Japanese subtitles readily available, that's been too big of a hill for anyone to bother trying to die on. However, I cut my teeth learning Japanese by playing through all the entries in the Yakuza series when they originally came out in their native language, so I've made friends with good ol' Kansai-ben over the years.
Rather than being a continuation of the movie which preceded it, this series adapts and expands the same material. As such, you don't need to have watched the movie beforehand, and if you have, it'll take until Episode 11 to get past where the movie ends. As stated though, the material is heavily expanded on, so it's very much worth watching even if you've already seen the movie.
There are two "official" English titles, Chie the Brat and Downtown Story. Chie the Brat is a quick-and-dirty direct translation of the Japanese title without a hint of nuance. The problem with this is that Chie is emphatically NOT a brat, and that title creates expectations that this is some Dennis-The-Menace level kids-hijinx show, which it most assuredly is not. Indeed, that's why I didn't bother watching it for years despite knowing of its existence and pedigree. I'm pretty sure the studio was aware of this, and created the alternative title "Downtown Story". Of course, that name's pretty darn vague, and as such it's barely used apart from some corporate website somewhere. "Chie the Brat" seems to have had the most staying power, and I have official merchandise with that title on it, so I guess that one was the winner, like it or not. I much prefer Jarinko Chie to either of those and generally stick to using that title.
Episode 1: Go for Broke, Chie-chan!
Original Airdate: October 3rd, 1981
Chie Takamoto goes to school by day and runs the family skewer shop by night, while her father Tetsu's only thought is on how to get his next gambling fix. This is only where their story begins, however...
This release would not have been possible without Amicus, who went out of his way to buy his own copies of the DVDs to make encodes after I asked if there were any better raws available.
Encode by: Amicus (@Amicus_19)
All the other boring stuff: MaruChanSubs
Video - 640x480 H265/HEVC
Audio - AC3