How Candy Candy Taught Me All About Dramas

This is a repost of the ridiculously long summary and review of Candy Candy the Japanese manga that I first wrote three years ago when I was watching Friends, Our Legend. There was a lovely little interlude in that drama where the leading lady is discussing with one of the two male leads about the types of men a young lady wants to encounter. FOL happened to be set in the mid-1980s, at a time where heroine grew up having read the seminal manga Candy Candy, which had swept a greater part of the world with its epic charm. So the leading lady describes the three men in Candy’s life: (1) Anthony, Candy’s first love, who dies tragically young and leaves Candy with a lifetime of what-could-have-beens, (2) Terry, Candy’s soul mate, who through machinations and real life obstacles, can never be with Candy, and lastly (3) Albert, Candy’s daddy long-legs, who turns out to be her childhood first crush, and ends up being her forever after (this is alluded to rather than stated). Everything I learned about the genre of romance drama, I learned from Candy Candy. I read it when I was seven years old. It’s the first “book” I remember reading. To this day I read the entire set at least once a year, much like a ritual yet it never gets old nor does the story ever bore me despite having memorized it. Recently I reread it again since the drama Cheongdamdong Alice borrows heavily from both Alice in Wonderland as well as Candy Candy in describing the leading lady and her journey down the rabbit hole into a different world. I thought it would be fun to dig up this old post and share it again. I summarize the entire store as well as describe how it created many if not most of the drama tropes we see today in the world of dramatic storytelling.

When I was a kid and read the manga for the first time (and watched the OVA on TV), I knew I was reading something phenomenal, something magical, something that would change my life forever. Once I understood the entire story, it would become for me the Pride & Prejudice of mangas. Different genres, but both beloved by me and endlessly revisited.

Candy Candy is nine slim books containing a laundry list of every conceivable romance drama set up and plot. Every element was conceived and executed perfectly. And it was all in one story! Mindboggling to consider today, when some dramas can’t be bothered to do one element of romantic pathos correctly, much less a smorgasbord of romantic angst so deep our heroine must be made of Teflon to endure it.

The heroine of the story is Candice (Candy) White, an orphan. We follow her story from infancy to childhood, into the teenage years, and finally to young adulthood. K-drama romances use many elements which I first encountered in Candy Candy. There is nothing wrong with that. I merely want to take a moment to acknowledge and appreciate the progenitor of modern K-romance melodrama as we know it. What better way to recap Candy Candy than by highlighting all the elements of the story that work so well, which we now often encounter in our beloved K-dramas.

1. The orphan and/ or poor girl as the lead heroine – Candy isn’t just butt-poor, she seriously is an orphan, abandoned by unseen parents to grow up in an orphanage. She doesn’t even have a birth secret story, she’s simply one of many children given up for adoption during turn-of-the-20th-century America during a time of great change. She is passed up for adoption after adoption because she is so active and tomboyish (the story is set in turn of the century America). Her best friend Annie gets adopted before her and they are sadly split apart. She finally gets chosen by a family not to be an adopted daughter but as a companion to the Devil’s Spawns, which I shall describe below.

2. The evil step or adopted family members – Candy is taken at the cusp of her teen years to be the playmate for two incredibly spoiled, selfish children (who she will later become adopted cousins with). Neil and Eliza Leagan are the requisite one-note villians of this story, who tormented Candy with every conceivable trick all the way through their young adulthood. They are snooty and exceedingly cruel to our Candy, who tries hard to endure their myriad of torments.

3. The super rich family – The Ardley family is one of the richest in America (their estate is situated in the outskirts of Chicago), and the Leagans are just one branch (the evil branch) who take Candy in to be Neil and Eliza’s companion. Later, the nice branch of the family persuades the unseen family patriarch, Grandfather William, to adopt Candy and thereafter she becomes a member American royalty.

4. The prince charming – While being a companion to the Evils, Candy meets cute with Anthony Brown, one of the other grandsons of the Ardley family. He’s the paragon of perfection – blond, blue-eyed, kind, loves roses (ugh, even then, I was like, what a pansy, but I digress). Anthony immediately spots a diamond in the rough in our Candy. On the other hand, Candy thinks he looks just like her Prince on the Hill, a young man she met when she was six or seven who played the bag pipes for her when she was crying to cheer her up. Of course Anthony can’t be the so-called Prince since he is the same age as the Prince that Candy met years ago. Candy also meets Alistar (Stear) and Archibald (Archie) Cornwall, two more Ardley grandsons who are best friends with Anthony and future friends to Candy.

5. First love – Candy and Anthony experience young love as she grows up in the family estate. I tease about Anthony’s flower-loving propensities, but he actually has a backbone. He may look like a pretty boy, but he’s fierce when it comes to protecting his Candy. Both Candy and Anthony glimpse the what-will-come of the future when they are grown up and have that fairy tale wedding. Their burgeoning romance is really sweet, until an unforeseen tragedy happens.

6. Death of a first love – After Candy’s adoption into Clan Ardley (the family is of Scottish descent), a family gathering/fox hunt is organized to introduce her to the extended clan. During the fox hunt, Anthony charges after a fox and his horse stumbles (maybe it was an indictment against hunting?). Anthony is tossed from the horse and dies instantly. Seriously, The Single Most Traumatic Scene For A 7 Year Old (ME!!) to watch. It was my first understanding that death happens, and it was irrevocable

7. Earth-shattering grief – The entire family falls into despondent grief. Anthony’s father, who has already lost his wife, must now bury his only son. Candy leaves the family and returns to the orphanage, her real home and source of refuge in this inconceivable time of sorrow. Back with the Sisters who raised her and surrounded by the younger orphans, our Candy slowly lets the grief wash over her and heals by giving back to the community that raised her. Just as she is finally at peace, she gets a summons from Grandfather William (the family patriarch) that she has been enrolled in boarding school in London. The Sisters persuade Candy to pick herself off the floor of doing nothing and fulfill Anthony’s fondest wish that Candy becomes a lady.

8. Studying abroad– Candy boards a steamer with her escort, Uncle William’s nice lackey George, headed for London. During the voyage, it’s New Year’s Eve and the ship throws a grand party. In the middle of the party, Candy walks outside for a breath of fresh air. She sees a male form in the ocean fog, his shape reminding her of Anthony. As she gets closer, she sees it not him. It’s someone else, and he appears to be crying. When he turns around to face her, the tears are gone. Instead of a gentle soul crying, Candy meets a guy with a prickly attitude and not a shred of gentlemanly behavior. This guy mocks her, flirts with her, and walks away. Let’s not all pretend this interlude isn’t going to have significant meaning soon, all right?

9. Boarding school – Candy arrives in London. She’s not enrolled in just any old boarding school – St. Paul’s is Catholic, run by nuns, and everyone wore uniforms. What follows is some of the most classic and amazing boarding school scenes in the history of mangas and dramas. Candy will encounter bullies, popular kids, rich kids, outcasts, mean teachers, nice teachers, enemies, and best girl friends. She will also get into more scrapes than the average young lady at St. Paul’s. She will also make the proper acquaintance of the young man she met on the ship, Terrence (Terry) Grandchester (sheesh, even typing his names gives me shivers of hotness).

10. Opposites attract – If Candy and Anthony got married and lived to be ninety, I highly doubt the two of them would ever have a cross word with each other. They were just so alike and compatible souls. Not so the next guy who is going to come into Candy’s life and kick Anthony’s memory to the curb. Candy finally gets over her idealized first love (and she was called out on this) by meeting the richest, most rebellious kid in boarding school, Brooding emo Terry is the antithesis of Anthony – and he and Candy is love/hate at first fight.

11. The bickering to mask attraction – Hello, not in the history of mangas did two people bicker, fight, annoy each other, and generally looked like they should have been trying to tear each other’s clothes off (okay, I know they were only in high school – but their attraction and chemistry was that strong) as much as Candy and Terry.

12. Coincidences aplenty so the OTP can spend time together– Terry gets into a fight in London and gets accidentally dropped into the girls dorm. He stumbles into Candy’s room and she fixes him up. Candy is also secretly constantly visiting her adopted best friend cousins Stear and Archie in the boys dorm. Who should live next to those two? Yup, of course it’s Terry. And of course Candy drops into the wrong room one day and accidentally finds out Terry’s big secret (he’s the illegitimate son of a Duke and a famous American actress). Terry rides a horse through the campus grounds at night, and who should hear him, wake up, freak out, screaming “Anthony, no!” and gets injured – yeah, Candy. Candy and Terry spend many a lazy afternoon in the secluded glens of the campus, he ditching class to smoke, she finding reasons to reform him from his bad boy ways. What comes next for these two?

13. Forced kiss – This has been done to death in K-dramas. Here, the moment was instinctual and totally swoon-worthy. After the annual May Day Festival, the kids are all dressed for a costume ball. Look who shows up dressed as Romeo and Juliet (totally coincidental, too). Both Terry and Candy are outside when they hear the streams of a waltz tune coming from the party. Terry asks Candy to dance. Lost in the moment, she starts waxing nostalgic about Anthony, how her first dance was with him, how sweet he was, blahblahblah – You can just see how fed up Terry is with her refusal to admit her attraction to him. So he just kisses the bejusus out of her. The collective breathes of young girls everywhere just gets sucked in, and we are all taught an important life lesson – we must find our very own bad boy. Yes, I think young girls everywhere reading Candy Candy took a giant step into womanhood at that moment.

14. Moving on – While we are swooning over that kiss (still swooning, today, at my age, still swooning), Candy is livid and she bitch slaps Terry with a “How dare you!” Instead of apologizing (bad boys never need to apologize), Terry grabs her and drags her to the stables. He takes off his jacket (hey, get your mind out of the gutter), grabs Candy, and hauls her on his horse. She hasn’t been on a horse since the day Anthony died, and she’s screaming at Terry to stop and let her down. But he won’t, and as the horse thunders through the sun-dappled meadows, Candy slowly calms down. She opens her eyes to the gorgeous scenery as Terry holds her. During this ride, she finally lets Anthony go, lets the nightmare of that moment go, realizing that life indeed has moved on, and she has moved on.

15. The unwitting love triangle – When Candy finally begins to admit that she likes Terry, Stear and Archie have been watching this happen. Both brothers like Candy. When Anthony was alive, it was unspoken that neither would act on their feelings towards Candy. With Anthony’s death, Archie has decided to press his suit. Stear wisely decides to hide his feelings because he knows that Candy does not see him in a romantic light. Into the fray comes Ms. Annie Brighten. Going back to the beginning for a second, Annie and Candy grew up in the orphanage together and were best friends. Annie was adopted early and decided to stop communicating with Candy so as to hide her past as an orphan. Annie’s adopted family is friends with the Ardleys, so Annie has harbored a crush on Archie. Candy gets dragged into an unwitting love triangle with Archie-Annie. This is resolved quickly as Archie realizes that Candy doesn’t love him romantically and learns to accept Annie. This leaves our delicious OTP free to celebrate their summer of love.

16. The calm before the storm – The OTP usually gets some downtime before the shit hits the fan, so to speak. For our young lovers, summer has arrived, and everyone heads off to Scotland. Candy, Annie, Patty (Patricia O’Brien, their other close girlfriend), along with Archie and Stear, elect to attend St. Paul’s summer academy in the Highlands. Terry happens to have a family estate nearby and he joins the group. It’s a sweet summer – where Terry confesses to Candy he loves Shakespeare, and Candy helps Terry reconcile with his mother who can tracked him down to beg forgiveness for sending him away to live with his cold asswipe father, the Duke. But all good things must come to an end.

17. Jealous machinations – Candy’s prissy, petulant adopted cousin Eliza has been secretly hot for Terry. When Terry brushes off her attempts to seduce him, she plots to have the Headmistress Nun catch Terry and Candy in an abandoned room at night. Her plan is successful, and Candy and Terry are to be punished for their infraction.

18. Forceful separation– Realizing that he is still too young to take Candy away, Terry instead quits the boarding school so that Candy doesn’t get expelled. He decides to go to America, knowing that once he becomes self-sufficient (he won’t take another penny from his father) he can find Candy again. Candy realizes what Terry has done, and runs all the way to the London docks. Only she is just a second too late, and must watch the Trans-Atlantic steamer leaving at dawn. This is my single favorite scene in the entire book. She screams Terry’s name, sobbing and just heartbroken. Terry is standing on the deck as the ship pulls away. He thinks he hears her voice, but believes it’s just his imagination and wishful thinking.

19. The journey to adulthood – Candy elects to follow Terry’s footsteps and head to America. Not to track down her beloved (how trite), but to become self-sufficient and grow up. She has no need for lady lessons at boarding school. She doesn’t want to take money from her adopted family and live a meaningless life. But she’s got no money for her return journey, so she hitchhikes through England (meeting regular folks and affecting their lives) and finally boards a cargo ship and pretends to be a lad (awesome sea voyage, very touching). After a series of trials and tribulations, she gets herself back to America.

20. The near miss – In yet another favorite K-drama cliché, Candy heads back to the orphanage and just barely misses seeing Terry. Terry has visited Candy’s orphanage because he wants to see the place she grew up, since she was always talking about it when they were in boarding school. He leaves after having tea with the Sisters, and Candy arrives a few minutes too late (his cup of tea is still warm on the table).

21. Finding a life’s purpose – Instead of moping, or tracking down Terry, Candy decides to become a nurse (what with WWI on the horizon). She attends nursing school knowing that she will find Terry eventually. This is where our heroine becomes a flesh and blood character for me, her occupation, her devotion, her inherent goodness. These adult themes are so meaningful for a young child to read.

22. Workplace conflicts – Candy enters nursing school and is immediately faced with prickly fellow nursing students. Her nursing experience is very enriching to read. She’s resilient when faced with other nurses who ostracize her. She’s works hard even though she’s not the smartest cookie and prone to scatterbrained behavior. She considers volunteering to be a nurse at the front line in Europe for the troops, but her ice queen roommate goes instead. World War I has broken out, and Candy is not longer a teenager anymore.

23. Amnesia – Yes, Candy, Candy has an amnesia plotline! Whom, pray you ask? Why Albert, of course! Who is Albert? Yes, I have not mentioned him yet. He’s this peripheral young man who Candy meets first in America when she is first brought to the Ardley family, and later again in England. Albert always helps and encourages Candy. He appears to be a mysterious vagrant who loves animals. Albert is brought into the hospital Candy works at. He was on a train when there was an explosion, and has been terribly injured. The hospital is wary of treating him because they think he may be a spy, since no one has claimed him. When he awakens, he has lost his memory and doesn’t know who he is. Candy recognizes him as Albert, not that she knows his back story. But he’s always been a friend to her, and she decides to take care of him in his time of need.

24. Best friends – So Candy nurses Albert back to health and rents a flat to live with him because he still has not regained his memory. Despite all the objections and censure of those around her, she trusts that he’s a good person. This leads to them becoming best friends, always there for each other. But nothing more develops (yet), because Candy is still searching for her Terry.

25. The long-awaited reunion – Terry has by now become a budding stage actor in America, following in his actress mother’s footsteps. His acting troupe brings him to Chicago for a performance, which Candy attends. More near misses arise, but they see each other finally when Terry’s train is leaving Chicago and he steps out on the end platform and sees Candy racing after him. They finally know how to find each other, and they make plans for Candy to visit him in NYC for a long awaited reunion. Everyone is happy, except for Ms. Susanna Marlowe.

26. The weepy third wheel – Yes, no story is complete without a besotted third wheel. Susanna, the lead actress in Terry’s acting troupe lurves him. She is kind and sweet and gentle (barf). At first she tries to prevent Candy from reuniting with Terry, but she finally tearfully confesses her feelings to him, and wishes him and Candy well. However, as they are rehearsing for the upcoming performance of Romeo and Juliet, she pushes Terry away from a falling prop light and is crippled for life.

27. Self-sacrifice – Terry should have just wished Susanna luck, and walked away with Candy. Alas, both are too noble. They realize that they cannot be happy knowing what Susanna did for Terry. He elects to fulfill his duty for the dishrag third wheel who saved his life. Their first reunion in NYC turns into their final meeting. Candy leaves that night back for Chicago, and Terry cannot even send her off. He can only hug her from behind as she walks away, the tears he silently cries into back (*sob* geez, my eyes are getting we). As hard as this was to read, this is self-sacrificing love done right. Our OTP feels all the raw emotions, anger, loathing, the unfairness of life.

28. The fallen hero – Candy has Albert to pick her up after she comes home, to cheer her up, her work to sustain her. Terry doesn’t handle this as well. He goes batshit crazy and leaves one day. He goes to some hick town where he becomes a raging drunk acting in penny plays. Candy reads in the tabloids about his plight and goes to track him down.

29. The final catharsis – Candy finds Terry, watching the degradation of his talent in a rundown theater. Terry glimpses Candy in his drunken stupor. She is crying in the audience. he realizes that hot damn, HE made the choice to stay with his no-legged girlfriend, there is no one to blame but himself. He has better get his act together and not disappoint Candy anymore. How can he ever be good enough for Candy if he can’t even make Susanna happy. That is the only thing he can do for her. He finally breaks through his anger and resignation and goes back to his acting troupe to pick up the pieces and start over.

30. Another death – And you thought it couldn’t get any sadder. Remember guys, there is a world war going on around these kids. Stear decides to secretly enlist in the air force and goes to Europe (he also wants to do something meaningful with his life). He sees Candy off at the train station when she went to NYC to visit Terry to say his goodbye without telling her he’s enlisting. When she returns, everyone tells her the news of Stear’s enlistment. Unfortunately, Stear gets shot down over Germany and his death brings the entire Ardley clan back together for yet another funeral. [The boys – Anthony, Stear, and Archie – used to play the bagpipes together when they were growing up, and now only Archie is left to salute his brother and his cousin, both dying way too young].

31. Formalcest – Meanwhile, as everyone has been working on being productive citizens, the worthless duo of Eliza and Neal have been puttering around living the good life on their family dime. Neil, through a series of run-ins, has gradually fallen in love with Candy (I can make a joke about how EVERY Ardley guy under the age of eighty loves Candy, but I’ll refrain).

32. Attempted rape – Since Candy shows no interest in him, he finally lures her to a deserted mansion to profess his love. When she scoffs at his declaration, he tries to rape her. She escapes and Albert finds her.

33. Forced marriage – The matriarch of the Ardley family has decreed that Candy is to marry Neil (who has threatened to enlist in the army and go off to war if he can’t marry Candy, using Stear’s death to his advantage). Candy finally reaches her breaking point. She seeks the help of Grandfather William, the unseen patriarch we have been told about throughout the story, to help her and overturn the grandmother’s decree.

34. Fate – Candy goes to the Ardley country estate, only to find that Grandfather William was all along ALBERT (which is his middle name, William Albert Ardley). Albert, who prefers his middle name for anonymity, is actually the uncle of our beloved pansy Anthony (Anthony’s mother was Albert’s older sister). He had been secretly living the nomadic lifestyle because he doesn’t want the shackles of assuming responsibility for the family and settling down. It was simply coincidence that he was in the train accident, and that he ended up at the same hospital Candy worked at.

35. A happy ending – Albert resumes his rightful place as head of the family and the wedding is called off. Candy tells Albert she wants to goes back to the orphanage to work there. When she arrives, her friends, Annie, Archie and Patty are there to welcome here. She sneaks away to go to her favorite spot, the grassy hill behind the orphanage where she used to go as a young child to cry. This is where a six year old Candy first met this golden young man who wore a Scottish quilt and played bagpipes for her. This young man, whom Candy dubbed the Prince of the Grassy Hill, told her “Little girl, you’re so pretty, you shouldn’t be crying.” As Candy sits on that little grassy hill, lost in her memories, she suddenly hears the exact same words again. She turns around and sees Albert, who was in fact the Prince she met all those years ago.

Candy, Candy had just about the most perfect ending ever. She ends up marrying one of the richest dudes in America, who is handsome, kind, nice to animals, her best friend, her daddy long legs, and her genuine first love since she always had a crush on the Prince of the Grassy Hill since she was a little girl. However, readers of Candy Candy understand that Terry is Candy’s soulmate (the passionate love, the soul-searching connection that comes once in a lifetime) but they were a love that could never work out. Much as I ship Terry-Candy until the end of time (the ends of time, I tell you!), Candy-Albert is a fitting conclusion for our darling Candy, whose life goes through first love, true love/soul mate, and everlasting/partnership love.

Candy is an epic heroine, and her journey from orphan to wife of William Albert Ardley is highlighted by how resilient and courageous she is in confronting each barrier, each obstacle, each challenge. As a heroine, she is the perfect role model and ideal for any young girl to admire and aspire to be. The Candy Candy world also gave K-dramas thirty-five, count ‘em, thirty-five quintessential romance drama elements that have brought us K-drama lovers countless hours or joy, anger, and sadness. All in the name of telling a compelling story. For that, Candy Candy deserves a spot on the pantheon of great stories. For me, the Candy-esque heroine will never get old. As long as she evinces the proper can-do-spirit and gets the living daylights kissed out of her by her bad boy true love, I will always be open to meeting yet another K-drama heroine drawn from her trailblazing ways.


How Candy Candy Taught Me All About Dramas — 63 Comments

  1. *HUG* TWIN!!

    I’m a CC fiend, and you are too. And this is love and dedication in sweeping, brilliant prose.

    We have membership in the fanclub for life. I cant tell you how unashamed I am since the day CC touched my life and EVERY borderly romantic piece of fiction/film/drama I’ve seen, will remind me of certain scenes in CC.

    eg. last night, precious girl time w/ my mom. We are both HUGE Momoe/Miura fangirls and whenever we r alone, we’ll have our nth rewatch of Izu no Odoriko/ 伊豆の踊子/ The Dancing Girl of Izu and no human can not ball at that scene when she’s sending him off at harbor when his boat is sailing off, never again will their paths cross. And I’m balling TWICE the amt of any normal humans because it always reminds me of the sending off at London docks.

    This very moment, (prompted by all your delicious pretty pics and words), I’d rather hide in my blankie, flashlight in hand and reread CC. Skip dinner @Nopa

  2. Although I’ve never seen/read Candy Candy,thanks to you, I have now experienced the best (pre)kdrama of all time: well written,good plotlines,and happy ending….*sigh*
    I think we should just have all kdrama’s scripts preapproved by you before those dingalings butchered them and sloppily handed them to us as “finished products” 🙂 Good job….

  3. Ockoala!

    After reading this. I had to look this up in Japanese. I know it was around during my time in Japan, yet I only have partial memory of this manga… My sis told me we even had 単行本 at home

    Plus, we often bought 少女漫画雑誌「なかよし」during it’s run through1975年4 月号-1979 年3月号

    And TV broadcasting was during 1976年10 月1日-1979年2月 2日 テレビ朝日系で放送、全115話

    Hum… Part of the this time period I was living a TV-less life. can that be a reason? Yeah, that’s right, from April 1978 on. Now, I checked OST. yes, I could sing along, lol.

    Anyhow, it brought a whole bunch of memories from that period of my life: attending a girls high school, which I hated, failed college enterance exams, moving away from my parent’s home for the first time for, got married unexpectedly young. my son was born in July 1979. Lol, so much was going on back then. No wonder I could have missed some? big chunk of later episodes.

    Sorry,I didn’t mean to share this much of my 青春時代. It sure triggered something in me re-reading about Candy Candy. 1975年4月-1979 年3月, it was a transformational time for me as much as it was for Candy.

    Your parallel analogy of quality K drama and CC was, of course, brilliantly right on.

    Thank you so much and bring more on, please!

  4. OMG ockoala, you are a CC fan too!!! Candy Candy was my first love-story animation when I was 11years old. watched it in Hong Kong with cantonese sub and I understood everything (but I am not hong kongnese). its been almost 30 years on… my life changed from growing up in Hong Kong – being in love at school – to – getting arranged marriage – to marriage from hell – to separation and finally divorce – to now enjoying life to its fullest in my singledom and I still remember it clearly and still my all time ‘original animation love story’ favourite. it made me a fan for tragic romantic (bitter-sweet) love-story. although CC did end with happy ending with Albert, I still think it is tragic cause I think CC and Terence were the real couple in true love and who made sacrifices for others’ sake.

    Loooove the way you describe every stage of Candy’s life.. I hear there is a film with Candy and Terence… sadly with the legal cases and all that in relation to publication and filming and all those media legality, it is not available in the market (as I heard).

  5. Thank you for this. As a fan of Candy Candy (watashi wa Caaaandddyyy!) I do appreciate the effort to put all these through and also you really walked me down the memory lane. Again thank you 🙂

    I was always a fan of Anthony and never really liked Terry (even during the collage days, I always shouted at Candy to stay away from him – although I’ll admit to crying during the scene where Candy couldn’t get the ship on time to say goodbye to him)

  6. Thank u for this. This manga is so old that I never thought I’d find out what happened to the story. I used to read this as a young child…

    • Same goes for me…. I never thought i would come across CC’s ending one day… Thanks Koala. I definitely enjoyed reading it. The TV Channel who aired this Anime in the Phils did not bother showing the rest of the series. So Candy Candy never grew up for me. Thanks you absolutely made my day. Happy New Year everyone…

  7. Ockoala, this post nearly has reduced me to tears. Definitely singing the theme song though I should be fast asleep.

    Thank you. Sincerely.

    Deep sighs (and now truly, tears). For Anthony. Terry. Alistair.

  8. I completely agree with everything you said! The nobility of Candice, nor by birth, but by her noble heart, taught me resilience. And she was and still is my role model! I love the story and I love the messages in every episode! There will be never anything like Candy in this whole wide world! Candy has everything, and still at 31 years of age, when I see the episodes, it makes me cry and laugh. It lifts up my spirit, and it cheers my heart when I’m sad!

  9. Oh my gosh. Ockoala I freaking love you. Candy Candy is one of my FAVORITE shoujo mangas.

    I remember watching the anime when I was a little girl but read the manga just now as an adult. I couldn’t find the anime but the manga is in mangafox though you have to zoom in the page to read it since the print is small. If anyone can find the anime with eng subs please direct me!

    As a child I loved Candy’s spirit but I think I’m only really appreciating it now as an adult. For one, it teaches us about the human condition. There were many times when Candy was whispered down on because she was an orphan or because of the people she hanged around with. I remember a scene when the nurses were gossiping about her and her living conditions about Albert. As human beings it is so easy for us to gossip and point fingers but Candy stuck to her guns and to her story. She endured through everything. She also made a valid claim that was a recurring theme in the manga: doctors should never discriminate or withold treatment against anyone. She also thought us how important relationships were. There was a scene that really touched me. She was reminiscing about the people she met in London for a brief moment such as Mr. Carson and his kids, Cooky and the captain of the ship bound to America. She was talking about how even these brief encounters will stay in her heart forever and if she will ever meet them again (probably not).

    I cried a few times while reading the manga. The first is when Terry and Candy part for the first time and she cries her eyes out as he leaves on a ship bound for America. The second is when they part for the last time and the third is when Stear dies. As for Anthony’s death I was just in plain shock. I was expecting him to come back in a later chapter. I couldn’t believe it at first.

    As for the love stories in this manga, I applaud the mangaka Mizuki Kyoko. She really hit the nail on the coffin by describing the different love angles. You have the Prince of Pony Hill which signifies the faraway love. The love that is far away and seems out of reach. Then you have your first love, which is Anthony. Then you have your once in a lifetime, passionate love which is Terrence. And then there’s the love that subtly develops from friendship, then you realize that you can’t live without this person type of love which is Albert. As for the Terry/Candy/Albert story line, I’m glad she ends up with Albert. I actually think Albert is her soulmate, the one who’s been with her this entire time. I loved the Terry/Candy storyline but as soon as Susannah had that accident and he chose her instead, I knew they were over. I also get why Terry picked Susannah. This was in the early 18th century. In our age, she can still do many things with the new technology but back then that was practically a death sentence. Even when Susannah told him to go back to Candy and even then he didn’t do it, I knew he and Candy were over. And I cried my eyes out.

    As for Albert, those last scenes in the manga were so fulfilling to read. I mean I already got the idea that maybe Albert was Uncle William and/or the Prince of Pony Hill but the way it was delivered, when it was Candy who was missing Albert’s company, and he finally reveals himself to her I felt all warm and bubbly inside. There was never really any passionate declaration of love but as the readers, we understood completely through their actions; that they loved each other. No words were needed. And that very very last scene on the hill, I thought yes! This is how you end a wonderful manga. It reminded me of my own relationships. I had those crushes towards people I knew who would never work out. I had that young love in Anthony when I was in school. Then that passionate love in college, the one I thought was THE ONE. But sadly, it never ended up that way. And now I’m in love with my best friend of many years. I met him when I was still in middle school and we were best friends in high school and college but only now do I finally see how blessed I am. =)

    At the start, it seems that Candy Candy is a light read but the writer crafts the characters and their relationships so wonderfully that it made me so invested in the plot. It seems light but she definitely threw some punches at us like Anthony and Allistair, the prejudice of society back then (even the doctors and nurses!), the cruelties of war (I honestly thought that Stear would come back. Still kinda peeved at the writer for that), joys and sorrows of relationships, the meaning of family and so on and so forth.

    Sorry for the long post! Just needed to get a couple of things off my chests since none of my friends who read/have read manga know about Candy Candy (shocking!)

  10. I’ve just started my Spring Break yesterday evening and decide to go through all of Ockoala’s posts today. Just can’t say how happy I am when finding this post. Candy Candy is forever my most favorite manga and (almost) obsession of how a young girl/woman should live (courageous, full of energy and emotion, love and be loved). Reading your post and I still remember every scene in the story again, which makes me smile and cry with Candy all over my childhood. Every time I read it, I still feel like crying again and again even though knowing that Candy will get her happy ending. The journey Candy has traveled and taken us with her was so challenging and beautiful that even now, when I fully grow up, live in different countries and far from my family, sometimes in a hard day, I still think to myself that: “I will live like Candy” 🙂
    P/S: By the way, I read Candy when I was about 11-12 years old. I guess we are close by age. Another thing that seems to be not connected, I re-watched Dream High today (because of Kim Soo Hyun) and notice that Sam Dong read Candy Candy, too :D:D:D

  11. Ockoala, thank you for reviewing Candy Candy again. It’s my first love of manga and I think this manga has change me quite a lot. I’ve read it almost everyday during my childhood, while waiting for the next episode to come (in my country, the new chapter published once a month). I admire Candy personality, I remember I always wanted to be like her: cheerful, strong and courages. The story plot also very strong and I can give 10 point out of 10. Very perfect indeed. One of the most must read manga in history.

  12. Saw the Candy anime on radio canada in french in 1980 (?); did not understand a word but I guess pictures are worth a thousand words. Bring back fond memories …
    Another great anime is Princess Knight!

  13. oops — the station identification “radio canada” is the French CBC TV station.
    Anyone planning to write a similar piece on Princess Knight?

  14. This is my all time fav manga. It’s the first manga I read. I was only 8 or 9 yrs old. It’s in traditional Chinese so I had a tough time understanding all the words but when I got older, I reread it over & over. The parting scene ( back hug) btw candy & terry never fail to get my eyes teary.

  15. I never read Candy Candy but I watched one episode of the anime. I think I was 6 yo, and was ( and still am ) a crybaby, I cried watching the whole episode, because I felt so sad for Candy.
    My mom banned me for watching it since then, and I was afraid myself to continue it, I would probably weeping all series long.

    After I read your article above, I realized I made right decision not to pick up reading/watching CC because yes, it would break my heart.

    But, thank you! now I know the story of CC and how KDramas really really take many aspects from it.

  16. I remember watching the show and crying my eyes out when Anthony died. I was about 7, and I’m so glad 20 years later I finally found out what happened. Thanks Ms. Koala!

  17. Thanks for this article. I wasn’t allowed to read mangas when I was a kid… so I didn’t ever get to read it back then. I read the first part of the series after I went to college, but never finished it. This definitely inspires me to finish it.

  18. This reminds me of my childhood. When I was a kid, I watched it religiously even if I can’t understand most of how the story goes. I don’t even know how it ended until a friend lend me a copy of an English dubbed VCD. I loved it and it set me to watch anime for life..

  19. I grew up reading Candy Candy the manga and up to this day, I still cant re-read the part where Anthony is dead. I just.. can’t.. *sob* *traumatized for life!!*

  20. Ohhhh you really bring back all the memory!!! My first ever manga! I think I first read it when I was 10-11 yo, did you just disclosed your age then? 🙂
    Thank you for writing this, and I shared exactly the same sentiment with you in every touching scenes. Bravo Candy candy!!!

  21. Omg ! i remember watching this same girl on tv when i was a kid but i can see her hair style in front of my eyes right now LOL. But i cant remember where or how ! Omg this is the best post eveeeeer ! Thanks im gonna try to find it
    PS im lebanese n i dont know how the hell i know this !!

  22. “However, readers of Candy Candy understand that Terry is Candy’s soulmate (the passionate love, the soul-searching connection that comes once in a lifetime) but they were a love that could never work out.”

    I was falling apart when they have to separate for many times, and for good. Terry will be forever shackled and Candy lost the fire that trigger her spunk. And will that crippled lady be happy with only Terry’s services? Why sacrificed 3 feelings while you can just do good with 1? Is it a price of adulthood?

    This manga taught me a lot and I hate those realities. So I decided, I will never let go the Terry of my life.

  23. Awww, thank you dear, for this post and to remind us all of the sweet memories of our childhood. What a sweet memories we shared.. Even to date, I still remember the OST! Ah, now I know why I want to be a damsel on distress every time I watch Kdrama.. The dreamy-helplessly romantic side of me still long for Albert.. ^^

  24. I used to watch Candy on TV when I was a kid and I loved it so much. I would come back from school, turn on the tv and wait for its start. I remember how frustrated I was when Terry left =( I think the channel stopped showing the series then and it was only recently that I got to know the ending of the story. I was so surprised because I didn’t know it was such well crafted and complex. Thank you for the summary Ms. Koala, it’s a treat. One scene I can’t forget: Anthony falling form the horse in slow motion.

  25. What a delightful read! I know nothing of mangas so it was great to finally get to know Candy whose name I have unwittingly used so many times in reference to K-dramas. Thanks, Koala.

  26. aw… it’s been ages since I followed CandyCandy! This is such a great reminder! I don’t think I ever got to finish the story though (much less understand the complexity of it all!). I’ll definitely be looking this up soon!^_^ thank you so much, ms.koala!

  27. thank you for summerized and bringing back the memories of candy-candy, mrs koala..
    of course we can learn a lot of thing from manga story ^^

  28. Thanks for the summary! I knew i watched it but i can never recall the story as I was very young when I watched the 1-episode-per-week cartoon. I recall bits of its song “有一个女孩叫甜甜。从小生长在孤儿院..” and the names Candy and Anthony, but little else. Glad to finally, consciously, know the story before I passed on. Candy was such an icon of our times, and to me, a role model good behaviour. She was followed by so many others, Princess Sarah and a host of Qiong Yao heroines, until Kim Sam Soon came along and heralded in a new age of womanly norms.

  29. I’ve never read the manga but judging by this summary Albert adopted Candy so wouldn’t he be her “father” and they end up together?

  30. Okoalasshii i grew up with candy candy anime … it was the first drama anime for me, we have the same views on this story….thank you for helping me reminis again

  31. I just wanna say one thing. I save this article. I really like that much.Keep on koala you are good at writing.I admire you!Fighting!!! 😀

  32. MY OH MY M. K! I remember watching Candy candy when I was little in the morning I forgot if this series was before or after princess Sarah. This review brought me back to my childhood days. LOL! I can hear the theme song in my mind but I couldn’t put words into it… Lol I never thought that it was a book or manga. After breakfast after the educational shows then comes cartoons like candy candy, princess Sarah, Cedi the little prince etc etc… Thank you!

  33. wow im such a wimp. i read candy candy when i was around 7 too but the story was too sad for my little heart. I got really depressed after anthony died and stopped reading CC for a while. Then my heart start racing again when Terry came into the picture. Actually, i forgot all about Albert. I only remember Terry whenever I think about Candy. And the scenes when she came to NYC to see him. When Suzanna attempt to commit suicide and Terry arrived. I know in that moment, their relationship has died. But all i could think about with the CC story is the could-have-been with Terry.
    CC is one those book that i always remember, but too afraid to read. Kind of like BBJX. because the story is continuously playing in my mind.

  34. CC is still my favorite Japanese anime. I was a total sucker for Anthony (never really cared for Terry, I must be the only female who doesn’t like badboys) and have a fondness for the roses ever since.

    I still vividly remember how Anthony died. The roses slowly falling down… (the anime has very artistic imagery)

    A Candy Candy related anecdote:

    My sister (who was fashion conscious even back than) loved Liza because her clothes were very pretty and despises Candy because was always dressed in old unfit clothes – many they really treated her bad-. But when Candy was adopted by the richer branch of the family she wore that awesome gown to a ball and I remember my sister shedding tears of regret because she belittled Candy and our parents had to console her.

  35. I remember watching Candy Candy when I was a little girl, I loved it so much that I would rather pass a whole evening of enjoying the Christmas Carnival than missing a single episode of Candy Candy (they use to air the show on Saturday evenings). So it frustrates me so much when I cant find anyone my age who remembers Candy Candy. Not even my mom remembers me watching this. They remember Lady Georgie & Charlotte but not Candy Candy.

  36. After seeing this post, I looked for the manga and saved it in my bookmarks to read in the future. I finally got around to reading it and loved it. Thanks for the recommendation. (=

    When I searched for Candy Candy, I noticed there is also a novel written from the same author that encompasses the manga but extends after the ending of the manga.

    However, the novel is in Japanese and never got translated so I won’t be able to buy it and read it, but if you’re interested and didn’t know about it, here’s the link to the info:

    And I guess this is a site where someone critiqued the Candy Candy novel.

    • Bequi’s critique is a total mess. She argues that Albert is Anohito but there are more details in the new book to support Terry is Anohito who Candy finally marries.

  37. This story was based on a true story i have done a lot of research and found a lot of stuff that me! The Ardleys did exist and The school she went to does to its ST.Pauls academy you guys should look it up i found a techer that was name MS.GREY like in the anime there is a lot of stuff!!!

    • i was doing a research and i found out that in like around 1985 a newspaper was publish saying that Candy Candy was a real little girl so NALISA im with you CANDY CANDY is a true story

    • Yes it is HOnestly i juho really wasy CANDY CANDY and WHO Was REALLY Terrence graham Grandchester!!!!! I want to know who they rlly are. I have been doing a lot of reasearch and i have found some stuff but i want to know more CANDY CANDY plays a major role in my life i LOVE the anime and the manga!!!! If anybody knows more plz tell me I BEG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I just NEVER thought this would be a TRUE story I wouldn’t lie with this

  38. What a witty and delightful blog post!! I’m so glad I came across this. Incredible summary. I saw the anime when I was 7-9 and read the manga when I was 12. It’s been more than 3 decades and I’m still addicted to this story!!! BTW, the new rewrite of the story (the Candy Candy Final Story by author Mizuki strongly implies that Candy did in the end marry Terry, and Susanna died 8 years after they separated!!!

  39. Candy Candy was my first manga to read. After that there goes Sailor Moon, etc. I was 11 when I read Candy, It’s been more than 20 yrs I still love the manga. I sometime re-read it on internet. I didn’t buy the manga cause my of my small allowance at that time he he … And no matter how many times I read the manga, I always cried, the separation of Terry and Candy really really broke my heart, I love Terry so very much. I even made a fanfic of my self that somehow they will be end of together. I didn’t know that Candy and Albert were actually married in the end (cause that wasn’t the story end of the last volume). Nice nice …

  40. Albert is Candy’s adopted father and could not legally have a romantic relationship with her. They are very fond of each other but it is Terence who makes Candy’s heart beat fast and leaves her breathless. Why would you want to forget a love like that? candy remembers and she doesn’t forget Anthony and she loves Terence more. Candy would be with Terence at the drop of a hat if Suzanne Marlow was out of the picture. Are ten years really such a long time? Have faith in true love…

  41. (This is such an old post… should I refrain from commenting? Nope, I won’t :P)
    I also ship Terry-Candy till the ends of life, but I’ve learnt to accept the *possibility* of a Candy-Albert partnership (in my mind, Albert was always a brother to Candy, so I couldn’t really wrap my mind around it).
    Candy and Albert are very similar in personality, hobbies, preferences, etc – both are free spirits. Yet Candy and Terry were complements, and I think having stuff to “argue” about is also important in a relationship/marriage 🙂
    So “anohito” for me is still Terry haha

  42. Thanks a lot for the recap! I believe that Anohito is Terry, for many reasons, including the practical one: Why would Nagita Keiko-sensei revise CC into a novel (a BIG work, you know) if she didn’t want to change something? She did say that she wanted to write the ending as she always wanted it to be. So… since the manga version ends with Candy meeting Albert, it doesn’t make sense if the Anohito is still Albert. Much as I love Albert, my heart never flutters for him. To me, Candy-Albert is like siblings, while Terry sparks her fire more…

  43. First and foremost, Keiko Nagita NEVER regarded Albert as an adoptive father proper (he was only 8-11 years older than Candy, ffs) but simply a guardian. As a young unmarried man under 25 years of age, Albert would have been unable to acquire legal status as an adoptive father. Some US states have age-restricted limitations for adoption eligibility (i.e. some states being at least 18, others at 21 or over 25 years of age), however, this applies to married couples or certain women-not young single males in their early 20s. As for the adoption issue, Nagita has repeatedly trivialised its significance (in the older CC as well as CCFS) since its inception. Besides, Terry would have had absolutely no reason to renounce his title and beg the headmistress not to report the scandal to Candy’s guardian if that adoption act wasn’t so wobbly to begin with. Innumerable times do many of the characters (Stear, Archie, Terry, Candy, etc) reiterate that Uncle William could easily cancel the adoption at any time he wishes. Aunt Elroy had been planning with the Lagans to dispute the adoption as well many an occasion. Candy herself never regarded herself as an adopted daughter and always differentiated her status to the proper adopted daughter status of Annie (she had proper married parents well above her age). Nagita always reminds her readers that Albert arranged this guardianship strictly because Anthony, Stear and Archie urged him to do so as Candy’s demise was imminent when being sent to forced child labour (child trafficking) in Mexico. That said, Nagita has made her point on this issue and nothing further needs to be added. Even today, adoptions can be annulled by all partied involved depending on the conjunction of contributing factors on a case-by-case basis. Case closed.
    As for the identity of Candy’s dear man in CCFS, there is no indication whatsoever by Nagita that Candy is married and/or with children. By simply presuming she’s married means nothing as Nagita provides no indication at all. Instead, she simply and clearly states that Candy is happy living with the man she loves and that is it. End of.
    Based on the clear time and setting Nagita has provided regarding Candy’s present (Time: The Period of the Great Depression in the mid-1930s prior to WWII; Setting: The South-West rural area of the UK within the vicinity of the River Avon), Nagita has already created a prescriptive future for Candy’s dear man, if we are to assume that it’s: (1)Terry or (2)Albert.
    (1)If it’s Terry, then he’s unemployed or severely underemployed as it would constitute an asinine career suicide for him to leave his superb professional status as an established and highly acclaimed actor in the USA for rural England where no actor can survive unless it’s on peanuts. Those who claim that Terry would have been a RSC actor in Warwickshire is incorrect due to the indisputable fact that the RSC was established as a Royal Charter-as RSC- in 1961. Terry would have been an elderly man by then.. From 1932 (being rebuilt by the architect Elisabeth Scott after a devastating fire) until circa 1959/1961, RSC did not exist; it was simply known as a Shakespeare Memorial theatre which hosted several theatre events for 2-3 weeks per annum to celebrate Shakespeare’s birthday. These events were in spring and sometimes there was a single event held again sometime during the summer. That was it. This theatre was open to the public but for local events (there was a public library and an arts and crafts workshop) and parties for the affluent. Bottom line, the RSC did not exist until 1961. Furthermore, Terry had renounced his title and severed all ties with his father. He was no longer a Granchester but a Graham. Nagita never offers the slightest iota of data that Terry had reconciled with his father. On the contrary, Terry eliminated his father’s influence from his life and he even kept his mother at bay. Terry’s future and success were both in the USA and not in the UK. Moreover, the Franklin Roosevelt Administration during the Great Depression had provided most generous funding and invaluable opportunities for the visual and performing arts: The Art of the Neal Deal in 1934; The Federal Arts Project of circa 1935-1943. During the Great Depression and Interbellum, the USA was the best place to be for an actor/actress. The UK was one of the worst places-needless to say about rural England. Even actors/actresses based in London (within close proximity to the Old Vic Theatre) lived under adverse financial conditions. Therefore, if Terry is Candy’s dear man in CCFS, he most probably had suffered another massive mental breakdown due to his long-term depression and alcoholism, and Candy and Albert have decided to put their future aside so as to nurse Terry back to a somewhat healthy condition. Terry would be the new Susanna in this case; as Susanna had an amputated leg, Terry would have an amputated psychological and mental state. Candy was adept at being a nurse so her role as a nurse to Terry would fit as a glove here. Albert would provide the financial assistance necessary for Candy to take care of Terry. Perhaps Albert also lived in the UK so as to further develop his already successful business in London and Southern England. As Albert was in debt to Candy for having saved his life during his amnesia, he would do his utmost to keep her and her dear man safe from harm. Albert is a man of the highest integrity and moral standards, therefore, it wouldn’t be to anyone’s surprise if he provided even further financial support and friendship to Candy and Terry. Perhaps Albert was married to a beautiful British lady-possibly a colleague from the university he had studied. Anything’s possible since Albert is just as beautiful and attractive as Terry. Perhaps Terry gave up acting and started a business of his own.. What is certain is that Nagita has astutely provided the framework (time and setting) under which conditions Terry would have been Candy’s dear man if living in rural England during the mid-1930s.
    (2)However, if Albert is Candy’s dear man living with her in rural England during the mid-1930s, then he would be a successful businessman further developing his already established businesses in the UK (he had previously informed Candy via their correspondence that he had certain successful start up businesses in England during her studies at St Paul’s). Albert is also constantly referenced by Nagita as an adept and shrewd businessman, having been highly educated at the most prestigious universities in the UK. In the USA during the Great Depression, Albert would have suffered significant financial losses which may also explain the reasons why he had sold the Lakewood estate. Whilst not penniless, Albert’s financial status would have been reduced from a formidably powerful magnate to an affluent upper-middle class intellectual (he had studied law and business administration at uni) and entrepreneur with a booming business (perhaps in car industry which was doing superbly well in the South of England during the Great Depression) in London and rural England. To reiterate, the Southern regions of rural England were doing superbly well during the 1930s due to the migration of many affluent Americans fleeing from the financial debacle in the USA to invest in Southern (especially the rural areas around London) England. The areas of Warwickshire, Cambridgeshire and Bath were hot-spots for American investors, especially those interested in the car industry. Therefore, if Albert is Candy’s dear man in the mid-1930s in Southern rural England, then he’s an affluent upper-middle class businessman (perhaps even a lecturer in law at the nearby prestigious universities) with growing businesses in the South of the UK (London and the nearby SW/SE shires). Again, Nagita has adeptly set a framework regarding who Candy’s dear man would be if one was to choose between Terry or Albert.
    Nonetheless, there’s also the third option that Candy’s dear man is neither Terry nor Albert. If so, we have all been seriously trolled by Nagita and, arguably, rightfully so as hordes of feral CC fans have been busting her (I won’t say what) .. in writing about Candy again! Let is go, people, and let the wee lass enjoy her time with the man she loves, whoever the hell he may be!

  44. Thank you for posting this !! it was incredibly healing for someone who just finished watching the entire series and needed sort of emotional support from the fandom. Somehow even with Keiko Nagita’s new CC final story, fanfic such as season of the daffodils, I still find myself craving to find out more about Candy’s life. I wonder if any new CC material will ever be published.

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