|The Littl' Bits|
The children of The Littl' Bits, from left to right: Willibit, Lillabit, Snagglebit, Chip, Browniebit
(Mori no Yōki na Kobitotachi: Berufi to Rirubitto)
|Original run||January 7, 1980 – July 7, 1980|
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, 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, and The Mysterious Cities of Gold.
Due to their similar size and naming scheme, an analogy is often drawn between the Littl' Bits and the Smurfs.
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.
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.
Japanese Version (Mori no Yoki na Kobito-tachi Berufi to Rirubitto)
English Version (The Littl' Bits)
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.