Japanese cartoonist Machiko Hasegawa (1920-1992) made a name for herself when her comic strip Sazae-san (Mrs. Sazae) debuted in 1946. The comic about a housewife would later spawn movies, live-action television series, and a long-running anime still going to this day (see my earlier post here). However, one hit wasn’t enough for Hasegawa and she created other comic with varying success. Her second most famous comic is arguably Ijiwaru Baasan (“Granny Mischief”).
The titular Granny (named “Ishi” in the comic, “Tatsu” in some of the TV adaptations) is as nasty and vindictive as you could get. The character would play mean pranks on anyone she runs across, whether her own family members, acquaintances, or even random strangers who had the misfortune of running into her.
Some of her pranks are harmless, such as when she replaced nori (dried seaweed) with black construction paper. Others are more malicious, such as intentionally hiding a lost dog in her home so the family would increase their reward money as days pass. There are also times where her pranks are out of what she perceives as an injustice. One comic featured Granny covering up the display glass at the local aquarium with paper to protest the increased ticket price.
The comic strip ran in Sunday Mainichi magazine from January 2, 1966 to July 18, 1971. While the comic wasn’t as long-lasting as Sazae-san, it has managed to gain numerous television adaptations, both live-action and animation.
There were two anime adaptions. The first one was broadcast on Yomiuri Television starting October 3, 1970, about a year after the Sazae-san anime debuted. This version was produced by Knack, their first show. In this version, Granny was named Tatsu. Only 38 episodes (each half-hour split into two segments) were made before it went off the air on August 18, 1971.
Here’s a clip from the 1970 series:
The second anime came 25 years after the first series ended. This version was produced by Eiken, the studio behind Sazae-san. Fuji Television broadcast the series from April 19, 1996 to June 13, 1997 for 46 episodes. Here, they reverted to the original “Ishi” for the main character’s name.
Here is the theme song for the 1996 series:
That was it for the series, however. The six-volume book collections are still in-print, but there are seemingly no plan to revive the character in a new adaptation at this moment in time.