The 2nd Dimension

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Elmo Sheds a Tear

Although not an anime-related news item per se, I still think that this is pretty funny.

According the the Associated Press, the Sesame Street character Elmo is presented a bit differently in Japan.

"We're going for a deeper kind of character with a wider range of emotions," said Yasuo Kameyama, one of the local producers who works on the show with Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization behind "Sesame Street."
Japan's Elmo cries more easily than the U.S. version. The American Elmo wept only once during the entire "Sesame Street" history, when a goldfish died, but Elmo has already had one bout of tears in the Japanese production -- when a friend left without saying goodbye -- and more are planned.

The US version of Elmo that we all know and -- whatever -- was traditionally used as an aid for pre-school learning such as teaching the alphabet and the ability to count.

But since the reading rate for children in Japan is 100 percent, they don't really have the need to have their reading lessons assaulted by the fuzzy red terror. So he is meant to teach a different kind of lesson.

The social and emotional development of children is also a key part of the U.S. show, but the version in Japan is more about problem-solving and growing up. Much of the half-hour show is spent on a relatively complex story.
In one, Elmo stumbles during a track race and struggles with feelings of defeat but gets up to make it to the finish line. In another, he dreams about becoming a baseball player, a superhero and a dancer but in the end decides his true love is dance.

An overly emotional Elmo who loves to dance? Hmm...

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