“They are small problems of the heart, born from a friendship that smells of love“. If you haven’t read these words and sung them almost unconsciously in your head, that’s bad: it means that you are people who had a normal childhood, without worries, shocking revelations and daydreams. Small heart problems it is not in fact a medical series focused on the lives of heart surgeons dealing with complicated heart operations on desperate patients, but the Italian translation of a famous anime, itself based on a manga shojo (aimed at an audience of girls) called Marmalade Boy. The series in question, as you well know, tells the life of Mikia nice sixteen-year-old whose daily life is turned upside down forever by the arrival of Yuri, a boy who moves to his house with his parents, who have divorced to respectively settle with the girl’s parents (this is a very strange element, if we think about it in hindsight, but which we will talk about later). Touched by a wave of nostalgia for times gone by, when in the late 90s and early 2000s, the afternoons were spent fixed on Italy1so let’s try to remember how beautiful it was to watch cartoons like Small heart problemsa series that has influenced us like few others have and that has helped create a generation of people.”brooders” and highly complex from an emotional point of view!
So the answer to this question is simple: way too much! This is demonstrated by the incredible share rate recorded when it was first broadcast, which at the time reached the heights of 20%: a truly unprecedented result.
So let’s take a step back in time and try to rethink what this fantastic animated series has left us after so many years.
Small heart problems it tastes like a brik of apricot juice and flatbread eaten on the sofa, careful not to leave crumbs so as not to get scolded. He knows about sighs and discoveries, about burning red cheeks after your crush had spoken to you for half a second. It tastes like afternoons spent on the landline to discuss with the best friends at school about what would have happened between the protagonists of the series, to imagine with open eyes where the story would have gone, or to be told what happened, on the unfortunate occasion in which a visit to the dentist had deprived you of the possibility of seeing the episode live: a world that today seems light years away, but which in its time was our daily life. A beautiful everyday life in which the only thing we really cared about was knowing whether the two protagonists had finally exchanged a chaste kiss. Yes, we know it well, it is in this precise historical moment that true fangirls were born! Whether you started watching the anime when you were a teenager, pre-adolescent or, as in our case, perhaps jumping ahead a little too early, even before, it doesn’t matter: we are certain that at whatever age you have approached this work, you will not have been immune to its charm.
Are you in love with the idea of love? You had problems friendzone? Have you experienced love triangles and unrequited feelings? Can’t trust people when it comes to relationships? Well: part of the blame for the romantic problems in your life almost certainly comes from the traumas suffered while watching this seemingly harmless cartoon about love, friendship and family. This is because, following the adventures of Miki and all her countless suitors, we most likely got a little too carried away by putting ourselves in her shoes and raising our standards a little too much towards the male sex: after all, what do we need we did with people like Alessandro, Michael and Ginta, how much could we aim to have our own personal Yuri? What then, “What’s Ginta’s name?” we asked ourselves naively?
If we wanted to try to delve into our subconscious by carrying out psychoanalysis sessions aimed at understanding why we are so often attracted to a nice and kind boy, but at times introverted and with an unfriendly, sarcastic and provocative note, we would understand that, most likely, everything it comes right from him. What about the constant voice-thought who tells in a dramatic manner full of sighs the romantic misfortunes in our heads? This is because, in all its simplicity, taking up stylistic features that cannot be more typical of soap operas, the story told by Little Problems of the Heart has always been fascinating and capable of creating a real addiction. While adapting to the needs of the little ones, in fact, the series carried forward elements “scandalous” which continued to pique our curiosity, as plots hatched to keep the two young lovers apart: Should we also perhaps remind you of the shocking love story between Mary, the protagonist’s best friend and Nik, a young teacher? Material that would be absolutely censored today!
And, speaking of censorship: there has been a long debate about how the Italian adaptation of the anime ended up cutting many of the potentially most problematic elements of the series (a good 152 minutes), but there is still so much confusion. The original version of Marmelade Boy in fact contained explicit references to swinging and to the possibility of a incest between the two protagonists: the plot of the product itself revolved around the decision by the parents of the two protagonists to exchange couples and then move in together under the same roof. The Italian production, in a very clever way, rather than going to censor the anime since it was not suitable for a very young audience, directly asked permission from the cJapanese animation institute Toei to be able to take the starting material to build his own personal story. The Italian version that we saw as children, rather than censorship, should in fact constitute a sort of alternative variant compared to the original product, a version that is certainly less problematic but no less interesting.
This because at the center of the narrative there is always love in all its forms: from friendship to romantic affection, from forbidden love to sweet and innocent love, narrated with simplicity and hints of humor even in the saddest and most complicated situations. Simply a series that we will always remember with affection and transport!