Friday, 28 July 2017

Candy Candy the Final Story: the Real Happy Ending

Terence G. Granchester and Candy White Ardlay (art by Yumiko Igarashi)

Created by Kyoko Mizuki and drawn by Yumiko Igarashi, Candy Candy was my first anime, if not the second, after Lulu the Flower Princess. That was way back in the mid 1980s when I was about 9-10 years old, when all mangas and animes were innocent and non-exploitative…

I love Candy for her exuberant character, despite all the hardship she had to endure as an orphan in Indiana USA. I thought that Candy would be forever with Anthony Brown, the sweetheart she met during her trying days at the Lagan House. Yet, I never finished her story, for somehow my VHS/Beta rental store stopped supplying her stories. Then when I was already in college, this was already 1992 onwards, I started reading Candy Candy manga from cover-to-cover, all the nine volumes. I remember the days when I went to Gramedia just to buy the next CC instalment. I returned to her early days in Pony Home, her beautiful days with Anthony Brown, Alistair Cornwell and Archibald Cornwell, her broken heart when [SPOILERS] Anthony died… and then my heart beat when she met Terence Granchester. Terry, the naughty yet broken boy who made her laugh again (but not before forcing her to face her nightmares about Anthony).

Then, as I reached for Volume 7, I cried my heart out when she and Terry broke up. Not because they grew out of love… but because Candy chose to leave Terry to Susanna Marlowe, a girl who rescued Terry during an accident. My heart broke when Candy left Susanna’s hospital in a snow blizzard, as Terry tried to stop her from leaving…




The rest of the story gave me little happiness, particularly when [SPOILERS AGAIN] Stair died during World War I. My heart cried with Candy and Patty O’Brien (Stair’s girlfriend), and I thought of just ending the book right there. I was somewhat glad I kept reading, for eventually Candy found her happy ending in the form of William Albert Ardlay (earlier romanisations would write his name as “Aubrey”, which sounds right to me). Albert had always been Candy’s secret benefactor, protector, and father/brother figure. It turned out then… that Albert was the “Prince on the Hill” whom Candy met during Volume I of the story. A good ending, right? Candy was reunited with Albert, and no doubt that they would get married eventually.

Well… yeah, but just because I want Candy to be happy, for she indeed deserved happiness after all those abuses and heart breaks. But truth be told, I always thought that Candy should be with Terry. Alas… it wasn’t meant to be… Thus I never re-read Candy Candy anymore. Too painful... 




Terry holding Candy for the last time, art by Yumiko Igarashi


That is, until three days ago, a fateful Tuesday night when I out of the blue Googled Candy Candy. I never revisited Candy Candy anymore, for I had never been able to free myself from the pain of Candy-Terry separation. Thus… three nights ago, it was with glee, sweetness, and actually a LOT of tears that I learned that Candy actually did end up with Terry. They indeed got married and lived a beautiful life together…

Eh, wait, how exactly it happened, you said? You who also watched and read Candy Candy with me, you who also threw the manga to the corner of the room because you couldn’t stand Terry-Candy break up? (If you haven’t read the manga because you’re not from the glorious 70s-80s gen, read e.g. Koala’s Playground summary of CC).

Well, after examining loads of internet conversations, I have come to the conclusion that Kyoko Mizuki, or shall I say Nagita Keiko-sensei (that’s her real name) had always wanted to end Candy Candy with a reconciliation between Candy and Terry. This was way back in the mid 1970s (CC was first published in April 1975, a year after I was born!). But it seems that her then-illustrator (Yumiko Igarashi) and also Toei Animation (the company who produced the anime) wanted it otherwise, hence the Candy-Terry break up became permanent in the manga and anime in general. Exception was made for the Italian version of the anime (surely with Toei’s approval?), that Terry and Candy eventually reconciled after Terry left Susanna. I didn’t know this until three nights ago.

Also unbeknownst to me, between 1998 and 2001, three lawsuits appeared between Nagita Keiko and Yumiko Igarashi (CC’s illustrator), because the latter wanted to publish CC stories without the approval of Keiko (the original author). The court later confirmed that Keiko indeed had 50% copyright of the character. Being the original author, Keiko also had the rights to publish a Candy Candy novel without the involvement of Yumiko or Toei.  

Hence, on 1 November 2010, a good nine years after the end of the lawsuit battle with her former illustrator, Nagita Keiko-sensei published the novelisation of Candy Candy and called it “Candy Candy the Final Story”. Unlike the manga version, Candy Candy the Final Story novel has a prologue (unofficially translated by Self Taught Japanese), where a 30 years old Candy was reminiscing her old life from her new home in England. Candy wrote in her prologue letter that she wanted to visit the Pony Home, but she also knew that her husband wanted her to always be by his side. The novel also has an epilogue, and in between the prologue and the epilogue, we can find a third person narration of Candy's life just as depicted in the manga and anime. Along with the narration, we can also read letters written by Candy or for Candy. Many, if not most, letters were written between Candy and Albert (which, I suppose, made Albert-Candy shippers considered those letters as love letters), but there are letters from and to Candy’s other friends too.  Many letters, such as the letter from Albert to Candy, explained how the 17 years old Albert met the six years old Candy at the Pony Hill. A sweet letter from Candy to the deceased Stair (Alistair) shows how important Alistair Cornwell still was for Candy, after all these years...


Art by Yumiko Igarashi


Although the novel followed closely the manga and anime versions, the novel also contained some essential additions, which basically rewrote the Candy-Terry romance. The first essential addition was Candy’s letter to Terry, written a few years after their break up, but never sent. The letter basically admitted how much she still cared for him. The second essential addition was news that Susanna Marlowe died, and in the obituary Candy read that Susanna and Terry were never married. They were indeed engaged, but they were never married. The third (most) essential addition was Terry’s letter to Candy, basically admitted that everything remained the same (i.e. he still loved Candy) and that he wanted to renew their friendship.

art by Yumiko Igarashi


The novel’s epilogue showed Candy returning from her reminiscent to find her husband (“Anohito” – “that person” or “he/him”) returning home. Anohito entered the living room (which contained books on Shakespeares and medical matters), Candy rose from her chair and hugged him.

Now, who is this Anohito? Who is Candy's beloved husband?

I believe that Anohito is Terry, for many reasons. Three important additions (Candy’s unsent letter to Terry post-break up, Susanna’s death, and Terry’s letter to Candy post Susanna’s death) are just too crucial to insert without any consequences. Scottie had made a very good and long review of why Terence Graham Granchester is Anohito. Read her post; it’s worthwhile, though I spent more than an hour reading it. However, the most practical reason that made me think Anohito as Terry is simply this:

Why would Nagita Keiko-sensei revise CC into a novel if she didn't want to change something? Writing a novelisation of Candy Candy is a BIG and PAINFUL work, you know, particularly after the lawsuits. Nagita-sensei did say that she wanted to write the ending as she always wanted it to be (“My heart is seems to be still flying. But I could really say good bye to this matter. This is the real final to me”). So... with all the pain and fuss of revising a story, since the manga version ends with Candy meeting Albert anyway, it doesn't make sense if the Anohito is still Albert. My sentiment apparently echoes Ana Luisa Aldana's sentiment written on 14 April 2012 on Bequi's interpretation:

Despite your extensive essay placed here, I do not get a sense that you considered or explored the motivations of the author to publish this Final Story. In my opinion, of the story she wanted to truly tell was the one presented to us, then in my opinion she really had no need to...yet she still did. Why? If in fact she truly always had Albert in mind for Candy then the story was told to her satisfaction, no need to indulge in this sort of Final Story-telling.

Motivation is a very important thing to rewrite a big saga like Candy Candy. Anyone who has ever written a book, a thesis, or even a long fan-fiction know how taxing an act of rewriting a book can be. If  it ain't not broken, why fix it? If there's no desire to change the end of the book, why rewrite it??

After all, this is what Nagita-sensei wrote in her message board to her fans:


"About the novel version Candy... I know it's so late to let you know about this. (It was scheduled to be published this May), but finally I had the first draft checked. It's already beautifully-bound, but It was much harder work than I thought to rewrite the whole content. Maybe the reason why I stopped working on it sometimes is because I had often recalled some painful memories. Despite that, the more I rewrite, the more I could leave the manga and past memories, then got the new world. But I also felt that manga readers might not like the new world. Anyway, now, all the painful memories have evaporated. Finally, I got really refreshed. It will be divided into 2 volumes. I took the style that Candy in her 30's recalls her memory and could face anew each character. That was a blissful time. I'll let you know again after the date of issue will be decided."
(July 29, 2010, translated by Tarzan Freckles)

"About Candy Candy final story—

I've finished checking the galley of the postface today. Now, I ended my role in this project. I wanted to tell all of you about the release date as soon as we decided it... I'm sorry.... A certain issue depressed me so much, so I couldn't post here for a while. (I put the detail of this issue on my homepage: 
http://nagitakeiko.com/) I felt like Candy and other characters were stained and then I felt terrible. However, when I looked at the cover and belly band, I'm satisfied that I hung on to the end. It will be published on Oct. 28. The price is 1,680 yen (about 21 USD) each. It has 2 volumes. It's expensive, isn't it? When I was offered first, it was planned as a , so I thought I . That's why I decided. It was getting more lavish before I knew it. But If Hat-chan looks at the front page filled with roses, I wondered if she would want to draw it and what Rose-san will say about it... While imagining such things, I got more excited. As Shoko-ooobasama imagines, this work was really hard... But I'm happy everyone is glad... As I say repeatedly, this novel . It's the novel I rewrote thoroughly. Despite that, the new novel has 300 pages more than the old one, and Candy in her 30's looks back at her memories. Therefore, the editor says kindly it's the newly-written novel... But the content is the same as old one. So, please don't expect too much. It really took much time. My heart seems to be still flying. But I could really say good-bye to this matter. This is the real final to me. I want to take a deep breath after this novel will be published. What a long journey this was!... I'm recalling those who kindly keep on supporting me since this matter happened. Thank you. I'll be pretty nervous until the release date. May this novel give you all joy..."
(October 14, 2010, translated by Tarzan Freckles)



CC the Final Story was a true final story for Nagita Keiko/Kyoko Mizuki. It means that the original manga, written more than 30 years ago, did not end the way she truly wanted it to end. She doubted if the manga readers would like the new book ("But I also felt that manga readers might not like the new world"). It can be because the novel was now written in a different format (with dates purposely hidden)... but it can also be because she drastically altered the result/conclusion of the new book.

As for me... Much as I love Albert, my heart never flutters for him. Don't get me wrong. I do love Albert. I think he's an adorable individual, almost too good to be true. His presence in Candy's life is of utmost importance to her, and I will not discount his importance because I don't see Albert-Candy as a pair.

Yet to me, Candy-Albert is like siblings, while Terry sparks her fire more...Anyway. I just realised that of course, just as Candy-Terry shippers exist, Candy-Albert shippers also exist. Candy-Albert shippers had the point: Terry was a broken man who might not make Candy happy. What they overlooked was that Terry was broken not because he was a spoilt child, but because he was an abandoned and lonely child. He wasn’t bad from the start… and Candy actually helped him to become a better man. Surely Terry had to do his homework first before he became worthy of Candy – and boy, did he do his homework! He rose to stardom without his dad’s money, he abandoned alcohol because he wanted to be worthy of Candy… and he even waited for more than 1.5 years before contacting Candy after Susanna’s death because 1) he wanted to respect Susanna’s memory, and 2) he wanted to heal himself first. Now do tell me that Terry is not worthy of Candy, and I will remind you not to cast the first stone.

While I did accept the Candy-Albert possibility, I accepted them just because I wanted Candy to be happy. However, the fact that I never revisited Candy Candy signifies my own reluctance to accept that ending. I could just not move on from Candy-Terry…just as Candy herself (or Nagita-Sensei actually) later wrote in Candy's unsent letter to Terry (which was written some time after she learned that Albert was, after all, Uncle William):
"Still today, I jealously conserve all your letters, but I cannot read them again."

"your letters" here refer to Terry's old letters he sent to Candy before they broke up in New York.

People who have moved on can look back to the past and smile at the past. Candy still could not do that, even after those years. Even after she learned that Albert was Uncle William (which meant, it was dated after the end in the manga), she still could not read Terry's old letters to her. Tell me that it means that Candy had let go... and I tell you straight to your eyes: No, this is not what letting go is.

Candy watching Terry's King Lear (art by Yumiko Igarashi)


It seems, Nagita-sensei was like that too. Until she wrote and finish The Final Story.

It seems The Final Story was a catharsis for Nagita-sensei to close this chapter of her life for good, and I can understand that. Watching your creation ending not so in the way you wanted, plus having lawsuits afterwards about your creation, are very painful. Nagita-sensei needed this novel just as we need it. For that, I thank her tremendously.

Anyway, if any of you is interested to read the fan-fiction of how Candy was reunited with Terry (after she received her letter), read “The Season of Daffodils” by Josephine Hymes. I have to say, this authoress is truly skilful in making me believing that Candy’s stories were indeed set at the dawn and dusk of World War I, and the years before World War II. Josephine wrote poignantly of the Twenties fashion style and political issues. Using the language of Downtown Abbey, she expanded the Granchester-Baker story (Eleanor Baker was Terry’s biological mother; I adore her exceedingly), and she even hinted on the possibility of Candy being biologically related to Albert and Anthony (my thought is that Candy was the sister of Anthony, just because she looked very much like his mother – but nothing more was written on this front). There were passages that required editing, but writing 351 pages is tiring enough, hence I put no blame on Josephine. Instead, I thank her (and Keiko Nagita of course!) from the deepest part of my heart, for making the 10 years old me, the 20ish years old me and the 43 years old me happy again.



Post script 29 July 2017

I have been listening to Horie Mitsuki's Candy Candy songs since the last few days since I found CC the Final Story. I realised again that, but for the opening themes (Candy Candy, written by Nagita Keiko), almost all CC songs referred to or hinted at Albert as Candy's sweetheart. It is of course in line with Toei's (and I think Yumiko Igarashi's) intention of pairing up Albert and Candy.  Thus, I can understand why Candy-Albert fans are reluctant to accept the possibility of Candy-Terry pairing in the Final Story. 



Take "Ashita ga suki" ("I love tomorrow"), the ending theme of CC (the original anime) for example, beautifully composed by Nagita Keiko herself and elegantly delivered by Horie Mitsuko. The whole the settings on the hill and the greeneries gave hints of the meetings between Candy and Albert, although Candy and Terry also shared green hills in St Paul and Scotland. But the nail in the coffin for Candy-Terry fans in the anime is this song:




"Akogare no Hito" (My Beloved) definitely refers to Albert, if not Anthony, for the song talks about a blond prince with bagpipes. There's no room for Terry there, and that's fine. That's what was agreed between Nagita Keiko, Yumiko Igarashi, and - later - Toei Animation. Note that Wikipedia does not mention Nagita as the composer of this song (Wikipedia can be wrong, but I need to see the document that Nagita did write this song).

But then came CC The Final Story, and I can look back at these songs with a smile in my heart.

There is no way the Anohito in the Final Story is Albert. No way. If he was Albert, he wouldn't migrate to England with Candy, taking her so far away from the Pony Home and Indiana... Plus, Albert's financial kingdom is mostly in the US, and with another war looming in Europe (WW II this time), it makes no sense for Albert to bring his beloved (if he indeed considered Candy as a woman, not as a sister) to a dangerous place like England. Bequi and other Candy-Albert shippers have suggested that the love between Candy-Albert was scandalous at that time (because Albert was Candy's adopted father), hence Albert had to take Candy away to England to marry her and to live with her.

Does not make sense. I agree with Scottie: If Albert loved Candy that way, and in time she loved him like that in return, he would cancel her adoption, freeing them to get married. Albert adopted Candy without anyone's consent; he did not need anyone's consent either if he wanted to marry her. He had to cancel out the adoption first, but that can be done. The legal link between him and Candy can be easily canceled out, unlike if he was Candy's blood brother or biological father.

On the other hand, it makes perfect sense for Terry to bring his bride to England, for he was British anyway, and he loved Shakespeare. Purchasing a painting of Pony Home (painted by Slim, a former Pony resident) for Candy makes sense, because the painting connects Candy to her beloved Pony Home. Having Shakespeare and medical books in Candy's England living room makes sense if she shared her life with Terry, for Terry was a Shakespearean actor (with Albert, the books would be, as Josephine Hymes pointed out in her excellent fan fiction, of travels and faraway places like Africa and Australia). Plus, as Scottie pointed out, Candy was reluctant to return to Pony Home because she knew her beloved needed her by his side.
“Thanks to Great Uncle William, it was possible to obtain the land of Mr. Cartwright. And Pony’s Home is full of orphans as usual. I would like to be of more help to the teachers, but right now —- I do not want to leave HIM whom, above all, wants me by his side all the time. “Vol I. p. 230-235, Candy ‘s retrospection

Albert was never a possessive person; Terry was. Terry was jealous of Anthony; Terry also bought Candy a one-way ticket to New York so that she would stay with him in NYC. Of course possessiveness is not healthy; eventually Terry would have to learn to control it if he and Candy got married. But we are not talking about whether Terry's possessiveness is bad or not (I admit it is). We talk about the characteristic of this Anohito (HIM) who "above all, wants me by his side all the time." And, truly, after at least a decade of separation (Susanna died about 10 years after Terry-Candy separation), would you blame Terry for always wanting Candy to be by his side? Would you blame Candy for always want to be by his side?

Those italic sentences Candy wrote above screamed TERRY to me, not Albert.

Hence, there was no room for Albert interpretation in the Final Story. Albert was Candy's foster father, brother figure, a person dearly beloved by Candy. But he was not the Anohito.

I agree with Scottie: Terence Graham Granchester was the Anohito... and I feel like my heart flutters like Candy's when she read his letter for the first time in a decade...


Update 4 August 2017

Found that Scottie has her own blog, and she proposed a timeline of CCFS here. It's very interesting, thanks, Scottie!

I also found another Candy-Terry fan fiction, written by Alexa Kang. Titled "The One I Love Belongs to Somebody Else", the story later produced a spin-off about the daughter of Candy and Terry. Alexa took it further to make the spin-off a true original fiction called Rose of Anzio. It's available at Amazon, and I intend to buy the four volumes (the books receive good critics, hope to have it made into a movie!). Alexa had to change some characters and details to respect Nagita Keiko (Kyoko Mizuki)'s copyright, but as the result, we have an original fiction that offers winks to the Candy-Terry saga. Definitely in my reading list!


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