[Shojo manga] Candy Candy – 9 volumes (1993)
This manga was published in 1993. It is one of my favorite manga that always accompanied me in life. It is the very first shojo manga that I read, when I was a teenager. It deeply marked and touched my heart as a young girl. I wanted to be like her, mischievous and brave, to be joyful and authentic. Just like her, I wanted to live beautiful relationships, friendships and love, but especially to be able to meet my “Prince of the hills”. I think that after that, I always knew that I was made to live in a couple, a life of passionate and tender love, with someone I would grow old with, always hand in hand. It’s not a corny manga, on the contrary, it’s a very realistic manga with hard subjects about love, death, sacrifice, war, inequalities and prejudices.
It is a manga rich in emotions and I found each page very beautiful. The artist manages to draw the simple things of life with lightness and candor. I am literally charmed. It is a manga that is very inspiring to me and that I find timeless because it still has a great impact on my personal quest: to live the true Love while enjoying these small simple joys of life! And every time I reread it, it still thrills me, because it echoes my deep desire to be with a man with whom I could maintain this beautiful equation 1+1=3.
Candy’s life path
The story takes place in America in the 19th century, near Lake Michigan in an orphanage. We discover the little Candy who grows up with her best friend Annie. Both are inseparable and Candy has done some silly things, making Miss Pony and Sister Maria, a young nun, see a lot. It is a life made of joy and carefree until Annie is adopted by a rich family, the Brighton family. This first separation is followed by other sorrows and hazards of life. We witness Candy’s evolution from her teenage years to her adult life, full of unexpected surprises but also heavy trials because life is made of ups and downs.
I really like Candy’s personality. She exudes joie de vivre because she likes to laugh and have fun while keeping her childlike soul. She always stays true to herself in her full authenticity. I learned the words mischievous and frivolous making her endearing and funny. She has an inner strength that I like very much, she always goes forward, always staying true to herself, smiling at life, being in love with life. That’s why she inspires me a lot. I love her face which is very expressive and does not leave me insensitive. In addition to discovering her big eyes, her hair in curls tied with pretty ribbon bows but especially I love her freckles. I found it so exotic (from the point of view of a little Chinese-Tahitian girl on such a small island who has not seen anything of the world yet…) It is enough to be totally charmed!
Life gave me a nice surprise because as my daughter Mi-Li grew up, her hair became wavy and some freckles appeared on her face. This of course made me secretly think of Candy 🙂
What I really like is to see the way Candy opens up to others and creates unique and endearing bonds with them. She has a freshness about her life, a spontaneity and an unfailing optimism that is very inspiring to me. I find that she has a connection with the world that is magical. I understood that this comes from her expression of authenticity. This makes her relationships with others much more harmonious and enriching. You can tell that she is almost loved by everyone except for one: her fellow nurse Flany doesn’t like her and she makes that clear without pretense. I found their relationship interesting, often tense but mutual respect is present. Flany doesn’t like Candy’s personality, it annoys her but she is aware of the human qualities that will make Candy a very good nurse. There is no judgement to be had because it doesn’t take away from the fact that each one is a beautiful person in this world, in her full authenticity. That’s what I found very beautiful.
It made me want to live beautiful relationships of friendship full of tenderness, joy, laughter and complicity. It is very beautiful to see because it is done with the heart because it is totally selfless. There is this simple joy throughout the manga, I found the author very talented to illustrate these moments of quality that make each relationship authentic and very beautiful. Each person has a special and unique place in Candy’s heart. I also understood that you can’t please everyone and that it doesn’t matter because she chose her friends, forming a beautiful circle of friends who meet and have a good time together. Above all, they support each other in the heartbreaking moments of their lives.
Candy’s circle of friends
Annie, her childhood friend
I love her friendship with Annie. Candy’s fiery personality complements Annie’s sweetness well. She protects her, makes her laugh when she’s sad, defends her from others who make her cry. It’s really great to have someone to rely on. The scenes of them as children are truly adorable moments. They are inseparable but at 6 years old, Annie was adopted by the Brigthon family who are a wealthy family. Their friendship continued with letter exchanges. Then suddenly Annie told her that she was going to stop writing to her because her parents didn’t want anyone to know that she was from an orphanage, so she had to cut all ties with her past. This was terrible news for Candy. We witness Candy’s very first sorrow. Then in the following years, fate allowed her to find Annie in the most unexpected circumstances.
I have been envious of people who talk to me about always having their childhood friends around. In 2019, I had a taste of that feeling of being reunited with a childhood friend, also my first love. Unfortunately this adventure has come to an end. As a result, I am still envious of those who are lucky enough to have a friend who is a witness to their life journey.
His friend Alistair
I really like her friendship with Alistair. Candy is always willing to be the test subject to test his inventions, and even Patty, Alistair’s girlfriend willingly gives up her place. Between them, I can clearly see the joy of their inner child coming through.
I would have enjoyed trying these gadgets that are fun and loaded with meaning. Like making a parachute for Candy in the shape of a candy cane to match her name. It makes me want to have a tinkerer and inventor friend, whose inventions I would enjoy marveling at. I was very touched by his latest invention. He had given Candy his latest invention which is totally different from those gadgets since it is a gift that will be able to accompany Candy without her presence by his side (he had volunteered in the army and she was unaware of his intentions). He named it “Happiness box for Candy”.
I found it so beautiful because I could feel in this special gift all his love-friendship that he has for her. A unique place in his heart. This is a beautiful example of friendship between a man and a woman.
Archibal: friendship or love?
We discover the first love affairs of the adolescence of each protagonist where there are often one-way loves. I deplore the loves of Elise who tends to fall in love with men who love Candy. Here it is Archibal who loves Candy and Annie who loves Archibal. What a mess this is going to be, I thought, will it destroy the friendship between Annie and Candy? Nothing like that because Archibal knew how to react well, preserving his friendship with Candy and triggering the reconciliation between them.
Finally there is no love triangle or unhealthy situation in love and that’s what amazed me. True love is about wanting the other person to be happy without controlling it (because the other person loves another person) and giving yourself the right to be happy too. This is how Alistair and Archibal are in a relationship and happy. It is really interesting to see how Alistair and Archibal were able to get out of this “friendzone” by changing their attitude towards Candy. Only in this way can they continue to preserve their friendship. It’s healthy and not suffering.
Candy’s first love
Anthony, his first love
It is really a very romantic relationship, the famous cliché of “Prince Charming”, with its dreams of marriage. But the author is very strong to make us land, for example when Candy had run away, Anthony slapped her! I found this gesture violent, which was not at all consistent with the image he conveyed. But without judgement, we could understand but also somehow accept these parts of shadows. After that, we thought that the wheel was going to turn but no, a tragedy occurred.
I clearly saw that life is really made of ups and downs. There is the beauty of life and its trials. It’s cyclical and that’s how it is. You have to learn to move forward and overcome it while keeping your inner light. And Candy always manages to move forward!
Terry, her love
It is passionate and sacrificial love in the Romeo and Juliet style. He is known as the bad boy of St. Paul’s College and is the opposite of Anthony. Terry has a very specific idea of love from his parents. He is consumed by resentment towards his father for rejecting his mother Helen Baker, who had been his mistress. Then he feels anger towards his mother who abandoned him to pursue her career as an actress. He therefore aims not to love like them. Thus, fate puts on his way a heartbreaking choice to make: Candy or Susana?
I really liked the way Candy handled this situation. She understood that Susana was ready to die for Terry and that she had to step aside. Terry made his choice even if he doesn’t want to admit it because that’s how Candy loves him. Terry is unable to give up a woman who saved his life. Terry does not manage to be happy, to accept to have sacrificed his true love. He realized by seeing Candy’s tears that by acting like this, he could never love and make happy either of them. It is by assuming his choices and giving a chance to his relationship with Susana that he can make Candy happy. It is to give a sense to his life.
The Prince of the Hills, Uncle William, Sir Albert
This character is my absolute ideal because he surpasses the other princes of fairy tales and Disney. Mr. Albert has always accompanied Candy throughout her life path. He acts as a protective figure, a caring and benevolent friend. Albert is her best friend, her confidant and her benefactor. He means so much to her. Their very first meeting in “Prince of the Hills” was marked by that famous phrase “You are prettier when you smile”. It is a nice advice that Candy will not forget to honor this sweet memory.
I really like this new form of friendship, it is not to be inseparable but more an idea of binomial, like a person who guides us and who watches over us. Candy finds in him a security, a protection, a moral and physical support. It is in his arms that she can take refuge to cry. When he had amnesia, she took care of him by passing him off as her brother and living together to help him recover his memory. There is this tenderness and complicity that I find undeniably beautiful, the bonds between them evolve and grow, to become even more beautiful, until we discover the love that has slowly and naturally settled in.
The sudden departure of Mr. Albert was very upsetting for Candy because he knew that the landlady had learned that they were not related. In their time, it was very badly seen to cohabit with a man without being married. He preferred to leave so as not to make life difficult for Candy. Once again, Candy was subjected to the norms of society. She looked everywhere for Mr. Albert because she missed his presence. We feel well that it is not emotional dependence, on the contrary, it is the desire to be with him. Candy is above all an emancipated woman and that is what inspires me. The end is very beautiful and therefore does not conclude with a wedding, but lets us imagine a thousand promises of love, lets us imagine that they have a whole life to love each other without being separated, with this great freedom of life.
There are those encounters that have turned Candy’s life upside down because they have been a great help in dealing with the trials of her life. She realizes that she may not see them again. I understood what Candy could go through and feel because I experienced it. There is this sadness and nostalgia also of not seeing them again because of the distance.
So Candy thinks of these people with gratitude and the unforgettable moments that she engraves forever in her heart. In their own way, they gave me hope, a helping hand and warmth in my heart. Let’s not forget these people who have been our allies because in their own way, they have embellished or given hope in our life path!
How does Candy cope with the challenges?
The tests are hard in this manga and there is no pretence. Nothing is masked or hidden. For example the twisted blows of her tormentors Elise and Daniel, who are really pests! No way to get rid of them for good, but Candy really doesn’t let herself go, she knows how to defend herself, to come to blows when it is necessary! Because of her character, she went from being Elise’s pet girl to a servant, before being sold! Here again, the harsh reality of the social classes that have the right to decide the fate of the poor is revealed to us
She was rescued in extremis by George, the right-hand man of Uncle William, the patriarch of the Andre family, who took her back to the Andre castle. We think that her problems will be behind her once she is adopted by the Andre family. However, Aunt Elroy never stops spitting her venom at every opportunity. She also encounters problems at the boarding school in London at St. Paul’s College, with malicious looks because of her orphan origins.
I really like the contrast between poor and rich. We see through the pages that money does not make happiness, that the rich are not so happy. Archibal, Alistair and Anthony grew up without parents because they traveled a lot for business, so they were raised by Aunt Elroy. Anthony lost his mother at a young age and had poor health. Mr. Albert did not want to be the “patriarch” of the Andre family at such a young age, he preferred to lead a life of wandering to escape this golden prison. Terry no longer wanted to live in the privilege of his father’s wealth and decided to live by his own means.
It’s really interesting to see the environment in which Candy evolves and acts in front of a strict society governed by status. We don’t have to envy rich people and Candy has found her happiness in both worlds, remaining faithful to her values, she is a lady like no other because she is emancipated. This invites us not to have any judgment on their social status, on the contrary, I had so much fun to know the personal history of each character. And I reveal to you below Candy’s secrets to face all her trials!
1) The value of the objects
She has items of sentimental value that she treasures like treasures. They are her Prince of Hills’ brooch, Miss Pony’s necklace, and Annie’s ribbon… She is filled with gratitude and it helps her to remember the good times spent with them.
There was one scene that I really liked. It is when Mr. Albert was chased away by a guard from the André family’s estate. He wanted to recover a bottle, the bottle containing a letter from Candy. There, we can see that it became a precious object for Albert and that the guard could not understand his angry reaction!
It pleases me to know that through these objects, a beautiful love story is hidden. The love of a friend, of a mother.
2) The return to the roots
When everything goes wrong, Candy’s thoughts always go to her two moms where she feels loved and cared for. She is filled with gratitude, and then thinks about her beautiful moments in the orphanage. So she doesn’t want to worry her moms, so she tries to find the courage to overcome her sadness. And then there are times when she can’t take it anymore so she decides to go back to the orphanage unexpectedly. I laughed at the scene where she goes back for the first time and there she is, competing to be the “Chief” of this new band of orphans.
I am envious of those people who have a refuge. I don’t know this feeling of a return to my roots. Without knowing it, it has unconsciously made my wound of abandonment and injustice grow even though I have been able to find a certain serenity by cultivating gratitude and putting sacredness on my life path. Furthermore, being aware of the damage that not having a shelter can cause, I am making sure to build a secure home so that my daughters can feel at home, loved and cherished.
3) Give meaning to your life
Following her unjust separation with Terry. She wanted to live her life in her own way to be proud of it and not to undergo a life dictated by the high society. That’s how she left the college to accomplish herself, she wants to follow the example of Terry and Mr. Albert! And she thought of being a nurse. We can see that all this makes sense because it is thanks to a letter from Mr. Albert who wrote to her from Africa, that he had met an American nurse who looked like him. And it was there that she found what she wanted to do as a profession. So she asked Miss Pony for advice.
That’s what life is all about, thinking about taking charge of your life and not being dictated to by others. She gives herself all the means to achieve her goals. That’s it, before looking for love, it’s time to think about fulfilling oneself, to realize oneself and find one’s place in this world. And if you look closely, her life is made of beautiful synchronicities. She is doing everything to be a good nurse. Candy is very inspiring to me, she is a strong woman with a big heart, caring and courageous. She loves life and laughter above all!!! And until the end she knew how to show us her joy of living! This joy that makes me want to be like her!
A big favorite
You know now why this manga is very important to me and helped me to build myself at the same time. Some of you may understand better my interest in :
- Letter exchanges
- The tree houses
- Fairy tale castles & Prince Charming
- Being in the forest to live surrounded by animals
This explains why in my childhood I loved to read the magazines “30 Millions d’Amis”. And every time I watch their youtube channel “Fondation 30 Millions d’Amis”, it makes me feel good to see that humans are good.
- Loving her two “moms” from the orphanage as a refuge is her home.
Blood ties are not the strongest. There are the relatives of the heart.
This shojo manga rocked my heart where I could see love in all its forms. Candy has grown into an accomplished and fulfilled young woman. This is a beautiful story of love, personal quest and synchronicities between the Prince of the Hills and Candy. Two loving hearts who have this strong mutual desire to share their happiness together. You just have to welcome it with open arms and this is what the end of this manga suggests to us by letting us imagine their future together! It makes you want to love!
Art-book Candy Candy
The art-book Candy Candy (in Chinese version) is beautiful. It gathers the two other works of Yumiko Igarashi: Georgie (which I love very much!!! I would surely make you a review of this manga) and Mayme Angel.
Candy in Chinese version is translated as Little Candy “小甜甜” (小: small / 甜 sweet)
I was pleasantly amazed to find some of the images from the manga all in color, for example the portraits of the main characters, or the one of Candy in her nurse’s costume with Doll. It’s so pretty in color…