Is Shinderera Monogatari the Anime a better story than the Original Cinderela?

Shinderera Monogatari

Cinderella is one of the most famous fairy tale stories in the world. Everyone has heard at least one iteration of the story while growing up. Over the years, we have received countless adaptations of it. Today, we will review a 1996 adaptation of Cinderella, an animated series named Shinderera Monogatari. Is it any different from the story we have been hearing?

The Original Cinderella

Edmund Dulac 1910, Margaret Tarrant 1915, and A H Watson
Different iterations of Cinderella

Cinderella has near-about 200-350 iterations of its tale. The earliest recorded version of the story dates back to the 1st century BCE, drafted by a Greek geographer named Strabo. It is the oral tale of “Rhodopis and Her Little Gilded Sandals” – a story of a Greek slave girl who marries the King of Egypt.

Each iteration of the story consists of these few elements that keep the story intact through time:

  • A girl who has to suffer through her stepmother’s cruel whims.
  • A supernatural being who is a guardian to the girl.
  • Animals that provide company to the girl.
  • A pair of beautifully adorned footwear.
  • A member of the Royal Family to whom the girl falls in love with and marries.

The Popular Cinderella Story

The most famous iteration of the Cinderella story is the one adapted by Disney. The adaptation began with an animated movie and includes many live-action films. The story has all the elements that make it a Cinderella story.

Cinderella | Courtesy of Disney

Cinderella’s father marries another woman to provide her with a mother. He dies shortly after. Since his death, Her stepmother overburdens her with chores. Jealous of her beauty, her stepmother goes to lengths to prevent Cinderella from having a good life. Her only blessing in this tormented life was the animals that kept her company.

One day, the king holds a ball to find a suitable partner for his son. She longed to go, however, her stepmother had other plans for her. Her stepmother did not allow her to have any time off, to fix the gown left behind by her mother. Despite such difficulties, she had her dress ready. When that day arrived, her stepsisters tore it off.

Prince Charles and Cinderella
Prince Charles and Cinderella at the Royal Ball | Courtesy of Disney

Unable to bear it anymore, she rushes to the garden as tears roll off her cheeks. There, she meets with her Fairy Godmother who calms her down. Her Fairy Godmother casts magic to fix her dress and sends her to the ball in a magic carriage. Cinderella arrives at the ball and sweeps the Prince off his feet with her beauty. As they spend time together, they both fall deeper in love. With a heavy heart, she had to part ways as the clock near the 12th hour. Amidst the rush, she leaves behind her glass slippers.

The Prince with the remaining glass slippers, searches the kingdom to find her. Her stepmother attempts to thwart the prince, yet destiny finds them together. And the story ends with happiness.

Is Shinderera Monogatari different?

The 1996 anime adaptation differs on many notes from the classic tale. The story has slight variations with an overall different interpretation of their destined love.

  • Her father does not die and is on a business trip.
  • She meets the Prince before the Royal Ball.
  • The story has more than one antagonist.
Shinderera and Prince Charles solving problems of commoners
Shinderera and Prince Charles | Courtesy of Tatsunoko Production

The anime, unlike the Disney adaptations, develops its characters. We get to understand Cinderella better. All the characters receive great attention as each of them is explored individually. We finally receive a personality out of the Prince. It also provides many explanations that were left out of the original adaptation.

Cinderella receives proper growth, spanning over 26 episodes, her kindness does not feel like something that is there for the sake of it. It feels more natural, more integral to her nature. In the classic tale, the animals could always talk to her. In this version, we are provided with an explanation. Her Fairy Godmother tries her best to make her life as comfortable as she could without interfering directly. It was her Fairy Godmother who grants the animals the ability to speak so that she has company.

The Prince here is more than just a pretty face. He is passionate and kind towards his people. He sneaks out of the castle and disguises himself as a commoner under his friend’s name. He meets his people. tries to understand their life and tries to be a better ruler for them. This also gives him the freedom he does not get in the castle.

Duke Zaral
Duke Zaral | Courtesy of Tatsunoko Production

The story also has two antagonists – the stepmother and the Duke. The stepmother is her classical counterpart. Meanwhile, the Duke is given an evil personality. The duke consistently plots against the Royal Family, even having Cinderella frequently be a part of his plans and machinations.


[Translation: to live so many years and only today to find out that there is a Japanese version of Cinderella…]

The anime concludes with the same classical ending. Yet, the way it reaches that point is different and more elaborate. It develops its characters and their intricate relationships with each other. It highlights many of the themes in a more extensive route.

The anime adaptation is blessed with the creative liberty of the animators. Their discretion has allowed this classic tale to be more than what it had been seen as. In short, Shinderera Monogatari carried the characters better than the original Disney adaptation.

Scroll to Top