The story tie-in somewhat led me to think about manga and lolita (don't ask how I made the jump, I just did!) and the love-hate relationship that both have with each other. When it's done nicely, you have something like 'Godchild' and more recently, 'Gosick'. And then I remembered this absolutely seminal shoujo manga of my childhood and youth and thought, 'she just might be the original lolita manga heroine!'
And just whom am I referring to? Why, it's Candy of course! From 'Candy Candy'! lol!
'Candy Candy' started out as a novel by Kyoko Mizuki in 1975 and was serialised in a manga magazine by Yumiko Igarashi a few years later. It's Igarashi's illustrations of Candy that I'm most familiar with since I've only read the manga version.
The manga looks dated and IS dated, afterall, it began in the 70s. But even so, girls who grew up reading 'Candy Candy' still remember it fondly for the freckle-faced orphan girl heroine and her tragic love-life (her first love died, her second great love had to leave her for another woman) and yet remaining optimistic and cheerful throughout her many trials and tribulations. Which all sounds a bit like a Pollyanna syndrome and kinda might make one want to smack Candy for being so annoyingly glad mostly. But well, it helps a lot if you're reading Candy as a starry-eyed kid and a less cynical point of view.
The story of Candy is set at the turn of the 19th century, almost prior to WWI. And certainly those dresses she wears doesn't resemble pre-war Edwardian style to me and more lolita-esqe. Hence, to me, Candy will probably always be the first ever manga lolita character on hindsight.
Even when Candy decides to embark on a career choice as a nurse, her strong lolita aesthetics remains, good for her.
Nurse Lolita, anyone?
If you don't mind nostalgia, 'Candy Candy' the manga is available on Mangafox here. It's truly perfect for reading on a lazy Sunday afternoon.