At the 25th anniversary of A Goofy Movie, can you help solve this decades-long mystery?

Last week was the 25th anniversary of the release of Disney’s A Goofy Movie. Seeing all the waves of nostalgia rippling through the Internet for the film reminded me that the Goof Troop franchise has a special place in a lot of people’s hearts, being one of Disney’s few takes on modern adolescence in a more-or-less grounded setting (despite being about a community of talking dogs).

Personally, by the time Goof Troop came around, I was just a little too old to get into it. By that time, I’d pretty much transitioned to the point where all the animation I was watching was anime…but little did I know that one of Japan’s biggest anime magazines was looking at Goof Troop.

Recently, while cleaning out my closet, I opened up a box of stuff I hadn’t looked through since the mid ‘90s and found an old issue of Animage, the monthly anime magazine from Japanese publisher Takuma Shoten that’s still in circulation today. I’d bought the magazine second-hand at an anime convention in the U.S. long before I’d learned to read Japanese, primarily just to look at the pictures. But leafing through it again, for the first time I noticed a section about Goof Troop.

▼ I forgot to check the cover before I threw the magazine out, but with the issue also highlighting Macross 7 and Akazukin Chacha, it must have been from sometime in 1994, after Goof Troop’s U.S. television run.

So what did one of Japan’s leading anime periodicals have to say in its preview of Goof Troop, or My Papa is Goofy, as the show’s Japanese title translates to?

“Along with Mickey and Donald, Goofy has been a beloved Disney character for 60 years. With him in the leading role, he appears in a new TV series with the added elements of having a son named Max and a group of neighbors.”

The series aired weekday evenings at 6 p.m. as part of satellite broadcaster Wowow’s Disney Animation Theater block. The description under the illustration of Max (who many would argue is the show’s actual protagonist) and Goofy says that the show is “set in a ‘90s American suburb,” but it’s the caption for the other image, where the father and son’s boat is about to get eaten by a shark, which has the surprising part, which is:

“Out of the 78 total episodes, four were made in Japan.”

Wait, part of Goof Troop was made in Japan? And not just some incidental frames of in-between animation, but enough of the art to say that four entire episodes can be credited to a Japanese production team? And because of that, if your personal definition of “anime” is “any animation produced in Japan,” does that mean that certain parts of Goof Troop are anime?

▼ Episode 1 of the Japanese dub of Goof Troop, which was actually Episode 6 in the U.S., like some sort of karmic payback for Japanese anime that had their episode order shuffled overseas.

Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be any publicly available record of which four episodes of the series were animated in Japan, and the only online mention of the involvement of Japanese artists comes on the Goof Troop page on English-language fan site Fandom, which says “The series was animated by nine studios: Walt Disney Australia, Sun Woo, Kennedy, Wang, Walt Disney France, Walt Disney Japan, Guimaraes, Freelance, and Moving Images.” So if anyone can help us solve this mystery, let us know in the comments.

Reference: Fandom
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