|Heidi, Girl of the Alps|
(Arupusu no Shōjo Haiji)
|Anime television series|
|Directed by||Isao Takahata|
|Produced by||Junzō Nakajima (Head)|
|Written by||Isao Matsuki|
|Music by||Takeo Watanabe|
|Original network||Fuji TV|
|Original run||January 6, 1974 – December 29, 1974|
Heidi, Girl of the Alps (Japanese: アルプスの少女ハイジ, Hepburn: Arupusu no Shōjo Haiji) is an anime television series produced by Zuiyo Eizo and is based on the novel Heidi's Years of Wandering and Learning by Johanna Spyri (1880). It was directed by Isao Takahata and features contributions by numerous other anime filmmakers, including Yoichi Kotabe (character design, animation director), Toyoo Ashida (co-character design, animation director), Yoshiyuki Tomino (storyboard, screenplay), and Hayao Miyazaki (scene design, layout, screenplay).
Heidi is one of several World Masterpiece Theater titles produced around the "classical children's literature period" (1974–1997), based on classic tales from the Western world. The animation studio responsible for Heidi, Zuiyo Enterprises, would split in 1975 into Nippon Animation Company, Ltd. (which employed the anime's production staff and continued with the World Masterpiece Theater franchise) and Zuiyo Company, Ltd., which retained the rights (and debt) to the Heidi TV series. The feature-length film edit of the TV series, released in March 1979, was engineered completely by Zuiyo, with no additional involvement from Nippon Animation, Takahata or Miyazaki.
Heidi is five years old when her aunt Dete, who has raised Heidi since her parents' deaths four years earlier, takes Heidi to live with her formidable grandfather in the Bavarian Alps. Dete has found a promising job in Frankfurt, but cannot leave while still Heidi's guardian, nor can she take Heidi with her. The only relative left is Heidi's grandfather, and in Dete's opinion, he should take some responsibility. Alm-Onji, as Heidi's grandfather is commonly known, has a fearsome reputation with the villagers of Dörfli, as rumors claim that in his youth he killed a man. Now he lives a solitary life with his dog Josef in a cabin halfway up the mountain. However, Heidi quickly wins her way into his heart with her enthusiasm and intelligence, firmly establishing herself in his life. She spends her days on the mountain top with the goatherd Peter, whose responsibility it is to take the villagers' goats to the high mountains for pasture, and her winters occasionally visiting Peter's grandmother, a blind old woman whose dream is to one day hear her cherished book of psalms read to her (which Peter cannot do since he failed to learn to read). Alm-Onji's misanthropy and seclusion prevents Heidi from going to school, of which she has no experience anyway, ultimately leaving her illiterate.
Heidi continues to live happily in the mountains until Aunt Dete returns from the city, excited about a good opportunity for Heidi. A wealthy German businessman, Mr. Sesemann, is searching for a companion for his wheelchair-bound daughter Clara. Thwarted by Alm-Onji, Dete tricks Heidi into accompanying her, ostensibly to get a present for Peter and her grandfather. Promised that she can return at any time, Heidi is taken to Frankfurt. There, Dete abandons her to the "care" of Miss Rottenmeier, the strict, no-nonsense governess in charge of Clara's welfare. Heidi and Clara quickly become friends, and Heidi quickly turns the household topsy-turvy with her escapades and well-meaning faux pas. Clara is enchanted by Heidi's stories of the Alps, which paint a picture of a life completely different from the sheltered and lonely one she is accustomed to. Her father is mostly away on business, and Clara's only constant companions until now are the servants and her pet canary.
Heidi's longing to return home and occasional attempts to escape are punctuated by the occasional distractions of new friends. She smuggles a small kitten into the house, and she and Clara care for it until Miss Rottenmeier discovers it and has it thrown out, until Sebastian, the kindly butler, is able to leave the kitten with a friend. Clara's doctor befriends her, and occasionally keeps a benevolent eye on her, but it is Clara's grandmother that has the most impact. On one of her rare visits to Frankfurt, she and Heidi become fast friends. Under her kindly tutelage, Heidi finally learns how to read, to the astonishment of the tutor who has struggled for months to do the same. However, the old woman's departure home again proves a turning point for Heidi. Forbidden by Miss Rottenmeier to ever mention or even think of the Alps again, Heidi rapidly goes into a decline, eventually becoming a sleep-walker, whose passage through the hallways is mistaken for that of a ghost, terrorizing the household.
Summoned home to deal with the haunting, Mr. Sesemann, with the aid of the doctor, catch Heidi in the middle of the night. The doctor diagnoses Heidi's condition and persuades Mr. Sesemann to send the girl back to her Alps before she dies of homesickness. Clara is only reconciled by the promise that she will be allowed to visit Heidi in her mountains. Under the care of Sebastian, Heidi embarks on the long trip home, finally returning to her grandfather, Peter and his family.
Heidi's return and her newfound enjoyment of reading prompt Alm-Onji to partially restore a ruined house down in the village, where they retire the following winter so that Heidi can start going to school. Over the course of the season, Heidi and Alm-Onji become friendly with the villagers, and Peter builds his own sled and wins a local race. The subsequent spring, they return to the mountain in the Alps, bidding farewell to their new friends. In Frankfurt, Clara, who has been longing to see her friend again, reminds her father of his promise to her, but he reminds her that the conditions in the Bavarian Alps may be too harsh for her to handle. The doctor is sent to the Alps in her place, to inspect the area and determine whether it is an appropriate environment for a crippled, sick young girl. Heidi, Peter, Alm-Onji, and the limitations of the terrain convince the doctor that this may be just the place for Clara to try her legs again.
In due course, Clara comes to the Alps with Miss Rottenmeier, who shows a clear disapproval of the rustic conditions, an open fear of animals, and distress at the potential for accidents on the mountain. However, Clara's grandmother soon arrives, and after seeing first-hand the vast improvement in Clara's condition, sends Miss Rottenmeier home, commending Clara to the Alm-Onji's care before departing herself. After having established that Clara's legs are capable of functioning, the children and Alm-Onji begin to work on Clara's physical therapy. Eventually, Clara is able to walk without assistance and returns home with her father and grandmother, promising that she will return the following spring to be with her friends again.
|Heidi (ハイジ, Haiji)||Kazuko Sugiyama (杉山佳寿子)||Randi Kiger|
|Alm-Ohi (アルムおんじ, Arumu onji)||Kohei Miyauchi||Vic Perrin|
|The Doctor||Yoshiaki Nemoto|
|Peter (ペーター, Pētā)||Noriko Ohara
Hiroko Maruyama (film version)
|Großmutter (おばあさん, Obasan)||Miyako Shima→Terue Nunami||Irene Tedrow|
|Aunt Dete||Taeko Nakanishi||Janet Waldo|
|Clara Sesemann (クララ・ゼーゼマン, Kurara Zēzeman)||Rihoko Yoshida
Keiko Han (film version)
|Miss Rottenmeier (ロッテンマイヤー, Rottenmaiyā)||Miyoko Asō
Hisako Kyouda (film version)
|Sebastion (セバスチャン, Sebaschan)||Kaneta Kimotsuki||Alan Reed|
|Mr. Sesemann (ゼーゼマン, Zēzeman)||Taimei Suzuki||Barney Phillips|
Miyoko Aso (film version)
|Brigette||Akiko Tsuboi→Takako Kondo||Julie McWhirter|
|Johann (ヨハン, Johann)||Yoshiaki Nemoto
Mitsuo Senda (film version)
The Heidi, Girl of the Alps anime has been dubbed into about twenty languages. The TV series was able to reach major stardom in Asia, Europe, Latin America, the Arab world, and South Africa.
In Spain, the series debuted on TVE in 1975, simply titled Heidi. An introduction to anime for many of that generation then, by some months it was already popular enough to have its merchandise include a comic book adaptation, and later continuation, of the series, published bi-weekly by Ediciones Recreativas and lasting over an hundred issues in total from that year to 1981. "Abuelito, dime tú" became one of the best known children's songs in Spain and Heidi herself became one of both Sélica Torcal and Marisa Marco's most famous roles. The name "Rottenmeier" became synonymous with "uptight, straight-laced hag" among Spaniards and has subsequently been used to describe multiple female politicians, as well as the Spanish parliament, plus has the women been used as a bad type of 'potential' single (the suggestion coming from her first reference name "Fräulein" meaning "unmarried woman") and even had a psychological book written about her, simply titled Rottenmeier: la novela by Roberto Carrasco Calvente.[circular reference]
In Latin America, it has been popular since debuting on Mexican TV in 1978 and, much like Spain, Heidi herself become one of Cristina Camargo's most beloved roles, but now she shares famous role spots with dubbing director Francisco Colmenero (Heidi's grandfather), as well as fellow actors Diana "Ad" Santos (both Peter (Pedro) and Clara) and Eugenia Avendaño (Fraulein Rottenmeier).
For the series' German dub, an entirely new soundtrack was composed; the in-episode compositions were created by Gert Wilden and the title song's music by Christian Bruhnand performed by the Schlager folk duo Gitti und Erika. The lyrics for the title song, which was simply titled "Heidi" were written by Andrea Wagner and Wolfgang Weinzierl the last one who also made the script translations and dubbing direction.
The German-language version of the series was first broadcast on ZDF, German national television programm, from September 18, 1977 to September 24, 1978.
Heidi, Girl of the Alps was also a huge success in Italy, where it is still one of the best known and loved anime of all time. Its first broadcast was from February 7 to June 6, 1978, and it had very successful yearly re-runs. A good amount of popularity is also enjoyed by the title song of the Italian version, sung by Elisabetta Viviani. The Italian dub was made from the German one, so it features the same soundtrack and dialogue adaptation.
In Italy, also, the series was summed up and reassembled in three feature films, released in cinemas from 1977 through to 1979. The first of the three, Heidi a scuola ("Heidi at school"), sums up the first part of the series, which includes the arrival of Heidi in the mountains and the meeting with her grandfather. The second, Heidi va in città ("Heidi goes to town"), summarizes the episodes in which the protagonist is brought to Frankfurt and befriends Clara, although the longing for her grandfather makes Heidi understand after many vicissitudes that she should go back to live in the mountains. The third feature, Heidi torna tra i monti ("Heidi goes back to the mountains"), summarizes the latest episodes of the television series. Heidi, finally back with her grandfather, continues to maintain the friendship at a distance with Clara. Who, precisely during a visit to the girl initially hampered by Mrs. Rottenmeier, will resume the use of her legs. All three titles were officially distributed in 16mm by Sampaolo Film.
The series was dubbed into Arabic and aired in the Arab world. It had an original Arabic opening theme, which was very different from the original Japanese opening theme.
Dubbed for the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) by Leephy Studios, the show was incredibly popular in South Africa during the late 1970s and early 1980s and had a number of re-runs. While the (German) theme song wasn't initially dubbed into Afrikaans, multiple covers of it in the language exist, including by Carike Keuzenkamp and Kurt Darren, the latter released in 2012 and which makes brand new verses for the song. They describe his childhood memories of Heidi herself and current thoughts of her, including of potentially contacting her by phone, as well as inviting her somewhere. Later, updated versions of the animated TV series contained the theme song in Afrikaans for the South African audience. At the time the original animated TV series was released in South Africa in 1978, "Heidi" had also been sung in English by artist Peter Lotis, and was released as a single. It attained the Number 2 position on the Springbok Charts on 16 June 1978, and remained on the charts for 13 weeks.
The entire series has been dubbed into English for broadcast in international English speaking markets. This dub was broadcast on Cartoon Network India (2001) and South Africa. The dub possibly originates from Leephy Studios, the same studio which produced the English dub for Anne of Green Gables and the Afrikaans dub for this show. This dub has never been released on home media.
Despite this series' international popularity, the full series is less well known in the US and UK. The only version of this anime to have been commercially released in the United States and United Kingdom is a completely separate feature-length movie version of the TV series, created in 1975, but supposedly not released until 1979 according to various sources[who?]. It was later released to home video in both continents in 1985 by Pacific Arts under the title The Story of Heidi. This version was produced by Claudio Guzman and Charles Ver Halen, with the English translation and dialogue by Dick Strome and featured a voice cast including Randi Kiger as Heidi, Billy Whitaker as Peter, Michelle Laurita as Clara, Vic Perrin as the Alm Uncle, the Doctor and Postman, Alan Reed (who died in 1977) as Sebastian and Mr. Usher, and legendary voice talent Janet Waldo as Aunt Dete. The version is distilled to only a small number of central episodes, as well as so two of the sub-plots (of the adopted Pichi and Meow, respectively) were part of the main plot instead, as well as cutting many other scenes of the episodes, either by shortening them or, most often, removing them entirely. This dub also changes the name of the dog Josef to Bernard, ostensibly because he is a St. Bernard, as well as Pichi to Binky Bird. It aired on Nickelodeon's Special Delivery anthology series in the 1980s.
The series was also dubbed in Tagalog in the Philippines on ABS-CBN in 1997.
Heidi is being aired in Kannada Tamil, Malayalam and Telugu languages in Chintu TV, Chutti TV, Kochu TV, and Kushi TV respectively, under the respective names "Heidi", "Sweet Alfa", "Lilly", and "Heidi".
Heidi, Girl of the Alps is still popular in Japan today — the love for Heidi has drawn thousands of Japanese tourists to the Swiss Alps. Stamps featuring Heidi have been issued by Japan Post. Japanese heavy metal rock band Animetal made a cover of the show's original theme song. In the documentary about Studio Ghibli, The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness, Miyazaki refers to Heidi as Takahata's “masterpiece.”
A feature-length film was edited from the series in 1979 by Zuiyo (which by then was a separate entity from Nippon Animation, which employed many of the TV series' animation staff). All cast were replaced excluding Heidi and the grandfather. This movie is also the only incarnation of the Heidi anime to have been released commercially in the United States in English (on home video in the 1980s). Isao Takahata remarked "Neither Hayao Miyazaki nor I are completely related to any shortening version" on this work.