|Heidi, Girl of the Alps|
(Arupusu no Shōjo Haiji)
|Anime television series|
|Directed by||Isao Takahata|
|Produced by||Junzō Nakajima (Head)|
|Written by||Hisao Ōkawa, Mamoru Sasaki, Yoshiaki Yoshida|
|Music by||Takeo Watanabe|
|Original network||Fuji TV|
|Original run||January 6, 1974 – December 29, 1974|
|Arupusu no Shōjo Haiji|
|Directed by||Sumiko Nakao, Isao Takahata|
|Produced by||Shigehito Takahashi|
|Music by||Takeo Watanabe|
|Released||March 17, 1979|
|Original video animation|
|Arupusu no Shōjo Haiji: Arumu no Yama-hen|
|Music by||Takeo Watanabe|
|Released||21 August 1996|
|Original video animation|
|Arupusu no Shōjo Haiji: Haiji to Kurara-hen|
|Music by||Takeo Watanabe|
|Released||21 August 1996|
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 the 6th and final entry in Calpis Comic Theater, a precursor of the World Masterpiece Theater series, based on classic tales from the Western world. The animation studio responsible for Heidi, Zuiyo Enterprise, 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. Zuiyo also re-edited the series in two OVA released in 1996.
Heidi is five years old when her aunt Dete, who has raised Heidi since her parents' deaths four years earlier, takes the orphaned Heidi to live with her formidable grandfather in the Swiss Alps. Dete has found a promising job in Frankfurt, but cannot leave while still Heidi's legal guardian, nor can she take Heidi with her. The only closest relative left is Heidi's grandfather, and in Dete's opinion, he should take some responsibility and do his share since she's the daughter of his deceased son-(Heidi's late father). 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 rebellious goatherd Peter, whose responsibility 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 like Peter.
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-using daughter Clara, who is crippled due to rickets. Thwarted by Alm-Onji, Dete tricks Heidi into accompanying her, ostensibly to get a present for Peter and her grandfather. Although at first promised that she can return at any time, Heidi quickly learns of the ruse and tries to convince Dete to let her stay but is instead dragged to Frankfurt by force. While on a train headed to Frankfurt, Heidi throws a temper tantrum while screaming and crying for her grandfather, when she tries to leave the train, she realizes too late as the train is moving away. When they finally arrive at the Sesemann mansion, Dete abandons her under the authority of Miss Rottenmeier, the strict, no-nonsense governess in charge of Clara's welfare. Heidi and Clara immediately 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 paints a picture of a life completely different from the sheltered and lonely one she is normally accustomed to. Her widowed 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 and write, 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 as a serious case of homesickness and persuades Mr. Sesemann to send the girl back to the Alps before she dies of her condition. Clara is only reconciled by the promise that she will be allowed to visit Heidi in the 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 and Peter 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 Swiss 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 disabled, sick young child. Heidi, Peter, Alm-Onji, and the limitations of the terrain convince the doctor that this may be just the place for Clara to try out 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)
|Sebastian (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)
In 1967, future Zuiyo founder Shigeto Takahashi, manager of TCJ at the time, produced a 5-minute pilot short for a series based on Johanna Spyri's novel, but the project was shelved until the new studio was founded. The series finally went into production in 1973, when a new pilot with character design by Yasuji Mori was produced as a test. This work however was never shown publicly and what remain of it are only a few cels and concept arts.
For an accurate depiction of the settings, Takahashi asked his staff to make a scout trip to Switzerland, so that they could carefully study the locations for the series. In summer of 1973, Isao Takahata, Hayao Miyazaki and new character designer (and animation director) Yōichi Kotabe made a two-day visit to Maienfeld and later they also traveled to Frankfurt in Germany. The results of their research were used as a reference in the design of the settings and backgrounds, and in the characters designs. The group stayed at the Heidialp hut which served as an inspiration for the grandfather's cottage. Before his trip to Switzerland, Kotabe had drawn Heidi with two pigtails based on Mori's previous design, but he removed them after a Swiss librarian told him that a 5-year-old girl who lives in the mountains wouldn't be able to tie one. For the grandfather's design, Kotabe took inspiration from a wooden carved figure in a local souvenir shop, which he quickly sketched without being noticed by the shopkeeper.
Many new episodic adventures were added to the narration to pad the story, especially in the first part of the series. One of the most notable changes is in the character of Peter, made considerably less hostile, when in the original novel he even breaks Clara's wheelchair out of jealousy.
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 the 70's Spanish generation, the show became one of the most popular anime of all time in Spain, enough to have its own Spanish merchandise, including a comic book adaptation-turned-continuation of the series, published bi-weekly by Ediciones Recreativas and consisting of over an hundred issues in total from 1975 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, and the Spanish parliament, among others in Spain, and has the woman been used as a bad type of 'potential' single (the suggestion coming from her first reference name "Fräulein" meaning "unmarried woman").
The show was also quite popular in Colombia, Venezuela and Peru.
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 1978 through to 1979. The first of the three, 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 second, 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. The third feature to be released, 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. All three titles were officially distributed in 16mm by Sampaolo Film.
The series was dubbed and aired in the Arab world, and was premiered in 1984. This dub was one of the first produced in the Persian Gulf, being a collaborative production between Kuwait and the United States. At that time, it was very common for actors of various nationalities to participate in the first dubs in the Gulf area, so the same thing happened in this dub, which was made up of two casts of actors: the first, who worked from Kuwait, made up of actors from Lebanon and Jordan; and a second cast, made up of Arab actors residing in the USA, from Egypt and Jordan. Credited as production studios were United Studios Company (USC), from Kuwait; and to an American studio named Middle East Media Center, which according to the dub credits, is located in Hollywood. Said American studio was probably close to, or at least known to, the Egyptian-born American businessman Frank Agrama (Harmony Gold founder), who at that time worked, among other things, producing Arabic dubs of anime series with a cast of actors of Arab origin, but who lived in the USA, several of whom would participate both in the Arabic dub of Little Lulu and Her Little Friends, which was recorded entirely in the USA, and in this collaborative dub by Heidi, with the American staff. This dub was released in Saudi Arabia on KSA TV in 1984, and on Kuwait TV in 1986, with great success, to the point that in these two countries the series has been broadcast several times in recent years. Also, the series has been shown in numerous Arab countries, such as Bahrain, Jordan, Lebanon, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Syria and the UAE.
The dub included the participation of Nahed Fahim (Heidi, Narrator, Additional Voices), Gashan Al-Mashini (Alm-Onji, Additional Voices), Zuhair Awadh (Peter, Additional Voices), Samira Shamiya (Clara, Dete, Additional Voices), Feryal Qassem (Miss Rottenmeier, Peter's Mom, Additional Voices), and Zuhair Haddad. The dub director was Ghassan Al-Mashini. The translation was done by Afaf and Saba Bader.
It had an original Arabic opening theme, which was very different from the original Japanese opening theme. The musical theme was composed by the Egyptian Adel Asfour, and was sung by the Jordanian interpreter Sameera Nimri, who would also interpret the Arabic ending, and other additional songs. For the dub, an own soundtrack was composed, replacing the original Japanese soundtrack, but it was not dispensed with, since the Arabic soundtrack is mixed with the Japanese one in several scenes, and even many songs from the Japanese version are reinterpreted, such as the original Japanese opening. All these compositions and arrangements were also made by Adel Asfour, and were recorded in the USA, the same country where the final mixing and editing would be done.
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.
An English dub was made possibly in Philippines, and was broadcast on Cartoon Network India in 2001. The dub has never been released on home media and is very hard to find. This dub, about which there is almost no information, is the only known dub of the complete series in English, and which has been proven a real dub.
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 according to the copyright, but supposedly not released until 1979. 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. The movie features excerpt of Takeo Watanabe soundtrack, but used in different sequences than the series. 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, as well as in Cebuano in 2000.
In India, the English dubbed version of the series was aired on Cartoon Network in 2001 on weekdays 8pm IST Heidi was aired in Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam languages in Chutti TV, Kushi TV, and Chintu TV and Kochu TV respectively.
The series was broadcast in Turkey with Turkish dubbing. Originally broadcast on TRT, the series was later broadcast on CNBC-e, Kanal 1 and Kidz TV. The series, which was popular in the 1990s, is still widely watched and loved in Turkey.
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."
All the songs in the series are written by Eriko Kishida, composed by Takeo Watanabe and arranged by Yuji Matsuyama. The album with the songs was first published in Japan in May 1974 by Nippon Columbia (Catalog# KKS-4098).
"Tell me" (おしえて, Oshiete) sung by Kayoko Ishū with yodeling by Nelly Schwartz.
"Wait and See" (まっててごらん, Mattete Goran) sung by Kumiko Osugi, with yodeling by Nelly Scwhartz.
Episodes 4 and 45 of the series, were theatrically released in Japan in blow-up format during Tōhō Champion Matsuri, on March 21, 1974 and March, 12 1975 respectively.
A feature-length film was edited from the series by Zuiyo (which by then was a separate entity from Nippon Animation, which employed many of the TV series' animation staff) and released in Japanese theaters on March 17, 1979. All cast were replaced excluding Heidi and the grandfather. Isao Takahata remarked "Neither Hayao Miyazaki nor I are completely related to any shortening version" on this work.
In 2015, an eponymous remake of the series has been produced by Belgian production house Studio 100. The series is an international co-production between various countries and consists of 39 episodes. A 26-episode second season featuring an entirely original plot was produced in 2019.
A parody also produced by Zuiyo Arupusu no Shōjo Haiji? Chara Onji, has been broadcast by Fuji TV in the television show #Hi_Poul between 2016 and 2017. The series consists in 130 10-second shorts featuring Heidi's Grandfather.