Anime: Heidi, Girl of the Alps

aka: Heidi
Heidi Girl of the Alps is a 1974 Anime series that ran for 52 episodes based on the famous Heidi's Years of Wandering and Learning Swiss classic children's novel by Johanna Spyri. The anime featured the talents of Yoshiyuki Tomino (storyboards), Isao Takahata (director) and Hayao Miyazakinote  (animator).

It tells the tale of Heidi, a five year old orphan who is pretty much dumped by her aunt on her grandpa, a gruff man with a bad reputation who lives alone in the mountains. Heidi, being Moe, quickly melts the old man's heart and makes a friend in Peter, a goatherd six years older than her, and Grandpa's huge St Bernard dog, Joseph (renamed in many foreign dubs for some reason as some variation on the word "fog"). Just as she has gotten cozy in the Alps, her aunt comes back and tricks her into leaving the mountains for Frankfurt to become the companion of a lonely, rich Ill Girl bound to a wheelchair, Klara Sesemann. Once again, she makes friends with the whole household (except for uptight old hag Mrs. Rottenmeier), but she gets increasingly homesick, to the point that she starts sleepwalking. For her sanity's sake, she's allowed to go back to the Alps, with the promise that Clara will be allowed to visit her there. Which just happens to be exactly what Clara needs for her health...

Heidi was a big success, and it is still fondly remembered in Japan and many foreign countries. Not so much in English-speaking countries, as only a movie-length edited version of the show (put together without Takahata and Miyazaki's input) made it to home video in UK and USA. Video game players (especially those who may have never heard of this version of the story) may recognize part of the opening theme from the arcade game Froggernote .

A lot of the tropes in this series are already covered at Heidi. Tropes exclusive to Heidi, Girl of the Alps include the following:—

  • Adult Fear: Parents may fear this if they see their children standing at gunpoint even if they're not aiming at them, they still could get hurt.
  • Alternative Foreign Theme Song:
    • The opening theme was changed for South African TV to the famous German Heidi song. note  Also, the Italian version has a different ending theme.
    • The Spanish language versions (for both Spain and Latin America), and (at least) the Brazilian Portuguese version use an adapted version of the original Japanese opening theme.note 
  • Anachronism Stew:
    • A Heidi-Ms. Sessemann rock-paper-&-scissors duel at the Frankfurt Arc.
    • "Jankebon" (as the game is known in Japan) was brought to the West at the wake of the 20th century, as the story (and Spyri's original plot in itself too) is based in early 1880s.
  • Butt Monkey: Rottenmeier, in the last episodes. Seeing her being comically unable to adapt herself to the Alps life is freaking cathartic.
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Heidi sometimes qualifies for this, but it's probably due to her young age despite her incredible intelligence.
  • Friend or Foe: Heidi and Peter often get into fights over different things possibly due to Heidi's love for nature. Averted, they eventually reconcile and then break up again.
  • Names to Know in Anime: It has a top notch cast for its day: Kazuko Sugiyama (Heidi), Noriko Ohara (Peter), Rihoko Yoshida (Klara), Miyoko Aso (Rottenmeier).
  • Redubbing: One of only a handful of animes to be dubbed in Afrikaans during Apartheid. note 
  • Took a Level in Badass: Though debatable... since Heidi doesn't know too much about guns, but in the scene where the hunters were about to shoot a deer, you'd think that she's afraid... but she's not. She then stands up for an argument and ends it by sticking her tongue out.
  • Wise Beyond Their Years: From the get-go, Heidi is a five-year-old orphan yet she seems to talk like an 8-year-old.

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