After becoming an orphan, Heidi is forced to live with her grandfather Öhi, who lives in the Alps. She learns he's a very bitter man who only accepted by force to take her in. But Heidi's kindness may be able to open his heart. Together with the shepherd Peter and invalid Klara, she has lots of adventures.
Beautiful, a serie that everyone most see, with an amazing story that will capture your full attention.
Certainly is a classic anime with a few years old, but I must say that's not so important as you may think, I'm pretty sure that there are lots of new series who want to have an audience of as many generation (children and adults) as this has.
Absolutely recommended for people of every age.
There are many works which are said the masterpiece of Japanese anime. However, if asked, ' what is the masterpiece?' by those who have just started to watch anime, I will recommend them this 1973 work, "Alps no shoujo Heidi (or, just 'Heidi')."
It is based on a fiction 'Heidi' by Johanna Spyri, but the staffs of "Alps no shoujo Heidi" made some changes. They focused more on the way Heidi lived in Alps and in Germany, and on the relationships between characters, that is, the staff depicted the daily-lives of characters.
This TV series was directed by Isao Takahata, famous for "Panda Kopanda," "Hotaru
no haka" and so on, with Hayao Miyazaki, also famous for academy-award-winner "Spirited Away." It is not a well-known fact that Takahata and Miyazaki in their younger days made this work. The fact implies that "Alps no shoujo Heidi" is not only reputed as a well-made work, but it has a historical value. If you are interested especially in the history of Japanese anime, this title is must.
Speaking of its historical worth, I cannot overlook the work of Miyazaki. He helped Takahata well and drew all the layouts of this 52-episode anime series. This is a surprising fact.
(NOTE: in Japanese, 'layout' means 'the very important drawing in the cut, included background'; in anime animators do not depict backgrounds but layouts include background. Usually 30-minute long anime is composed of 300 cuts, so there are 300 layouts in one episode.)
Miyazaki's work is also found in many parts of this anime. He was also involved with direction. Therefore you can easily understand how great Miyazaki was, and still he is, by watching "Heidi."
There are more historical achievements in this anime, but I cannot write down all of them, so if you got interested, please check them.
Thanks to Miyazaki's effort, and other talented staffs including Yoshiyuki Tomino and Yoichi Kotabe, "Alps no shoujo Heidi" made a big success.
As for storyboard, it is still one of good models of anime today. "Heidi" could express Heidi's innocence, Peter's cheerfulness, Clara's agony, and Uncle's conversion. With precise backgrounds (thanks to a location hunting, which is the first one in Japan's TV anime history,) you can feel as if Heidi and other characters really smiled and cried.
As I said, the plot mainly traced the original, so I won't mention it in detail. Takahata and Miyazaki's success is that they succeeded to describe tiny changes of emotions with delicate directions, animations and the story. This success influenced (and, still influences) the later works, I mean, Japanese animators became to depict daily-lives of characters, not a Hollywood-like spectacle. In this sense, "Heidi" is the most important work of all.
Of course, you sometimes find its old-fashioned aspects, such as the designs of characters, recordings, and other technical constraints. However, this work for certain contains the essence of anime. You will soon notice that only a few titles can perfectly imitate "Heidi," and there are an amount of anime which aimed to "Heidi."
After 25 years, it is still a key work in Japan's unique anime world. It is when you notice the excellence of "Heidi" that the time you became interested in anime anew comes.
Heidi came out in 1974 created by an all-star staff: Directed by Takahata Isao (Tales of Princess Kaguya), Layout by Miyazaki (Spirited Away), Storyboard by Tomino (MSG), Music Watanabe (Cowboy Bebop, and Background Art Mukuo Takamura (Gauch the Cellist). Basically, this was high on my list, if only to give a glimpse at.
Based on the 1880 book "Heidi," the story is "for children and those who love children." It focuses on a little girl named Heidi growing up with her Grossvater Ohi in the Alm Mountains for three years before her selfish Tante Dete takes her to live with a rich family in Frankfurt, Germany.
The characters are fairly one-dimensional as well as the story itself, which is alright for what the anime is. Watching the first episode in Japanese with English subtitles, I felt I wasn't getting the essence of the show. From there I found a German dubbed version, and the show got so much better.
The art is your typical "Studio Ghibli" style, not coming to much surprise. Meanwhile, the Japanese music is great coming from Watanabe, but the German version took it out of the park. For a story taking place around 1880 with old German style folk music, perfect.
Heidi begins in the mountains at 5 as a free-spirit learning the mountain life, and then is forced to move to the big city at 8 into a "cage-like" environment to live/befriend the daughter (Klara) of a rich family learning "civil" life. As one could imagine, once getting used to a country lifestyle and then moving to the "civilized" life of the big city isn't for everyone. That is pretty much the story with some life lessons along the way.
At 52 episodes and what seems to have a lot of filler in between the show's main plot points, you could probably watch only about 12 episodes to fully understand the story while skipping the other content. I recommend to watch episodes 1-5, 16,18,20,26, and 52 in German preferably. This is a nice children's story and does a fine job being just that.