Heidi, Girl of the Alps Review
Heidi, Girl of the Alps is a 1974 anime series directed by legendary Isao Takahata. It is a very good, wonderful adaptation of the classic book.
“Is it all right with you that you’ll never be able to walk?!”
Because I loved the book, I naturally enjoyed this show a lot. It has its differences, but most of the book was faithfully adapted which I immensely appreciated. To me the anime is so good that it is almost of the same quality of its literary predecessor which just goes to show how great a director Isao Takahata is and certainly one of my favorites when it comes to anime.
I will now talk about each and every character in-depth and thus I will also comment on the storyline as a whole through those characters. Heidi is as great as she was in the book. Her look got me some time to get used to, but I liked her personality and I admired that she was more flawed than she was in the novel. Clara is also very good and the relationship between the two is expectedly touching and wonderful to witness.
As for Peter, I was so disappointed that they excluded his terrible treatment of Clara and how he threw her wheelchair. That was one of the highlights of the novel as it made him more human and relatable. But even though they got rid of that point, he is still pretty good and memorable here and I loved his interactions with the two girls.
The grandfather is also very good and faithfully imagined, but I wished to have seen more of his spiritual rediscovery as seen in the original. Miss Rottenmeier is excellent and one of the rare characters that is actually improved here as she is less theatrical and more realistic and I loved that. The voice acting is pretty good and mostly very professional.
The animation is excellent for its time period. I loved its pleasing colors and I especially adored some of its imagery. It wonderfully recreated the mountain scenery as the Alps are wonderful here. And I liked the use of the animals too. Frankfurt was also very well depicted.
The soundtrack is one of the show’s greatest accomplishments. The sound effects and the score are great, but the closing theme is pretty good and of course the opening theme is just amazing. It is so immensely catchy, perfectly fitting in tone to its country origin and filled with wonderful imagery. That whole opening was one of the standouts of the anime.
Heidi, Girl of the Alps has a pretty solid structure in that most of the episodes work as standalone stories, but they still are coherent and lead to an overall firm storyline. I liked that and even though that meant that some episodes were less interesting than the others, that was expected for a series with the high amount of 52 episodes. But they covered most of the storylines and subplots of the book and I was eventually pleased by it. The anime is emotional, wonderfully childlike, always endearing and sometimes even pleasantly humorous.
In the end, Heidi, Girl of the Alps has its problems, but it is overall a stupendous anime series that is one of the best from the seventies without a doubt. It is also one of the best children’s anime with wonderful characters, a faithfully adapted plot, charming animation and such a good score with a catchy and fun opening theme.
Worst Episodes: One More in the Family, I Want to Fly and Clara Walks.
Best Episodes: To the Mountain, A Visit to Grandmother’s House, Another Grandmother, In a New House, The Doctor’s Promise and Until We Meet Again.
My Rating – 4.5