Heidi, Girl of the Alps

This article was co-written with Toadette

Very special thanks to Mew and Pilo for their valuable help in the creation of this article. Incidentally, Takeo Watanabe’s entire soundtrack for the series can be listened to here – truly one of his finest achievements, and a huge part of what makes the series so beautiful!

This article is part of the World Masterpiece Theater Production History series. Discover the previous show in the series here

Heidi, Girl of the Alps needs no introduction. One of the most important and influential works in the history of Japanese animation, Isao Takahata’s first series for Zuiyo Video would set a gold standard for all subsequent World Masterpiece Theater entries. Much has already been said about Heidi, especially on its status as a so-called “pre-Ghibli” work or on how representative it is of Takahata’s style and philosophy. Considering the theme of this series, this article will instead put Heidi back in its historical context: that of the extended World Masterpiece canon, and of 1974 anime.

If we go back to Heidi’s origin, it becomes apparent that the show came about thanks to the crossing of two careers and desires that happened to intersect. The first is from Zuiyo Video founder Shigeto Takahashi, who had had the idea of adapting Johanna Spyri’s novel as early as 1967. TCJ Video Center produced a first pilot by then, which was the character design debut of Toyô Ashida. In 5 minutes, the film quickly retraces the main elements of the original 1880 novel: it stops when Heidi comes back from Frankfurt and doesn’t cover Clara’s trip to the Alps, which makes up the second novel from 1881, and which would play such an important role in Takahata’s version. The character designs are completely different from that of the final TV show; much more complex and slender, they are also clearly inspired by 60’s shôjo manga aesthetics. Perhaps thankfully, the project was not greenlit at the time; still, Takahashi didn’t give up, and on February 28, 1971, he pitched the idea to scriptwriter Isao Matsuki, who would go on to be the head writer of the series. This was not long after the complex Moomin situation and the beginning of Zuiyo and Mushi’s relationship; maybe it was the long-held ambition of adapting Heidi that led to the creation of Zuiyo Video in late 1972.

The second line is, of course, the one that involved the Isao Takahata-Hayao Miyazaki-Yôichi Kotabe trio. As is well known, the three men left Tôei Dôga in 1971, invited over to the studio A Production by their old friend and collaborator Yasuo Otsuka with the promise of being able to adapt the children’s story Pippi Longstockings; they had already been impressed by Otsuka’s accomplishments on the 1969 Moomin series. After a trip to Sweden in August 1971, however, original author Astrid Lindgren refused to greenlight an adaptation of her work. Several ideas from Pippi would then be reused in 1972’s Panda Kopanda, which was conceived earlier that year and released in the Fall, with its sequel Rainy Day Circus coming out shortly afterwards in March 1973. It was in Pippi’s development, and afterwards these two short films, that the philosophical and aesthetic principles behind Heidi were born: an exploration of mundane life, and a detailed, realistic kind of animation that would render the small movements and attitudes of daily life. After the failure of Yasuo Otsuka’s passion project Lupin III, in which Takahata and Miyazaki were appointed as replacements for the original director Masaaki Osumi in a futile bid to save the series, Takahata, Miyazaki and Kotabe were starting to find a path of their own, one that would fully bloom in Heidi; their experiences seeing children completely captivated by the Panda films in theaters had convinced them that this was the path they wanted to take. “When [Panda Kopanda] was released, I went to the movie theater with my son and niece,” Miyazaki remembered. “It was shown with a Godzilla movie and it wasn’t very long. But the children who came to watch it enjoyed it immensely. At the end they sang along with the theme song. I was thrilled. I recall feeling very happy at the sight of those children. And I think it was because of the support of those children that I decided on the kind of work I’d do from then on.”

Indeed, these important films were the one bright spot in the Takahata-Miyazaki-Kotabe trio’s time at A Pro, which otherwise proved to be far from the most creatively-fulfilling period of their lives. Even besides the Lupin III and Pippi Longstockings debacles, Miyazaki would make his directorial debut on a 1972 pilot for an adaptation of Tetsuya Chiba’s manga Yuki’s Sun which never made it to the series stage – and even if it had, it would have been a vehicle for Tokyo Movie’s new ex-Mushi subcontractor Madhouse, which was looked down upon greatly by the largely ex-Tôei staffers at A Pro: Miyazaki and Takahata were merely the most vocal of those who hated anything to do with Mushi Pro and its pioneering of limited animation techniques. Additionally, the trio found themselves contributing to the banal jidaigeki series Akado Suzunosuke, which would, for the duration of Miyazaki’s and Takahata’s involvement, at least go in a different and more compelling direction of their own making as a result, as well as its successor Wild West Boy Isamu, for which Takahata storyboarded #15 and #19 (with Miyazaki and Kotabe apparently serving as the uncredited true animators of #15).

Otsuka himself evidently realized, having been involved with Pippi Longstockings and then the Panda Kopanda films, that A Pro was no longer a good place for what his close colleagues wanted to do. By 1973, his own next project was set to be yet another sports anime, Samurai Giants, which like Tokyo Movie’s previous hit Star of the Giants was based on a baseball manga written by Ikki Kajiwara, and Takahata was supposedly asked to serve as the series director for this latest outing. Around this time, in spring 1973, Shigeto Takahashi had begun serious preparations for Heidi, and Otsuka, who knew something of Takahashi’s own temperament from his experiences on Moomin, and indeed had just prior been (according to Ghibli expert Seiji Kanô) the one who introduced Yasuji Mori to Takahashi for Rocky Chuck, recommended that Takahata meet with him. In later years, Otsuka admitted that he even went as far as to strike a deal with Takahashi for Takahata’s sake, whereby he would convince Takahata to join Zuiyo if Takahashi agreed to give him the best possible treatment and even pay him a high salary that the two of them had negotiated. “I’m really grateful to him,” Takahata said in 2004 as he remembered Otsuka’s gentle encouragement to meet with Takahashi. “You can tell he’s looking out for your interests. I’m deeply indebted to him for his help.”

Sure enough, Takahata found that what he had been setting out to accomplish since Pippi Longstockings matched perfectly with what Takahashi wanted to do with Heidi: both aimed to create an outstanding animated series that would go beyond mere entertainment and be a truly meaningful part of children’s lives, not least by intricately and genuinely depicting the joys, pains, and wonders of real life. Thus, Takahata immediately got to work preparing himself for the task of adapting Heidi, re-reading the original novels and then creating what would be little Adelheid’s second pilot film. Yasuji Mori, who by this time was already busy as the character designer of Rocky Chuck, collaborated with Takahata on the storyboards in addition to creating the character designs and even animation. His work on this pilot film could be one reason why, in spite of being credited as Rocky Chuck’s animation director for the majority of its run, Mori’s presence on that show was ultimately minimal at best. 

This film was never shown publicly, and unless it is released one day, the few things that remain of it are some illustrations and cels. What is apparent, however, is that Mori’s designs played a major part in what Heidi would look like – with her most distinctive trait being her braids. In fact, it appears that Mori was initially supposed to do the designs of the show himself, but fell ill (a result of Rocky Chuck’s difficult production combined with working on the pilot at the same time?), which is how the responsibility fell down onto Kotabe. (The latter claimed that he had “ignored” Mori’s designs, most notably eliminating the braids – they probably would have made Heidi look a bit too much like Mimiko from Panda Kopanda.) Ultimately, Mori’s only role in the series proper would be animating parts of the opening, specifically Heidi’s iconic skip under the show’s title and the ring-around-the-roseying through the seasons, the latter of which was based on reference footage of Miyazaki and Kotabe doing it in Zuiyo’s parking lot.

Mori’s original Heidi design

As for Otsuka, he would stay behind at A Pro for Samurai Giants, which was ultimately given to A Pro’s veteran director Tadao Nagahama; the first episode was animated by Miyazaki and Kotabe in what would be their final job at A Pro before they, too, left for Heidi. (It is tempting, and heartwarming, to think this may have been a final favor for Otsuka, perhaps even a thank-you, for getting them and Takahata a new job that they might actually be proud of.) Alas, Otsuka and Nagahama did not get along at all, and after only 10 or so episodes, Otsuka would step down as animation director for the remainder of the series; if nothing else, it at least meant that Otsuka’s livelihood would not be directly affected by the success of Heidi, which began airing as counter-programming to Samurai Giants after he had already left.

Despite Otsuka’s absence from its production, Heidi was and still is largely considered in continuity with Hols, Prince of the Sun for how much artistic freedom the team enjoyed and how many artists were involved with both works. Indeed, there was yet another member of the Hols team who unexpectedly participated in Heidi: that was Masahiro Ioka, an ex-Tôei background artist who had worked on Hols where he had been noticed by Takahata. They more-or-less lost contact when Ioka left Tôei in 1969 to join a studio called “7-1 Art Gallery” until Takahata offered him the position of art director on Heidi in 1973, whereupon he joined Zuiyo. Ioka would become a regular on World Masterpiece Theater shows, with his indisputable masterpiece ultimately being the art direction of 1979’s Anne of Green Gables. On these, it seems that Ioka’s work followed the model of that of an animation director: he asked the background artists under him to provide him with rough sketches that he would correct, finalize and paint by himself. 

As mentioned, the other most important work that would lead to Heidi was Panda Kopanda; and that is not just in the themes and philosophy thought up by its lead creators. Indeed, some of Heidi’s key staff that was not from Zuiyo had met Takahata there, and they would faithfully follow him until the early 80’s. By that, I mean studio Oh! Production’s “A Pro team”, led by key animators Kôichi Murata and Toshitsugu Saida. Murata was one of the creators of Oh Pro, during the production of Tiger Mask in May 1970. It was on the same show, beginning with episode 16 (which aired in January 1970), that Saida joined the soon-to-be created studio as a member of Kazuo Komatsubara and then Norio Shioyama’s units. Only on 1972’s Akado Suzunosuke would Murata and Saida begin working together in earnest, but they would have to wait until Panda Kopanda to do animation under Takahata.

Whatever happened then marked the beginning of a long-lasting relationship – not only what appears to have been a close collaboration between Takahata and Saida, but also a strong link that would make Oh Pro one of Studio Ghibli’s most consistent and trusted subcontractors. While Murata himself quickly quit animating on Heidi (he only worked on episodes 1 and 3), Saida would become, under Takahata and Miyazaki, one of the most important character animators of the decade. Just after Heidi, around 1975, Saida and Takahata would set out to make what would become the latter’s second feature film, Gauche the Cellist. Murata had held the project since as early as 1965, and it seems that Saida had been creating image boards and storyboards since the moment he joined Oh Pro. Once a director had been found, the movie’s actual production started – it would be solo key-animated by Saida whenever he had some free time between TV productions, and only completed in 1981. This production would be what held Saida and Takahata together throughout the latter’s entire time in Zuiyo and Nippon Animation, and no doubt explains why Saida quit collaborating with Tokyo Movie and A Pro altogether to follow the director. Saida’s presence would therefore carry the World Masterpiece Theater series just as Takahata’s or Miyazaki’s did.

Besides Saida, another animator vital to Heidi’s production was Toshiyasu Okada, who, although an ex-Tôei animator himself, had no prior association with Takahata and his circle, and instead represented something of a link to the earlier Mushi-produced Calpis Manga Theater series. From 1970, Okada had been one of the lead animators at a subcontracting studio named Ad 5, alongside its president Minoru Tajima. The studio was located close to Tôei Dôga’s main studio at Higashiôizumi, which made it an ideal location for Okada to continue serving as animation director and animator on Tôei series like Himitsu no Akko-chan, Mahô no Mako-chan, and Babel II. During this time, however, Okada also contributed substantially to Mushi Pro’s two Calpis Manga Theater series, Andersen Monogatari and the 1972 iteration of Moomin, the latter of which was perhaps the first series in which his talent truly came to light. In particular, the unsung Moomin #44, written and directed by Isao Okishima, features an exceptional story (Moomin encounters a cloud boy and joins a baseball game in the clouds) and pensive, slow-burn direction backed up by careful acting, fine animation of clouds (and cloud people), and even some surprisingly dynamic baseball action on Okada and his team’s part. (Okada also served as animator alongside Kazuhide Fujiwara on Okishima’s other episode #35, which is a similarly fascinating opus—and Rintarô’s personal favorite from the series.)

According to Yôko Gomi, who began her animation career as an inbetweener at Ad 5 under Okada on Babel II (credited under her former name of Yôko Tomizawa), Okada was serious about his work; in this regard, it is easy to imagine that he came to realize an animator of his caliber could only get so far working on series produced by the “established” studios like Tôei Dôga and Mushi Pro which were actively declining at that point. Thus, when Takahata and co. began reaching out for ex-Tôei animators to help them produce Heidi, Okada decided to leave Ad 5 to work for Zuiyo, perhaps jumping at the opportunity to work on a series that might actually use his skills to the fullest; his final work for Tôei at Ad 5 would be animation direction for episode 5 of Miracle Girl Limit-chan, which aired 29 October 1973. (Gomi, who looked up to Okada and cried when she found out he was leaving, would soon leave Ad 5 herself for Oh! Pro, where she could work on Heidi as well – her testimony as an inbetweener on Heidi is one of the best and most complete sources of information on the series’ production.)

In spite of his immense talent and experience, Okada’s time on Heidi proved short-lived: he animated only on episodes 1-4, 6, and 9 before disappearing from the production altogether, likely because he was unable to keep up with the increasingly tight schedule, and soon he found himself working as the main animation director of Tatsunoko’s New Hutch the Honeybee instead. (There was another cadre for whom the series served as a sort of emergency shelter in the absence of any other work, namely the ex-Mushi staffers like Masakazu Higuchi, Yoshikazu Yasuhiko, Akihiro Kanayama, Toyoo Ashida, and Takeo Ogawa who had been with Mushi Pro until the bitter end and now found themselves floundering without a studio; many of them would swept up by Yoshinobu Nishizaki’s Office Academy afterwards for Space Battleship Yamato.)  Nevertheless, he played a valuable role in laying down the foundation for Heidi’s quality, with many of the scenes he animated demonstrating an understated mastery of the craft and an eye for detail that in some ways remain unsurpassed; in effect, he was largely responsible for setting the standard that all the animators who succeeded him were expected to follow.

With all this context being set, let’s get into the production proper. What set Heidi apart was its distinct philosophy: one that would be focused on “realism”, an ability to create a believable world, to reproduce the actions and motions of mundane life, and to challenge live-action cinema in terms of technique and staging. Now is not the time to delve in more depth into Takahata’s approach to filmmaking; what interests us is that, on Heidi, it was translated into a series of decisions that would not only influence the end product, but also deeply change the way it was made.

The most well-known and oft-mentioned innovation introduced on Heidi is what’s called the “layout system”: creating a new step between the storyboard and animation that would provide detailed guidelines for both animators and background artists. This responsibility was entirely in the hands of Hayao Miyazaki, under the credit “scene composition” (画面構成). Through various exhibitions and books, studio Ghibli has often traced layouts back to Heidi; it must be said that the layout system was not first introduced on Heidi, and that it did not entirely spread across the industry from there. Miyazaki, Takahata and Kotabe first introduced their own layout system on Panda Kopanda, with Miyazaki also being credited under “scene composition” – though it seems that the documents were referred to as “layouts” (レイアウト) inside both productions. It has been hypothesized that something similar to this, although less centralized, already existed in Tôei’s TV series.

Besides this possible Tôei origin, 3 other major TV series from 1974-1975 had their own layout systems: Space Battleship Yamato (made by the key animators and corrected by the animation director of each episode, which was probably the industry standard), Manga Wanpaku Omukashi Kum Kum (made by the series creator, character designer, and occasional storyboarder and animation director Yoshikazu Yasuhiko), and Gamba’s Adventure (by Tsutomu Shibayama). Gamba is the most interesting case: inside the production, it seems that the drawings were called “movement layouts” (動きのレイアウト) but Shibayama was credited on the show’s opening under two headings: scene composition, just like Miyazaki in Heidi, and simply “layout” (レイアウト). It is among the first anime credits to mention the word layout in and of itself (for reference, 1971’s Andersen Monogatari also included a similar “layout” credit, but the show’s credits are very strange and unreliable, and it is most probable that “layout” was simply its way of crediting animation directors). 

Before all this, it appears that Shibayama, along with fellow animation director Osamu Kobayashi, had already experimented with layouts three years before, on 1972’s The Gutsy Frog. The same might have been the case for Yasuhiko: in one of his earliest major works, he did “key animation and layout” (原画・レイアウト) on Mad Mad Mad Monsters, a Rankin-Bass TV special animated by the then-dying Mushi Pro. There is sadly no way to precisely determine what this means, especially since Yasuhiko himself mentioned that his first layouts proper were inspired by Heidi.

In any case, Miyazaki’s layouts were not an autonomous invention: although a centralized layout system was still far from common, it was slowly making its way throughout the industry, and Heidi only confirmed and accelerated this trend. In any case, Heidi’s layouts were very detailed, sometimes including frame by frame indications: they clearly illustrated the will to control and supervise the animators’ work from start to finish. They also entailed a new relationship between animation and background art – Miyazaki was not only in close contact with the animators, but also with art director Masahiro Ioka. Indeed, backgrounds were not made as the episodes went along, following the individual animators’ layouts; they were planned from the start. In that sense, the relationship between background artists and animators was reversed: it would not be the backgrounds that would have to adapt to the animation, but the animation to the backgrounds.

This centralizing drive was also visible in two other aspects, this time at the supervision level. The first one was having a single animation director for the entire series, Yôichi Kotabe, without any other individual animation directors on each episode. Such things weren’t exceptional (The Gutsy Frog is yet another good example), but they were still rather rare; in other words, this indicated a centralization of production at the highest levels that many series didn’t include. Moreover, judging from the end result and the strong level of consistency, Kotabe’s supervision was much closer than, say, Shibayama and Kobayashi’s on The Gutsy Frog: on the latter, the style of each individual animator clearly comes out, and it’s hard to believe that every single episode was closely corrected; that is not the case on Heidi

This was also possible thanks to the introduction of yet another supervision level, which seems to have been credited as such for the first time on Heidi: in-between checking. In-between check is basically the same thing as animation direction, at the level just below; this is a central position, and it is entirely to the Takahata-Miyazaki-Kotabe trio’s credit that they understood how important in-betweening is and sought to give it its own level of supervision. However, the existence of in-between checking also implies a clear difference between in-betweening and key animation. In the 1960s and 70s, the “drawing” (作画) credit and the reduced number of staff meant that the difference between what we would now call 1st key animation, 2nd key animation and in-betweens was often porous. The bizarre credit of “gendôga” (原動画) on 1970’s Ashita no Joe is proof of this. Moreover, as late as 1978, it wasn’t surprising for a well-established key animator like Yoshinori Kanada to do his own in-betweens or those of his colleagues. The only major exception would have been studio Tokyo Movie, which from 1971 onwards always credited key animators and in-betweeners separately, although it is hard to know how things worked on actual productions (especially considering the numerous mistakes and oddities Tokyo Movie credits could include). On Heidi, the introduction of an in-between checker likely took some responsibility off the animation director, and cemented the difference between the two stages of animation. It therefore makes sense that, unlike most other shows, the people credited under “drawing” in Heidi were almost always key animators, with the inbetweeners generally never being credited.

Heidi had 3 in-between checkers. The most notable of them was ex-Tôei animator Masako Shinohara, who would become a regular collaborator of Takahata and Miyazaki; she was the only one in the position on the first four episodes. Then, from episodes 5 to 28, she was assisted by Megumi Mizuta, an in-betweener and key animator who was part of Zuiyo’s main team on Rocky Chuck. She was replaced from episode 29 until the end of the show by Hidemi Maeda, an ex-Ad 5 animator. It was her first work with Zuiyo, but she would go on to be a regular animator and animation director on later Nippon Animation series. The fact that Shinohara needed to be assisted, and that her assistant changed mid-show, is one of the many indications of Heidi’s incredibly difficult production – indeed, Miyazaki mentioned one of the in-between checkers on the show (Shinohara?) once having to work for 36 hours straight. The details of Heidi’s incredibly difficult production will be touched on below, but it is certain that those who suffered the most from all the difficulties were the supervisors – animation director Yôichi Kotabe, the in-between checkers, and finish director Akiko Koyama (in charge of coloring). According to Seiji Kanô, the average sleeping time of the latter during the production was 2 hours a day.

The final and oft-discussed singular aspect of Heidi’s pre-production was the scouting trip made by its top team in Germany and Switzerland. Isao Takahata, Hayao Miyazaki and Yôichi Kotabe, along with producer Junzô Nakajima, visited locations like Frankfurt, Zurich and Maienfeld from July 16 to 25, 1973. The art director, Masahiro Ioka, wasn’t able to join them, while music composer Takeo Watanabe made a trip on his own to discover local folk music, which would play a large part in Heidi’s original soundtrack and especially its iconic opening theme (the yodeling and alphorn sections of the OP were apparently recorded directly in Switzerland, with Nelly Schwarz as the yodeler). During their trip, the team took many photos and made many preparatory sketches; they also visited the Spyri museum in Zurich, where they got acquainted with the work of Swiss artist Martha Pfannenschmid, famous for her illustrations of the original Heidi novels. It is most probably from her work that Kotabe got the idea to remove Heidi’s braids and give her short hair instead.

The Heidi team in Switzerland; on the left, from left to right: Hayao Miyazaki, Yôichi Kotabe and Isao Takahata

Making scouting trips, especially as far as Europe, was by all means an exceptional endeavour. It was certainly an essential aspect of Takahata’s approach to filmmaking and to Heidi’s philosophy, that of an almost anthropological realism – Miyazaki himself having said that they did not make a children’s TV series but an ethnographic documentary. All these remarks certainly feed into the show’s legend, but the trip itself was probably only possible thanks to Zuiyo’s burgeoning international ambitions. Indeed, even if this was not the first trip to Europe made by Heidi’s team (the unsuccessful trip to Sweden for Pippi Longstockings was a notable precedent), Zuiyo Video’s creator Shigeto Takahashi had himself made the trip to Finland at the time of Moomin’s first TV adaptation. Moreover, the links Zuiyo had established with German broadcaster ZDF for their contemporary 1974 adaptation of Vicky the Viking may have helped secure contacts and locations for Heidi’s team.

In any case, the datation of this trip to Europe is important for another reason: providing more accurate information on the show’s production timeline. There are, thankfully, two other facts that enable us to know rather precisely when the work started. Firstly, a preview of Heidi was shown at the end of every episode of Rocky Chuck starting from 48: this entails that the first episode of Heidi was completed by December 2, 1973, when Rocky Chuck #48 aired. If we consider that the Takahata-Miyazaki-Kotabe trio was back in Japan in August, we can infer that Heidi’s production started in earnest between August and November 1973. Secondly, we know from Miyazaki’s testimony that the first three episodes of Heidi had been completed before the show actually started airing; which means that they were made in the 5 months between August and December. Assuming that they were produced in sequence, this would mean that each episode had around a month and a half to be made.

Things wouldn’t stay so comfortable for long, however; due to the demands put upon the staff by the main trio and especially by Takahata, Heidi’s production quickly spiraled into hell for its staff. According to Yôko Gomi, although Heidi broke many artistic barriers, it also “opened a new and frightening door to a way of working that is not normal for human beings.” A close examination of the show’s credits can give some indications as to the pace at which things evolved. As mentioned above, the first sign was in episode 5 (aired February 3), when in-between checker Masako Shinohara had to start relying on the help of an assistant. The second sign appears between episodes 13 (aired March 31) and 15 (April 14) which see a rise in the number of credited animators: for the first 12 episodes, there were usually only 3 per episode. From 13 onwards, many Oh Pro episodes would credit at least 4 animators; whereas episode 15, an episode by Zuiyo-associated animators, credits 5 people. The numbers would then oscillate, with still many episodes animated by only 2 people; on the other hand, single episodes animated both by Oh Pro and Zuiyo animators became more and more frequent from episode 22 (June 2) onwards. The final stage was reached on episode 34 (July 25), from which point all episodes would be animated by both teams at once, with 5 or 6 animators on each. The number of animators per episode had doubled for the sake of preventing any further drops in quality.

These numbers are a good indicator of the growing level of exhaustion that Heidi’s staff had to go through – and this is without accounting for the numerous uncredited people. It seems that outside key animators were called in to help, not least among them Mushi and Madhouse star Akio Sugino, and it’s probable that the number of in-betweeners on each episode also steadily rose. But this doesn’t say much about the actual conditions of the production; on that, Yôko Gomi’s testimony is essential. She mentions that, by the middle of the show (probably around episode 22), the staff started regularly pulling all-nighters – something apparently unusual in anime production until then, outside of exceptional cases like Mushi Pro’s A Thousand and One Nights. By the latter stages of the show, episodes had to be entirely completed in just less than 2 weeks each. At some points, all free or not-so-free hands were put to work: production assistants had to help with cel painting so that the episodes could be delivered on time. 

Many animators (and probably other members of the staff) couldn’t handle the worsening conditions and left: Toshiyasu Okada and Megumi Mizuta have already been mentioned, but this may have also been the case for Zuiyo-associated animators Shin’ya Takahashi and Shun’ichi Sakai, who disappear from the credits respectively after episodes 37 and 40. (Takahashi would briefly work for Tôei again as animation director on episodes 30 and 37 of Majokko Megu-chan, which aired the same weeks as episodes 42 and 49 of Heidi, while Sakai may have simply been transferred to begin work on Heidi’s successor A Dog of Flanders instead; both would be present on the first two episodes of that series, Takahashi as top-billed animator and Sakai as animation director.) The fact that the Oh Pro team stayed consistent for most of the show possibly indicates, following Gomi’s indications, that things were easier on them than on the Zuiyo-associated staff: most of the latter were freelancers, and had no structure to assist them. This wasn’t the case for Oh Pro’s workers, who benefited from the support of their boss, Kôichi Murata, who only animated on episodes 1 and 3 of the show before disappearing from the credits, first to complete some of his final episodes on Tokyo Movie’s Wild West Boy Isamu, and then to better assume his responsibilities as studio leader. He helped his staff both physically and psychologically, sometimes helping check the animation, or, as they began pulling all-nighters, taking Oh Pro’s entire Heidi team out to a small store that was open all night after work – those were the days in which 24/7 restaurant chains and late-night izakaya bars did not yet exist.

However, they weren’t completely out of reach of the series’ demands and hellish pace. They, too, had to put up with what could only be called workplace harassment so that they could meet the show’s standard. The first element mentioned by Gomi is relatively harmless and logical: the completed first episode was shown to the entire staff before they started working so that they could get acquainted with the setting and the level that they were supposed to match. This was certainly unusual and must have put a lot of pressure on the animators who were still finishing their work on Rocky Chuck, but it made sense. However, things get notably darker when Gomi mentions that, even at Oh Pro, badly drawn key and in-between frames were hung up on the studio’s walls for everyone to see. In other words, failure wasn’t an option. “Those who got sick we thought just lacked determination,” Miyazaki said of the show’s working environment. “There was an abnormal tension in the air.”

All this doesn’t mean that things were easier at the top levels. For Kotabe and Miyazaki, correcting all the animation and doing all the layouts was a daunting task – the layouts, in particular, became more and more detailed as the show advanced, as if to compensate for the inability of animators to keep up. “We stayed up all night for several nights in a row,” Kotabe later recalled in an interview with Nintendo’s Satoru Iwata. “I thought I might die. It was really awful.” Even Miyazaki admitted: “It was encouraging to have children really focus on our stories [with Panda Kopanda], so we were glad, but I didn’t think that was possible with television. I at first thought we had proved it was possible. But to keep proving it required an inhuman amount of energy. We really had to work to excess. I slept on the floor and would get up again to draw.”

On Takahata himself, meanwhile, it is Gomi who gives the most information. He was credited as episode director on every episode of the show, one more way to have complete control over the production, but that also meant that he had to personally supervise every script and storyboard. Moreover, we know that he heavily corrected the storyboards that were handed out to him; according to Gomi, he initially did so with the help of Miyazaki, but as time went by, Miyazaki didn’t have time to help anymore and Takahata had to do it by himself – something exceptional for him who didn’t draw and always did the storyboards with an assistant. At the end of the show, Takahata didn’t have the time to attend the recording sessions and was writing the episodes in the commuting train – which sometimes led him to miss his station and simply disappear, as during the production of episode 50.

It was obvious that Shigeto Takahashi had kept his promise to give Takahata as much rope as possible: now Takahata’s iron-fisted directorial style, with the full support of producer Junzô Nakajima, was unleashed with a vengeance as the entire staff underwent enormous suffering to meet his demands while keeping deadlines. The most remarkable thing is that, under such conditions, Heidi didn’t collapse. It certainly went through drops in animation quality and consistency, as we will see, but it still stood head and shoulders above the standard of most of 1974’s animation. This was perhaps a natural result of the “no failure allowed” mentality: the tension and pressure on the staff were so high that they had no choice but to deliver, and ended up doing so superbly. The fact that they were able to do so would only encourage producers and directors to push them further and raise their standards even more. Such a vicious cycle would go on to become the core not only of Studio Ghibli’s organization, but also of the entire anime industry’s exploitative practices. Of course, Heidi should not be held solely responsible for anime’s problems; but it should never be forgotten that this pioneering and revolutionary show was made in extremely difficult conditions, by a staff which never had to face such things before, under producers who were all too willing (or contractually obligated) to give Takahata the near-complete freedom and authority he needed to pull it off.

Besides its incredible animation and direction, what makes Heidi stand out as a timeless masterpiece is the consistency of its storytelling and philosophy. It was not, of course, the first TV anime with a continuous plot, and not even the first to do so on such a length; but the masterful way it handled it was perhaps only matched, in the same decade, by 1970’s Ashita no Joe and 1979’s Mobile Suit Gundam. In any case, the continuous plot stood out in strong contrast against all previous Calpis Manga Theater series and marked a clear shift from atmosphere or character-based episodic shows, like both versions of Moomin or Rocky Chuck, to narrative-centered long-running series, which would become the core element of all future World Masterpiece Theater entries.

Takahata’s modifications to Spyri’s original novels are often brought up. Although there is little information on the writing process, a comparison between the 1967 pilot and the series shows a first notable difference: at some point, someone decided to adapt not only the first novel, but also the second one, which covers Clara’s trip to the Alps. This would give the show a stronger three-act structure and strengthen the internal repetitions and echo effects between all characters going to and back from the mountains. There were many other adaptational changes: the dog Joseph was added by Shigeto Takahashi himself (he needed a mascot to sell merchandise), Peter’s character was thoroughly changed, some episodes of the novels were taken out and others added. The most notable modification, however, was the removal of most of the religious elements of the original; this probably helped the show get through to 20th century Japanese audiences, but also took away all the heavily educational or even preachy aspects of the novels in order to make for a much more natural, self-contained story.

This doesn’t mean that Takahata’s Heidi was entirely devoid of any message or ideological intentions. The opposition between the city and the mountains was deepened in order to serve a strong pastoral discourse; in stark contrast with other series such as Rocky Chuck, nature was not just a backdrop, but played an essential thematic role. The challenge was also to avoid anything too moralizing. This was made possible thanks to the detailed portrayal of material life and children’s minds. Indeed, Heidi is no psychological study per se, but never hesitates to portray, without ever judging its characters, what could be perceived as negative or dark emotions: Peter’s gluttony (often used for comedic purposes), Clara’s jealousy for Heidi in Frankfurt and the difficulty of her recovery in the Alps, and what can only be described as the abuse and trauma suffered by Heidi in the darkest of the Frankfurt episodes. For perhaps the first time in the history of television, children’s experiences and feelings were acknowledged and directly engaged with.

More fundamentally, Heidi is also about the two core elements of any story: space and time. This is where the production and the end result converge to give the idea of a coherent whole. Indeed, centralized layouts were not just a means to control the animators’ work and maintain a high level of consistency; they guaranteed a strong spatial continuity and coherence. It was therefore no coincidence that, in addition to his position as layout artist, Miyazaki was credited under “location setting”: he was almost entirely in charge of all that regarded the spatial organization of the action. In essence, Heidi is therefore about exploring in depth a few specific places, namely the Alps and Frankfurt. More specifically, the settings are divided into, for the Alps, the village of Dörfli, Peter and Heidi’s houses, and the pastures; as for Frankfurt, although Heidi occasionally tours around town, it is only summed up by Clara’s house. The precise geography and lifestyle associated with each of these places are explored in detail and repeatedly visited. Perhaps the most obvious illustration of this is the very first episode, a continuous ascension along the mountain’s slope which immediately makes us see the important locations and their relative positions. In other words, these are not indifferent places, only related to each other by narrative convenience; they are but parts of a wider, potentially infinite spatial continuum. Establishing this was one of the key tenets of Takahata’s “realism”.

As for time, it is decidedly cyclical; the action takes place over many years (4, if we follow the novels’ timeline), but Heidi or Peter’s physical growth is barely visible. Instead, the passage of time is marked by the return of certain events: the seasons, going up and down the pastures and the mountains… Narrative repetitions or echos have already been mentioned, and they play a decisive part in this. On the contrary, if Frankfurt represents such a violent break for both Heidi and the viewer, it is partly because it destroys this cyclical rhythm: without nature, the passage of seasons becomes barely noticeable, and the activities of daily life become dictated by an arbitrary schedule (of meals, naps and lessons) rather than spontaneously chosen by the characters.Much more deserves to be said about Heidi and the way all its elements are perfectly woven together. But as a last note, it is worth remarking that the next two works Takahata would direct for the World Masterpiece Theater perfectly follow up on the spatial and temporal aspects of Heidi; in that sense, they form a true cycle, not just from the point of view of their director’s career, but as thematically and technically linked works. Whereas Heidi examined in depth just a few carefully chosen places, Marco would be about traveling, that is movement in space. On the other hand, if Heidi’s time was cyclical and about the joy of recurring daily life, Anne would tackle physical and psychological growth, that is, movement in time. If Heidi was about immobility and repetition, Marco and Anne would explore progress and development.

Heidi, Girl of the Alps is not just the single most important entry in the extended World Masterpiece Theater Canon or one of the most influential anime of all time; it is without any doubt one of the towering masterpieces of the animated medium. It is historically significant not just for its inherent quality and the later fame of its creators, but because, after the troubled early 70’s, it represents one of the first TV series that distinctly represent what could be called “modern anime”, that is a way of doing animation that had, after just more than 10 years of existence, thoroughly developed its own techniques, aesthetic and storytelling. On the other hand, its unparalleled formal strengths and the nuanced, detailed way it portrays daily life and emotions make it perhaps the very definition of a timeless work.

Episode highlights

Episodes 1-3

Scenario: Yoshiaki Yoshida (吉田義昭)

Direction: Isao Takahata (高畑勲)

Storyboard: Isao Takahata (高畑勲), Hayao Miyazaki (宮崎駿) (both uncredited)

In-between check: Masako Shinohara (篠原征子)

#01

Animation: Toshiyasu Okada (岡田敏靖); Oh Pro feat. Kôichi Murata (村田耕一), Toshitsugu Saida (才田俊次)

#02

Animation: Toshiyasu Okada (岡田敏靖), Hideo Furusawa (古沢日出夫)

#03

Animation: Toshiyasu Okada (岡田敏靖), Hideo Furusawa (古沢日出夫); Oh Pro feat. Kôichi Murata (村田耕一), Toshitsugu Saida (才田俊次)

The first three episodes of Heidi warrant being taken as a whole for multiple reasons, some of which were already mentioned above. They were all produced in advance, some months before the show actually started airing; this explains why Takahata and Miyazaki had the time to storyboard them, following Takahata’s regular procedure: he would start by doing a rough storyboard, which would then be filled in by an animator assistant (here, Miyazaki), and then once again checked by the director. It is also possible that Takahata played a large part in the writing, considering that the show’s overall writer, Isao Matsuki, only starts being credited for series composition from episode 4. Takahata’s unusually heavy involvement in these episodes, even considering the show as a whole, is one of the many proofs of the special status that they were supposed to have: something like a manifesto, or of a challenge, an announcement to both Heidi’s staff and the world of Japanese animation at large that this was the new gold standard they should have to match.

To that end, a special team of animators was assembled; it could be qualified as a roundup of Takahata’s most trusted collaborators (that is, Oh Pro’s Kôichi Murata and Toshitsugu Saida) and, of all available ex-Tôei artists, Toshiyasu Okada and Hideo Furusawa. Just like Okada, Furusawa had had little or no direct association with Takahata’s group; but he had been a central figure of early Japanese animation. Already active during the war, he had been among the founding members of studio Shin Nihon Dôga-sha, later renamed Nichidô, as early as December 1945, and was active on almost all animated productions made in Japan in the 40’s and 50’s. He would have worked side by side with Yasuji Mori, who was probably the one who invited him onto Heidi. Furusawa pursued a side activity as a cartoonist, which explains why he did not immediately join Tôei Dôga when it absorbed Nichidô in 1956: his first credit on a Tôei film is on 1959’s Shônen Sarutobi Sasuke. His time at the studio proper would be short-lived, however: he quit in 1963 to create his own studio Nichidô Shin Pro. From there, and later studio F Pro, he would participate as animation director or episode director in various Tôei series, as well as animate some of the best setpieces in Mushi Pro’s first two Animerama films, namely the fight between the giant oni and the bird in A Thousand and One Nights and Caesar’s kabuki assassination in Cleopatra. Finally, in July 1973, just before Heidi’s production started, he co-founded Studio Dogakobo with Megumu Ishiguro. It might be the Heidi connection which helped make Dogakobo one of Ghibli’s regular in-between subcontractors in the 80’s; in any case, Furusawa was focused almost exclusively on episode direction by the mid-70’s, making his presence here as animator all the more exceptional.

Besides the experienced Furusawa, various other sources and rumors indicate that two other Tôei legends might have made uncredited contributions to at least the first episode of Heidi: these were Yasuo Otsuka and Akemi Ota. These are anything but confirmed, and must therefore not be taken at face value; but they are plausible. Ota had quit animation in 1972 to care for her children, but her short presence on one of her husband’s works is not out of the question – especially since she worked as a credited animator on the first two episodes of A Dog of Flanders about a year later, probably at the request of Yasuji Mori. As for Otsuka, he might have just freed himself from his work on Samurai Giants when Heidi’s first episode was in production: we can guess from Miyazaki and Kotabe’s participation in the first episode of Giants that that series was produced well in advance of when it actually began airing in October 1973. Otsuka’s uncredited participation on the first episode of 3000 Leagues in Search of Mother, two years later, lends some more credibility to this story.

In any case, if we discount the possibility of uncredited work, it is possible to get a rather good picture of how the animation was divided in the first two episodes. We know that, on episode 2, Okada animated a scene in the A part (Heidi and her grandfather laying out the sheet over the hay bed), while Furusawa did one on the B part (the grandfather making Heidi’s stool); from there, it is easy to presume that each animator did one half, or most of it, on his own. Coming back to episode 1, there appears to be some similarity in Heidi’s drawings between a moment in the B part (Heidi’s meeting with Peter) and one of Okada’s scenes in episode 2. Considering that Okada was not a member of Oh Pro, it is highly probable that the two halves of the episode were animated separately: this would mean that the A part was by Murata and Saida, and the B part by Okada. Sadly, such identifications haven’t been made for episode 3.

The staff having been discussed, it is time to delve into the episodes’ direction, writing and animation. Any way you consider those, they are by far the best in the entire series – that is, among the best in the medium. What quickly becomes apparent, especially when compared to the novel, is how slowly and naturally Takahata takes things: there is very little expository dialogue and the narrator is almost nonexistent. The first episode is the best example of this: there is a minute before any line is uttered, and most of the trip to the Alps is taken up by views of the scenery, or Heidi wondering at the animals, rather than any direct narration. At the other extreme of that episode, Dete and the grandfather’s confrontation is yet another prime example of Takahata’s art: through a series of over-the-shoulder shots, briefly interrupted by sudden closeups, the storyboards perfectly convey the menacing aura and the barely contained violence inside the old man – but it never explodes, just as his dark backstory is never inquired into.

It is only in the second and third episodes that the viewer really gets acquainted with the other characters – first Heidi and her grandfather, as well as the dog Joseph, and then Peter. Once again, a large chunk of runtime is simply dedicated to exploration: most of episode 2 is ultimately just Heidi running around and playing. But already there, the more expressionist side of Takahata’s art comes out: there is the oppressive black-and-white nightmare scene at the end of episode 2, or all the moments when Heidi wonders at the beauty of the scenery, in long horizontal panning shots which highlight Ioka’s superb art direction, often accompanied by Watanabe’s music.

On the animation, there would be much to say. Let us then perhaps focus on just one moment, one of the most important ones in the show: Heidi’s grandfather crafting her a stool, in episode 2, animated by Hideo Furusawa. This scene plays a key part in the “ethnographic” side of the show: it illustrates a sustained attention to the material aspect of life in the Alps, a thorough care for how things are made and the bodily attitudes involved. It is hard to imagine that no detailed real-life reference was involved at the storyboard, layout and animation stages. As in most of the show, the motion is matter-of-fact, but remarkably fluid and natural. But as easy as it is to wonder at the grandfather’s skill, the entire scene is dominated by Heidi’s expressions, and her leaps of joy once the stool is finished are incredibly cute and delightful.

The entirety of the animation of these early episodes has the same characteristics: a careful sense of observation expressed through detailed motion, and at the same time a certain ease and playfulness which is what gives the characters so much life. There is never any feeling of exaggeration, and neither of restraint; coupled with the awe-inspiring technical skill of the animators, it gave birth to some of the greatest moments in TV animation history.

Episode 4

Scenario: Yoshiaki Yoshida (吉田義昭)

Direction: Isao Takahata (高畑勲)

Storyboard: Yoshiyuki Tomino (富野喜幸)

In-between check: Masako Shinohara (篠原征子)

Animation: Toshiyasu Okada (岡田敏靖), Yukiyoshi Hane (羽根章悦)

In terms of animation, episode 4 remains largely at the level of the three that precede it; that is not just because it was made in still good conditions, but because those that worked on it were among the best animators on Heidi: Okada and Yukiyoshi Hane. Sadly, this extremely powerful duo was never reproduced on the show, and instead somewhat wasted on episode 9, where both men had to deal with the presence of the far less capable Shin’ya Takahashi.

We know that Okada worked on the A part – namely, the very strong storm scene, in which Heidi quivers with terror and all the animals on the pastures run to and fro to find some cover, to say nothing of the realistically-animated lightning itself. Based on this, it is easy to presume that Okada would have animated mostly on the first half of the episode, while Hane would have mostly been on the second half. This would mean that Hane notably animated the interactions between Heidi, Joseph and the little bird Pichi – a key scene not only because it features complex movement as Heidi runs around the house trying to catch the bird, but also because it is one of Heidi’s first major shows of emotion, and ultimately seals the trust between her and Joseph. Hane had been by far the best animator on Zuiyo’s previous series, Rocky Chuck; on Heidi, he quickly demonstrated that he was exactly the kind of animator the show required.

Besides him, another Rocky Chuck staff member made his first appearance on the series: that was Yoshiyuki Tomino. Tomino worked on 18 episodes of Heidi, making him its most prolific storyboarder. This was not surprising, as Tomino was then known more for his efficiency than his creative skill – an ability which quickly became precious as Heidi’s schedule became increasingly difficult to  handle. This also probably explains the imbalance in commentaries: in an interview, Toshio Suzuki simply reported that, according to Takahata and Miyazaki, “there was always at least one good thing in Tomino’s work” – and nothing more. On the other hand, Tomino never misses an opportunity to praise Takahata and to make his work on Heidi and Marco some of the most important in his career. As explained in the previous piece on Rocky Chuck, in terms of raw technique, Tomino was certainly not lacking before 1974; but according to his own testimony, what he learnt from Takahata was a certain sense of pacing: being daring enough to let scenes last with or without dialogue, creating a slower and ultimately more natural rhythm rather than just having the actions follow each other in mechanical succession.

In any case, and despite their long collaboration (until 1979), Tomino and Takahata were never that close. That was partly because Tomino, like most of the show’s staff, wasn’t in-house; he just received the scripts, discussed them over the phone with Takahata, and then sent his storyboards. But what Tomino sent was rarely used as is: in an interview, Tomino confided that, having once watched one of his own episodes as it aired, he didn’t recognize any of his work. Various other testimonies, as well as the available storyboards we have, confirm this impression: on the board of episode 14, for example, the drawings seem entirely remade by Miyazaki. Because of all this, it’s hard to properly credit Tomino – or any other storyboarder on the show – for the way the episodes look.

Episode 8

Scenario: Hisao Okawa (大川久男)

Direction: Isao Takahata (高畑勲)

Storyboard: Shûji Yamazaki (山崎修二)

In-between check: Masako Shinohara (篠原征子), Megumi Mizuta (水田めぐみ)

Animation by Oh Pro: Toshitsugu Saida (才田俊次), Kôshin Yonekawa (米川功真 misspelled as 米川功), Jôji Manabe (真鍋譲二 misspelled as 真鍋博)

This episode is worth noting for perhaps two reasons. The first is that, while it’s not the first to be animated by the Oh Pro team (basically the two Oh Pro animators who had worked on Rocky Chuck, joined and possibly led by Saida), it is the first to explicitly mention the studio in the credits (although there remained typos on Yonekawa’s and Manabe’s names until episode 13). The other is that part of the story of this episode, when Heidi and her grandfather go picking fruits, was added at the request of the art director, Masahiro Ioka. Episodes 4 to 8, centered around the bird Pichi, are in fact not present in the novel; it was therefore the right moment to add yet another few original scenes. These also make sense artistically and thematically; indeed, they are the occasion to present a new season, fall, and to create a sense of transition before winter that suddenly arrives at the start of episode 9. This was probably the opportunity Ioka longed for, as he could paint the yellow leaves and grass of the valley. The long sunset scene which makes up the end of that episode is bathed in the same warm and melancholy colors, giving a full measure of the art director’s talent.

In its plot, the episode is largely dedicated to exploring Heidi and Peter’s characters, and their relationship. It notably relies heavily on a more meditative register regarding Heidi, in contrast with a more active and comical one for Peter. The first part is dominated by Heidi’s sadness, especially in a beautifully quiet scene where she laments the loss of her little bird. On the other hand, the second half of the episode is largely dedicated to Peter’s solo adventures as he tries to both care for his goats and catch a new bird for Heidi. His hyperactivity here is no doubt comical, but also a good showcase of the talent of Oh Pro’s animators. The acting is slightly exaggerated and perfectly expresses Peter’s honest and direct personality, making this episode a true joy to watch.

Episode 9

Scenario: Hisao Okawa (大川久男)

Direction: Isao Takahata (高畑勲)

Storyboard: Yoshio Kuroda (黒田昌郎)

In-between check: Masako Shinohara (篠原征子), Megumi Mizuta (水田めぐみ)

Animation: Yukiyoshi Hane (羽根章悦), Shin’ya Takahashi (高橋信也), Toshiyasu Okada (岡田敏靖)

Episode 9 is the last episode of Heidi to feature Toshiyasu Okada, who delivered a superb performance here. What exactly he did hasn’t been identified, but let us just say that even Shin’ya Takahashi’s presence didn’t entirely spoil it. The first of the winter episodes, it also illustrates the show’s incredible ability to present the same places over and over, but always under a new light and without ever becoming boring. This is the case in the first part here, as Heidi walks around the house and plays in the snow. It is also the occasion for a focus on animal life as deers and rabbits hide under the fir tree and Heidi brings them hay. 

As a whole, the episode is characterized by a strong inside/outside contrast: the A part is dedicated to playing with the snow and animals, while the B part is spent in the house, looking out only through the window. The B part therefore features less movement (and may have been where Takahashi was relegated), but is not without its charming moments, such as the grandfather making toys or Heidi dreaming about the return of spring.

Episode 13

Scenario: Yoshiaki Yoshida (吉田義昭)

Direction: Isao Takahata (高畑勲)

Storyboard: Yoshiyuki Tomino (富野喜幸)

In-between check: Masako Shinohara (篠原征子), Megumi Mizuta (水田めぐみ)

Animation: Oh Pro feat. Toshitsugu Saida (才田俊次), Kôshin Yonekawa (米川功真), Jôji Manabe (真鍋譲二); Kazuo Ushikoshi (牛越和夫 misspelled as 牛越利夫)

Episode 13 marks the return of spring and, with it, of the characters to the pastures. The opening scene, in which Peter wakes up early in the morning, goes down to Dörfli to gather his goats, and then goes back up the mountain is impressive in many ways; the liveliness and quality of the character acting may warrant presuming it to be Toshitsugu Saida’s work. However, in terms of identification, the real mystery is the standout scene of the episode, in the B part. That is when Heidi and Peter meet another shepherd, who accuses them of having stolen one of his goats; a heated debate ensues, and then a fight breaks out.

This moment is unexpected, especially for Heidi’s early episodes, in which this kind of violence has completely disappeared since the menacing aura of the grandfather at the end of episode 1. What makes it even more surprising is that the animation, too, is unusual: the timings are surprisingly snappy, there are much more cycles than usual, and this is the only time in the entire show that some small speed lines appear to support the action. In other words, this sequence has no equivalent in Heidi. A possible explanation would be that this is Akio Sugino’s uncredited contribution to the show – the rougher animation would certainly be in line with Madhouse’s style, though this is ultimately a wild guess. If not the work of one of the regular Oh Pro animators, who slightly adapted their style to this peculiar scene, it could be that of Kazuo Ushikoshi, an animator who was only present on 2 episodes of Heidi. But his presence is also somewhat strange; based on the credits of later World Masterpiece Theater entries, he was an in-betweener irregularly included among the key animators (something that also happened on Dog of Flanders one year later).

Episode 14

Scenario: Yoshiaki Yoshida (吉田義昭)

Direction: Isao Takahata (高畑勲)

Storyboard: Yoshiyuki Tomino (富野喜幸)

In-between check: Masako Shinohara (篠原征子), Megumi Mizuta (水田めぐみ)

Animation: Shun’ichi Sakai (坂井俊一), Michiyo Sakurai (桜井美知代), Shin’ya Takahashi (高橋信也)

This episode is the 4th animated by the original Zuiyo duo made up of Shun’ichi Sakai and Michiyo Sakurai; although not very present on the early part of Heidi, they would keep animating on more and more episodes, confirming their role as the core of Zuiyo’s animators. Until now, they had generally been joined by Yukiyoshi Hane, and this is their first collaboration with Shin’ya Takahashi. Although none of the three animators there could be considered among the most talented artists on Heidi’s team, they would be the ones to deliver the last episode to stay within reach of the standard of the beginning of the series. Drops in quality had already happened on earlier episodes, but they were of little consequence; from episode 15 onwards, the movement slowly begins to feel more restricted and limited.

Episode 14 is part of an original mini-arc centered around the goat Yuki, who is threatened to be killed by her owner due to her lack of growth and milk, and Heidi’s efforts to save her. With the threat of death, the stakes are therefore high, and the episode only raises them through a constant sense of tension. Notably, in the A part, we have the second of Heidi’s nightmares, one of the few occasions Takahata took to develop the more expressionistic side of his style. As in episode 1’s nightmare, everything is very oppressive; but here, rather than black and white and distorted lines, a large part of the atmosphere is created by the bleak, somewhat surrealistic backgrounds.

Besides this scene, most of the episode is dedicated to Heidi and Peter looking for a special kind of herb that could help Yuki grow and ultimately save her. As the herb is often hard to reach, there are a lot of climbing scenes, which were no doubt challenging for the animators, but enabled them to push themselves further. This culminates in the climax, when Heidi and Peter nearly fall down the mountain and are only saved by Joseph’s timely intervention; the strong sense of danger in the buildup to this scene, as Heidi attempts to reach the herb on the edge of a very high cliff, is reinforced by the vast, foreboding mountainous backgrounds and complete lack of music.

Episodes 17-18

#17

Scenario: Hisao Okawa (大川久男)

Direction: Isao Takahata (高畑勲)

Storyboard: Fumio Ikeno (池野文雄)

In-between check: Masako Shinohara (篠原征子), Megumi Mizuta (水田めぐみ)

Animation: Oh Pro feat. Toshitsugu Saida (才田俊次), Kôshin Yonekawa (米川功真), Jôji Manabe (真鍋譲二); Shin’ya Takahashi (高橋信也)

#18

Scenario: Hisao Okawa (大川久男)

Direction: Isao Takahata (高畑勲)

Storyboard: Yoshiyuki Tomino (富野喜幸)

In-between check: Masako Shinohara (篠原征子), Megumi Mizuta (水田めぐみ)

Animation: Yukiyoshi Hane (羽根章悦), Shun’ichi Sakai (坂井俊一), Michiyo Sakurai (桜井美知代)

Although they have a rather different staff, episodes 17 and 18 share a strong narrative and thematic link: they are the last of the first arc of the show, lead us into the Frankfurt part of the story, and are linked by Dete’s presence. They are also marked by Heidi’s unique status: she is either ignored or unable to take her own decisions (episode 17) or tricked into making them (episode 18). The first part of episode 17, when Dörfli’s pastor visits Heidi’s grandfather, perfectly frames this: the two men discuss Heidi’s future without her being present – although the camera constantly keeps her in sight, far into the depth of the frame, beyond the window. This conversation, with its series of contrasts (inside/outside, the grandfather’s menacing aura and Heidi’s innocence, the two conflicting views on Heidi’s future) is perhaps one of the finest pieces of storyboarding in the entire series: it perfectly showcases Takahata’s ability to take a mundane scene (a simple conversation) and transform it into an engaging and symbolically fascinating setpiece. It also features some excellent animation by Oh Pro’s animators, the last moments of Heidi playing before long. The quality of this scene only becomes more obvious when you compare it to the much stiffer movement of the B part, animated by Takahashi, who henceforth will be responsible for the most significant drops in animation quality as the series’s production declines – although it certainly manages to serve some purpose here, as Dete’s heavy movement manages to convey the embarassing and impractical nature of her heavy dress.

The following episode is nothing special animation-wise; it is at least better overall than Takahashi’s scenes in 17. But it compensates with some amazingly expressive storyboards. The final moments especially, as both Peter and the grandfather have to come to terms with Heidi’s departure, are among some of the most touching scenes of the series. As Heidi leaves, all the characters realize how important her presence was to them; this is the real theme of this episode, as Dete precisely exploits Heidi’s kindness and innocence to ultimately serve her own ends. It should be noted that, at the end of the show, even Miss Rottenmeier is somewhat redeemed; that is not the case with Dete. That is because what she does is much more insidious and evil; worse than a well-meaning but obstinate urbanite like Rottenmeier, Dete is simply corrupted to the core, and her entirely selfish actions probably unforgivable.

Episode 19

Scenario: Hisao Okawa (大川久男)

Direction: Isao Takahata (高畑勲)

Storyboard: Shûji Yamazaki (山崎修二)

In-between check: Masako Shinohara (篠原征子), Megumi Mizuta (水田めぐみ)

Animation: Shun’ichi Sakai (坂井俊一), Michiyo Sakurai (桜井美知代), Shin’ichi Tsuji (辻伸一), Kiyomu Fukuda (福田きよむ)

This episode is the first in the Frankfurt arc, and one of those where the worsening schedule gets more and more visible. This is the case first in the animation itself, much less natural and lively than in the first episodes; this can also be explained by the simple fact that, in Frankfurt, characters don’t run and play everywhere, and their emotions are more restrained. In a way, the animation managed to match the story. The other element showing the production’s difficulties is the presence of two unusual animators, Shin’ichi Tsuji and Kiyomu Fukuda. These two men, who had already helped out on episode 15, were both Zuiyo-associated animators – Fukuda in particular was a veteran who seems to have been one of the few remaining members of TCJ in Zuiyo’s staff, while Tsuji, an apparent ex-Tôei animator who worked on a few episodes of Tiger Mask, had been one of the animation directors of Andersen Monogatari and then lead animator alongside Tsuneo Maeda of Mushi Pro’s Belladonna of Sadness. Just prior to their work on Heidi, they had served as the animation directors of Zuiyo’s final series with Mushi Pro, the first 26 episodes of Vicky the Viking. It is likely that their involvement with Heidi took place in the downtime between these initial 26 episodes and the later 52 episodes produced under Zuiyo/Nippon proper, as the latter did not begin airing until around October 1974 (in Japan; their German premiere took place on 5 March the following year). In the meantime, all free hands were probably sent onto Heidi to avoid its collapse.

What makes this episode stand out is therefore something else than its animation. It is, first, Ioka’s art direction: here, he had the opportunity of painting new landscapes, whether the sunlit Alps from another perspective, the streets of Frankfurt at dusk, or the Sesemann mansion. The other is the direction, especially in the B part, which introduces us to said mansion. The sheer size of it is repeatedly emphasized by stark high or low-angle shots, which also seem to demonstrate the emptiness of the rooms. Takahata’s trademark in-depth or over-the-shoulder compositions serve the same effect, isolating Clara and illustrating her loneliness. Things become even more tragic when we arrive at Heidi, caught between two hostile adults – Dete and Miss Rottenmeier. In those moments, Clara’s amused and welcoming face is most often in the background, where Heidi and the viewer can barely see it. Takahata’s direction here is as usual extremely methodical, and perfectly opens an often painful sequence of episodes.

Episode 21

Scenario: Mamoru Sasaki (佐々木守)

Direction: Isao Takahata (高畑勲)

Storyboard: Yoshiyuki Tomino(富野喜幸)

In-between check: Masako Shinohara (篠原征子), Megumi Mizuta (水田めぐみ)

Animation: Yukiyoshi Hane (羽根章悦), Shin’ya Takahashi (高橋信也), Shun’ichi Sakai (坂井俊一), Michiyo Sakurai (桜井美知代)

Opening on the symbolic image of a caged bird, this episode is the one where the awfulness of life in Frankfurt first becomes visible. The motif of the bird is constant, and the many flashbacks or dreams of the Alps only drive home how grey and monotonous Frankfurt is. The Sesemann mansion, which had been full of lights and colors in episode 19, has by now become dominated by darker colors: brown, grey, occasionally deep greens and blues. At this point, Heidi still keeps all her joy and innocence – she is running everywhere and the animation often lively – and that is what enables her to fend off or simply ignore the abuse she is starting to be the victim of. But the viewer is quickly made aware of how bleak the situation is: the end of the episode, when the freed bird is shown to have returned to its cage, is simply despairing. Heidi probably loses some of her innocence then, as she realizes what Clara’s life is like, and that both of them will be bound together for some time.

Episode 23

Scenario: Yoshiaki Yoshida (吉田義昭)

Direction: Isao Takahata (高畑勲)

Storyboard: Yoshiyuki Tomino (富野喜幸)

In-between check: Masako Shinohara (篠原征子), Megumi Mizuta (水田めぐみ)

Animation: Oh Pro feat. Toshitsugu Saida (才田俊次), Kôshin Yonekawa (米川功真), Jôji Manabe (真鍋譲二)

Shun’ichi Sakai (坂井俊一), Michiyo Sakurai (桜井美知代)

Life in Frankfurt isn’t all despair, however. Although Heidi often ends up the victim of all happenings there, it is also at the expense of her abuser, Miss Rottenmeier. In one of the most comical episodes of the Frankfurt arc, Rottenmeier’s fear of animals (especially of kittens) is exploited by the butler Sebastian. The presence of the animals throughout the episode is the occasion for very funny moments (such as when Heidi tries to hide a kitten in her lap which keeps meowing as if to answer Rottenmeier) and cute animation. It all culminates in the climax, where all hell seemingly breaks loose: an entire basket of kittens breaks havoc into the Sesemann household, to the point of making Miss Rottenmeier faint.

This scene is not just very fun to watch; according to Gomi’s testimony, it was also among the rare ones which were genuinely considered fun to animate. Indeed, the animators were all heavily controlled and this must have been even more the case in the Frankfurt episodes: the pressure on the production was starting to rise significantly, while the character animation had to be more restrained and subtle than it had been previously.  Rottenmeier’s fits of anger or panic were some of the rare moments when the movement got more exaggerated, and considered by the animators as good occasions to let loose.

Episode 25

Scenario: Yoshiaki Yoshida (吉田義昭)

Direction: Isao Takahata (高畑勲)

Storyboard: Hiroshi Saitô (斎藤博)

In-between check: Masako Shinohara (篠原征子), Megumi Mizuta (水田めぐみ)

Animation: Shun’ichi Sakai (坂井俊一), Michiyo Sakurai (桜井美知代)

Although bleak, this episode also contains some of the brightest moments in the Frankfurt arc; these were delivered by the Zuiyo duo of Sakai and Sakurai, who had here one of their best occasions to shine on the entire series. Indeed, they each had the opportunity to work on a scene with a slightly different aesthetic, which would have been a sort of breather for them, if Gomi’s testimony about Oh Pro is to be applied to Zuiyo’s animators. In the A part, Sakai worked on Heidi’s writing exercises, and her daydream as the letters transform into animals which take her to the mountains. Although rather simple, this sequence is beautifully poetic and unexpected – which makes it all the more depressing when Heidi suddenly returns to her dark day to day life.

On the other hand, Sakurai worked on the B part. It may be her who did the tragic climax of the episode, when Miss Rottenmeier takes away all the bread Heidi had stored for Peter’s grandmother. Heidi’s movement in this scene is frenetic and extremely powerful, perfectly expressing the little girl’s helplessness and despair. However, the scene on which Sakurai is confirmed to have worked is the last of the episode, when Clara tells Heidi a version of the Wolf and the Seven Kids to try and cheer her up. During Clara’s narration, we have an illustrated version of the tale with a crayon background and simplified character designs, as if we were seeing a child’s drawing. Through the lively movement of the animals and the expressive acting of Clara and Heidi, Sakurai’s animation perfectly contributes to the suddenly cheery atmosphere, making us forget for a short while the dramatic events of the episode.

Episode 29

Scenario: Mamoru Sasaki (佐々木守)

Direction: Isao Takahata (高畑勲)

Storyboard: Yoshiyuki Tomino (富野喜幸)

In-between check: Masako Shinohara (篠原征子), Hidemi Maeda (前田英美)

Animation: Oh Pro feat. Toshitsugu Saida (才田俊次), Kôshin Yonekawa (米川功真), Jôji Manabe (真鍋譲二)

Shun’ichi Sakai (坂井俊一), Michiyo Sakurai (桜井美知代)

The beginning of this episode represents a rare bright spot in the Frankfurt arc, for Heidi at least, as she is taken out by Clara’s grandmother to the fields surrounding the city. The first half (animated by the Oh Pro team?) contains some of the best pieces of animation in the second part of the series: with Heidi and other children running around freely, the animators had the opportunity for more liberated movement like in the early episodes. The storyboards (initially Tomino’s) are extremely efficient in highlighting the vast expanses of grass and the beautiful woods and river outside the city; they also perfectly convey Clara’s sense of isolation, as she is either placed far into the background, or at the extreme foreground with Heidi in the distance.

Indeed, in narrative terms, this episode is also very focused on Clara. On one hand, it shows her jealousy towards Heidi, as the latter has a freedom of movement that the other does not enjoy. On the other, it illustrates Clara’s physical weakness, as she catches a fever as soon as she gets home. And it is this which ultimately becomes the heaviest burden on Heidi: in the final scene, Clara clearly states her dependence on the little Swiss girl, thereby suppressing any feeling of liberation the former may have felt. This is of course an unhealthy relationship, but its presence is a good indication of how far the director and writer were willing to go: they wouldn’t shy away from showing such psychological mechanisms, even in a series for children.

Episode 32

Scenario: Mamoru Sasaki (佐々木守)

Direction: Isao Takahata (高畑勲)

Storyboard: Shûji Yamazaki (山崎修二)

In-between check: Masako Shinohara (篠原征子), Hidemi Maeda (前田英美)

Animation: Yukiyoshi Hane (羽根章悦), Shin’ya Takahashi (高橋信也), Shun’ichi Sakai (坂井俊一), Michiyo Sakurai (桜井美知代)

Episode 31 had closed in an incredibly bleak manner, with the departure of Clara’s grandmother; episode 32 follows on this and opens the last, darkest episodes of the Frankfurt arc. The storyboards get more oppressive than ever for Heidi, and Clara is brought to tears as she tries to explain her feelings to Miss Rottenmeier; but this backfires as she outright threatens to die if Heidi is taken away from her, causing a desperate Rottenmeier to come up with a misguided “solution” that, in the end, will only make the abusive cycle even worse for everyone involved. The culmination of the emotional drama comes in the heart-wrenching sequence at the end of the A part, where Heidi finally breaks down and starts running around and acting as though she were back in the Alps, mimicking the animals and whistling for Joseph, in front of a mountainous painting in the grandmother’s secret attic; she is caught by Rottenmeier, and the last place where she could run away and be herself is taken from her as Rottenmeier forbids Heidi from ever speaking of the Alps again. The animation during Heidi’s breakdown is disturbingly expressive, as if this was also a sudden return to the detailed movement of the early episodes. But the unflinching, immobile camera and the sad music remind us that this is but an illusion.

Episode 34

Scenario: Mamoru Sasaki (佐々木守)

Direction: Isao Takahata (高畑勲)

Storyboard: Kazuyoshi Yokota (横田和善)

In-between check: Masako Shinohara (篠原征子), Hidemi Maeda (前田英美)

Animation: Oh Pro feat. Toshitsugu Saida (才田俊次), Kôshin Yonekawa (米川功真), Jôji Manabe (真鍋譲二)

Shun’ichi Sakai (坂井俊一), Michiyo Sakurai (桜井美知代)

This episode marks Heidi’s return to the Alps, accompanied by the butler Sebastian. Following what was already noted about repetitions and echoes, there is a strong contrast  here against episode 18, and a reiteration somewhat of episode 1. The penultimate shot especially seems like a direct reference to the last images of episode 1: a stark low-angle zoom-out on Heidi and her grandfather – but this time illuminated by the beautiful sunset of the Alps.

The animation as well seems to regain some of the vivacity and liberty it had enjoyed in the early episodes of the show. Heidi’s joy comes through in her constant movement, especially in the Oh Pro-animated B part: more familiar with the mountains than she was in episode 1, she now runs from one beautiful place to another, reuniting with the flowers and animals. It all culminates in the beautiful last scene, animated by Toshitsugu Saida: the long-awaited meeting between Heidi and her grandfather. It is first marked by silence and restraint, as Heidi and her grandfather realize each other’s presence in the characteristic over-the-shoulder Takahata shots, which enable the viewer to feel the physical distance between objects; and then the emotion explodes as Heidi runs to her grandfather and spectacularly jumps in his arms.

For once, the individual behind the storyboards is perhaps worth noting; not because he had a personality strong enough to stay visible under Takahata’s corrections, but precisely because he was probably completely submitted to them. Indeed, Kazuyoshi Yokota seems to have been mostly associated with Tôei until then (though he did work on Tokyo Movie’s Samurai Giants) and was one of the most prolific assistant episode directors on Heidi, working on 21 episodes. He was only credited for storyboards once, on episode 34; he would go on to direct episodes and make storyboards for the later World Masterpiece Theater series, including Takahata’s Anne of Green Gables.Focusing on assistant episode directors might seem like a bit too much detail. However, this role might have played a central part in Heidi’s later episodes: Yôko Gomi’s testimony tells us Takahata did his storyboards entirely by himself at the end of the show, but he may also have been assisted by his assistants. When Takahata didn’t have the time to entirely supervise the voice actors or the production, the work may have been delegated to the assistants. Although none of the assistants rose to have a prominent career, the Heidi experience must have been, just like for the storyboarders, an extremely important and formative one; it would be through them, and not just through the audience, that Takahata’s stylistic influence would spread over the anime industry.

Episode 37

Scenario: Hisao Okawa (大川久男)

Direction: Isao Takahata (高畑勲)

Storyboard: Yoshiyuki Tomino (富野喜幸)

In-between check: Masako Shinohara (篠原征子), Hidemi Maeda (前田英美)

Animation: Oh Pro feat. Toshitsugu Saida (才田俊次), Kôshin Yonekawa (米川功真), Jôji Manabe (真鍋譲二)

Yukiyoshi Hane (羽根章悦), Shin’ya Takahashi (高橋信也), Shun’ichi Sakai (坂井俊一), Michiyo Sakurai (桜井美知代)

As if to compensate for the decreased consistency and quality of the animation (the number of credited animators here, the highest of the entire show, is a worrying indicator), what distinguishes many of the later episodes of Heidi is the incredible strength of their storyboards. This may also be explained by the fact that, after so much time spent working together, the storyboarders had understood what exactly Takahata expected from them and started delivering better work. In this case, although it is in the end impossible to say for sure, it seems that Tomino’s sensibility for in-depth compositions had reached one of its highest points, in perfect accordance with Takahata’s own work in that direction. Indeed, this episode is relatively dialogue-heavy, and a lot of scenes happen inside houses; it was therefore the occasion for many interesting shots and camera positions. The highlight is perhaps at the end of the episode, when the grandfather visits the abandoned Dörfli house he is planning to buy: the entirely silent scene is full of pans, unusual Dutch angles, or stark in-depth compositions emphasizing the size of the house or the old man’s meditations.

Animation-wise, this would be the final episode featuring Shin’ya Takahashi, who – perhaps unable to handle the working conditions any longer – went back to working for Tôei as an animation director on Majokko Megu-chan instead. Perhaps paradoxically, given the nightmare Heidi had become for its already-small and overworked staff, his departure may have been just what the series needed to maintain a more consistent level of quality in its final stretch, as none of the episodes from this point on reach the lows in animation quality that had characterized many of the episodes with Takahashi’s involvement in the Frankfurt arc.

Episode 46

Scenario: Mamoru Sasaki (佐々木守)

Direction: Isao Takahata (高畑勲)

Storyboard: Yoshiyuki Tomino(富野喜幸)

In-between check: Masako Shinohara (篠原征子), Hidemi Maeda (前田英美)

Animation: Oh Pro feat. Toshitsugu Saida (才田俊次), Kôshin Yonekawa (米川功真), Jôji Manabe (真鍋譲二)

Yukiyoshi Hane (羽根章悦), Michiyo Sakurai (桜井美知代), Noboru Takano (高野登)

This beautiful episode, one of the most well animated and directed in the final stretch of the series, is pivotal for perhaps two reasons. The first is that it goes a long way in humanizing Miss Rottenmeier. Indeed, even if she is thoroughly ridiculed in preceding episodes and the beginning of this one, we are also shown her genuine worry for Clara. The other is that the latter has the occasion to meet and interact with all other major characters – most notably Peter and his grandmother. As a result, the B part contains two notable scenes. The first is when Peter and Heidi dance and sing around Clara up in the pastures just after some rain. This is a moment of pure, unadulterated joy, reminiscent of the early part of the series. The second is the very last, when an emotional Clara is brought up home by Heidi’s grandfather in a beautiful sunset – another showcase of Ioka’s sublime background art and the way Takahata’s direction always managed to put it to the fore.

Besides that, this episode is a good occasion to mention Peter’s character, and the changes he went through during the adaptation. In the original novels, Peter is very possessive and jealous of anyone that comes close to Heidi, to the point that he destroys Clara’s wheelchair. This doesn’t happen in the show: instead, Peter evolves very little as a character and immediately befriends Clara. This is in fact very telling about the vision and mindset of Takahata’s adaptation. Indeed, in the novels, Peter’s selfishness was meant as the first part of a redemption arc: he is soon tortured by his conscience for having destroyed Clara’s chair, and forgiven as soon as he confesses. But the TV series does without the Christian and moralistic messages of the original: the unconditional remission of Peter’s sins couldn’t find its place in this new context.

Instead, Peter serves, just like Clara and Heidi, as a paradigm of childhood. He is something of an intermediate, not entirely pure and kind like Heidi, nor as complex and nuanced as Clara. Just as in the novels, Peter is lazy, somewhat impulsive and a glutton; but in the TV series, these are meant to be endearing traits: Peter is a “normal” child, one that may be lacking in manners but whose feelings are all the more spontaneous and natural – and this “natural” state of childhood is precisely what Takahata was set to uncover in his adaptation.

Episode 50

Scenario: Mamoru Sasaki (佐々木守)

Direction: Isao Takahata (高畑勲)

Storyboard: Seiji Okuda (奥田誠治)

In-between check: Masako Shinohara (篠原征子), Hidemi Maeda (前田英美)

Animation: Oh Pro feat. Toshitsugu Saida (才田俊次), Kôshin Yonekawa (米川功真), Jôji Manabe (真鍋譲二)

Yukiyoshi Hane (羽根章悦), Michiyo Sakurai (桜井美知代), Noboru Takano (高野登)

Episode 50 is perhaps Heidi’s most well-known since it includes, in its final moments, the miraculous climax of the series: Clara standing up. The scene itself, animated by Toshitsugu Saida, is no doubt one of the highpoints of the show. In terms of animation, there seems to be an unprecedented mastery of weight – as if Saida, just like Clara herself, suddenly discovered how heavy a body is. But it’s not just that: the surprise that overpowers both Clara and Heidi is wonderfully expressed as both girls fail to find words to describe what’s happening. There, Takahata’s over the shoulder shots and focus on the space between objects also appears perfectly appropriate: it is the sudden distance between Clara and Heidi that prompts the former to stand up on her own.

This scene is so memorable because it is unexpected; but the buildup to it is also exemplary. After the painful Frankfurt episodes, Clara’s rehabilitation sessions are some of the most intense in the series; her attempts at standing up, her failures and all the moments in which she is about to give up make her an even more complex and relatable character. It is once again an illustration of the fact that Heidi’s greatest strength as a children’s show is its ability to take its characters seriously, to have them go through painful moments and engage with them in earnest.

Credits transcription

Director: Isao Takahata (高畑勲)

Original Work: Johanna Spyri

Planning: Zuiyô Enterprise

Series Composition (from episode 4 onwards): Isao Matsuki (松木功)

Music: Takeo Watanabe (渡辺岳夫)

Scene Setting + Screen Composition (Layout): Hayao Miyazaki (宮崎駿)

Character Design + Animation Director: Yôichi Kotabe (小田部羊一)

Art Director: Masahiro Ioka (井岡雅宏)

Photography Director: Keishichi Kuroki (黒木敬七)

Recording Director: Yasuo Uragami (浦上靖夫)

Sound Adjustment: Tsugio Nakatogawa (中戸川次男)

Sound Effects: Hidenori Ishida (石田秀憲)

Finish Director: Akiko Koyama (小山明子)

Producer in Charge: Junzô Nakajima (中島順三)

Producer: Shigeto Takahashi (高橋茂人)

Production: Zuiyô Eizô, Fuji TV

#01

Screenplay: Yoshiaki Yoshida (吉田義昭)

Storyboard: Isao Takahata (高畑勲), Hayao Miyazaki (宮崎駿) (both uncredited)

Animation: Toshiyasu Okada (岡田敏靖); Oh! Production feat. Kôichi Murata (村田耕一), Toshitsugu Saida (才田俊次)

Inbetween Checker: Masako Shinohara (篠原征子)

Backgrounds: Shôhei Kawamoto (川本征平), Hachirô Tsukima (槻間八郎), Masayoshi Banno (番野雅好)

Assistant Director: Keiji Hayakawa (早川啓二)

#02

Screenplay: Yoshiaki Yoshida (吉田義昭)

Storyboard: Isao Takahata (高畑勲), Hayao Miyazaki (宮崎駿) (both uncredited)

Animation: Toshiyasu Okada (岡田敏靖), Hideo Furusawa (古沢日出夫)

Inbetween Checker: Masako Shinohara (篠原征子)

Backgrounds: Shôhei Kawamoto (川本征平), Hachirô Tsukima (槻間八郎), Masayoshi Banno (番野雅好)

Assistant Director: Kazuyoshi Yokota (横田和善)

#03

Screenplay: Yoshiaki Yoshida (吉田義昭)

Storyboard: Isao Takahata (高畑勲), Hayao Miyazaki (宮崎駿) (both uncredited)

Animation: Toshiyasu Okada (岡田敏靖); Oh! Production feat. Kôichi Murata (村田耕一), Toshitsugu Saida (才田俊次); Hideo Furusawa (古沢日出夫)

Inbetween Checker: Masako Shinohara (篠原征子)

Backgrounds: Shôhei Kawamoto (川本征平), Takamura Mukuo (椋尾篁), Tadao Kubota (窪田忠雄)

Assistant Director: Keiji Hayakawa (早川啓二)

#04

Screenplay: Yoshiaki Yoshida (吉田義昭)

Storyboard: Yoshiyuki Tomino (富野喜幸)

Animation: Toshiyasu Okada (岡田敏靖), Yukiyoshi Hane (羽根章悦)

Inbetween Checker: Masako Shinohara (篠原征子)

Backgrounds: Yoshikuni Nishi (西芳邦), Shigeo Nishihara (西原繁男), Kenichi Ishibashi (石橋健一)

Assistant Director: Kazuyoshi Yokota (横田和善)

#05

Screenplay: Yoshiaki Yoshida (吉田義昭)

Storyboard: Yoshio Kuroda (黒田昌郎)

Animation by Oh! Production: Kôshin Yonekawa (米川功真 misspelled as 米川功), Jôji Manabe (真鍋譲二 misspelled as 真鍋博), Toshitsugu Saida (才田俊次)

Inbetween Checker: Masako Shinohara (篠原征子), Megumi Mizuta (水田めぐみ)

Backgrounds: Takamura Mukuo (椋尾篁), Tadao Kubota (窪田忠雄), Shôhei Kawamoto (川本征平)

Assistant Director: Keiji Hayakawa (早川啓二)

#06

Screenplay: Yoshiaki Yoshida (吉田義昭)

Storyboard: Shûji Yamazaki (山崎修二)

Animation: Toshiyasu Okada (岡田敏靖), Shunichi Sakai (坂井俊一), Michiyo Sakurai (桜井美千代)

Inbetween Checker: Masako Shinohara (篠原征子), Megumi Mizuta (水田めぐみ)

Backgrounds: Yoshikuni Nishi (西芳邦), Shigeo Nishihara (西原繁男), Kenichi Ishibashi (石橋健一)

Assistant Director: Tsunehisa Osonoi (小園井常久)

#07

Screenplay: Hisao Okawa (大川久男)

Storyboard: Yoshiyuki Tomino (富野喜幸)

Animation: Yukiyoshi Hane (羽根章悦), Shin’ya Takahashi (高橋信也)

Inbetween Checker: Masako Shinohara (篠原征子), Megumi Mizuta (水田めぐみ)

Backgrounds: Shôhei Kawamoto (川本征平), Takamura Mukuo (椋尾篁), Tadao Kubota (窪田忠雄)

Assistant Director: Kazuyoshi Yokota (横田和善)

#08

Screenplay: Hisao Okawa (大川久男)

Storyboard: Shûji Yamazaki (山崎修二)

Animation by Oh! Production: Toshitsugu Saida (才田俊次), Kôshin Yonekawa (米川功真 misspelled as 米川功), Jôji Manabe (真鍋譲二 misspelled as 真鍋博)

Inbetween Checker: Masako Shinohara (篠原征子), Megumi Mizuta (水田めぐみ)

Backgrounds: Yoshikuni Nishi (西芳邦), Shigeo Nishihara (西原繁男), Kenichi Ishibashi (石橋健一)

Assistant Director: Keiji Hayakawa (早川啓二)

#09

Screenplay: Hisao Okawa (大川久男)

Storyboard: Yoshio Kuroda (黒田昌郎)

Animation: Yukiyoshi Hane (羽根章悦), Shin’ya Takahashi (高橋信也), Toshiyasu Okada (岡田敏靖)

Inbetween Checker: Masako Shinohara (篠原征子), Megumi Mizuta (水田めぐみ)

Backgrounds: Takamura Mukuo (椋尾篁), Tadao Kubota (窪田忠雄), Shôhei Kawamoto (川本征平)

Assistant Director: Tsunehisa Osonoi (小園井常久)

#10

Screenplay: Hisao Okawa (大川久男)

Storyboard: Yoshiyuki Tomino (富野喜幸)

Animation: Shun’ichi Sakai (坂井俊一), Michiyo Sakurai (桜井美知代), Noboru Takano (高野登)

Inbetween Checker: Masako Shinohara (篠原征子), Megumi Mizuta (水田めぐみ)

Backgrounds: Yoshikuni Nishi (西芳邦), Shigeo Nishihara (西原繁男), Kenichi Ishibashi (石橋健一)

Assistant Director: Kazuyoshi Yokota (横田和善)

#11

Screenplay: Hisao Okawa (大川久男)

Storyboard: Hiroshi Saitô (斎藤博)

Animation by Oh! Production: Toshitsugu Saida (才田俊次), Kôshin Yonekawa (米川功真 misspelled as 米川功), Jôji Manabe (真鍋譲二 misspelled as 真鍋博)

Inbetween Checker: Masako Shinohara (篠原征子), Megumi Mizuta (水田めぐみ)

Backgrounds: Shôhei Kawamoto (川本征平), Takamura Mukuo (椋尾篁), Tadao Kubota (窪田忠雄), Masayoshi Banno (番野雅好)

Assistant Director: Keiji Hayakawa (早川啓二)

#12

Screenplay: Yoshiaki Yoshida (吉田義昭)

Storyboard: Yoshio Kuroda (黒田昌郎)

Animation: Yukiyoshi Hane (羽根章悦), Shun’ichi Sakai (坂井俊一), Michiyo Sakurai (桜井美知代)

Inbetween Checker: Masako Shinohara (篠原征子), Megumi Mizuta (水田めぐみ)

Backgrounds: Yoshikuni Nishi (西芳邦), Shigeo Nishihara (西原繁男), Kenichi Ishibashi (石橋健一)

Assistant Director: Kazuyoshi Yokota (横田和善)

#13

Screenplay: Yoshiaki Yoshida (吉田義昭)

Storyboard: Yoshiyuki Tomino (富野喜幸)

Animation: Oh! Production feat. Toshitsugu Saida (才田俊次), Kôshin Yonekawa (米川功真), Jôji Manabe (真鍋譲二); Kazuo Ushikoshi (牛越和夫 misspelled as 牛越利夫)

Inbetween Checker: Masako Shinohara (篠原征子), Megumi Mizuta (水田めぐみ)

Backgrounds: Tadao Kubota (窪田忠雄), Kazumi Kurata (蔵田和美), Shôhei Kawamoto (川本征平), Masayoshi Banno (番野雅好)

Assistant Director: Keiji Hayakawa (早川啓二)

#14

Screenplay: Yoshiaki Yoshida (吉田義昭)

Storyboard: Yoshiyuki Tomino (富野喜幸)

Animation: Shun’ichi Sakai (坂井俊一), Michiyo Sakurai (桜井美知代), Shin’ya Takahashi (高橋信也)

Inbetween Checker: Masako Shinohara (篠原征子), Megumi Mizuta (水田めぐみ)

Backgrounds: Yoshikuni Nishi (西芳邦), Shigeo Nishihara (西原繁男), Kenichi Ishibashi (石橋健一)

Assistant Director: Tsunehisa Osonoi (小園井常久)

#15

Screenplay: Yoshiaki Yoshida (吉田義昭)

Storyboard: Hiroshi Saitô (斎藤博)

Animation: Yukiyoshi Hane (羽根章悦), Shun’ichi Sakai (坂井俊一), Michiyo Sakurai (桜井美知代), Kiyomu Fukuda (福田きよむ), Shin’ichi Tsuji (辻伸一)

Inbetween Checker: Masako Shinohara (篠原征子), Megumi Mizuta (水田めぐみ)

Backgrounds: Shôhei Kawamoto (川本征平), Tadao Kubota (窪田忠雄), Kazumi Kurata (蔵田和美), Masayoshi Banno (番野雅好)

Assistant Director: Kazuyoshi Yokota (横田和善)

#16

Screenplay: Hisao Okawa (大川久男)

Storyboard: Yoshio Kuroda (黒田昌郎)

Animation: Oh! Production feat. Toshitsugu Saida (才田俊次), Kôshin Yonekawa (米川功真), Jôji Manabe (真鍋譲二); Kazuo Ushikoshi (牛越和夫 misspelled as 牛越利夫)

Inbetween Checker: Masako Shinohara (篠原征子), Megumi Mizuta (水田めぐみ)

Backgrounds: Yoshikuni Nishi (西芳邦), Shigeo Nishihara (西原繁男), Kenichi Ishibashi (石橋健一)

Assistant Director: Keiji Hayakawa (早川啓二)

#17

Screenplay: Hisao Okawa (大川久男)

Storyboard: Fumio Ikeno (池野文雄)

Animation: Oh! Production feat. Toshitsugu Saida (才田俊次), Kôshin Yonekawa (米川功真), Jôji Manabe (真鍋譲二); Shin’ya Takahashi (高橋信也)

Inbetween Checker: Masako Shinohara (篠原征子), Megumi Mizuta (水田めぐみ)

Backgrounds: Tadao Kubota (窪田忠雄), Kazumi Kurata (蔵田和美), Shôhei Kawamoto (川本征平), Masayoshi Banno (番野雅好)

Assistant Director: Tsunehisa Osonoi (小園井常久)

#18

Screenplay: Hisao Okawa (大川久男)

Storyboard: Yoshiyuki Tomino (富野喜幸)

Animation: Yukiyoshi Hane (羽根章悦), Shun’ichi Sakai (坂井俊一), Michiyo Sakurai (桜井美知代)

Inbetween Checker: Masako Shinohara (篠原征子), Megumi Mizuta (水田めぐみ)

Backgrounds: Yoshikuni Nishi (西芳邦), Shigeo Nishihara (西原繁男), Kenichi Ishibashi (石橋健一)

Assistant Director: Kazuyoshi Yokota (横田和善)

#19

Screenplay: Hisao Okawa (大川久男)

Storyboard: Shûji Yamazaki (山崎修二)

Animation: Shun’ichi Sakai (坂井俊一), Michiyo Sakurai (桜井美知代), Shin’ichi Tsuji (辻伸一), Kiyomu Fukuda (福田きよむ)

Inbetween Checker: Masako Shinohara (篠原征子), Megumi Mizuta (水田めぐみ)

Backgrounds: Tadao Kubota (窪田忠雄), Kazumi Kurata (蔵田和美), Shôhei Kawamoto (川本征平), Masayoshi Banno (番野雅好)

Assistant Director: Keiji Hayakawa (早川啓二)

#20

Screenplay: Mamoru Sasaki (佐々木守)

Storyboard: Yoshio Kuroda (黒田昌郎)

Animation by Oh! Production: Toshitsugu Saida (才田俊次), Kôshin Yonekawa (米川功真), Jôji Manabe (真鍋譲二)

Inbetween Checker: Masako Shinohara (篠原征子), Megumi Mizuta (水田めぐみ)

Backgrounds: Yoshikuni Nishi (西芳邦), Shigeo Nishihara (西原繁男), Kenichi Ishibashi (石橋健一)

Assistant Director: Tsunehisa Osonoi (小園井常久)

#21

Screenplay: Mamoru Sasaki (佐々木守)

Storyboard: Yoshiyuki Tomino (富野喜幸)

Animation: Yukiyoshi Hane (羽根章悦), Shin’ya Takahashi (高橋信也), Shun’ichi Sakai (坂井俊一), Michiyo Sakurai (桜井美知代)

Inbetween Checker: Masako Shinohara (篠原征子), Megumi Mizuta (水田めぐみ)

Backgrounds: Tadao Kubota (窪田忠雄), Kazumi Kurata (蔵田和美), Shôhei Kawamoto (川本征平), Masayoshi Banno (番野雅好)

Assistant Director: Kazuyoshi Yokota (横田和善)

#22

Screenplay: Mamoru Sasaki (佐々木守)

Storyboard: Hiroshi Saitô (斎藤博)

Animation: Oh! Production feat. Toshitsugu Saida (才田俊次), Kôshin Yonekawa (米川功真), Jôji Manabe (真鍋譲二); Shun’ichi Sakai (坂井俊一), Michiyo Sakurai (桜井美知代)

Inbetween Checker: Masako Shinohara (篠原征子), Megumi Mizuta (水田めぐみ)

Backgrounds: Yoshikuni Nishi (西芳邦), Shigeo Nishihara (西原繁男), Kenichi Ishibashi (石橋健一)

Assistant Director: Keiji Hayakawa (早川啓二)

#23

Screenplay: Yoshiaki Yoshida (吉田義昭)

Storyboard: Yoshiyuki Tomino (富野喜幸)

Animation: Oh! Production feat. Toshitsugu Saida (才田俊次), Kôshin Yonekawa (米川功真), Jôji Manabe (真鍋譲二); Shun’ichi Sakai (坂井俊一), Michiyo Sakurai (桜井美知代)

Inbetween Checker: Masako Shinohara (篠原征子), Megumi Mizuta (水田めぐみ)

Backgrounds: Tadao Kubota (窪田忠雄), Kazumi Kurata (蔵田和美), Shôhei Kawamoto (川本征平), Masayoshi Banno (番野雅好)

Assistant Director: Tsunehisa Osonoi (小園井常久)

#24

Screenplay: Yoshiaki Yoshida (吉田義昭)

Storyboard: Yoshio Kuroda (黒田昌郎)

Animation: Yukiyoshi Hane (羽根章悦), Shin’ya Takahashi (高橋信也)

Inbetween Checker: Masako Shinohara (篠原征子), Megumi Mizuta (水田めぐみ)

Backgrounds: Yoshikuni Nishi (西芳邦), Shigeo Nishihara (西原繁男), Kenichi Ishibashi (石橋健一)

Assistant Director: Kazuyoshi Yokota (横田和善)

#25

Screenplay: Yoshiaki Yoshida (吉田義昭)

Storyboard: Hiroshi Saitô (斎藤博)

Animation: Shun’ichi Sakai (坂井俊一), Michiyo Sakurai (桜井美知代)

Inbetween Checker: Masako Shinohara (篠原征子), Megumi Mizuta (水田めぐみ)

Backgrounds: Tadao Kubota (窪田忠雄), Kazumi Kurata (蔵田和美), Shôhei Kawamoto (川本征平), Masayoshi Banno (番野雅好)

Assistant Director: Keiji Hayakawa (早川啓二)

#26

Screenplay: Hisao Okawa (大川久男)

Storyboard: Hiroshi Saitô (斎藤博)

Animation by Oh! Production: Toshitsugu Saida (才田俊次), Kôshin Yonekawa (米川功真), Jôji Manabe (真鍋譲二)

Inbetween Checker: Masako Shinohara (篠原征子), Megumi Mizuta (水田めぐみ)

Backgrounds: Yoshikuni Nishi (西芳邦), Shigeo Nishihara (西原繁男), Kenichi Ishibashi (石橋健一)

Assistant Director: Tsunehisa Osonoi (小園井常久)

#27

Screenplay: Mamoru Sasaki (佐々木守)

Storyboard: Yoshiyuki Tomino (富野喜幸)

Animation: Yukiyoshi Hane (羽根章悦), Shin’ya Takahashi (高橋信也), Shun’ichi Sakai (坂井俊一), Michiyo Sakurai (桜井美知代)

Inbetween Checker: Masako Shinohara (篠原征子), Megumi Mizuta (水田めぐみ)

Backgrounds: Tadao Kubota (窪田忠雄), Kazumi Kurata (蔵田和美), Shôhei Kawamoto (川本征平), Masayoshi Banno (番野雅好)

Assistant Director: Kazuyoshi Yokota (横田和善)

#28

Screenplay: Mamoru Sasaki (佐々木守)

Storyboard: Shûji Yamazaki (山崎修二)

Animation: Oh! Production feat. Toshitsugu Saida (才田俊次), Kôshin Yonekawa (米川功真), Jôji Manabe (真鍋譲二); Shun’ichi Sakai (坂井俊一), Michiyo Sakurai (桜井美知代)

Inbetween Checker: Masako Shinohara (篠原征子), Megumi Mizuta (水田めぐみ)

Backgrounds: Yoshikuni Nishi (西芳邦), Shigeo Nishihara (西原繁男), Kenichi Ishibashi (石橋健一)

Assistant Director: Keiji Hayakawa (早川啓二)

#29

Screenplay: Mamoru Sasaki (佐々木守)

Storyboard: Yoshiyuki Tomino (富野喜幸)

Animation: Oh! Production feat. Toshitsugu Saida (才田俊次), Kôshin Yonekawa (米川功真), Jôji Manabe (真鍋譲二); Shun’ichi Sakai (坂井俊一), Michiyo Sakurai (桜井美知代)

Inbetween Checker: Masako Shinohara (篠原征子), Hidemi Maeda (前田英美)

Backgrounds: Tadao Kubota (窪田忠雄), Kazumi Kurata (蔵田和美), Shôhei Kawamoto (川本征平), Masayoshi Banno (番野雅好)

Assistant Director: Tsunehisa Osonoi (小園井常久)

#30

Screenplay: Mamoru Sasaki (佐々木守)

Storyboard: Hiroshi Saitô (斎藤博)

Animation: Yukiyoshi Hane (羽根章悦), Shin’ya Takahashi (高橋信也)

Inbetween Checker: Masako Shinohara (篠原征子), Hidemi Maeda (前田英美)

Backgrounds: Yoshikuni Nishi (西芳邦), Shigeo Nishihara (西原繁男), Kenichi Ishibashi (石橋健一)

Assistant Director: Kazuyoshi Yokota (横田和善)

#31

Screenplay: Mamoru Sasaki (佐々木守)

Storyboard: Seiji Okuda (奥田誠治)

Animation: Oh! Production feat. Toshitsugu Saida (才田俊次), Kôshin Yonekawa (米川功真), Jôji Manabe (真鍋譲二); Shun’ichi Sakai (坂井俊一), Michiyo Sakurai (桜井美知代)

Inbetween Checker: Masako Shinohara (篠原征子), Hidemi Maeda (前田英美)

Backgrounds: Tadao Kubota (窪田忠雄), Kazumi Kurata (蔵田和美), Shôhei Kawamoto (川本征平), Masayoshi Banno (番野雅好)

Assistant Director: Keiji Hayakawa (早川啓二)

#32

Screenplay: Mamoru Sasaki (佐々木守)

Storyboard: Shûji Yamazaki (山崎修二)

Animation: Yukiyoshi Hane (羽根章悦), Shin’ya Takahashi (高橋信也), Shun’ichi Sakai (坂井俊一), Michiyo Sakurai (桜井美知代)

Inbetween Checker: Masako Shinohara (篠原征子), Hidemi Maeda (前田英美)

Backgrounds: Yoshikuni Nishi (西芳邦), Shigeo Nishihara (西原繁男), Kenichi Ishibashi (石橋健一)

Assistant Director: Tsunehisa Osonoi (小園井常久)

#33

Screenplay: Mamoru Sasaki (佐々木守)

Storyboard: Yoshiyuki Tomino (富野喜幸)

Animation: Oh! Production feat. Toshitsugu Saida (才田俊次), Kôshin Yonekawa (米川功真), Jôji Manabe (真鍋譲二); Shun’ichi Sakai (坂井俊一)

Inbetween Checker: Masako Shinohara (篠原征子), Hidemi Maeda (前田英美)

Backgrounds: Tadao Kubota (窪田忠雄), Kazumi Kurata (蔵田和美), Shôhei Kawamoto (川本征平), Masayoshi Banno (番野雅好)

Assistant Director: Kazuyoshi Yokota (横田和善)

#34

Screenplay: Mamoru Sasaki (佐々木守)

Storyboard: Kazuyoshi Yokota (横田和善)

Animation: Oh! Production feat. Toshitsugu Saida (才田俊次), Kôshin Yonekawa (米川功真), Jôji Manabe (真鍋譲二); Shun’ichi Sakai (坂井俊一), Michiyo Sakurai (桜井美知代)

Inbetween Checker: Masako Shinohara (篠原征子), Hidemi Maeda (前田英美)

Backgrounds: Yoshikuni Nishi (西芳邦), Shigeo Nishihara (西原繁男), Kenichi Ishibashi (石橋健一)

Assistant Director: Keiji Hayakawa (早川啓二)

#35

Screenplay: Yoshiaki Yoshida (吉田義昭)

Storyboard: Yoshio Kuroda (黒田昌郎)

Animation: Oh! Production feat. Toshitsugu Saida (才田俊次), Kôshin Yonekawa (米川功真), Jôji Manabe (真鍋譲二); Yukiyoshi Hane (羽根章悦), Shun’ichi Sakai (坂井俊一)

Inbetween Checker: Masako Shinohara (篠原征子), Hidemi Maeda (前田英美)

Backgrounds: Tadao Kubota (窪田忠雄), Kazumi Kurata (蔵田和美), Shôhei Kawamoto (川本征平), Masayoshi Banno (番野雅好)

Assistant Director: Tsunehisa Osonoi (小園井常久)

#36

Screenplay: Yoshiaki Yoshida (吉田義昭)

Storyboard: Keiji Hayakawa (早川啓二)

Animation: Oh! Production feat. Toshitsugu Saida (才田俊次), Kôshin Yonekawa (米川功真), Jôji Manabe (真鍋譲二); Yukiyoshi Hane (羽根章悦), Shin’ya Takahashi (高橋信也), Shun’ichi Sakai (坂井俊一), Michiyo Sakurai (桜井美知代)

Inbetween Checker: Masako Shinohara (篠原征子), Hidemi Maeda (前田英美)

Backgrounds: Yoshikuni Nishi (西芳邦), Shigeo Nishihara (西原繁男), Kenichi Ishibashi (石橋健一)

Assistant Director: Kazuyoshi Yokota (横田和善)

#37

Screenplay: Hisao Okawa (大川久男)

Storyboard: Yoshiyuki Tomino (富野喜幸)

Animation: Oh! Production feat. Toshitsugu Saida (才田俊次), Kôshin Yonekawa (米川功真), Jôji Manabe (真鍋譲二); Yukiyoshi Hane (羽根章悦), Shin’ya Takahashi (高橋信也), Shun’ichi Sakai (坂井俊一), Michiyo Sakurai (桜井美知代)

Inbetween Checker: Masako Shinohara (篠原征子), Hidemi Maeda (前田英美)

Backgrounds: Tadao Kubota (窪田忠雄), Kazumi Kurata (蔵田和美), Shôhei Kawamoto (川本征平), Masayoshi Banno (番野雅好)

Assistant Director: Keiji Hayakawa (早川啓二)

#38

Screenplay: Hisao Okawa (大川久男)

Storyboard: Shûji Yamazaki (山崎修二)

Animation: Oh! Production feat. Toshitsugu Saida (才田俊次), Kôshin Yonekawa (米川功真), Jôji Manabe (真鍋譲二); Yukiyoshi Hane (羽根章悦), Shun’ichi Sakai (坂井俊一), Michiyo Sakurai (桜井美知代)

Inbetween Checker: Masako Shinohara (篠原征子), Hidemi Maeda (前田英美)

Backgrounds: Yoshikuni Nishi (西芳邦), Shigeo Nishihara (西原繁男), Kenichi Ishibashi (石橋健一)

Assistant Director: Kazuyoshi Yokota (横田和善)

#39

Screenplay: Hisao Okawa (大川久男)

Storyboard: Seiji Okuda (奥田誠治)

Animation: Oh! Production feat. Toshitsugu Saida (才田俊次), Kôshin Yonekawa (米川功真), Jôji Manabe (真鍋譲二); Yukiyoshi Hane (羽根章悦), Shun’ichi Sakai (坂井俊一), Michiyo Sakurai (桜井美知代)

Inbetween Checker: Masako Shinohara (篠原征子), Hidemi Maeda (前田英美)

Backgrounds: Tadao Kubota (窪田忠雄), Kazumi Kurata (蔵田和美), Shôhei Kawamoto (川本征平), Masayoshi Banno (番野雅好)

Assistant Director: Keiji Hayakawa (早川啓二)

#40

Screenplay: Hisao Okawa (大川久男)

Storyboard: Yoshiyuki Tomino (富野喜幸)

Animation: Oh! Production feat. Toshitsugu Saida (才田俊次), Kôshin Yonekawa (米川功真), Jôji Manabe (真鍋譲二); Yukiyoshi Hane (羽根章悦), Shun’ichi Sakai (坂井俊一), Michiyo Sakurai (桜井美知代)

Inbetween Checker: Masako Shinohara (篠原征子), Hidemi Maeda (前田英美)

Backgrounds: Yoshikuni Nishi (西芳邦), Shigeo Nishihara (西原繁男), Kenichi Ishibashi (石橋健一)

Assistant Director: Kazuyoshi Yokota (横田和善)

#41

Screenplay: Mamoru Sasaki (佐々木守)

Storyboard: Shûji Yamazaki (山崎修二)

Animation: Oh! Production feat. Toshitsugu Saida (才田俊次), Kôshin Yonekawa (米川功真), Jôji Manabe (真鍋譲二); Yukiyoshi Hane (羽根章悦), Michiyo Sakurai (桜井美知代), Noboru Takano (高野登)

Inbetween Checker: Masako Shinohara (篠原征子), Hidemi Maeda (前田英美)

Backgrounds: Tadao Kubota (窪田忠雄), Kazumi Kurata (蔵田和美), Shôhei Kawamoto (川本征平), Masayoshi Banno (番野雅好)

Assistant Director: Keiji Hayakawa (早川啓二)

#42

Screenplay: Mamoru Sasaki (佐々木守)

Storyboard: Yoshiyuki Tomino (富野喜幸)

Animation: Oh! Production feat. Toshitsugu Saida (才田俊次), Kôshin Yonekawa (米川功真), Jôji Manabe (真鍋譲二); Yukiyoshi Hane (羽根章悦), Michiyo Sakurai (桜井美知代), Noboru Takano (高野登)

Inbetween Checker: Masako Shinohara (篠原征子), Hidemi Maeda (前田英美)

Backgrounds: Yoshikuni Nishi (西芳邦), Shigeo Nishihara (西原繁男), Kenichi Ishibashi (石橋健一)

Assistant Director: Kazuyoshi Yokota (横田和善)

#43

Screenplay: Mamoru Sasaki (佐々木守)

Storyboard: Seiji Okuda (奥田誠治)

Animation: Oh! Production feat. Toshitsugu Saida (才田俊次), Kôshin Yonekawa (米川功真), Jôji Manabe (真鍋譲二); Yukiyoshi Hane (羽根章悦), Michiyo Sakurai (桜井美知代), Noboru Takano (高野登)

Inbetween Checker: Masako Shinohara (篠原征子), Hidemi Maeda (前田英美)

Backgrounds: Shôhei Kawamoto (川本征平), Tadao Kubota (窪田忠雄), Norio Kikuchi (菊地紀夫), Masayoshi Banno (番野雅好)

Assistant Director: Keiji Hayakawa (早川啓二)

#44

Screenplay: Mamoru Sasaki (佐々木守)

Storyboard: Yoshiyuki Tomino (富野喜幸)

Animation: Oh! Production feat. Toshitsugu Saida (才田俊次), Kôshin Yonekawa (米川功真), Jôji Manabe (真鍋譲二); Yukiyoshi Hane (羽根章悦), Michiyo Sakurai (桜井美知代), Noboru Takano (高野登)

Inbetween Checker: Masako Shinohara (篠原征子), Hidemi Maeda (前田英美)

Backgrounds: Yoshikuni Nishi (西芳邦), Shigeo Nishihara (西原繁男), Kenichi Ishibashi (石橋健一)

Assistant Director: Kazuyoshi Yokota (横田和善)

#45

Screenplay: Mamoru Sasaki (佐々木守)

Storyboard: Seiji Okuda (奥田誠治)

Animation: Oh! Production feat. Toshitsugu Saida (才田俊次), Kôshin Yonekawa (米川功真), Jôji Manabe (真鍋譲二); Yukiyoshi Hane (羽根章悦), Michiyo Sakurai (桜井美知代), Noboru Takano (高野登)

Inbetween Checker: Masako Shinohara (篠原征子), Hidemi Maeda (前田英美)

Backgrounds: Tadao Kubota (窪田忠雄), Norio Kikuchi (菊地紀夫), Shôhei Kawamoto (川本征平), Masayoshi Banno (番野雅好)

Assistant Director: Keiji Hayakawa (早川啓二)

#46

Screenplay: Mamoru Sasaki (佐々木守)

Storyboard: Yoshiyuki Tomino (富野喜幸)

Animation: Oh! Production feat. Toshitsugu Saida (才田俊次), Kôshin Yonekawa (米川功真), Jôji Manabe (真鍋譲二); Yukiyoshi Hane (羽根章悦), Michiyo Sakurai (桜井美知代), Noboru Takano (高野登)

Inbetween Checker: Masako Shinohara (篠原征子), Hidemi Maeda (前田英美)

Backgrounds: Yoshikuni Nishi (西芳邦), Shigeo Nishihara (西原繁男), Kenichi Ishibashi (石橋健一)

Assistant Director: Kazuyoshi Yokota (横田和善)

#47

Screenplay: Mamoru Sasaki (佐々木守)

Storyboard: Shûji Yamazaki (山崎修二)

Animation: Oh! Production feat. Toshitsugu Saida (才田俊次), Kôshin Yonekawa (米川功真), Jôji Manabe (真鍋譲二); Yukiyoshi Hane (羽根章悦), Michiyo Sakurai (桜井美知代), Noboru Takano (高野登)

Inbetween Checker: Masako Shinohara (篠原征子), Hidemi Maeda (前田英美)

Backgrounds: Shôhei Kawamoto (川本征平), Tadao Kubota (窪田忠雄), Norio Kikuchi (菊地紀夫), Masayoshi Banno (番野雅好)

Assistant Director: Keiji Hayakawa (早川啓二)

#48

Screenplay: Mamoru Sasaki (佐々木守)

Storyboard: Seiji Okuda (奥田誠治)

Animation: Oh! Production feat. Toshitsugu Saida (才田俊次), Kôshin Yonekawa (米川功真), Jôji Manabe (真鍋譲二); Yukiyoshi Hane (羽根章悦), Michiyo Sakurai (桜井美知代), Noboru Takano (高野登)

Inbetween Checker: Masako Shinohara (篠原征子), Hidemi Maeda (前田英美)

Backgrounds: Yoshikuni Nishi (西芳邦), Shigeo Nishihara (西原繁男), Kenichi Ishibashi (石橋健一)

Assistant Director: Kazuyoshi Yokota (横田和善)

#49

Screenplay: Mamoru Sasaki (佐々木守)

Storyboard: Yoshiyuki Tomino (富野喜幸)

Animation: Oh! Production feat. Toshitsugu Saida (才田俊次), Kôshin Yonekawa (米川功真), Jôji Manabe (真鍋譲二); Yukiyoshi Hane (羽根章悦), Michiyo Sakurai (桜井美知代), Noboru Takano (高野登)

Inbetween Checker: Masako Shinohara (篠原征子), Hidemi Maeda (前田英美)

Backgrounds: Shôhei Kawamoto (川本征平), Tadao Kubota (窪田忠雄), Norio Kikuchi (菊地紀夫), Masayoshi Banno (番野雅好)i

Assistant Director: Keiji Hayakawa (早川啓二)

#50

Screenplay: Mamoru Sasaki (佐々木守)

Storyboard: Seiji Okuda (奥田誠治)

Animation: Oh! Production feat. Toshitsugu Saida (才田俊次), Kôshin Yonekawa (米川功真), Jôji Manabe (真鍋譲二); Yukiyoshi Hane (羽根章悦), Michiyo Sakurai (桜井美知代), Noboru Takano (高野登)

Inbetween Checker: Masako Shinohara (篠原征子), Hidemi Maeda (前田英美)

Backgrounds: Yoshikuni Nishi (西芳邦), Shigeo Nishihara (西原繁男), Kenichi Ishibashi (石橋健一)

Assistant Director: Kazuyoshi Yokota (横田和善)

#51

Screenplay: Mamoru Sasaki (佐々木守)

Storyboard: Yoshiyuki Tomino (富野喜幸)

Animation: Oh! Production feat. Toshitsugu Saida (才田俊次), Kôshin Yonekawa (米川功真), Jôji Manabe (真鍋譲二); Yukiyoshi Hane (羽根章悦), Michiyo Sakurai (桜井美知代), Noboru Takano (高野登)

Inbetween Checker: Masako Shinohara (篠原征子), Hidemi Maeda (前田英美)

Backgrounds: Shôhei Kawamoto (川本征平), Tadao Kubota (窪田忠雄), Norio Kikuchi (菊地紀夫), Masayoshi Banno (番野雅好)i

Assistant Director: Keiji Hayakawa (早川啓二)

#52

Screenplay: Mamoru Sasaki (佐々木守)

Storyboard: Seiji Okuda (奥田誠治)

Animation: Oh! Production feat. Toshitsugu Saida (才田俊次), Kôshin Yonekawa (米川功真), Jôji Manabe (真鍋譲二); Yukiyoshi Hane (羽根章悦), Michiyo Sakurai (桜井美知代), Noboru Takano (高野登)

Inbetween Checker: Masako Shinohara (篠原征子), Hidemi Maeda (前田英美)

Backgrounds: Yoshikuni Nishi (西芳邦), Shigeo Nishihara (西原繁男), Kenichi Ishibashi (石橋健一)

Assistant Director: Kazuyoshi Yokota (横田和善)

5 thoughts on “Heidi, Girl of the Alps

  1. Interesting write-up; I’m particularly grateful for all of the tidbits of information on Ioka, it’s hard to find much about him on the internet. On that note, why don’t you include sources at the end of the article? Their absence gives one the impression that you’re talking from hear-say more often than not, and undermines your extensive researching efforts.

    I’m currently re-watching Heidi for the first time in over 15 years so I didn’t read the episode highlights past #8 and don’t know whether you touch on this, but one of the series’ essential thematic points is the exploration of the 18th/19th Century’s debate on education (expansion on the classic Rousseau vs Hobbes argument). Heidi’s idyllic life in the Alps is basically a portrayal of the noble savage myth, and much of drama in the early episodes comes from his grandfather struggling to find a balance between letting her explore and develop freely and restraining her desires whenever it’s dangerous not to. It’s a similar learning process for Heidi as well, for instance when she accepts Yuki needs to be reprehended physically in order to correct the little goat’s behavior in episode 7. Ultimately, I think the series makes an argument against the increasingly systematized academic model of the late 1800s (especially considering 1) the novel was written around 1880, year in which Jules Ferry’s school reforms begin in France, and 2) your description of the ‘Frankfurt arc’ as traumatic for Heidi; hell, we used to call one of my old school’s teachers Rottenmeier for a reason), but at the same time acknowledging the difficulties of something like a purely natural state of being if one wants to live in community with others.

    I also find important to highlight that much of the realism accomplished by the show is achieved not only through the thorough conception of its setting and consistently thoughtful movement of the characters, but also all of those unnecessary details that aid their believability (e.g. Heidi usually tripping over whenever she runs, characters’ brief instability due the weight/movement of objects or surfaces, etc).

    Anyways, great work!

    Like

    1. Thank you for your comment!

      We didn’t include a list of sources partly because the article was long enough as is, and partly because most of our information does come from hearsay and personal research on 70’s anime. We did include in hyperlinks the most important and perhaprs least well-known ones (notably Gomi and Kano’s texts), and aside from that most citations are either from Miyazaki’s Starting Point or the Yasuo Otsuka: Joy in Motion documentary. On Ioka in particular, most of the information comes from what I could understand of the texts (I’m not fluent in Japanese, but I’m getting there) from an artbook dedicated to him edited by Ghibli, which contains texts by both Miyazaki and Takahata.

      As for your point on the theme of education, I think you’re mostly right, but I’d add some nuances. We mention it in one of the later episode spotlights about Peter, how Takahata’s version took pains to make the children more “innocent” and “good” in that Rousseauist sense, in stark contrast with the novels. However, what you mention about the “dangers” of the Alps and the tension between Heidi and her grandfather I have to say I don’t really see.
      Moreover, I don’t know if I’d really position Takahata in regard to precise pedagogical debates; I see what you mean in general, and this theme is probably more present in the novels, but I don’t think Takahata really worried that much about education as in “good ways to acquire knowledge”, whatever knowledge that is. I think the real focus was childhood – and of course education is related, but in Heidi’s perspective I think it stays mostly secondary.

      Hope I answered your questions! Thanks again for commenting.

      Like

      1. Thank you for the response. I knew the Ioka artbook contained some commentaries by Miyazaki and Takahata but I don’t understand Japanese either, thanks for partially sharing that information – reading anything related to him is rare, I even had to add him to MAL myself last year. I would still reference at the end the main texts you used for this article, like Starting Point, but that’s up to your own judgement.

        I’m talking about education more as child-rearing on behalf on society, rather than acquiring knowledge (meaning, making good citizens). Most, if not all WMT shows deal with orphans who are submitted to labor from a young age, and through education are eventually able to fulfill their full potential as useful members of society and enjoy their formative years (see Akage no Anne); however, Heidi doesn’t paint the rising national education systems in a completely positive light, there’s a certain longing for the idea of the noble savage. But yeah, I agree Takahata was likely more interested in portraying childhood independently to these larger issues. Again, good work and I’m looking forward to more installments in the series.

        Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s