entertainment

How 'Heidi' conquered Japan, sparking an anime revolution

19 Comments
By Nathalie OLOF-ORS

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19 Comments
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ok.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

I hated that series when I was a kid and refused to watch it. I was really shocked to see the popularity still very high in Japan some 40 odd years later. It would seem that, it is not a matter of liking or disliking it in Japan. It's more of a cultural duty to like it.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

Having grown up in Japan in the 1970s as a foreigner, there were two series aimed at children that just sort of resonated.

-- Heidi.

-- Little House On The Prairie.

Can't explain it. Maybe it was the idea of two series with foreign characters set in foreign locations..... and all of the dialogue in Japanese. Sort of like a young non-Japanese child growing up in Japan speaking Japanese every day.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Disillusioned -

"...sitting in front of the idiot box watching this garbage...."

Bit harsh for a few minutes per episode cartoon that impacted the anime world in a big way.

And Me too. Growing up in Oz as a kid we spent tons of time, playing footy in the street, climbing trees, falling in creeks, making go-karts, having fruit fights in the neighbours orchard, building meccano, reading, swimming every weekend at the beach and watching cartoons on tv from American classics like the Flintstones to Bugs Bunny to Japanese classics like Astro Boy, Kimba and somewhere Heidi fitted into that altho I was getting past the toons by that stage.

We had lotsa time for lotsa things and watching tv a bit everyday was just a small but enjoyable part of it.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Heidi is a masterpiece, also today it's maybe the most popular animated series in Italy, by considering many different generations. It has been hugely popular in the whole Europe (except for the UK I think), and I am really a bit shocked by some comments here. Heidi was/is loved by people of any age, and I would say it's more known than some Disney characters. Anyway I know that in the US/UK in the 70s/80s anime were never popular like in Italy, Germany, France and Spain, but in these Countries they were also more loved than American cartoons, and Heidi is one of the most popular ones. I think Heidi is way more known than Pokémon, because the target of Heidi is wider. Plus, don't forget that Heidi inspired the whole World Masterpiece Theater production by Nippon Animation, all animated series that were very loved in Europe. They remain popular also today.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

good old memories i loved heidi it was really nice animation with amazing drawing i would love to see it again

3 ( +3 / -0 )

It has been hugely popular in the whole Europe (except for the UK I think)

I'm not surprised. I don't think Brits fall for all this kawaii stuff, unless they're 8-year old girls. I think they went for the Swiss-German series starring Katia Polletin. Get it straight from the original country.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

@Pukey2: it's not "kawaii stuff". Obviously you don't know this kind of anime.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Heidi and all the meisaku of the World Masterpiece Theater are known for their realistic drawings in Studio Ghibli style, and based on Western literature. The stories are often dark and very dramatic, something that you didn't see in Western animation in that period, so they let a huge impact on us European kids during the 80s. The whole "kawaii" concept has NOTHING to do with this kind of anime, but I guess haters gonna hate, also without properly knowing these cartoons, that gained a well deserved popularity in the mainland Europe. In the UK it didn't happen because both the UK and the US are not markets opened to foreign animation and movies.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

@browny1

......climbing trees, falling in creeks, making go-karts, having fruit fights in the neighbours orchard, building meccano, reading, swimming every weekend at the beach and watching cartoons on tv.....

We had lotsa time for lotsa things and watching tv a bit everyday was just a small but enjoyable part of it.......

Sounds like you had a healthy childhood/upbringing.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

I'm not surprised. I don't think Brits fall for all this kawaii stuff, unless they're 8-year old girls. 

Could also be a cultural thing. kids from alpine (ger, austria,switz, fr, italy etc) and scandinavian countries could relate to heidi, anglos not so much (would be curious to know how popular heidi was in north america esp canada?).

Should have replaced heidi with an 8yo shazza on a bmx, 'ah tell ya what thou', 'that's me bike ya tw*t" etc for the anglo market ;)

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I'm not surprised. I don't think Brits fall for all this kawaii stuff, unless they're 8-year old girls. 

British kids are usually cynical before they reach their teens. I don’t think this is better than kawaii crap.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

It has been hugely popular in the whole Europe (except for the UK I think)

I'm not surprised. I don't think Brits fall for all this kawaii stuff, unless they're 8-year old girls. I think they went for the Swiss-German series starring Katia Polletin. Get it straight from the original country.

I am British and was a child in the 70's. You are right the Swiss-German live action series was huge here at the time. I don't think there would have been the appetite to run another adaptation.

@Alex80 I disagree with the UK not being open to foreign shows & animation at the time because there were a lot of foreign shows on tv then both animated & live action. However there was a thriving home grown animation industry then so there was a lot of competition for the airtime.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

@Goldorak: anime in general were never very popular in the US and the UK before Pokémon that, ironically, I think is one of the worst anime ever (I would call it actually commercial garbage without any plot, made only to promote videogames). But in mainland Europe the story is different, anime became hugely popular in Countries like Italy, Spain, France and Germany since the late 70s, and Italy played a huge role in spreading anime in the rest of Europe. Italian Fininvest, the current Mediaset, bought anime from Japan, and it broadcasted those anime also in its own channels in the rest of European Countries. This is the reason why many anime in France, Spain and Germany have the Italian adaptation and also the Italian opening, only sung in another language. The US and UK weren't included in this Italian business that contributed a lot to spread anime in mainland Europe. American and British televisions were not very prone to import foreign shows during those years, it's a simple and well known fact.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

@old_english_guy: I guess the imported foreign shows were mainly from the US and barely something from the rest of Europe. About animation, you are confirming what I said, while in mainland Europe during those years Japanese animation had almost the monopoly.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

It was always Battle of the Planets for me. We also enjoyed any number of curious cartoons from Czechoslovakia. It was a nice alternative to the Hana Barbera output.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

British kids are usually cynical before they reach their teens. I don’t think this is better than kawaii crap.

I'd rather my daughter end up the 'kawaii crap' type than the hardened cynical type.

Unfortunately, that horse may already have bolted to some degree. She's not cynical, but she is very realistic and cuts to the point.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

@Strangerland: look, this kind of anime are the most different thing from "the kawaii crap" that you are imagining. My favourite series of the World Masterpiece Theater is maybe "Alps story: my Annette". It's about a girl who must grow up his little brother, after her mother's death. But her best friend, for a futile reason, bullies her little brother who as a consequence hurts his leg and isn't able to walk anymore. The story it's all about Annette and her struggle in forgiving her friend for what he did to her little brother. In many occasions, she tried to take revenge against him. It's painful both to see the little brother who can't walk anymore and a beautiful friendship ruined by an act of immature bullying. I won't say how it ends, but the story is very adult and mature, it deals with topics like death, bullying, revenge and the ability of forgiving. The complexity of the characters is strong, indeed despite the characters being children, they show a wide variety of emotions, they aren't treated like pure innocent creatures, in a Disney way. Another great series is "Romeo no aoi Sora", the story about little children sold like slaves at the early of the past century to work in Milan. Also in this case, you have strong topics like death, illness, labor exploitation of children, trade of slave children, and so on. I don't know where people see "kawaii crap" in the World Masterpiece Theater stories, that are all based on classics of Western literature, and keep all the harsh topics without any censorship. And everything started with Heidi. Plus, these anime were all hand drawn and with great quality of animation, way higher than the one that you see in your typical anime today. Indeed the cost of production of these series was very high.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@Strangerland: look, this kind of anime are the most different thing from "the kawaii crap" that you are imagining.

I've never had any interest in anime. So I wasn't imagining anything.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

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