I recently passed a milestone here at Conversations on Ghibli. About two weeks ago, my Heidi DVD box set arrived in the mail. Two, actually. I purchased one box from JSDVD Mall, thinking that it was only the first half (like my Marco box set), and I purchased the second box from the ever-reliable YesAsia. As it turns out, the JSDVD set was the entire series, all 52 episodes. So it seems I picked up an extra Heidi volume that I didn't need.
In the end, this really isn't a bad thing for me. The single-box Heidi is more stripped-down, with all the discs packed into four cases, which are all crammed into a cardboard box. There are no extras to speak of, but since it only cost me $40 (plus another $25 for air mail), I can hardly complain. That's a terrific bargain any way to look at it.
The Volume II Heidi box is just like my two Marco DVD boxes, with a sturdy box to hold five cases inside. Also included is a sizeable booklet, which features an episode synopsis, a profile of the Heidi series (including photographs from the Swiss Alps), and interviews with director Isao Takahata and Animation Director/Character Designer Yoichi Kotabe. This box cost me around $80, which would have been more wisely spent on a couple more DVD's, but at the very least, I get that booklet. And it has to be said, it balances out the shelf sitting alongside Marco.
The one significant drawback? No English subtitles. Sorry, kids. There is no version of Heidi anywhere in the world with English subs, and believe me, I've looked. Our only three options are to 1) wait for a fansub team to translate and release it online, 2) some company to obtain the rights and release the DVD set in North America, or 3) learn Japanese. I don't see option #1 happening anytime soon, if ever. Anime fans want their naked chicks and giant robots, not character-driven drama with a heavy Ozu bent. Option #2? I'd like to see it happen, and often wonder why some enterprising company doesn't obtain the rights to the WMT series. Perhaps if interest in Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli continues, something could happen. But they'll run into the same problem as #1.
So that leaves #3. Dagnabbit. If I would only keep up with my grammer studies more often, I'd be much more fluent. As it is, I'm only good at playing the not-too-clueless tourist. Fortunately, I'm able to follow most of what's happening in Heidi, even if most of the dialog is lost on me.
And this brings me to a notable milestone, as I've mentioned at the beginning. This is the last major find of my DVD collection. Now I have all of Takahata's directoral works, from Horus in 1968 to Winter Days in 2003 (he directed one segment in the movie anthology). There still remains the Toei Doga television series Wolf Boy Ken, which was Takahata's very first job in the director's chair, the TV show Hustle Punch (on which the whole Toei crew, including Miyazaki, worked on), the earlier pre-Horus films like Little Prince and the 8-Headed Dragon, and Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves, which was a later Miyazaki movie made after Animal Treasure Island in 1971. But, for all intents and purposes, this is it.
There's something both satisfying and sad about reaching your final destination. A sense of accomplishment, but then an empty feeling lurking behind it - what do I do now? All the money's gone, nowhere to go...but, oh, that magic feeling, nowhere to go.