Today's Screenshots - Heidi, Girl of the Alps
Astonishingly, I still haven't finished watching Heidi. I've owned the box set for five months, but I've just been dragging my heels, only watching in fits and spurts, an episode here, an episode there. It's not that I don't enjoy the series - I think it's absolutely fantastic. It's a damned crime that Americans are literally the only ones who've never seen this show. The problem is that there are no English subtitles available, so watching requires a far greater amount of concentration to follow.
It certainly doesn't help that my Japanese is so poor. To the series' credit, I'm able to follow quite a lot via of the layouts, compositions, and overall directing. But it's still a great challenge to be engaged and take everything in as best you can.
These shots come from around episode 25 or so, I can't recall off the top of my head. It has such a brilliant Orson Welles quality to it; being a great Welles fan, naturally, I took a shine to it. The Heidi series will occasionally, every now and then, throw something in that's extrordinary. One story scene was narrated with crayon-drawn backgrounds. Emotions veer from joyful exhuberance to the depths of sorrow. Heidi drifts away into flights of imagination, the very signature style Takahata would use throughout his career.
I can't imagine why Heidi couldn't be sold in the US, although I think you'd need to put it on television if it ever has a chance of breaking wide open. If you just dropped a box set onto store shelves, it would probably be ignored by most parents (looking for the next Disney fix to screw their children over) and the anime nerds (looking for more giant robots and naked chicks). There has to be a solution somewhere.