The latest issue, due out in Japan on 23rd January 2013, is all about the World Masterpiece Theatre series Alps no Shojo Heidi (Heidi, Girl of the Alps). It’s the nineteenth set in the Anime Heroes and Heroines collection and it keeps to the same high standard as its precursors, with beautiful full-colour images from the anime. Just look at the sledging scene with those adorable bunnies in the snow!
The show itself, first screened in 1974, is of considerable interest. Directed by Isao Takahata for Zuiyo, it showcases the work of many future superstars including Yoshiyuki Gundam Tomino, Toyo Yamato Ashida and Takahata’s longtime friend Hayao Miyazaki. It’s a reasonably faithful and very entertaining version of Johanna Spyri’s classic novel. It won worldwide acclaim, with dubs in many languages including at least five from the Indian subcontinent, several dialects of Chinese, Castilian and Latin American Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese, Albanian, Afrikaans, Arabic, Icelandic, Persian and Turkish, as well as the usual European versions.
Studio Ghibli hosted an exhibition on the series at its Mitaka museum in 2005/6. Even the BBC has picked up on Japan’s enthusiasm for Heidi as part of a passion for all things Swiss. The anime had a beautiful new DVD and Blu-Ray release in Japan just over a year ago – well worth hunting down. If it’s a little too pricey, these pretty stamps will set you back just ¥1500.