Heidi is a 1974 anime series by Zuiyo Enterprises based on the Swiss novel "Heidi's Years of Wandering and Learning" by Johanna Spyri (1880). It was directed by Isao Takahata and features Yoichi Kotabe (character design and animation director) and Hayao Miyazaki (scene design and layout).
Heidi is one of several World Masterpiece Theater titles produced around the "classical children's literature period" (1974-1997), based on classic tales from around the world.
Adelheid (final letter pronounced as a "t" sound), alias Heidi, is an orphaned girl initially raised by her aunt Dete. In order to get a job in Frankfurt, Dete brings 5-year-old Heidi to her grandfather, who has been at odds with the villagers for years and lives in seclusion on the alm. This has earned him the nickname Alp-Öhi ("Alp-grandfather" in the Graubünden dialect). He at first resents Heidi's arrival, but the girl manages to penetrate his harsh exterior and subsequently has a delightful stay with him and her best friend, young Peter the goat-herd.
Dete returns three years later to bring Heidi to Frankfurt as a companion of a 12-year-old disabled girl named Clara Sesemann. Heidi spends a year with Clara, clashing repeatedly with the Sesemanns' strict housekeeper Miss Rottenmeier and becoming more and more homesick. Her one diversion is learning to read and write, motivated by her desire to go home and read to Peter's blind grandmother. Heidi's increasingly failing health and several instances of sleepwalking prompt Clara's doctor to send her home to her grandfather. Her return prompts the grandfather to descend to the village for the first time in years, marking an end to his seclusion.
Heidi and Clara continue to write to each other. A visit by the doctor to Heidi and her grandfather convinces him to recommend that Clara journey to visit Heidi. Clara makes the journey the next season and spends a wonderful summer with Heidi. Clara becomes stronger on goat's milk and fresh mountain air, but Peter is jealous of Clara and pushes her wheelchair down the mountain to its destruction. Without her wheelchair, Clara attempts to walk and is gradually successful. Clara's Grandmother and Father are amazed and overcome with joy to see Clara walking. Clara's wealthy family promises to provide a shelter for Heidi, in case her grandfather will no longer be able to do so.