Ronja, The Robber’s Daughter
Based on Astrid Lindgren’s fantasy novel of the same name, Ronja, the Robber’s Daughter is an animated series offered up by Amazon. Produced by Studio Ghibli, Inc., a much-celebrated Japanese studio known for its anime feature films, Ronja is a stellar example of that art form.
Ronja is the daughter of a professional robber, a fact that doesn’t really matter when she’s safely tucked away in her home. But once she turns ten, Ronja is given permission to explore the vast forest beyond her castle and that’s when life gets complicated. This series offers 26 installments and each episode tracks one of Ronja’s adventures as she makes friends, discovers astonishing locales and life forms, and confronts her fears while coming of age in the forest. We learn early that Ronja is fascinated by new sites but sometimes her enthusiasm overrides her common sense; she ends up staying out too long and encountering a collection of menacing nighttime creatures. Further into the series, Ronja befriends Birk who happens to be the son of Ronja’s father’s enemy. Ronja and Birk struggle to define their relationship as they continue to explore the forest and interact with the dangers they face, which range from ones presented by the landscape to others in the form of the people and fantastical creatures they encounter. The forest visits reveal to Ronja that there’s much more to the world–both good and bad–than she had thought and she’s determined to explore it all.
Fans of anime will appreciate the art direction and feel comfortable with the sparse dialogue and unrushed pace of this series. For young viewers new to the style, though, it might take some getting used to. Ronja requires patience but that patience will be rewarded not only with an appreciation for anime, but also the perspective the series delivers.
Gina Catanzarite ©2018 Parents’ Choice
Gina Catanzarite is an award-winning television producer, writer, teacher, mom and media consultant in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She began her career in 1987 and counts 9 Emmy awards, 26 Emmy nominations, a Matrix award, two Pennsylvania Broadcaster’s Association Awards, 8 Telly Awards, and a screenwriting grant from the Theatre Association of Pennsylvania, among her professional honors.