Studio Ghibli’s children’s series “Ronja: The Robber’s Daughter” is now streaming on Amazon with 26 episodes based on the classic tale by Astrid Lingren (“Pippi Longstocking”). The series won an International Emmy Award for Best Kids Animation.
It’s taken a couple of years for the series to make its way west from Japan, so to prepare for your family’s next binge, we’ve set up a primer for what you need to know:
1. Ronja is as advertised: One stormy night a girl was born to Mattis, a leader of a band of robbers, who couldn’t have been prouder. That night, lighting stuck the fort they lived in and split it in two. Set in a medieval Scandinavian land, expect to see horse-drawn carriages, outhouses and very little technology.
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2. Gillian Anderson reunion: “The X-Files” star continues her relationship with Studio Ghibli that began when she voiced Moro for the English language version of Hayao Miyazaki’s “Princess Mononoke.” She lends her voice, with a vaguely British accent, as the narrator of the series.
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3. The son carries on the legacy: Hayao Miyazaki’s son Goro directs the series. It’s his third for Studio Ghibli after the big-screen “Tales of Earthsea” and “From Up on Poppy Hill.”
4. Thick as thieves: Ronja and Mattis belong to a band of robbers who live in the fort with Mattis’ wife Lovis (note her very Pippi Longstocking-esque braids). The rest of the gang are rather goofy and childish, but they harbor a fierce hatred of the rival robber’s gang led by Borka.
5. Befriending the enemy: Ronja has never met another child until after her 10th birthday when she meets the boy Birk. They eventually become friends, but it’s rather too bad that their respective fathers are enemies Mattis and Borka.
6. A breath of fresh air: The majority of Ronja and Birk’s adventures take place in the forest adjoining the fort. The landscape is a vision to behold, and you’ll wish you were with those kids climbing trees, exploring meadows, encountering wildlife and hopping across streams on rocks.
7. A show for all seasons: Over the course of the episodes, we’ll see Ronja adjusting to the snow, which can be a fun adventure, but also could spell danger for the robbers who rely on people passing through for their wealth and supplies.
8. Dangerous creatures: The world is very familiar, but is also full of fantastical beings such as harpies, little grey dwarves and others that could be harmful to Ronja and Birk. It’s best that they’re not out late when the night is dark and full of terrors…
All 26 half-hour episodes of “Ronja, the Robber’s Daughter” are streaming on Amazon.