Despite all the discussion about Goro Miyazaki’s movies, his TV show Ronja the Robber’s Daughter has gone unnoticed.

Goro Miyazaki is best known for directing three Studio Ghibli films: Tales of Earthsea, From up on poppy hill Y Earwig and the witch. However, he has also directed an anime television series that fans often overlook: Ronja, the thief’s daughter. Based on the novel by Astrid Lindgren Ronia, the thief’s daughter, this 26-episode series focuses on a young woman named Ronja, the heir to the Mattis clan raised by bandits and robbers, who goes on an adventure.

Her adventures with her warm-blooded, warm-spirited tribe are forever altered when she meets Birk, the son of the chieftain of a rival Borkas clan. What follows is an adventure that explores Ronja and Birk’s relationship as they try to live together despite the conflict between their clans.

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Ronja, the thief’s daughter is a CG series co-produced by Studio Ghibli and Polygon Pictures. Goro Miyazaki’s story as a director is unpredictable, so viewers who aren’t Ghibli finalists might be inclined to skip this relatively dark series. Nevertheless, Ronja, the thief’s daughter it’s well worth your time, as long as you can vibrate with its slower pace and somewhat stiff animation.

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Ronja, the thief’s daughter CGI

Predando Earwig and the witch and even the Ghibli Museum Boron the caterpillar, Ronja, the thief’s daughter it was Ghibli’s first real experiment in CG character animation. It was partly thanks to his experience working on Ronja that Goro Miyazaki had the opportunity to do Earwig completely in CGI. For many, the initial novelty of this series was seeing what a CG Ghibli co-production would look like. However, several years after its release, how has this 2015 series visually aged?

As expected, Ronja looks dated compared to the likes of Beastars and another recent hit CG anime. However, for its time, this was one of the most engaging fully computer-generated anime out there. The animation manages to capture the charming visual style of Ghibli, although it does not emulate it perfectly. Does not compare to Earwig and the witchCG animation, but of course this was done for a lower budget. Ronja character models move a bit stiff, but blend surprisingly well with 2D environments, resulting in a nice fairytale fantasy aesthetic.

RELATED: Earwig and the Witch is a faithful book adaptation, but a mediocre Ghibli movie

Ronja, the thief’s daughter is a joyous family fantasy

Ronja, the thief’s daughter is a less conflict-driven, more experience-driven fantasy series. Sure, there is conflict, with Ronja and Birk hailing from rival tribes and dealing with both their clan rivalry and their own gradual disillusionment with the thief’s lifestyle. However, conflicts are still much less risky than you might expect in a fantasy story. The series ends on a gloomy and subdued note rather than culminating in a great cathartic battle. Rather than resulting in grand war scenes or violent bloodshed, the conflict between the clans feels small-scale and petty.

In theory, this is what Goro tried with Tales of Earthsea, where most of the film focused more on the characters cultivating and living life rather than engaging in the larger conflict. However, this approach works best in Ronja due to its episodic nature. The plot develops slowly from episode to episode. While there are action sequences, the series maintains a slower pace to focus on the characters and their daily lives.

A show like this makes it or breaks it if the characters aren’t strong enough. These characters are good enough to run an episodic series, but you won’t find anyone as memorable as Sophie or Howl from Howl’s Moving Castle in this series. Still, the characters are personable and solidly developed, with Ronja’s strong will as the highlight. If you can dive into the slower narrative, you may feel a family connection to them.

Ronja The biggest difficulty as a series is that it lives in the shadow of its other Studio Ghibli productions. Many critics who gave it negative reviews after its release criticized the series for not being as good as the Studio Ghibli masterpieces. Nevertheless, Ronja, the thief’s daughter is proof that Goro Miyazaki can create a compelling fantasy story, a vast improvement over the mediocre Tales of Earthsea. If you are interested in slower paced and family fantasy then Ronja, the thief’s daughter It is a comforting gem. However, if you want something a little more epic and grand, this may not be for you.

KEEP READING: The Ghibli Museum Library – Classic Cartoons and Arthouse that Miyazaki Wants You to See

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