ANIME & MANGA - Article
09:35 - 23rd April 2015, by NEO Staff

Anime Exposé Ronja the Robber’s Daughter

Goro Miyazaki follows in his father’s footsteps with his first TV anime series – an adaptation of a beloved European novel. But can Ronja succeed where Miyazaki’s last fantasy work, the disappointing Tales from Earthsea, so spectacularly failed?

Stealing Hearts

It was a dark and stormy night when Ronja was born, with a bolt of lightning that tore her father Mattis’ castle clean in half. Despite the ominous circumstances surrounding her birth, Mattis absolutely adores his daughter – as does the gang of thieves who serve as her extended family. As she grows up, she enjoys an idyllic life for the most part, with evenings full of song and days spent exploring the forest, full of wonder and danger.

While her early journeys see her trapped by the Grey Dwarves – small, bird-faced creatures who attack in droves – and hunted by the Hell Harpies that soar over the woods screeching cruel obscenities, Ronja knows she is never too far from home, and that her father will move Heaven and Earth to protect her. However, the one thing Mattis can’t fight off is Ronja’s own insatiable curiosity.

Despite being forbidden from going near “Hell’s Gap”, the great split in the castle that reaches deep into the ground, Ronja can’t help investigating the cavernous ruins beneath her home. It’s here that she meets Birk – the only other child in the woods. He also happens to be the son of Borka, Mattis’ rival bandit lord, and his whole clan has moved into the abandoned half of the castle.

Although Ronja and Birk are initially antagonistic towards each other, challenging each other to matches of skill while insulting the opposing tribe, Ronja saves Birk’s life when part of the crumbling castle gives way beneath him. But can this seed of friendship grow into something powerful enough to overcome the rivalry between their fathers? And given both are from families of professional robbers, can anyone be trusted when a harsh winter forces them to rely on each other?

This is easily Goro Miyazaki’s finest directorial work yet, and one that desperately needs a UK release.

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