Niko and the Sword of Light

TV review by
Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
Niko and the Sword of Light TV Poster Image
Strong role models stand out in family-friendly cartoon.

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The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Educational Value

The show intends to entertain rather than to educate.

Positive Messages

The idea that courage and heroism is unrelated to a person's physical appearance is paramount to the story. Niko's youth and small size make others underestimate him at first, but he compensates by believing in himself and embracing his destiny. Heroes make selfless sacrifices to free their people from an oppressive force, and Lyra's courage, strength, and leadership skills challenge traditional gender roles. Good and evil are easy to decipher.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Niko wastes no time embracing his new destiny, and the fact that he's younger and smaller than any other champion means nothing to him. He's self-confident, full of potential, and adept at learning on the fly. He's also motivated by the knowledge that his efforts are helping people, and he always sees the best in the people and creatures he meets. Lyra also makes sacrifices for the cause, giving up her relative safety to become human and help Niko.

 

Violence & Scariness

Tense exchanges between Niko and the various creatures he encounters. Niko is armed with his magic sword, which emits shock waves, fire flashes, and solar flares rather than doing any actual stabbing. Creatures either disappear or transform into innocuous forms after Niko banishes the darkness from them. A sinister villain controls most of the world, but he and his minions plot against Niko in grave terms. Creatures can be scary, baring their teeth and growling at the young heroes.

 

Sexy Stuff
Language

Name-calling like "sack of drool" (rarely).

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Niko and the Sword of Light is an adventure cartoon about a young champion on a quest to save his home from an oppressive villain who has cursed the world with darkness. Often scenes showing Niko engaged in battle against snarling, imposing creatures possessed by the darkness have some edgy violence that may be scary to younger kids. When Niko defeats them, the creatures don't die, though; instead viewers see dark forms escape and the creatures return to more innocuous forms like small rodents and insects. On the other hand, both Niko and his guide, Lyra, are exceptional role models because of their willingness to face difficult (and often dangerous) tasks with courage and determination. Need another reason to like this story? Niko looks every inch the underdog, being much younger and smaller than any champion to come before him, but he never lets that interfere with his belief in himself.

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What's the story?

NIKO AND THE SWORD OF LIGHT opens with the awakening of a young boy named Niko (voiced by Andre Robinson), the last of his people and a legendary champion destined to banish the darkness from his home. Unfortunately, Niko's awakening was a bit premature, leaving his guide, Lyra (Kari Wahlgren), scrambling to teach him what he needs to know to overcome dangers and outwit Nar Est (Steve Blum), the evil sorcerer with the world in his grasp. Together with his friends Flicker (Dee Bradley Baker) and Mandok (Tom Kenny), and his unfailing guide, Lyra, Niko must harness the power of his sword of light if the world has any hope of conquering the darkness.

Is it any good?

Niko's is a true underdog story brimming with action, suspense, and excellent role models in both Niko and Lyra. Bursting onto the scene far earlier than the elders and Lyra imagined, Niko is a bundle of childish energy faced with very grown-up responsibility, and it's up to almost equally youthful Lyra (though she's been suspended in time and not aging for the past 700+ years) to keep him focused. This is no easy task, and it eventually requires a big leap of faith for Lyra, but their combined commitment to the cause is admirable.

For his part, Niko's willingness to face challenges with a positive attitude and inexhaustible courage make it impossible to dislike this pint-size powerhouse. He chooses his friends with care and always looks out for the little guy, even while he's gearing up for a showdown to save his people from a force that's defeated every champion to come before him. Visually enchanting and boasting content of positive substance, Niko and the Sword of Light is a series that families can enjoy together.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what defines a hero. In what ways do Niko and the Sword of Light's Niko and Lyra qualify as heroes? How do their character strengths (courage, perseverance) help others? Who are some of your role models? What characteristics do you most admire in them?

  • Did any parts of this story or its characters scare you? Do you like to be a little bit scared when you watch TV or movies? How do you tell the difference between realistic danger and danger that's imaginary?

  • Niko's ability to adapt to his surroundings and the challenges he faces is one of his greatest strengths. What are some of yours? Why is it important to recognize the positive qualities we have? How does self-esteem play a role in how you relate to others?

TV details

Character Strengths

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For kids who love adventure

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