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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Ronja, the Robber's Daughter is an anime fantasy series based on the book by Astrid Lindgren and presented by the studio behind Spirited Away and Howl's Moving Castle. Ronja's extended-family members are thieves by trade, but they're not unlikable as a result. Instead, being raised in this unique community gives this unabashed girl a decisive sense of right and wrong and a strong value set that encourages her to trust her own instincts in choosing her path. There's little violence to the skirmishes that erupt between the robbers and their victims -- and among themselves -- but young kids may find some of the fantasy creatures that live in the surrounding areas scary, and there are infrequent uses of "hell." Strong themes of friendship (including a friendship that breaks the rules but fulfills Ronja and Birk) and loyalty exist, as does the value of being inquisitive and adventurous. This beautiful, musical anime series is an excellent pick for families with older kids and tweens because of its multigenerational appeal.
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What's the story?
Ronja (voiced by Theresa Gallagher) is a spirited girl, the only child of robber-band chief Mattis (Rufus Hound) and his wife, Lovis (Morwenna Banks). Growing up among an extended family of career thieves has inspired Ronja's enthusiasm for new challenges and adventures and her courage in the face of adversity. Her inquisitive nature brings her face to face with some unpredictable situations, especially in the neighboring forest and among its strange creatures. And then there's her unexpected friendship with Birk (Kelly Adams), the son of Mattis' sworn rival, Borka (Bob Golding). On that front, things get even tenser when Borka and his gang move nearer Ronja's family. RONJA, THE ROBBER'S DAUGHTER tells of Ronja's coming of age as an outspoken, courageous, and loving girl.
Is it any good?
Narrated by Gillian Anderson, this internationally celebrated series is beautifully crafted around an exceptional young female character in Ronja. Though the details of her upbringing and family life among a band of robbers seem contradictory to the principled, empathetic girl she becomes, you quickly forget about the characters' questionable livelihood and focus instead on the image they create of family, community, and loyalty. As the beneficiary of her environment, Ronja emerges as an expressive, opinionated girl willing to stick out her neck for what she believes is right, even when it challenges her elders' beliefs.
Ronja, the Robber's Daughter is a methodical, almost relaxing series to watch because of the patient pace of the story, the sweeping scenery, and the stirring music that bridges dialogue. There's nothing rushed about this tale, allowing you to settle in and fully appreciate the expert animation and vivid storytelling that bring this popular book to life.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Ronja's character strengths in Ronja, the Robber's Daughter. How would you rate her courage? Her empathy? Her loyalty to her friends? How do these qualities compare with those you look for in a friend or strive for yourself?
Are strong female characters becoming more common in movies and on TV series? Are gender stereotypes challenged in this story or in others you've seen with girls at the forefront? Why is this a positive change? Are there any negative results that might come of it?
What does the music add to this series? How does this compare with American series, including anime-style ones? Did you like this show's slower pace?
People show empathy when they understand and share someone else's feelings. Let's think about empathy and Ronja, the Robber's Daughter. Do you remember when Ronja learned that her family steals things? How did she feel? Why do you think s/he felt that way? What other things might make Ronja feel sad or confused? How would you feel if you learned something about your parents that you didn't understand? What other things make you feel sad or confused?
People show courage when they feel scared but do something anyway. Let's think about courage and Ronja, the Robber's Daughter. Ronja shows courage because she makes and stays friends with Birk even though she's scared about what her family might think. Sometimes we have to do things, even if they scare us, so that we can take care of people. Can you think of a time when you showed courage? How did you feel before, during, and after?
- Premiere date: January 27, 2017
- Cast: Gillian Anderson, Theresa Gallagher, Morwenna Banks
- Network: Amazon Prime Video
- Genre: Kids' Animation
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Book Characters, Great Girl Role Models
- Character strengths: Curiosity, Empathy
- TV rating: TV-Y7-FV
- Available on: DVD, Streaming
- Award: Common Sense Selection
- Last updated: September 20, 2019
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
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