No film studio can claim to possess the wonder and magic that Studio Ghibli manager to inject into everything they do. Not even Disney or Pixar. They’ve created a raft of unforgettable films including Spirited Away, Kiki’s Delivery Service, My Neighbour Totoro, The Tale of Princess Kaguya and Grave of Fireflies. However, they’ve never previously strayed into television. That was until Ronja, the Robber’s Daughter, an adaptation of Astrid Lindgren’s book Ronia, the Robber’s Daughter, came along.
Ronja (Teresa Gallagher) is the only child of Mattis (Rufus Hound), a bandit chief. Along with her mother Lovis (Morwenna Banks) and his band of robbers (including the oldest member, Noodle-Pete (Adrian Edmondson)), they live in a fortress above an enchanted forest. Mattis’ sworn enemy is another bandit chief, Borka (Bob Golding). Both clans look for easy pickings whilst evading the soldiers who periodically come after them in the forest. When Ronja strikes up a friendship with Borka’s son Birk (Kelly Adams) it opens a rift between her and Mattis.
Directed by Gorō Miyazaki (Tales of Earthsea) and narrated by Gillian Anderson, Ronja, the Robber’s Daughter is a magical glimpse into the world of Ghibli. Whilst it’s not an original story as the themes and issues have been tackled many times before, the source material is told in a way which makes it quite unique. The animation is beautiful, and whilst some of the voice acting and Anderson’s narration can grate at times, it’s a series which will be enjoyed by all the family.
Ronja, the Robber’s Daughter is released on DVD and Blu-ray by Studiocanal on 4 December.