The Lesser-Known Ghibli Series: Ronja, The Robber’s Daughter

A few years ago I stumbled on this 26 episode series and was immediately interested. After all, Ronja, The Robber’s Daughter was directed by Goro Miyazaki from Studio Ghibli, and it was also crafted after Astrid Lindren’s lovely Scandinavian children’s story.

Ronja (sitting) with her best friend, Birk

Ronja, The Robber’s Daughter is essentially a coming-of-age tale which follows the childhood of a young girl named Ronja. She is the youngest member of her father Mattis’s clan of robbers. She soon befriends a boy named Birk from a rival robber clan. It is forbidden that they even associate, however, they develop a close friendship over time. During this 26 episode stretch, we follow Ronja through major life changes. I found this to be a relaxing and interesting ride.

I have heard many suggestions as to why this particular series is lesser known. As I had mentioned, this was officially the first attempt at CGI animation for this studio, and though I found it lovely in its own sense, it does appear a bit dated and not what one may expect from a Ghibli creation. However, to say that it did not possess classic Ghibli scenes of beauty just isn’t true. You have beautiful landscapes all throughout each episode that I found to be mesmerizing.

There was also quite a bit of spooky action and drama. That harpy was terrifying!

Something else that I found unique about this series is the use of body language and sparingly used dialogue. Yeah, you read that right – body language in an animated series. There are moments throughout where nothing is said at all and the viewer must watch the interactions of the characters. It was unique to me as I have not seen this style of storytelling in this format before and used quite this way. It made the experience more human to me. While others may not understand or wrote it off as poor dialogue, I appreciated the style and enjoyed how it made the show calmer and a bit more serene.

Have you watched Ronja, The Robber’s Daughter? What did you think? Tell us in the comments below – we always love hearing your point of view! ✌

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