Ronja the Robber's Daughter is the first TV series anime with involvement by Studio Ghibli in co-production and is also notable for being the first CG-animated anime that the studio's been involved in with Polygon Pictures. A fantasy-adventure series, the series focuses on the titular character being raised in a family of thieves in medieval era Scandinavia as Ronja goes about her normal life with her family as she tries avoiding danger and befriends the son of a rival clan of thieves named Birk.
Ronja the Robber's Daughter focuses on exploring Ronja's life with her family and, later on, Birk. Ronja believably behaves for a child her age as she is immersed in her own world and is courageous as such where she is willing to take huge risks and defy her parents if they go against what she believes in. Some other characters like Birk, Ronja's mother Lovis, and Noodle Pete are shown to have a decent amount of dimension with their personalities and motives with how they treat and care for Ronja. The world it offers up is also an immersive one, mixing real and supernatural animals among the wildlife that Ronja would typically encounter in the forest like harpies, wild horses, and foxes that usually create adventures for our young lead to deal with.
The series does have some issues though. The pacing to the series is quite slow at points and can cause the plot to drag, especially during the anime's first half before Ronja meets up with Birk. This could be an issue for the attention span of children, the anime's intended audience. Also in spite of their age, adults like Ronja's father Mattis and the other bandits of his gang behave rather immaturely and can get a bit obnoxious at points with their antics. And speaking of the bandits, they don't exactly get much fleshing out, thus limiting any kind of connection that the audience could have with them.
In terms of animation, the CG animation works beautifully for the most part. Scenic shots are beautifully rendered and nicely detailed and the animals look pleasing to see in action, especially the harpies with their freakishly scary facial expressions whenever they try hunting down Ronja. Human character designs have decent detail and move fluidly enough, though the rendering is not perfect as hair and facial movements don't look convincingly lifelike with their details and movements.
In spite of some issues with animation and storytelling, Ronja the Robber's Daughter is still a solid fantasy-adventure series focusing on the everyday life experienced by Ronja while living with her family and the thieves that are part of her group. I'd still recommend checking it out if you're a fan of Studio Ghibli's works or looking for a title that would attract younger members of your family.
Last updated Monday, May 28 2018. Created Monday, May 28 2018.