by Gael Fashingbauer Cooper @gaelFC
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Modern parents know: There's a lot of content out there for kids to watch, and finding something that is both age-appropriate for the young ones but also holds parental interest can be tough. They can only watch random YouTubers play Minecraft so many times.
That's part of why the Studio Ghibli films, which include "My Neighbor Totoro" and "Spirited Away," are so magical. They're critically acclaimed, and for good reason — lush backgrounds, intelligent storytelling and memorable characters, all presented without the gore and slapstick that makes parents cringe.
And now those with Amazon Prime memberships are in for a treat — the acclaimed Japanese studio has made a television series, and it's coming to the service on January 27.
The 26-episode show, "Ronja, The Robber's Daughter" is based on a book by "Pippi Longstocking" author Astrid Lindgren, and the series is narrated by "X-Files" star Gillian Anderson. The series ran in Japan in 2014.
"The daughter of a professional robber, Ronja realizes the complicated nature of her father's profession when she befriends Birk, the child of a rival tribe," the show's description reads. "She struggles to balance this friendship with her family relationship but comes to understand how differences can be overcome with the help of love and understanding."
"With 'Ronja, the Robber's Daughter,' Astrid Lindgren seems to be telling children to believe in their own power to grow, whilst telling adults to learn more from children," said director Gorō Miyazaki, son of studio founder Hayao Miyazaki. "Mutual respect will attain freedom in the true sense of the word."
Not everyone watching the YouTube trailer was sold — some expressed disappointment in the computer-generated artwork used in "Ronja."
"I honestly really wish this was traditional animation," wrote one viewer. "The CGI feels stilted."
While painstaking hand-drawn artwork is a Studio Ghibli trademark, this isn't the first time CG graphics have been used.
"Despite (Hayao) Miyazaki's preferred choice being hand-drawn animation, CGI (Computer Generated Imagery) has been used in several Studio Ghibli films," a studio blog post from 2013 reports. "CGI can help animators with scenes that would otherwise be overly complicated to create using traditional animation techniques."
But others trusted the studio to present a winning story regardless of the artwork method.
"Wish this was coming to Netflix… but it looks great!" one YouTube viewer wrote. "I love anything done by Studio Ghibli."
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