Together, through winter and spring.
It may seem obvious to point this out, but I’m going to say it anyway: Ronja is the star of the show here. In general I think there is a severe lack in how authentic children are represented in anime, which comes down to the intentions of the creators and the older target demographics. Here, we have a character who acts her age, as you’d expect her to, thanks to both the source material (Ronja Rövardotter, as it’s named in Sweden, written by Astrid Lindgren) as well as it getting an adaptation that does it justice, made by people who care and understand the story. Miyazaki Gorou’s own words are proof of that:
“Ronja the Robber’s Daughter is a story not just about a girl who grows into adulthood, but it is also a story about the love and growth between a parent and a child, and a story about the bonds between friends. My goal is to create a work that everyone, from children to adults, will be able to enjoy.”
For me, Ronja’s journeys are what makes this so special. Every episode she continues to learn, adapt, and grow as a result of the situations she finds herself in, and the people she surrounds herself with. She acts spoilt now and then, will run to her father’s arms in her time of need, and doesn’t always make the smartest choices – but she’s a child, and expecting anything else is silly. Her character perfectly captures the carefree spirit that Sanzoku no Musume Ronja achieved.
Friends & Family:
Birk is the other key success to the story. At first I wasn’t too sure on him, when all he did was taunt Ronja and cause conflict with the robbers. But as time went on, their relationship is what carried the story for most of its second half. They called themselves brother and sister, though there are hints of further affections between them. It’s sweet, because they don’t know what else to call each other but brother and sister. If I were to make a prediction for their unwritten future, it would be that they would unite the two robber clans by marriage. But maybe I’m just projecting what I’d like to see.
Ronja’s father, Mattis, was easily the most childish character of them all. For the leader of the robbers, he was quick to temper, tears, and tantrums. His violence against Birk made me furious, and even by the end I didn’t forgive him (for a while I just refused to think of him as anything other than scum). Lovis, on the other hand, was the voice of reason from start to finish, providing moments of wit and understanding when Ronja needed it most. She was a caring mother, I just wish I could say the same about Mattis and his selfish actions.
I felt a real sense of camaraderie with the robbers, like a big goofy family, even if their antics weren’t always the most interesting to watch. For me, Ronja and Birk’s springtime in the wild was the main highlight. The times they spent together on screen were always enjoyable, whether it was moments of sweetness or drama. I am glad it all worked out after that, uniting the robbers together, resulting in a happy end for everyone involved. And Ronja and Birk’s anti-robbing declaration, although childish, was pure hearted and a very fitting stance for the two to end on. Good for them!
When it was announced that Studio Ghibli was doing this TV adaptation, many were excited. And then it was revealed that it was going to be in CG. I know that turned a lot of people off, and initially I had second thoughts about watching the first episode, but when I got round to it, I was pleasantly surprised. I’m not a massive for a CG anime, but this is the first one where it hasn’t bothered me in in the slightest, which I think comes down to the tone, atmosphere, and characters designs. Sanzoku no Musume Ronja is Ghibli through-and-through. It may be animated differently, but the shots, the pacing, the characters, and the fantasy elements of the story all align perfectly with what you’d expect from Studio Ghibli. I just hope this isn’t the last we’ve seen of them, but if it is, I think it was a charming goodbye. Miyazaki Gorou is often criticised, but he and everyone else who worked on this little gem have proven themselves.