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Accuracy • Independence • Integrity

November 19, 2018   |   Ithaca, NY

Life & Culture

Review: Animated series soothes with calm, cozy animation

Hilda

Netflix

Perfection in television is almost impossible to come by. There is hardly ever a show so impeccable that it is truly worthy of high praise, but Netflix’s new fantasy animated series “Hilda” is. “Hilda” is a true blessing and comes close to being perfect.

Hilda, a girl with a knack for nature, bounces through a beautifully conceived world filled to the brim with mystery and monsters. Right from the start, “Hilda” provides no explanation for the strangeness of its world. It takes place in a seemingly normal city, but cryptids lurk around every corner. All that is established is that the odd monstrosities and fae-folk that roam the land are widely accepted as normal. This is just one of the many things that “Hilda” does right. By having the characters totally used to the otherworldly nature of their setting, the show allows for a perfect marriage between the mundane and magnificent.

As the story unfolds, Hilda and her mother, due to unfortunate circumstances, are forced from their rural, forest home and have to move to the nearby city, Trolberg. At first, Hilda wants to go back to the forest and is apprehensive to speak to people because she was raised only talking to her mother and nonhuman entities. Over time, Hilda makes two human friends, Frida and David, and brings them along on a different, zany adventure in each episode. Hilda has a talent for sniffing out danger, and every episode is an extravaganza of magical lore and fun.

Anybody with an interest in magical creatures would find interest in “Hilda.” The show sees characters interacting with hallmark magical entities like elves, trolls, and giants, but it also explores lesser-known mythology. Along with those standard magical monsters, “Hilda” features more obscure fae like the Norwegian nisse, the Native American thunderbird and an interesting creature named the Woodman, who seems to be a type of benevolent forest spirit. By implementing more ambiguous creatures, “Hilda” is a paradise for any mythology nerd.

Although the show is rated TV-Y7 and is generally marketed toward children, it attracts a lot more viewers than just kids. The show manages to be appealing to all ages, especially considering that Grimes, a musician popular among high school and college-age students, wrote the music for the series. Grimes is known for her peculiar, ambient music, which complements the atmosphere of “Hilda” beautifully. “Hilda” shares a similar vibe with other animated shows like “Star vs. the Forces of Evil,” “Steven Universe” and “Gravity Falls.” All of these are shows are advertised toward children but still manage to draw in large numbers of older viewers. Older audiences are often attracted to these shows because they project adult themes in a subtle way, dealing with topics like sexual orientation, social pressure and more.

Above all, “Hilda” is fun to watch. The world is lively and pleasant, and the characters are versatile and compelling. Between the setting and the characters, there isn’t a single boring moment in the show’s 13episode run. It’s also important to know that, although the show is not lacking in the pep department, everything feels relaxed, casual and easygoing. The character design contributes to this laid-back feel. The style is rounded, bubbly, soft and easy on the eyes, giving the animation a joyful look. Also, the show utilizes blues and soft oranges, which are both associated with coziness and calmness. This color palette helps to set the mood too.

Despite its fantasy setting, “Hilda” also does an admirable job of reflecting elements of real life. The series is refreshing, providing a selection of diverse characters. One of the main friend characters, Frida, is black. The background characters are noticeably diverse as well, sporting characters in hijab, and other people of color. Proper representation is crucial in all forms of media, and it’s pleasing that “Hilda” provides such an inclusive slew of characters, especially since it is made for kids. It presents diversity with normalcy. For a show brimming with fantasy and magic, it’s interesting how “Hilda” does a better job at providing an accurate portrayal of life than shows completely based in reality.

The only issue “Hilda” has is how short the season is. There are only 13 episodes, and the world and characters are so amazing that it’s devastating when it comes to the end. All there is to do now is to wait and hope for a second season because “Hilda” seriously deserves it.