Warning: light spoilers
As my younger brother casually scrolled for a new show to play as background noise for his activities, this title skipped across our screen. I immediately asked for the remote and played episode one. Hilda’s non-traditional animation combined with Scandinavian influences is what originally caught my attention. Rarely do you find shows that mentally entice both children and adults while also being entertaining without relying on slapstick comedy. And thus, over the next few days we watched the entire 13-episode series. Here are a few of my thoughts on Hilda.
As I mentioned, the unique animation captures your imagination without being too out there. The warm color pallet made me want to grab a hot cup of coffee, wrap a blanket around myself, and put on a fire – which we did! And honestly, it’s the best way to enjoy the story. Hilda’s adventures start off with a bang. Our blue-haired heroine explores the mountains and forests surrounding her home. She uncovers wondrous creatures and can’t resist documenting everything about them. This gets her into trouble, but her determination and thoughtful analysis of her problems helps her find mutualistic solutions.
Trolls, giants, wood men, elves, secret rooms, contract negotiations, every magical element gives her world incredible character. It’s enchanting. Yet it’s the plot and the people involved that really keep your heart thumping along. The world is seen by the eyes of a child, and whether or not its many magical elements are over-personified, the ideals are relatable and the logic is legitimate.
The main story-line in Hilda exceeds individual episodes which is a tool that has been largely ignored in children’s show. Avatar: The Last Airbender and Adventure Time often came to mind when thinking of comparisons. Though the scaling is much smaller and the story far tamer. I loved Hilda’s incredible kick-off episode. Unfortunately, the show never quite reaches the heights of its own introduction as it sacrificed some imagination in favor of logistics. I respect that decision.
The specific story is of a nature loving girl forced to adapt her imagination to the big city of Trolberg. We the audience follow her along as she attacks the city with the same flare for adventure that made her fall in love with nature. I can’t help but appreciate the many topics covered. The show is for children, but that doesn’t handicap the challenges that Hilda must face. Over just thirteen episodes she sacrifices her home for the higher priority of being with the people she loves; she makes herself vulnerable to close friends to realize she’s stronger alongside of them; she learns to become okay with failure as that is the first step to learning. This young heroine has values that she re-prioritizes and evolves as she grows, just like us.
The finale was a bit flat, but not disappointing. Overall, the show is simple and fulfilling. It is the embodiment of a fairy-tale you read to your children (or young siblings) before bed. It’s a story you recall when you grow up and are hit with a wave of nostalgia. It’s a story I highly recommend watching alongside the people you love.