Hilda is a graphic comic series and now Netflix animated show about a young adventure loving girl. The 13 part animate series is adapted from the multi award winning and highly acclaimed graphic novel series by Luke Pearson.
Protagonist Hilda lives with her mother in a cabin near the woods and mountains, away from people and it is in this landscape that Hilda goes on her first few adventures.
The first two episodes are a delight, reminiscent of Tove Jansson's Moomins, in that fantastical adventures are had and magical creatures such as the woodsman, stone trolls and giants are met against the backdrop of the wilds. The weirdness and slight tinge of unease reminds me of Over The Garden Wall, with episode 2 being especially melancholic and touching.
After the events of episode 2, Hilda and her mother leave their cabin and move to the city of Trolberg. Hilda then adapts to life in an urban setting, meeting new people and the complexities that brings. She begins to understand the beauty that can exist in the city and develops friendships through the Sparrow Scouts group she joins and it is here that the main thrust of the series is pushed forward with each episode being an amazing and whimsical adventure. There are elves, stone giants, a Thunderbird and even a nightmare inducing teen thrown into the mix and it all ends up making sense as the world is a tapestry of story and character with its world building logic.
The stories are often simple standalone adventure tales but there are elements of continuity as each episode has repercussions for all that follows. The episodes often have a lot of heart and are touching, something I've been seeing a lot more of in 'children's animation' over the past few years.
The animation is stunning and the colour palette beautiful at conveying the mood. The fully realised characters are beautifully animated and even though they may look quite basic, have warmth and depth.
The voice acting is superb, especially the voice actress of Hilda, Bella Ramsey.
The soundtrack is also really something, all synthy and atmospheric, it has elements of the 80s but is definitely its own thing. The title track by one of my favourite singers, Grimes, is a triumph and interspersed throughout the series' moments of wonder are individual tracks that create whimsy and joy. The standout for my daughter and I was when Hilda was riding of the water spirit in the Lost Clan episode. And that is what this series is about, a programme for adults and children alike. My daughter is nearly 4 years old and loved the episodes I showed her but some of the episodes I didn't let her watch as I knew for prior watching that they would scare her.
I binged the series over the course of an evening and a day and loved it. It reminds me of Gravity Falls and Scooby Doo: Mystery Incorporated and that is very high praise indeed as those two series are some of the best animated shows I've ever seen. If you get a chance watch Hilda, you won’t be disappointed.