Amazon has acquired the rights to Studio Ghibli’s first-ever animated television series “Ronja the Robber’s Daughter” as part of its Amazon Original Kids Series.
Based on the children’s book of the same name by “Pippi Longstocking” creator Astrid Lindgren, the 26-episode story is narrated by “The X-Files” star Gillian Anderson, and will be available to Prime Video subscribers in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Austria and Japan.
Set in medieval Scandinavia, “Ronja the Robber’s Daughter” tells the story of a young girl who “realizes the complicated nature of her father’s profession when she befriends Birk, the child of a rival tribe.” Through this new friendship, “she comes to understand the intricate issues of family and friendship and how differences can be overcome with the help of love and understanding.”
Originally broadcast on Japan’s NHK network, “Ronja the Robber’s Daughter” won the 2016 International Emmy for children’s animation. The cel-shaded computer-animated series is directed by Gorō Miyazaki, son of legendary Studio Ghibli co-founder Hayao Miyazaki, and co-produced with Japan’s Polygon Pictures, the company that created the award-winning animation for Disney XD’s “Tron: Uprising.”
A reluctant animator, Gorō was afraid he could never live up the standards set by his father, and decided to pursue a career in landscape architecture. He graduated from Shinsu University’s school of agriculture and worked as consultant, planning and designing parks and gardens. He helped design the Ghibli Museum in Mitaka (a Tokyo suburb) and served as its director from 2001 to 2005.
Gorō was hired by Studio Ghibli to work as a storyboard artist on the 2006 feature “Tales of Earthsea,” based on the novels of Ursula K. Le Guin, but was promoted to director by studio head Toshio Suzuki due on the quality of his drawings. That led to a conflict with his father, who felt Gorō wasn’t ready to direct, and the pair is said not to have spoken during the film’s development. However, upon its release, the elder Miyazaki admitted the film was “made honestly” and that “[i]t was good.”
The acquisition of the new series was announced at the same time as “Little Big Awesome,” a new show by “SpongeBob SquarePants” creator Ben Gruber.
“We are truly honored to be working with a team of exceptionally talented creators,” Tara Sorensen, head of kids programming at Amazon Studios, said in a statement. “From the unique style of Little Big Awesome to the adaptation of beloved book series Ronja the Robber’s Daughter, we aim to bring a new level of storytelling to our customers and their families.”
“Ronja the Robber’s Daughter” will stream later this year on Amazon Prime. An official release date has not been set.
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