Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts: Season 1
January 22, 2020 12:36 PM - Season 1 (Full Season) - Subscribe

After spending her entire life living in an underground burrow, a young girl named Kipo is thrust into an adventure on the surface of a fantastical post-apocalyptic Earth. She joins a ragtag group of survivors as they embark on a journey through a vibrant wonderland where everything trying to kill them is downright adorable.
posted by numaner (20 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
This was a really bingable show that I finished all in one sitting on MLK day. The show doesn't shy away from its ridiculous concepts, and embraces the mutated animals and their quirks. There's not enough room for everyone to get their character development, but the main characters, to me, are Kipo and Wolf and you can really see their growth in this short season.

But regardless, how great/cute are the giant animals??
posted by numaner at 12:40 PM on January 22, 2020 [2 favorites]

Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts is streaming on Netflix in the U.S.
posted by Etrigan at 1:00 PM on January 22, 2020 [2 favorites]

I was surprised and delighted by the diversity of the main (human) cast. This was a fun binge watch this weekend.
posted by WedgedPiano at 4:07 PM on January 22, 2020

The animation is so-so, with the exception of Benson's introduction to the series and a few similar showpieces, but the conceptualization of all of the characters and places is beyond compare. This show asks way more questions than can be answered in a hundred seasons by visual cues and clues alone. This is how you do world-building for a righteous romp! The nod to the Deathstalker series of '90s pulp sci-fi by Simon R. Green and its relentless, over-the-top imaginings run wild was nice!

Unlike the Deathstalker series, the premise, plot and character development were taken with earnest seriousness, against even the silliest backdrops and with the most outlandish character concepts. The origin of Wolf's hood is about the darkest thing I've seen in a children's drama since Avatar. That she was remembering it all in the gloom of dusk deepening to night, whoah. Just... wow. The worst parts were obviously off-camera, but it echoes throughout the series, from the very first time we meet Wolf.

I love that we meet allies along the way, from the Rat People who run an amusement park where everyone can be safe and happy, to the Exercise Raccoons! They find it adorable humans are going through their trash.

There is an implacable, hyper-competent enemy - not conflicted and counseled like Prince Zuko, but a powerful, legit evil character - that begins to question everything as the series progresses. At first you think he's a ludicrous punching-bag, but then he outplays other villains for his own ends, and he's frighteningly good at it. It's just that Wolf and Benson are better than him. And Kipo is Kipo, and this makes him happy and upset at the same time. He's not the big-bad.

I'm not certain I'm on board with the Scarlemane, the unequivocal Big Bad, no spoiler-alert needed, and his whole aesthetic. Also, (spoiler) Marvel Comics might have a copyright claim, as a mandrill-man with mind-control powers has existed in the Marvel Universe since 1973. It was gross and weird. (end spoiler)

On a more positive note, of the four principle characters, all of them were African American. You don't notice until you think back on it. Wolf and Benson by their character designs and casting, Dave by his voice-acting, and Kipo, her Dad is her Dad. She's the child of a mixed marriage, and from The Burrow where everyone talks and acts the same. Almost everyone, Dr. Oak has a secret... many of them, in fact. But there are four black main characters, and the least interesting thing about them was the color of their skin or the way they talked. Neither was elided, and cornerstones of the character designs.

The fifth main character was a blue, four-eyed pig, who was cute and wise and brave and named after a Korean pork dumpling.

My secret fave is Dave - He tries to help, he really does. He steps up in awful situations, knowing he's immortal, but maybe not the most competent person ever? He tries hard, and... well, he's a great friend when things aren't trying to eat you. He still tries hard even when being a friend you can just hang with.
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:35 PM on January 22, 2020 [1 favorite]

poor Dave gone and got Jinxed by Benson right when he was about to be great
posted by numaner at 1:56 PM on January 23, 2020 [2 favorites]

Also, the soundtrack to this series is AMAZING! It ranges all over every genre, and a few that don't exist yet, and fits the music to the mood, always. It makes the show so much more exciting and emotional! It's hard to overstate the importance of the music to this show. Just the opening theme... Sleigh Bells tamed for kid's TV is the only way I can describe it...
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:30 PM on January 23, 2020 [1 favorite]

My kid and I watched this over the weekend. I didn't know much about it beforehand and was watching it with the kid to make sure it wasn't too intense for then. I was so pleasantly surprised that it was so fantastic!

The whole concept was just so well done and felt so big, beyond the shown story.

Agreed that the soundtrack is really outstanding to the point of being one of my favorite parts of the whole show. I don't think I've run across anything quite like it before. The fact that it was so genre-bending and all worked so seamlessly together? So good! There is an official playlist from the show on youtube. Yumyan Hammerpaw has seen some heavy rotation by child's request lately. I really wish there was a more fleshed out version of kipo's song about being up on the surface.

I really hope it gets picked up for another season.
posted by furnace.heart at 8:49 PM on January 23, 2020 [2 favorites]

Yumyan Hammerpaw is at least as if not more catchy than Throw a Coin to Your Witcher
posted by numaner at 1:52 PM on January 28, 2020 [2 favorites]

Toss, i always forget it's "Toss"
posted by numaner at 3:08 PM on January 28, 2020

for other songs that are not original music, see the Music Category on the wiki.
posted by numaner at 4:49 PM on January 28, 2020

This was super cute and I wouldn't have checked it out if not for seeing it pop up on Fanfare, so thanks! Reminded me of Hilda with a more 80s and Post Malone vibe, but equally sweet and charming.
posted by tautological at 2:00 PM on January 31, 2020 [1 favorite]

One final note about the music - if you have ever wondered what it would sound like if GZA and John Hodgman rapped together on a track about astrophysics and particle physics as part of a villain's anthem, it's as every inch as awesome as you imagined. And yes, it's really them.

If it's picked up for continuation, I know Dr. Oak's mysterious background will take front and center next season, but I really want to know more about Benson's past. He and Wolf have very different and equally effective approaches to surviving on the surface, and now that we know how Wolf became Wolf, I'd like to see how Benson became Benson.
posted by Slap*Happy at 4:16 PM on February 2, 2020 [1 favorite]

I loved this. I loved the character development on Kipo and her dad, and Wolf’s story is some of the realest ptsd I’ve ever seen on tv. It’s awesome to see a post-apocalypse show full of black folks, I loved all the animals, and I’m so excited to learn more about the world this is set in.
posted by bile and syntax at 11:49 AM on February 5, 2020 [3 favorites]

I also want to chime in and say this is great, and probably my favourite of the Netflix + Dreamworks shows. The music and animation are fantastic, and the characters are really well done. At least for me (and my family) there's a certain lack of artificial drama that I really appreciate... it's bright and fun, but at the same time everyone is trying to survive. I'm surprised that this show isn't getting as much press as other Netflix animated offerings (not enough white people or something?) and I hope we see more.
posted by Alex404 at 4:58 PM on February 6, 2020 [1 favorite]

First, bile and syntax texted me to say I had to watch this, and they were goddam right. We both lost our shit over Joan Jett.

I think it’s really well balanced between “fun for kids” and “fun for adults.”

Is episode 3 the only one that doesn’t work a Kipo into the scene before the credits?
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:08 PM on February 10, 2020 [1 favorite]

Also, Timbercats are the best.
posted by GenjiandProust at 4:20 PM on February 10, 2020

GenjiandProust I just went through all of them and you're right! Episode 3 is the only one that doesn't work in a "KIPO" into the scene preceding the title card.

And Jamack is involved in two of them! Episodes 2 and 8.
posted by numaner at 12:52 PM on February 12, 2020 [1 favorite]

I watched this because it popped up on Fanfare, and I just wanted to say thank you. That was delightful, and the storytelling was tight in every episode, all of which were just the right length to get a bit of knitting done of an evening. Love, love, love.
posted by kalimac at 3:13 PM on February 13, 2020 [2 favorites]

Heads-up - Netflix is releasing season 2 on June 12th
posted by oh yeah! at 3:33 PM on May 30, 2020 [3 favorites]

I'm late to the party as always, but I loved this as much as everyone else. The music is fantastic, both on an ear-wormy level and on a character-and-story progression level. I love that the animal-based mutes have quirks that don't rely on stereotypes about the animals--the wolves are nerds, the snakes are cool rockers, the cats are lumberjacks, the rats are friendly and kind.

The thing that I keep going back to is Wolf's backstory, and it changed the way I saw the scene with the Newton wolves, where she challenges them to chase her, and tells them that the others aren't worthy prey for them and that she is. At the time I watched it, it seemed like a badass move. But once I found out that she was re-creating the most traumatic experience of her life in order to help her friends--oh, man, I don't have any words for how amazing she is. Looking forward to the next two seasons.
posted by creepygirl at 3:30 PM on February 6, 2021 [1 favorite]

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