In the remote and mysterious Moomin Valley live the Moomin trolls, gentle and peaceful creatures. Young Moomin and his family experience many strange adventures, both magical and mundane. Based on the children's stories by Tove Jansson.
*English is not my first language! This review will be edited... eventually!*
I think it should only be appropiate to give my very first review to the very first anime I've ever seen... and it would be this! Moomins, or Muumilaakson Tarinoita, as it would be called here in Finland, is by no doubt, one of the very best works of anime, that I've ever seen. Not necesarily by the plot, nor even the story, but the characters, and the world they bring to live, simply just being there.
I grew up watching this anime, and I didn't even realize it was an anime, before finishing
high school, thinking it just some swedish cartoon - yeah, I'm stupid! Now, I'm not really good at reviewing something, that I love, so let me just put it bluntly. Moomins is a fantastic little slice-of-life story in a fantastic world, full of fantastic creatures and stories, that should belong to any little finns bookshelves - Moomins was originally a bookseries first! Not nescessarily ment for little children per say, but good stuff nontherless!
The story is... well, there really isn't one! Like I said, it is, down to it's core, just some slice-of-life storytelling - no big conflicts, villains or actual from-begin-to-end- stroyarcs - and that alone can be either a rose or con to any viewer. But, what's the plot, then? There are these cute little moomins, with their colorful and delightful little friends, and because there's no school, jobs or social insecurity - whatevet that is! - they spend their days by just... running around in this ever-so peaceful and beautiful moomin valley, find secrets and solve mysteries, all in a while waiting for ever-looming winter, that will by every coming year, put every singe one of them into a deep sleep, before the next warm summer. It's basically just... life - nothing more, nothing less! Some minor arcs, or themes may pop up in every now and then, such as the Lighthouse-arc, with it's fear of loneliness, the Little Visitors with stranger-danger- warning signs all over, and the King Ruby, with the themes of materialistic obsession, but those aren't even that long to beging with - about two to three episodes - and won't take away that certain sence of travel with no goal, as you move along, with the show.
The story itself is not even that hard to follow, and that's only to be expected from a show, made for (nordic/melancholic/pagan) kids. As a child, you can just let yourself enjoy all the fun adventures, all the lovable characters, and their antics, as well as have a few frights and sad tears here and there - I swear, that Groke still gives me shivers! But, just because Moomins was originally intented to entertain children - in my mindset, anyway - it still doesn't mean that it can't age well, or be even more relevant to us adults! As an adult, you can still enjoy all the same things, as you did as a child, but this time, you have an experience of an adult, replaced with the innocence of an child, and now, you can marvel the subtle philosophies, wisdoms and lessons, that either did scar you for life, or give you now that little spark of hope, when winter seems to just go on, and on, and the warm days of summer seem ever so distant, and gray. Moomins remaind me - adult, by definition of a word - that not all good things in the world come with a pricetag, and sometimes, it's okay to just be who you are, waults and all, and just sometimes, world itself is way too big and mysterious place, to try to even comprehend it. Moomins feed that little child in me, and I simply love it!
The characters in moomin valley, are the force, that keeps this show alive, and real. Every single character is like a someone, who you know, used to know, or would like to know, in real life. You want to be hugged by a mama moomin, you want to listen papa moomin's stories, and have all these crazy adventures with him - or not, if you want to hold your booze *wink*. You want to watch stars with Snuffkin, and wonder, what life even is, and what for. You want to play all day with Moomin trollen and pals, and kick Stincky's ass, when he's teasing and bullying poor little Ninni - am I spelling it right? None of them are completly white, or black, and that's what makes them realistic, and... well, alive, like real people. They may not be the deepest, most multi-dimentional characters you're ever seen, but they all feel like real people, and that's exactly, what I wanted as a child, and now, as an adult - real, lovable and colorful people, with realistic personalities, that are just simple enought, that you feel like you know them enough, but feel like there's still something beneath them... something secret, and maybe even a little bit darker, than you'd think.
That said, Moomins sertainly isn't for everybody, and that comes from a finnish person. Some of the stories, themes, situations and characters may indeed scare some of the smallest in the family, and some may not like, that there really isn't any big picture/lead/red string in the story, or that the characters never really change - they are, what they are, and that's that. Like already said above, there are some little arcs here and there, like The Exploits of Moominpappa, Moominsummer Madness, and Moominland Midwinter, based on the original books, by Tove Jansson, but that's about it - no big plot twists or revelations of bigger scale. There's also no actual villain/s, nor big threat/s or conflict/s, and in the end... pretty sad ending too, with two best friends departing, and never seeing eachother again - one of the biggest tear-jerkers of my childhood/anime-live! The original books are way more darker, and gloomier, with all-so-subtle references on booze, drugs, and even heavier philosophies and darker themes like death, suicide and abandonment, but that's just us finns for ya! Little bit dark, mixed with a little bit of cuteness! Also, although this series was drawn in Japan, I'll be damned if anyone can find this in any other languages than finnish, swedish or japanese, which can also be a big turn-off for some!
All in all, I would warmily recommend this series with open arms, and not just for kids... or just for finns/swedish. It's a fantastic world, with fantastic characters, and cute yet meaningful stories and themes, that I for one haven't yet found from anywhere else, from any other franchise. I've always known, that if we all could live even just one year in a place like Moomin valley, we all would possibly be... maybe not better, but changed people, and that thought alone, makes me wanna travel that far away distant place time, and time again.
Having watched every episode there is of this show the three past months, I can safely say that the Moomins will fit everyone with a sense of adventure. It's calm, it's exciting, and most of all, the characters are lovable.
The series follows the basic formula of nearly every other Anime. Something happens, the Moomin family must fix it and everything turns out well. However, the series isn't completely episodic. There is a handful of episodes which introduces new characters, while others add background history, giving more depth to the main characters. The best way to watch this is in chronological order.
The animation is fantastic and
superior compared with the second series, "Tanoshii Muumin Ikka Bouken Nikki". Everything is fluid, nothing is crudely drawn and the backgrounds are beautiful. The music is a masterpiece in itself and will stick itself to your brain for months. The same goes for the opening and ending. Season 3 introduces some new music which isn't as great as the prior, but it still fits the series.
No matter what age you are, you should give this a try. This is a smash hit in scandinavian countries (and, of course, Japan), and with good reason. Every episode will make you feel like home. The enviroments are beautiful and there will be many instances where you wish you lived in the moomin valley: not having to worry about getting a job, going to school or any criminals (Stinky isn't really dangerous anyways). This is a perfect, peaceful life, where only their own mistakes and curiosity makes each adventure possible. This is the life of the Moomins.
Inspired by Tove Jansson's book series about the Moomin family, this wonderful experience of what not many know is an anime, is a masterpiece TV anime show of 20th century - well at least in my opinion. Considering its goal were the kids of younger age, yet even adults loved, and still love it, Tanoshi Moomin Ikka (also simply known as "the Moomins") is a lovely experience for anyone wanting to try the Moomin way of living.
While some of the episodes do get back remembering happenings from the one before, it doesn't really matter if you saw it or not - almost each episode
is for itself, telling a different adventure the Moomin family lived trough that day - or their neighbors and friends for that matter. Still, even if it tells about something you missed, it can't be anything big enough to ruin this delightful watch.
Considering this is pretty old, the animations is very good - in fact, I would dare to say the animation is better than in some (if not most) anime of today, made with the "super special awesome" computer animation, where characters tend to stay still and merely open and shut their mouth for 5 minutes, as in the manner of speaking. Sometimes, classic animation is the best, and Moomin is the perfect example of it.
While the music in this anime is for the most part awesome, some may encounter a problem when it comes to a language barrier - the Japanese OP and END songs were only used in Japanese version, and it was kind of emotional, and more of a sad song, while the rest of the world made quite different but none-the-less lovely happy song which many still remember.
Then when it comes to the dubbing itself, I can say I encountered no problem - I've seen the Japanese, English and Croatian dub, and they were all equally awesome, with rare exceptions of some characters being better in one version than another.
Incredibly well developed and deep characters, with pasts, decisions, and their own little demons. The most impressive characters are probably Snuffkin and Littly My, from whom we get to see the most of - other characters are, naturally, just as well developed, but are more acting like regular folks, making these two somewhat special.
The design was no less of brilliantly perfect, as I can't imagine anyone, not even the fearsome, yet lonely Groke looking any differently.
A fantasy slice of life (an ACTUAL slice of life, really) with hints of genres from everywhere, Moomins are put trough adventures on seas, horrors of dark woods and their enemies, comedies of a regular day, enjoyments of music and new finds, and drama of everyday problems - you may easily find yourself indulged into the series as it has many things to offer, even many hints of romancing that develop trough time.
Many would argue about what actually makes a piece of animation good. Mostly, it is considered to be characters, who actually help bring the plot.
The Moomins is not one of those anime. In fact, The Moomins is so wonderful piece of a show, you will not be able to decide just what did you like the best. I highly suggest to anyone looking for a light-hearted, yet interest-catching show to watch this, especially if you're into story-telling and slice of life genre.
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Let's take a quick jog around memory lane and remember those anime you used to watch and enjoy as kids. Feel the nostalgia and see if your favorites made the list and discover more that other children enjoyed.