Why you should watch Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts

Photo: Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts.. Image Courtesy DreamWorks Animation, Netflix
Photo: Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts.. Image Courtesy DreamWorks Animation, Netflix /

Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts will be returning for a second season in June. Here’s why you should check in on the first season.

Back in January, a little show called Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts premiered on Netflix and was met with fairly little response, at least in comparison to some of the platform’s other animated properties such as She-Ra and the Princesses of PowerBojack Horseman, and Big Mouth.

This was a particular shame because, among other things, Kipo is a very enjoyable binge that is one of those shows that feels as if it has a restorative quality to it. It isn’t a show that requires much of you and sometimes that’s really needed. As the title suggests, it is a show singularly about adventure and wonder and the immense power of friendships.

Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts follows the titular Kipo (voiced by She-Ra‘s Karen Fukuhara), a teenage girl with pink skin who has spent her entire life living under the surface and is ejected to the surface after her home is attacked by a giant animal. In her new surroundings, she quickly discovers that the world is a different place than it once was with few humans around and mutated animals, called “mutes,” in control now.

Along the way, she makes friends with Wolf, a girl with a paralyzing staff who shrouds herself with a wolf’s fur, and Benson and Dave, a fun-loving boy and talking bug, respectively, as well as a four-eyed pig named Mandu. She charms lumberjack cats and music-loving rattlesnakes and is, all around, a delight.

Much of the success of Kipo as a character comes from Fukuyara’s upbeat performance and her ability to infuse Kipo with as much optimistic pep and joy as possible. She is one of those characters with so much positivity and naivete that she feels like she could bulldoze over a problem with nothing more than a wide smile and she’d probably get away with it. She’s someone that shouldn’t work on a writing level but invariably does.

She’s this wonderful counterbalance to this strange world that she finds herself in that is hard and is actively against her while she is the human equivalent of sunshine. She is a puppy to the extent that she could make Kara Danvers jealous.

Photo: Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts.. Image Courtesy DreamWorks Animation, Netflix
Photo: Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts.. Image Courtesy DreamWorks Animation, Netflix /

Another big part of what makes the series work is its serious dedication to music, whether that is its soundtrack or the songs itself that the main character sings throughout. It places such a premium on that and helps to give it this excellent joviality in necessary areas. This isn’t something that the show leans on or is a crutch, but rather it operates in tandem with each other, like it’s a vital part that couldn’t be excised.

In fact, some of the first season’s most memorable moments come in the form of Kipo impressing snakes with her musical skills or her serenading a giant monkey to sleep with a soothing song.

Some of the vocal work in the periphery of the show is some of its strongest assets, as well. In particular, you have Dan Stevens, who voices a maniacal baboon named Scarlemagne whose only goal is to round up and enslave as many humans as he can. He is a rather terrifying and off-putting villain and Stevens brings this exaggerated presence to him that only adds to his menace.

Also of note is Sterling K. Brown, who voices Kipo’s dad throughout the season and has this very soothing energy to him that really helps you to understand why Kipo is so eager to return to him as fast as she can.

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With everything that has been happening lately, Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts feels like this nice balm to our souls and we’re very grateful that we’ll have more of it soon.

Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts streams on Netflix and returns for a second season on June 12. Have you watched it yet?