Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts

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Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts
Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts.png
Season 1 promotional poster
Genre
Created byRadford Sechrist
Based onKipo
by Radford Sechrist
Developed byBill Wolkoff
Voices of
Theme music composerVanessa Ruby Sandberg
Composer(s)Daniel Rojas
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons3
No. of episodes30
Production
Executive producer(s)
  • Bill Wolkoff
  • Radford Sechrist
  • Yoo Jae Myung
Producer(s)
  • Kim Han Byeol
  • Park Sang Ah
Running time24 minutes
Production company(s)
Distributor
Release
Original networkNetflix
Picture formatHDTV 1080p
Audio formatStereo
Original releaseJanuary 14, 2020 (2020-01-14) –
present
External links
Official website

Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts is an American animated television series created by Radford Sechrist, adapted from his 2015 webcomic Kipo. The series is produced by DreamWorks Animation Television and animated by Studio Mir.

The series follows a girl called Kipo Oak, who is searching for her father after being forced to flee from her burrow, and must explore the post-apocalyptic surface world ruled by mutated animals to find him. Along the way she befriends human survivors Wolf and Benson, and the mutant animals Dave and Mandu.

The series has been critically acclaimed for its design, characterization, music, worldbuilding, voice acting, and diversity. The series is particularly notable for its representation of LGBT and characters of color.[1][2][3]

Its first season, comprised of 10 episodes, premiered on Netflix on January 14, 2020.[4] A second season, also comprising 10 episodes, was released on June 12, 2020.[5] The third and final season will be released on October 12, 2020.[6]

Synopsis[edit]

Kipo Oak, a thirteen-year-old girl, is searching for her father after being forced to flee from her underground city. To do so, she travels through an overgrown post-apocalyptic urban wasteland called "Las Vistas", ruled by sentient mutant animals ("mutes"), together with her new friends Wolf, Mandu, Benson and Dave.[7] Sechrist compared the series to The Wizard of Oz, "but instead of ruby slippers [Kipo] has Converse on".[8]

In the first season, Kipo is separated from her father Lio after their burrow is attacked by a "mega monkey", a colossal, mutated spider monkey. Traversing through Las Vistas, she meets and befriends Wolf, a cold and hardened girl who has been surviving on her own after her adoptive wolf family turned on her, the upbeat Benson and his insect companion Dave, and the pig Mandu. Together, they set out to find the burrow Lio and the rest of Kipo's community fled to after their first one was destroyed. As the five journey along they make many mute allies and enemies, including the despot Scarlemagne, who rules over all the mute factions with an iron fist and intends to create a human army with his mind-controlling pheromones. Kipo also starts to experience strange physical mutations that give her mute-like abilities, which she uses to help her friends and herself get out of various problems.

In the second season, Kipo seeks to rescue her people after they are captured by Scarlemagne, and also discover the origin of her mute powers. Kipo learns she was experimented with mute DNA by her parents before her birth, turning her into a half-human, half-jaguar hybrid. She also learns about Scarlemagne's tragic past and his ties to her family, and that her mother Song, previously thought to be deceased, is actually the mega monkey who destroyed her burrow, mutated as a side effect from her pregnancy with Kipo and mind-controlled by the manipulative Dr. Emilia. Kipo starts to lose control of her abilities, putting her at risk of transforming into a mega jaguar permanently, but she is able to regain control with the help of her friends and family. She defeats Scarlemagne and frees Song from her mind control, but meanwhile Dr. Emilia has turned most of Kipo's people over to her cause of reverting all mutes back into normal animals so human civilization can rise again.

Development[edit]

The series was first announced at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival in June 2019. It is based on Sechrist's 2015 webcomic Kipo.[9][10]

Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts was created by Radford Sechrist, previously a storyboard artist for Ben 10: Ultimate Alien and later director on the Ben 10: Omniverse. The series has five writers in addition to showrunner Sechrist and executive producer Bill Wolkoff. They worked in two teams, each comprising a director and three board artists. The animation is made by Studio Mir in South Korea using traditional animation methods. About sixty people worked on the series at DreamWorks, and about fifty-five at Studio Mir.[11]

The animation is provided by South Korean studio Mir.

Voice cast[edit]

Main cast[edit]

  • Karen Fukuhara as Kipo Oak, an enthusiastic and curious young girl who is searching for her people. She later learns that her parents injected her with mute DNA, giving her the powers of a mega jaguar.
  • Sydney Mikayla as Wolf, Kipo's best friend. A hardened and young survivor on the surface world who was raised by wolves. She wields a spear made from the tail of a deathstalker scorpion.
  • Coy Stewart as Benson, a happy-go-lucky boy and surface survivor.
  • Deon Cole as Dave, a mutant insect and Benson's best friend who repeatedly molts from baby to child to adult to elderly.
  • Dee Bradley Baker as Mandu, a mutant pig with four eyes and six legs adopted by Kipo. Baker also voices Gerard, an orangutan Noble.

Supporting cast[edit]

  • Sterling K. Brown as Lio Oak, Kipo's father, a scientist, and teacher of their underground community. He and Song were originally working for Dr. Emilia to turn mutes back into normal animals so humanity could reclaim the surface.
  • Jee Young Han as Song Oak, Kipo's mother and Lio's wife who originally worked with him to revert mutes back into normal animals before they changed their minds; presumed to be deceased.
  • Dan Stevens as Scarlemagne, formerly called Hugo, a deranged, flamboyant, power-hungry mandrill who seeks to rule the world with an army of enslaved humans.
  • Amy Landecker as Dr. Emilia, a cold-hearted, manipulative, remorseless human scientist who wants to end the mutes' existence.
  • Lea Delaria as Molly Yarnchopper, a Timbercat and Yumyan Hammerpaw's second-in-command.
  • Steve Blum as Yumyan Hammerpaw, Axe Lord of the Timbercats. His name is a parody of the tall tale character Paul Bunyan.
  • Grey Griffin as Cotton, rocker leader of the Umlaut Snakes from Cactus Town/Mrs. Sartori, leader of the Mod Frogs/Kwat, a Mod Frog/Lemieux, a tarsier Noble.
  • John Hodgman and GZA as Billions and Billions, astronomer co-leaders of the Newton Wolves.
  • Jake Green as Jamack, a Mod Frog who sought out to capture Kipo after she causes him to be banished from his pack, but has since become a reluctant ally.
  • Michael-Leon Wooley as Tad Mulholland, a sentient colony of tardigrades who traps others in dream worlds.
  • Ian Harding as Harris, a Mod Frog.
  • Jeff Bennett as Hoag, a member of Kipo and Lio's underground community.
  • Giullian Yao Gioiello as Troy, a boy from Kipo and Lio's underground community and Benson's love interest.
  • Rhea Butcher and Fryda Wolff as Asher and Dahlia, siblings from Kipo and Lio's underground community.
  • Avrielle Corti and Ace Gibson as Amy and Brad, a pair of rats who manage an amusement park.
  • Carlos Alazraqui and Anna Vocino as Zane and Greta, Dr. Emilia's assistants.
  • Antonio Alvarez as Roberto, Troy's father.
  • Jack Stanton as Fun Gus, a sentient mold with a child-like personality.

Music[edit]

The soundtrack to the series, including several original songs, was composed by Daniel Rojas. It draws on an eclectic mix of musical styles, from folk to classical music and hip-hop.[12] The first soundtrack album, Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts: Season 1 Mixtape, was released in January 2020 by Back Lot Music.[13] The second soundtrack album, titled Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts: Season 2 Mixtape, was released in late May 2020 by Back Lot Music.[14]

Episodes[edit]

SeasonEpisodesOriginally released
110January 14, 2020 (2020-01-14)
210June 12, 2020 (2020-06-12)
310October 12, 2020 (2020-10-12)

Season 1 (2020)[edit]

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleDirected byWritten byStoryboard byOriginal release date
11"Burrow Girl"Radford SechristBill WolkoffJames P. Gibson, Radford Sechrist, and Young Ki YoonJanuary 14, 2020 (2020-01-14)
Kipo finds herself on the surface world and meets Mandu and Wolf.
22"Explosion Berries"Radford SechristBill WolkoffJames P. Gibson, Radford Sechrist, and Young Ki YoonJanuary 14, 2020 (2020-01-14)
Benson saves Kipo, Wolf and Dave from the Mod Frogs.
33"Real Cats Wear Plaid"Chase ConleyBill WolkoffJacob V. Eaton, James P. Gibson, and Ben LiJanuary 14, 2020 (2020-01-14)
Kipo and her new friends are held captive by a clan of Timbercats.
44"Cäctustown"Chris CopelandJoanna Lewis & Kristine SongcoBridget Underwood, Kalen Whitfield, and ZukeJanuary 14, 2020 (2020-01-14)
Kipo leads an army of new allies to Umlaut Snäke turf.
55"The Astronomers in Turtlenecks"Chris Copeland and Bridget UnderwoodChristopher Amick & Ben MeklerMax Lawson, Kalen Whitfield, and ZukeJanuary 14, 2020 (2020-01-14)
Kipo and her friends try to blend in with the Newton Wolves and continue searching for the burrow people.
66"Ratland"Chase ConleyBill WolkoffJacob V. Eaton, James P. Gibson, and Ben LiJanuary 14, 2020 (2020-01-14)
It's Kipo's 13th birthday - and while she tries to crack her father's code, the wolves are reporting to Scarlemagne.
77"Mulholland"Chase ConleyTaylor Chapulín OrcíJacob V. Eaton, James P. Gibson, and Ben LiJanuary 14, 2020 (2020-01-14)
The group gets trapped in an ideal dream world.
88"Twin Beaks"Chris CopelandJoanna Lewis & Kristine SongcoAdam Lucas, Bridget Underwood, and Kalen WhitfieldJanuary 14, 2020 (2020-01-14)
Kipo searches for another clue among the Fitness Raccoons.
99"Mute-Eat-Mute World"Chase ConleyChristopher Amick & Ben MeklerJacob V. Eaton, James P. Gibson, and Ben LiJanuary 14, 2020 (2020-01-14)
Wolf struggles with some new information while the group has to escape from Mod Frogs again.
1010"Beyond the Valley of the Dogs"Kalvin Lee and Young Ki YoonBill WolkoffBen Li, Adam Lucas, and Bridget UnderwoodJanuary 14, 2020 (2020-01-14)
Kipo closes in on her burrow, but disaster is right behind her.

Season 2 (2020)[edit]

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleDirected byWritten byStoryboard byOriginal release date
111"Paw of the Jaguar"Chase ConleyJoanna Lewis and Kristine SongcoJacob V. Eaton, James P. Gibson, and Ben LiJune 12, 2020 (2020-06-12)
122"The Goat Cheese Prophecy"Bridget UnderwoodBill WolkoffYasmin Khudari and Sean SongJune 12, 2020 (2020-06-12)
133"The Ballad of Brunchington Beach"Matt AhrensChristopher Amick & Ben MeklerSteve Barr, Florent Lagrange, and Perin McLeanJune 12, 2020 (2020-06-12)
144"To Catch a Deathstalker"Chase ConleyTaylor Chapulin OrciJames P. Gibson, Ben Li, and Sean SongJune 12, 2020 (2020-06-12)
155"Fun Gus Part One"Bridget UnderwoodJoanna Lewis & Kristine SongcoMichael Chang, Jacob V. Eaton, and Yasmin KhudariJune 12, 2020 (2020-06-12)
166"Fun Gus Part Two"Matt AhrensLeore Berris, Joanna Lewis & Kristine SongcoRicardo Curtis, Florent Lagrange, Perin McLean, and Seema VirdiJune 12, 2020 (2020-06-12)
177"Benson and the Beast"Michael ChangTaylor Chapulin OrciJames P. Gibson, Ben Li, and Sean SongJune 12, 2020 (2020-06-12)
188"Sympathy for the Mandrill"Bridget UnderwoodChristopher Amick & Ben MeklerMichael Chang, Jacob V. Eaton, and Yasmin KhudariJune 12, 2020 (2020-06-12)
199"All That Glitters"Matt AhrensJoanna Lewis & Kristine SongcoFlorent Lagrange, Perin McLean, and Seema VirdiJune 12, 2020 (2020-06-12)
2010"Heroes on Fire"Michael ChangBill WolkoffJames P. Gibson, Ben Li, and Sean SongJune 12, 2020 (2020-06-12)

Reception[edit]

Both seasons of Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts have a 100% score on Rotten Tomatoes.[15] At io9, Beth Elderkin described Kipo as a "must-watch", writing that it joined the likes of She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, Gravity Falls and Steven Universe as a series with a broad appeal to many age groups, and highlighting its music and art design.[16] At Collider, Dave Trumbore noted Kipo's similarity to other recent female-led animated portal fantasy series such as Amphibia and The Owl House, and described it as a "classic in the making" that drew on cultural touchstones such as Fallout, The Warriors, The Island of Doctor Moreau, Planet of the Apes and Alice in Wonderland.[17]

Writing for Polygon, Petrana Radulovic appreciated that beneath a standard fantasy exploration quest, the series is a "vibrant mosaic, with a unique world, multidimensional character relationships, and a deeper underlying plot" about the tensions between mutes and humans.[18] She also noted that Benson was the first character to have an explicit coming out as gay in an all-ages animation series, and that the understated manner of the scene, in episode 6, made it all the more noteworthy.[19] Charles Pulliam-Moore at io9 likewise wrote that the series's "casual queerness is fantastic" because Benson's orientation is not treated as a plot point to complicate Kipo's feelings for him, but, "with a distinct matter-of-factness", as just one aspect of his character.[20]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Netflix's Newest Animation Pickup Has A Black And Gay Cast, But Isn't A "Black" Or "Gay" Cartoon". Quirktastic. January 21, 2020. Retrieved July 8, 2020.
  2. ^ Radulovic, Petrana (January 15, 2020). "Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts treats coming out like just another part of life". Polygon. Archived from the original on January 19, 2020. Retrieved July 8, 2020.
  3. ^ Johnson, Kevin (June 24, 2020). "How Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts Codes Blackness". Den of Geek. Archived from the original on June 27, 2020. Retrieved July 8, 2020.
  4. ^ Trumbore, Dave (January 8, 2020). "New Trailer for 'Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts' Is Absolutely Insane". Collider. Archived from the original on January 13, 2020. Retrieved January 8, 2020.
  5. ^ "Exclusive: Netflix's Excellent Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts Will Return for Season 2". io9. Archived from the original on April 29, 2020. Retrieved April 28, 2020.
  6. ^ Trumbore, Dave (September 10, 2020). "'Kipo and The Age of Wonderbeasts' Returns for Third & Final Season on Netflix Next Month". Christian Today. Retrieved September 11, 2020.
  7. ^ Elderkin, Beth (January 8, 2020). "Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts Is the Latest Animated Marvel You Absolutely Should Watch". io9. Archived from the original on January 8, 2020. Retrieved January 8, 2020.
  8. ^ "DreamWorks Animation Sets 'Kipo & the Age of Wonderbeasts' for Netflix". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on January 25, 2020. Retrieved January 8, 2020.
  9. ^ Hilgenberg, Josh (June 13, 2019). "KIPO AND THE AGE OF WONDERBEASTS first look from DreamWorks Animation". Comics Beat. Archived from the original on February 27, 2020. Retrieved January 8, 2020.
  10. ^ "'Kipo,' Rad Sechrist's amazing-looking new webcomic". Comics&Cola. February 27, 2015. Archived from the original on November 25, 2019. Retrieved January 8, 2020.
  11. ^ Zahed, Ramin (January 15, 2020). "It's the End of the World and She's Just Fine!: 'Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts'". Animation Magazine. Archived from the original on January 16, 2020. Retrieved January 16, 2020.
  12. ^ Brown, Steven (January 24, 2020). "Interview with Daniel Rojas Composer on Kipo and the Age of the Wonderbeasts". What's on Netflix. Archived from the original on January 25, 2020. Retrieved January 24, 2020.
  13. ^ "'Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts' Soundtrack Album Released | Film Music Reporter". Film Music Reporter. January 13, 2020. Archived from the original on January 14, 2020. Retrieved January 24, 2020.
  14. ^ "'Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts' Soundtrack Album Released | Film Music Reporter". Film Music Reporter. January 13, 2020. Archived from the original on January 14, 2020. Retrieved January 24, 2020.
  15. ^ "Kipo and the Age of the Wonderbeasts - Rotten Tomatoes". July 7, 2020.
  16. ^ Elderkin, Beth (January 8, 2020). "Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts Is the Latest Animated Marvel You Absolutely Should Watch". io9. Archived from the original on January 8, 2020. Retrieved January 8, 2020.
  17. ^ Trumbore, Dave (January 14, 2020). "'Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts' Review: Unlike Any Animated Adventure You've Seen". Collider. Archived from the original on January 15, 2020. Retrieved January 15, 2020.
  18. ^ Radulovic, Petrana (January 14, 2020). "Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts is a wild toy-box fantasy". Polygon. Archived from the original on January 15, 2020. Retrieved January 15, 2020.
  19. ^ Radulovic, Petrana (January 15, 2020). "Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts treats coming out like just another part of life". Polygon. Archived from the original on January 19, 2020. Retrieved January 16, 2020.
  20. ^ Pulliam-Moore, Charles (January 23, 2020). "Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts' Casual Queerness Is Fantastic". io9. Archived from the original on January 23, 2020. Retrieved January 24, 2020.

External links[edit]