Riveting Riffs Logo One Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts
Kipo Photo One

Kipo Photo FiveKipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts, an animated series created by Radford Sechrist and produced by DreamWorks is currently in its third and sadly final season on Netflix. Recently, we had the opportunity to sit down and watch all three seasons and yes, we binged, and we are proud of it! The series does a lot of things right and the only mistake in our estimation is Netflix not renewing the series. It follows a pattern with their non-animated series in which Netflix seems to discontinue them when they are at the height of their popularity, but we digress.

The artwork is tremendous, from the scenery to the characters and even the clothes that the human characters and even some of the mutants wear. The music is used to compliment the mood, rather than becoming the main focal point. After a while you forget that you are watching animated creatures, because the voice actors do such a superb job bringing them to life and the story created by Sechrist, which evolved from his webcomic Kipo, derived from the main character’s name. Studio Mir from South Korea animated this film.

Karen Fukuhara, a Japanese American actress, is a thirteen year old girl named Kipo, who is on the surface of the earth, separated from her father and friends (her mother is presumed dead) who live in the burrows below the earth’s surface. The mutants, the result of what appears to some sort of human made catastrophic event that wiped out the majority of the earth’s population, well they rule the surface. In most cases the mutants are enormous and although most of them are animals of some sort, they also talk, they scheme, some wear fancy clothes and others own restaurants. The storyline is driven by Kipo’s search for her father and the, at first glance, unlikely friends she makes along the way. Flashbacks fill in the backstory concerning Kipo and her family.

Kipo’s attempts to reunite her with her father, is joined by Wolf (American actress Sydney Mikayla), who is like a Jackie Chan in miniature form, Benson (Coy Stewart), a mutant named Dave (Deon Cole) and we really do not know what kind of creature he was originally, an adorable pig with six legs and four eyes named Mandu (Dee Bradley Baker), Lio Oak (Sterling K. Brown), Kipo’s father and her mother Song Oak (Jee Young Han), to whom we are introduced through flashbacks. No film, animated or otherwise would be complete without villains and Scarlemagne, also known in some parts of the series as Hugo, is played deliciously by Dan Stevens, while Amy Landecker flourishes in the role of the evil Dr. Amelia. The supporting cast is huge and there is not the space to mention all of them, but we would like to tip our hat to Jake Green who lent his voice to the character of Jamack, a Mod Frog.

The most important reason your children should watch this series (and adults too) is because of the values that are continually on display from beginning to end. The main character and a great role model is a teenage girl Kipo. If there is one thing that we have learned during this past couple of years is that young girls and teenage girls are hungering for characters with whom they can identify, whether it is a Kipo or in other animated series such as Carmen Sandiego or Hilda and  the megastar teenager Millie Bobbie Brown and her characters Seven in Stranger Things and Enola, in the feature film Enola Holmes.

The diversity of the characters is not something that is talked about during the animated series and nor is it something that should be talked about, because it is presented naturally and that is how differences in ethnicity and color should be, it should be so much of who we are that it eliminates the need for discussion, because hopefully one day we will have moved past the time when prejudice is a factor.

That brings us to another value presented and again without a lot of fanfare and that is two of the characters in this series, one of them a main character, is gay. There is nothing here your children should not see. The message is simply delivered during a conversation with a straight character, the fears at first of another character who struggles with how she perceives two boys obviously crushing and learns to embrace that relationship. Other than that, you see to boys dancing, a kiss on a cheek and stars in their eyes. If you have a problem with any of that, then you should not be reading Riveting Riffs Magazine, because we have zero tolerance for any kind of prejudice.

The last thing we want to mention here is there are characters, who come from widely different backgrounds and experiences, who do not always mesh well in the beginning, but through the kindness that Kipo demonstrates and that is adopted by others they form lasting friendships and if this is was the only value expressed in Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts it would be enough of a reason for you to sit down with your children or nephews or nieces or grandchildren and watch this wonderful series. It was for this writer and I do not have children.

You can watch these two trailers from Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts here and here   Return to Our Front Page

Note: Some scenes may frighten very young children.

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This review by Joe Montague  published March 13th, 2021 is protected by copyright © and is the property of Riveting Riffs Magazine All Rights Reserved.  All photos are the the property of  DreamWorks and Netflix, unless otherwise noted and all  are protected by copyright © All Rights Reserved. This interview may not be reproduced in print or on the internet or through any other means without the written permission of Riveting Riffs Magazine.