Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts

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Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts
Genre
Created byRadford Sechrist
Based onKipo
by Radford Sechrist
Developed byBill Wolkoff
ShowrunnerRadford Sechrist
Directed byYoung Ki Yoon (chief)
Voices of
Theme music composerVanessa Ruby Sandberg
ComposerDaniel Rojas
Country of originUnited States
South Korea[a]
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons3
No. of episodes30
Production
Executive producers
  • Bill Wolkoff
  • Radford Sechrist
  • Yoo Jae Myung
Producers
  • Kim Han Byeol
  • Park Sang Ah
Running time23–24 minutes
Production companyDreamWorks Animation Television
Original release
NetworkNetflix
ReleaseJanuary 14 (2020-01-14) –
October 12, 2020 (2020-10-12)

Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts is an American animated television series created by Radford Sechrist and developed by Bill Wolkoff, adapted from Rad's 2015 webcomic Kipo. The series is produced by American company DreamWorks Animation Television and animated by South Korean studio Mir.

The young adult animated series[1] follows a teenage girl named 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, world-building, voice acting, and diversity. The series is particularly notable for its representation of LGBT and characters of color.[2][3][4]

The show's three seasons, each ten episodes long, were released in 2020. Season 1 was released on January 14,[5] season 2 on June 12,[6] and season 3 on October 12.[7]

The show made its linear debut on Pop in the United Kingdom on October 3, 2022.[8]

Plot[edit]

In 2020, animals mutated into anthropomorphic creatures called "mutes". Mutes rose up against the human race, forcing the majority of it to live in underground cities called burrows. In the 23rd century, Los Angeles has been reduced to a post-apocalyptic wasteland collectively known as "Las Vistas".

In the first season, Kipo Oak, a thirteen-year-old girl, is separated from her father Lio after their burrow is attacked by a "mega monkey", a colossal, mutated spider monkey. Traversing Las Vistas, she 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 mute pig Mandu.[9] Together, they set out to find the burrow Kipo's community fled to after their first one was destroyed. During their adventures, Kipo discovers that she has the DNA of a mega jaguar, and can transform her body. As the five journey along they make many mute allies and enemies, including the tyrant Scarlemagne, a mandrill mute who intends to subjugate humanity with his mind-controlling pheromones and force the other mutes into an utopian empire which he will rule with a human army.

In the second season, Kipo learns she was experimented on with mute DNA by her parents before her birth, turning her into a half-human, half-jaguar hybrid, 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 and mind-controlled with Scarlemagne's pheromones by Dr. Emilia, her parents' former employer who now leads a resistance group against mutes. She also discovers that Scarlemagne was originally an ordinary mandrill named Hugo whom Kipo's parents turned sentient and secretly raised as their son, but grew to hate them after they were forced to abandon him. Kipo frees Song from her mind control and defeats Scarlemagne, while Emilia plots to revert mutes back into normal animals.

In the third season, Kipo creates the "Human Mute Ultimate Friendship Alliance" (HMUFA) to fight Emilia, but struggles to make humans and mutes work together. Emilia creates an anti-mute cure with Kipo's DNA, and it is with this cure that Kipo turns her mother human again. Ultimately, Kipo succeeds in making peace between mutes and humans, reforming Scarlemagne in the process. With her plans foiled and unwilling to accept change, Emilia turns herself into a mega mute to kill Kipo and her friends, but she is defeated with Scarlemagne's help, who sacrifices himself to save Kipo. Five years later, Kipo happily lives on the surface where humans and mutes finally co-exist in harmony.

Characters[edit]

Main[edit]

Karen Fukuhara voices Kipo.
  • Kipo Oak (voiced by Karen Fukuhara) – An enthusiastic and curious young girl who is searching for her people. Later in the show, is revealed that Kipo's parents injected her with mute DNA, giving her the powers of a huge purple jaguar.
  • Wolf (voiced by Sydney Mikayla) – Kipo's best friend and adopted younger sister. A hardened and young survivor on the surface world who was raised by mutant wolves. She wields a spear made from the stinger of a deathstalker scorpion that she dubs "Stalkie".
  • Benson Mekler (voiced by Coy Stewart) – A level-headed and happy-go-lucky surface survivor, Dave's best friend, and last of the "fanatics", a group previously at war with Dave's species for two centuries.
  • Dave (voiced by Deon Cole) – A mutant insect and Benson's best friend who repeatedly molts from baby to child to teen to adult to elderly. Between his adult to elderly phase, he briefly assumes an extremely powerful, super saiyan-like form which has little to no longevity, a recurring gag. He is the last of his kind, a species of identical-looking insects who all shared the name Dave and were at war for over two centuries with the "fanatics" over a cooling fan.
  • Mandu (voiced by Dee Bradley Baker) – A teal mutant pig with four eyes and six legs adopted by Kipo, who named her after a type of food prepared by her mother.
  • Lio Oak (voiced by Sterling K. Brown) – 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.
  • Hugo "Scarlemagne" Oak (voiced by Dan Stevens) – A deranged, flamboyant, power-hungry mandrill and Kipo's adoptive older brother. He seeks to create a mute-only utopia and rule Las Vistas with an army of enslaved humans. Due to human experimentation, the pheromones in his sweat can control primate minds.
  • Song Oak (voiced by Jee Young Han) – Kipo's mother and Lio's wife who originally worked with him to revert mutes back into normal animals before they changed their minds; thought to be deceased, she is later revealed to be alive.
  • Dr. Emilia (voiced by Amy Landecker) – A cold-hearted, manipulative, remorseless human scientist who wants to end the mutes' existence.

Supporting[edit]

Mod Frogs

  • Jamack (voiced by Jake Green) – A Mod Frog and enemy of Kipo after she caused him to be banished from his pack, but later becomes an ally.
  • Mrs. Sartori (voiced by Grey Griffin) – Leader of the Mod Frogs.
  • Harris and Kwat (voiced by Ian Harding and Grey Griffin) – A pair of Mod Frogs and Jamack's former goons.

Timbercats

  • Yumyan Hammerpaw (voiced by Steve Blum) – Axe Lord of the Timbercats. His name is a parody of the tall tale character Paul Bunyan.
  • Molly Yarnchopper (voiced by Lea Delaria) – A Timbercat and Yumyan Hammerpaw's second-in-command.
  • Ruffles (voiced by Matt Lowe) – A Timbercat.

Newton Wolves

  • Good Billions (voiced by John Hodgman - Astronomer, co-leader of the Newton Wolves.
  • Bad Billions (voiced by GZA/Guy Lockard) – Astronomer, co-leader of the Newton Wolves.

Umlaut Snakes

  • Cotton (voiced by Grey Griffin) – Rocker leader of the Umlaut Snakes from Cactus Town.
  • Camille (voiced by Joan Jett and Grey Griffin) – An Umlaut Snake.

Humming Bombers

  • Easy (voiced by Matt Lowe) – Leader of the Humming Bombers.
  • Boom-Boom (voiced by Alanna Ubach) – A Humming Bomber.

Scooter Skunks

  • Loretta (voiced by Grey Griffin) - Co-leader of the Scooter Skunks.
  • Wheels (voiced by Alanna Ubach) – Co-leader of the Scooter Skunks.

Fitness Racoons

  • Label (voiced by Betsy Sodaro) – A Fitness Raccoon.
  • Tongue Depressor (voiced by David Neher) – A Fitness Raccoon.

Other Mutes

  • Amy and Brad (voiced by Avrielle Corti and Ace Gibson) – A pair of rats who manage an amusement park called Ratland.
  • Ida, Florabel, and Bev (voiced by Kay Bess, Chris Anthony Lansdowne, and Mindy Sterling) – The "Chevre Sisters", a trio of blind, soothsaying goats.
  • Margot (voiced by Faith Graham and Victoria Grace) – Wolf's adoptive wolf sister.
  • Puck (voiced by John Lavelle) – A theater musician otter.
  • Hyun-soo (voiced by Raymond J. Lee) – Lead singer of a narwhal K-pop band.
  • Gerard (voiced by Dee Bradley Baker) – An orangutan Noble.
  • Lemieux (voiced by Grey Griffin) – A tarsier Noble.
  • Tad Mulholland (voiced by Michael-Leon Wooley) – A sentient colony of tardigrades who traps others in dream worlds.
  • Fun Gus (voiced by Jack Stanton) – A sentient mold with a child-like personality.

Humans

  • Doag (voiced by Rebecca Husain) – Hoag's dance-obsessed daughter.
  • Hoag (voiced by Jeff Bennett) – A member of Kipo's underground community and Doag's father.
  • Troy Sandoval (voiced by Giullian Yao Gioiello) – A boy from Kipo's underground community and Benson's boyfriend.
  • Roberto Sandoval (voiced by Antonio Alvarez) – Troy's father.
  • Asher and Dahlia Berdacs (voiced by River Butcher and Fryda Wolff) – Twin siblings from Kipo's underground community. Asher is non-binary while Dahlia is female.[10]
  • Lily and Earl Berdacs (voiced by Kay Bess and Carlos Alazraqui) – Asher and Dahlia's parents.
  • Mr. Filburn (voiced by Jake Green) – A member of Kipo's underground community.
  • Zane and Greta (voiced by Carlos Alazraqui and Anna Vocino) – Dr. Emilia's assistants.

Production[edit]

Development[edit]

Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts was created by Radford Sechrist, previously a storyboard artist for Dan Vs. and later director on the Voltron: Legendary Defender.[11] After quitting his job as an animator, Sechrist began posting the webcomic Kipo on Tumblr in 2015.[12] The animated series based on the webcomic was first announced at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival in June 2019.[13] Sechrist compared the series to The Wizard of Oz, "but instead of ruby slippers [Kipo] has Converse on".[14]

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]

LGBTQ representation[edit]

As Netflix pushed forward, Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts became a notable example of expanded representation.[15] In the first season of Kipo, which streamed on January 10, Benson said outright he was gay, saying he only liked the series protagonist, Kipo, in a platonic way.[16] He also developed a crush on a male character, Troy, in the show's 10th episode.[17] Due to these elements, some noted the show's "casual queerness."[18]

The series was nominated for a GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Kids & Family Programming.[19]

In August 2021, Sechrist told Insider that he and Wolkoff realized that there weren't "iconic Superman or Spider-Man archetypes very often as a gay person in media" saying that gay people would be villains or comic relief, with their pitch for Benson as part of the show, making history, becoming the first Black gay protagonist and "second-known animated kids character" apart from a character in 6teen to "identify themselves as gay in dialogue."[20]

Music[edit]

The soundtrack to the series, including several original songs, was composed by Daniel Rojas.[21] Rojas was tasked with writing original songs as well as creating a score that could "blend seamlessly" together. He collaborated with the screenwriters, producers, and music supervisors for the original songs. Though the score is primarily pop-oriented, Rojas would often tap into different genres and blend elements of them together.[22] Genres included are hip-hop, trap, folk, electronic dance, rock, and classical.[23] Soundtrack albums for each of the three seasons in the series were released digitally by Back Lot Music on January 13, 2020,[24] May 29, 2020,[25] and October 16, 2020.[26]

Episodes[edit]

Series overview[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 Oak 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 thirteenth 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)
Kipo and her friends go to save the burrow residents from Scarlemagne while Kipo struggles to control her mute abilities.
122"The Goat Cheese Prophecy"Bridget UnderwoodBill WolkoffYasmin Khudari and Sean SongJune 12, 2020 (2020-06-12)
Kipo goes on a mission to control her powers leading her to a trio of goat prophets.
133"The Ballad of Brunchington Beach"Matt AhrensChristopher Amick & Ben MeklerSteve Barr, Florent Lagrange, and Perin McLeanJune 12, 2020 (2020-06-12)
Kipo joins a troupe of TheaOtters in order to get into the restaurant of an informant who may know the location of her birth burrow.
144"To Catch a Deathstalker"Chase ConleyTaylor Chapulin OrciJames P. Gibson, Ben Li, and Sean SongJune 12, 2020 (2020-06-12)
To reach Kipo's birth Burrow, Wolf teaches her the means to keep calm to avoid a pack of Deathstalkers near her old home.
155"Fun Gus Part One"Bridget UnderwoodJoanna Lewis & Kristine SongcoMichael Chang, Jacob V. Eaton, and Yasmin KhudariJune 12, 2020 (2020-06-12)
Kipo's party reaches the burrow she was born in, where they learn the truth of her origins.
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)
Kipo continues to learn the truth of her birth while she and her friends must deal with a bratty sentient mold that has overtaken the burrow.
177"Benson and the Beast"Michael ChangTaylor Chapulin OrciJames P. Gibson, Ben Li, and Sean SongJune 12, 2020 (2020-06-12)
Dr. Emilia takes in Kipo's group for her own purposes; while Benson works with Kipo to try and master how to fully control her Mega Jaguar state.
188"Sympathy for the Mandrill"Bridget UnderwoodChristopher Amick & Ben MeklerMichael Chang, Jacob V. Eaton, and Yasmin KhudariJune 12, 2020 (2020-06-12)
Scarlemagne's origins are revealed while Kipo remains captured by him.
199"All That Glitters"Matt AhrensJoanna Lewis & Kristine SongcoFlorent Lagrange, Perin McLean, and Seema VirdiJune 12, 2020 (2020-06-12)
Kipo and Lio work together to try to change Scarlemagne in order to stop his ambitions once and for all.
2010"Heroes on Fire"Michael ChangBill WolkoffJames P. Gibson, Ben Li, and Sean SongJune 12, 2020 (2020-06-12)
The fates of humans and Mutes hang in the balance as Scarlemagne's coronation ceremony takes an unexpected turn.

Season 3 (2020)[edit]

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleDirected byWritten byStoryboard byOriginal release date
211"Everything is Crabs"Bridget UnderwoodBill WolkoffJacob V. Eaton, James P. Gibson, and Yasmin KhudariOctober 12, 2020 (2020-10-12)
Several months after defeating Scarlemagne, Kipo's gang tries to create a greater alliance of Mutes and humanity while dealing with several strange disappearances.
222"Code Word Milkshake"Matt AhrensLeore BerrisFlorent Lagrange, Perin McLean, and Seema VirdiOctober 12, 2020 (2020-10-12)
Discovering the location of Dr. Emilia and her human entourage, Kipo leads a stealth operation onto a cruise ship in order to talk sense into them and slow the mad doctor's Mute-reversal plans.
233"A Wolf in Wolf's Clothing"Michael ChangChristopher Amick & Ben MeklerJacob V. Eaton, Ben Li, and Sean SongOctober 12, 2020 (2020-10-12)
Wolf has a tense reunion with a member of her old Wolf Pack as Kipo must work with Scarlemagne to try and solidify the Mute alliance.
244"Don't You Forget a Meow Me"Bridget UnderwoodTaylor Chapulin OrciJacob V. Eaton, James P. Gibson, Yasmin Khudari, and Jam RespicioOctober 12, 2020 (2020-10-12)
Discovering her friends have been captured by Dr. Emilia and that her cure is complete, Kipo works with Mulholland to devise a plan to save them.
255"Song ReMix"Matt AhrensJoanna Lewis & Kristine SongcoJoe Giampapa, Perin McLean, Seema Virdi, and Steve WalkerOctober 12, 2020 (2020-10-12)
Kipo cures her mother Song, but must now figure out how to stop the humans from curing the Mutes.
266"It's a Trap"Michael ChangLeore BerrisJacob V. Eaton, Ben Li, and Sean SongOctober 12, 2020 (2020-10-12)
As Dr. Emilia's forces siege Timbercat village, Kipo and her allies must stop them and bring a peaceful end to the conflict.
277"Requiem for a Dave"Bridget UnderwoodChristopher Amick & Ben MeklerJacob V. Eaton, Yasmin Khudari, and James LienOctober 12, 2020 (2020-10-12)
As an angered Kipo prepares to retaliate against Emilia, the only one who can stop her from ruining the hard work of uniting humanity and Mutes is Dave.
288"Hidden Treasures"Matt AhrensTaylor Chapulin OrciPerin McLean, Seema Virdi, and Steve WalkerOctober 12, 2020 (2020-10-12)
Kipo makes an unexpected final move to try and create unity by throwing a "Prahm" for humans and Mutes.
299"Prahmises"Michael ChangJoanna Lewis & Kristine SongcoJacob V. Eaton, Ben Li, and Sean SongOctober 12, 2020 (2020-10-12)
As Kipo's "Prahm" finally begins, several caught in the middle must come to terms with their circumstances behind their hatred of the other.
3010"Age of the Wonderbeasts"Bridget UnderwoodBill WolkoffJacob V. Eaton, Yasmin Khudari, and James LienOctober 12, 2020 (2020-10-12)
A final fight between Dr. Emilia and Kipo determines the fate of humans and Mutes alike.

Mixtapes[edit]

Kipo And The Age Of Wonderbeasts (Season 1 Mixtape)[27]
No.TitleWriter(s)Performed byLength
1."Age of Wonderbeasts"Vanessa Ruby SandbergVenessaMichaels0:28
2."Grrrl Like"Cathrine Saint Jude, Peter John BezuidenhoutDope Saint Jude2:53
3."Yumyan Hammerpaw"Allen Kozak, Bill Wolkoff, Dov Rosenblatt, Duvid SwirskyLea DeLaria, Karen Fukahara, Justine Huxley, Matt Lowe2:01
4."Don't Stop Now"Daniel Rojas, Michelle Gonzalez TelfordDaniel Rojas, Michelle Gonzalez2:07
5."Newton Wolves Rap"Ben Mekler, Christopher Amik, Daniel Rojas, Mike BrownGZA, John Hodgman2:09
6."Purple Jaguar Eye"Bill Wolkoff, Daniel Rojas, Michael Anthony CionniSterling K. Brown1:52
7."Fight The War"Daniel Rojas, Kathryn Guerra, Stephen LukachKittie Harloe1:54
8."What We Have Is You"Allen Kozak, Dov Rosenblatt, Duvid Swirsky, Joanna Lewis, Kristine SongcoSterling K. Brown, Karen Fukahara1:26
9."Scarlemagne's Waltz"Daniel RojasDaniel Rojas0:48
10."Wolf Chase"Daniel RojasDaniel Rojas1:16
11."Jamack Theme"Daniel RojasDaniel Rojas0:40
12."Timbercats"Daniel RojasDaniel Rojas0:42
13."Megabunny Attack"Daniel RojasDaniel Rojas1:09
14."We Will Find Them"Daniel RojasDaniel Rojas2:07
Total length:21:39
Kipo And The Age Of Wonderbeasts (Season 2 Mixtape)[28]
No.TitleWriter(s)Performed byLength
1."Heroes On Fire"Daniel RojasKaren Fukahara, Sydney Mikayla3:23
2."Down With Humans"Daniel RojasJohn Lavelle1:28
3."Play It In My Head"Daniel RojasDan Stevens1:11
4."Chevre Sisters"Daniel RojasMindy Sterling, Kay Bess, Chris Anthony Lansdowne1:44
5."Deathstalker Territory"Daniel RojasDaniel Rojas1:20
6."Humand In Capes"Daniel RojasDaniel Rojas, Matthew Wang2:15
7."Family Tale"Daniel RojasDaniel Rojas2:56
8."No Anchor"Daniel RojasDaniel Rojas1:20
9."King Hugo"Daniel RojasDaniel Rojas1:05
10."Heroes On Fire - Karaoke Version"Daniel RojasDaniel Rojas3:21
Total length:20:07
Kipo And The Age Of Wonderbeasts (Season 3 Mixtape)[29]
No.TitleWriter(s)Performed byLength
1."The Age of Wonderbeasts"Vanessa SandbergKeeley Bumford, VenessaMichaels2:24
2."Ocean of Love"Daniel Rojas, Eun-Jae Kim, Leore Berris, Matthew WangRaymond J Lee2:12
3."Drowning"Daniel Rojas, Eun-Jae Kim, Leore BerrisRaymond J Lee1:21
4."The Cure"Bill Wolkoff, Daniel RojasJake Green, John Lavelle1:30
5."Cruel To The Beat"Andra Gunter, Daniel RojasAndra Gunter1:42
6."Yumyan HammerMeow"Daniel RojasDaniel Rojas1:35
7."Treetop Butterflies"Daniel RojasDaniel Rojas1:10
8."Family Hunt"Daniel RojasDaniel Rojas1:58
9."MegaWalrus Attack"Daniel RojasDaniel Rojas1:02
10."A World of Wonderbeasts"Daniel RojasDaniel Rojas1:09
11."Ferris Wheel"Daniel RojasDaniel Rojas1:54
12."Scooter Skunks"Daniel RojasDaniel Rojas0:53
13."Catch Me"Daniel RojasDaniel Rojas0:46
14."It's Really You"Daniel RojasDaniel Rojas0:59
15."Mullholland"Daniel RojasDaniel Rojas2:12
16."Your Majesty Bee"Daniel RojasDaniel Rojas0:51
17."The Brunch Bunch"Daniel RojasDaniel Rojas1:18
18."A Second Chance"Daniel RojasDaniel Rojas0:33
19."Just One More Time"Daniel RojasDaniel Rojas1:30
20."Goodbyes"Daniel RojasDaniel Rojas0:53
21."A Safe Zone"Daniel RojasDaniel Rojas1:07
22."Las Vistas"Daniel RojasDaniel Rojas1:53
Total length:31:02

Reception[edit]

Critical response[edit]

All three seasons of Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts have a 100% score on Rotten Tomatoes, with too few reviews for a consensus.[30] 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.[9] 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.[31] NPR argued that the series is colorful and funny, with its diversity allowing it comment on sexuality, race, and class, combining the world-building in Avatar: The Last Airbender and the inclusivity, and heart, of a show like Steven Universe.[32] Forbes said that Kipo, like the "fellow empath Steven Universe," attempts to talk antagonists about their feelings.[33]

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.[34] 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.[35] 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.[36] Dave Trumbore of Collider noted that the show explores "burgeoning same-sex relationships in a positive manner," referring to the relations between Benson and Troy.[37] A review of the season by Shamus Kelley pointed out the continued flirting between Troy and Benson, with Benson trying to impress him, and his dad, praising that their relationship has had "zero drama...[and] zero subtext," treated as a "regular thing without any of the restrictions gay characters have had before."[17] Kevin Johnson wrote about how in Kipo, "the surface world of earth is genuinely dangerous, and each character, still couched in their Blackness, represents different perspectives," exploring race like Steven Universe explored gender, and is willing to "explore the messiness of racial issue," believing that Kipo could become "a beacon through the thorny, fraught issues of race," just as Steven taught young viewers how to "let compassion and kindness guide them through encountering and dealing with gender concerns."[38]

TV Guide called Kipo a "wildly imaginative story" with diverse characters.[39] Petrana Radulovic of Polygon said that Kipo is like Steven Universe, the protagonist of the series of the same name, in that she wants peace, wanting everyone to "set aside their differences and talk through their problems" and called it a "celebration of differences."[40] Shannon Miller of The A.V. Club said that it better to think of the series akin to a "lengthy film split into three hearty acts."[41] Beth Elderkin of Gizmodo called the relationship between Benson and Troy "perfect."[42] Shamus Kelley of Den of Geek praised the "charmingly cute romance" between Benson and Troy and said they were delighted both were still "together in the five-year time skip."[43] GLAAD praised the series as being "LGBTQ-inclusive" and said that Benson's story "reflected the full diversity of the community."[44]

Influence[edit]

In June 2020, Bill Wolkoff, co-screenwriter of Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts, said that they were lucky and glad the studio empowered this, wanting to have a "young, 16-ish year old kid" who was gay and was not ashamed of it. He also said he hoped for a season 3, but couldn't confirm it would happen.[45] Adding to this, Shannon Miller wrote a review praising the show, specifically calling Benson the "joyful culmination of a long battle for intentional queer representation in Westernized youth animation," which has made progress from 2010 to 2020, while noting shows like Steven Universe, Adventure Time, and She-Ra and the Princesses of Power paved the way for Kipo.[46] Miller further noted how ND Stevenson and Rebecca Sugar "faced immense challenges while dealing with merely the visual component of queerness."

In October 2020, The A.V. Club published an interview with Rad Sechrist and Bill Wolkoff of Kipo. In the interview, Wolkoff said that they did not face roadblocks in presenting Benson and Troy, crediting creators like ND Stevenson, Rebecca Sugar, and others for fighting "difficult battles before Kipo came along."[47] He also noted how he fought for gay representation in the show, Once Upon A Time, saying they treated it "like a coming-of-age story," and said he is glad that the Season 1 episode "Ratland" meant a lot to young gay people, especially young Black people. Sechrist added that when they sold the show to DreamWorks, Peter Gal, then the head of development, stated that the character has to say "I'm gay" in an explicit way.

The same month, Fukuhara, who also voices Glimmer in She-Ra, said that it would be cool if She-Ra moved into "feature-length storytelling," with a movie focused on Bow and how he grew up with Glimmer.[48] She also hinted that a crossover between She-Ra and Kipo could happen because although they are stories on different worlds, they could cross paths if the She-Ra crew came to Earth, helping Kipo defeat a "greater evil," leading them to band together and fight.

Accolades[edit]

Year Award Category Nominee Result Ref.
2020 Autostraddle Gay Emmys Outstanding Animated Series Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts Nominated [49]
2021 GLAAD Media Awards Outstanding Kids & Family Programming Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts Nominated [50]
2021 Ursa Major Awards Best Dramatic Series Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts Nominated [51][52]
2021 Daytime Emmy Awards Outstanding Children’s Animated Series Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts Nominated [53]

References[edit]

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Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Co-production and animation.

External links[edit]