Review: The Idhun Chronicles Is An Anime Where Exposition Is The Lead Character
Netflix’s first Spanish language original anime comes in the form of The Idhun Chronicles. The new series chronicles the rise of an unexpected hero to save the universe. Or something. The anime is basically a compilation of some of the most overused fantasy formulas and tropes to create a story that is largely unoriginal, and a whole lot of uninteresting. So here’s my The Idhun Chronicles anime review.
First Spanish Netflix Original Anime Based On Books
Image via Netflix.
The Idhun Chronicles anime is from on a series of books by Laura Gallego. The series was very popular, necessitating an anime adaptation. However, seeing the final finished product of the anime, I feel like the books may have worked better for its audience. With similar fantasy stories being the basis of many anime already, a story like one of The Idhun Chronicles feels tired and cliched by the time it made it to an anime.
The whole story is about a young boy, Jack, who has a magical origin that is unknown to him. One night, some magical villains attack and kill his parents, while others rescue Jack. He eventually learns of a powerful world full of magic, his true home. The bad guys are out to kill those who wield magic, for some nefarious purposes. Along the way, we realize that Jack is the only one powerful enough to defeat the main villain. It’s Harry Potter meets every other story like this.
The Idhun Chronicles Anime Review Is All Talk And Very Little Action
Image via Netflix.
Despite the fact that Jack is the lead of The Idhun Chronicles the main star really is the exposition. The anime series is only 5 episodes long. Despite that short runtime, the characters spend the majority of the time talking about, quite literally, everything. The entire world, their history, the other characters, their significance, everything is explained to Jack. It’s not at all organic. There’s actually parts of every episode, and at one point in time, even an entire episode, of just exposition.
The Idhun Chronicles story is about another world called Idhun. It’s a magical place where unicorns, magic, dragons, and flying snakes are pretty much the norm. However, an evil necromancer is out for blood and of course, the chosen one, Jack, has to stop him. Even though he is one of the most powerful warriors of both worlds, responsible for the almost destruction Idhun. While Jack just found out about all this stuff in the first place. But no worries, he’s the ‘one’, so no matter what, he’ll prevail in the end. Or rather, that’s the kind of deferred storytelling we get in The Idhun Chronicles anyways.
Lackluster Visuals Combine With The Poor Storytelling
Image via Netflix.
On top of all the issues in The Idhun Chronicles anime review, the visuals are also a bit of a letdown. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with the look of the anime series, it’s a little underwhelming. Many times, the show looks like a late 90’s cartoon, rather than a fantasy anime from 2020. It simplistic and very basic, similar to its story. The character designs feel very much like effortless concepts put together for a free mobile game, rather than a Netflix anime adaptation.
The biggest disservice to The Idhun Chronicles has to be its number of episodes. While Netflix usually does shorter anime episodes to cram in the story, this was too much cramming. The 5 episodes of Idhun makes it impossible to get all this story without the expense of character development, and everything else really. Jack’s motivations are superficial. His two mentors just throw sage wisdom at him, as expected. His new friend Victoria looks the most interesting, but we don’t really spend time with any of them. And even the main villain feels poorly developed, but it could also be due to the time constraints of the series. None of what happens feels earned or deserving, but just like going through the motions of a version of events we’ve already seen before.
The Idhun Chronicles could be interesting if it had more time to tell its story, regardless of how outrageous or cliche’d it might feel in its current format.
The Idhun Chronicles Anime is now streaming on Netflix.
Did you get a chance to check out this new Netflix anime? Let us know in the comments below.
Featured image via Netflix.
Shah Shahid is an entertainment writer, movie critic (so he thinks), host of the Split Screen Podcast (on Apple Podcasts & everywhere else) and filmy father on a mission to educate his girls on decades of film history. Armed with uncontrollable sarcasm and cautious optimism, Shah loves discussing film, television and comic book content until his wife’s eyes glaze over. So save her by engaging him on his own blog at BlankPageBeatdown.com or on Twitter @theshahshahid.