REVIEW: “The Idhun Chronicles” Boasts Great Animation But Little Story

Reading Time: 2 minutes

The Idhun Chronicles is a Netflix original anime series, based on The Idhun’s Memories young adult novel trilogy by Laura Gallego. It is produced by Zepplin TV. One day, Jack (Griffin Burns) discovers his parents dead and two mysterious men attempt to kill him. However, he is spirited away to by magician Shail (Griffin Puatu) and warrior Aslan (Billy Kametz). Jack learns that his parents were magicians from the land of Idhun, and Shail and Aslan are members of a resistance fighting to take it back. Together with mage-in-training Victoria (Erika Harlatcher), they seek to find an edge over the coldhearted Kirtash (Johnny Yong Bosch).

The Idhun Chronicles boasts a supremely sleek animation style, courtesy of Zepplin TV. The fight scenes in the series are intense; blood flies and swords clash with astounding speed and power. Each character also looks unique; Aslan is tall, muscular, and tan while Jack and Victoria look like actual high school students. This extends to non-human characters, especially the dragons that appear in flashbacks.

Yes, I said dragons. Another thing that the show features rich mythology. There are dragons and unicorns, although both races are on the edge of extinction. The necromancer who decimated Idhun commands an army of snake men. There are even magical weapons, such as a flaming sword that Jack wields towards the season’s end. It helps that Gallego served as a producer and wrote the entirety of the first season; who better than the author to translate the series to another medium?

However, this mythology is also a double-edged sword due to the series’ length. At five episodes, we only get hints of backstory doled out here and there. It feels frustrating because the things we learn are genuinely intriguing and I’d like to see more of them. The show also ends on a massive cliffhanger; this truly frustrating because the final episode is where the series really hits its stride.

This short length gives us barely any time to connect with our characters. Well, most of them anyway; Jack comes off as the stereotypical “chosen one” that usually populate shonen anime, while Shail and Aslan are the “mentor” role. And though Bosch delivers a solid performance, Kirtash comes off less as a threatening villain and more like a long-lost member of the Backstreet Boys who’s really into Final Fantasy. Unlike Cannon Busters or Seis Manos, I couldn’t really get invested in these characters.

The best character in the show is Victoria. She has a more interesting backstory than Jack; she is half magician and lives with her grandmother. She also has the most development, as she learns the ways of magic and ends up saving the day in the finale. Harlatcher brings equal parts joy and pain to her performance, making Victoria feel like an actual teenage girl. Should the series progress, I hope to see more of her growth.

The Idhun Chronicles boasts stellar animation, though pencil-thin characters and a short season hamper its potential. Should the series be renewed for Season 2, I hope we get slightly longer seasons and more time to flesh out these characters.

The Idhun Chronicles is currently available to stream on Netflix.

The Idhun Chronicles
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    Rating - 7/10
7/10

TL;DR

The Idhun Chronicles boasts stellar animation, though pencil-thin characters and a short season hamper its potential. Should the series be renewed for Season 2, I hope we get slightly longer seasons and more time to flesh out these characters.