When it comes to TV, I watch a lot. And, in full honesty, I’m easily pleased. I enjoy most of what I view. This, of course, could just be a result of me stopping anything I can’t stand. That said, it’s easy for me to tell when I’m witnessing something special. Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts–and I say this with zero doubt–strikes me as spectacular.
The show takes place about 200 years in the future. Mutant beasts rule the land, and humans have moved underground. Thirteen-year-old Kipo lives happily with her father until disaster forces them apart. Alone in a world she knows nothing about, Kipo must work to survive. With help from newfound friends, she must find her father and uncover a truth that’ll change her life forever.
In terms of entertainment, the definition of perfect is relative. Many ask, does a perfect film exist? To some, a movie can be perfect even if blatantly flawed. After all, when it comes to art, emotional connection acts as a glue stronger than structure.
In my opinion, there’s no such thing as a perfect piece of entertainment. Almost everything is flawed in some way, shape, or form. That said, season 1 of Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts rode much higher than I could’ve anticipated. It was, in almost every way, perfect. So, the show had a lot to live up to in its second frame. Did it meet my sky-high expectations? Absolutely.
I’ll admit, Season 2 got off to a bit of a bumpy start. It was nothing bad, or even mediocre. In fact, I’d still consider this part of the show “top-tier entertainment.” It seemed, though, that the writers were struggling a bit to recapture the feel of the first season. Which, once again, is a high bar to jump. This changed, however, in episode 4.
Slight Spoilers Ahead
Episode 4 heavily features what the show calls Deathstalkers. These are scorpion-like mutants that track their victims via heartbeat. They will stab their prey using venomous barbs before abducting and eating them. Episode 4 takes us to what is known as “deathstalker territory,” where these beasts run rampant. In this chapter it’s revealed that one of the show’s leads–named Wolf–made a life for herself here. And, a few minutes in, we get to visit her home. The next 10 minutes consist of nothing but main character Kipo excitedly learning new details about her friend. There isn’t much plot-advancement here, just a long scene of two characters being themselves.
These ten minutes are carried by witty writing, great voice acting, and even a musical number. It’s scenes like these that make me love Kipo. This scene in particular showcases two of the show’s best qualities: sincerity and camp.
The world painted by Kipo is like nothing you’ll find elsewhere. It’s unique, charming, and complimented by an aura of passion. With every new creature, and each new location, the show proves it was made by people invested in their craft. This isn’t something thrown together for cash. Kipo was made because someone had a craving to create.
A wonderful set of characters keep the show, with all its fantasticality, grounded. Their well-developed arcs, partnered with their heartfelt connections to each other, allow Kipo‘s heart to be heard. Because of this, the show exhibits an inspiring sense of sincerity, unique to itself.
The show’s wonderful whimsy is thanks in part to its amazing screenwriting. Kipo‘s fresh wit works in tandem with a well-crafted story, that which unravels at a perfect pace. All ten episodes of season 2 feel effortlessly woven, as if they’ve been merged together by a coat of whipped butter. I’ve only ever seen such investing serialization in a few shows before. In fact, in this sense, Stranger Things might be the only worthy competitor.
To describe Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts in one word I’d say “special.” If you asked me to name a show it’s similar to, I’d have no answer. Considering how much media is presented to modern day audiences, I hope these words mean something. I highly suggest Kipo to everyone. Not just cartoon fans and kids, but everyone. It’s fun, heartwarming, and one-of-a-kind. Not to mention it has an awesome soundtrack.
Season two contains loads of genuine laughs, emotional character moments, and a thrilling mid-season reveal. I’m excited for what’s to come and you should be too.
Have you streamed Season 2 of Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts? What did you think, and do you agree with what I had to say? Tell us on Instagram (@appkernel) and Twitter (@appkernel) and stay tuned to the Kernel Blog for more Netflix reviews!