When I was a kid, I watched a lot of cartoons. These days, I still watch a lot of cartoons (mainly because they’re bright, happy parcels of media that cheer me up immensely), but I’ve become a little more discerning. Granted, there were still things I wouldn’t watch when I was ten, but the bar was significantly lower then than it is now.
What all this is leading up to is that you need to believe me when I say that Trollhunters is one of the finest animated series I’ve had the pleasure to binge-watch in recent years. It’s the kind of show that my younger self would both want and need, not just for pure entertainment, but also because it’s so wonderfully written that I would have learned so much from it at that age.
Much like Stranger Things, a fellow Netflix original, Trollhunters has this gut feeling to it of an Eighties movie that never was - it has all the charm, the humour, and the heart that conjures up nostalgic feelings of childhood. Trollhunters is a pure Saturday morning cartoon, to be watched with siblings and parents over bowls of sugary cereal.
It’s not perfect, however. It suffers from a low number of female characters, with the main cast having only two of note, discounting the antagonist who, while getting a few good lines, has no real depth to her character. It’s become all but impossible for me to not at least notice this kind of thing, but Trollhunters does at least try to provide its small female cast with individual personalities.
Despite this, Trollhunters still manages to be better than many contemporaries. The action cartoon, as a genre, has been lacking in recent years after a relative absence of superhero media (discounting Marvel’s dire animated offerings). The emphasis has been on comedy, and while I can understand the need to laugh in these times, there is also the need to see a villain get punched soundly in the face – and oh, do they ever.
Trollhunters does not shy away from seriousness in its plot. It doesn’t hide death behind the word ‘destroy’ like so many other shows, and I like that about it. It could have so easily been a less substantive, fluffier piece of fiction. But it isn’t, and that’s what makes it so good.
If you have the time and the urge for some delightful modern fantasy, and have managed to miss this Netflix gem, I heartily recommend Trollhunters for anyone of any age.