As with the pilot, episode two First Trip to the Forest opens on a robbery in progress, our rowdy gang of thieves shaking down the day’s unlucky travelers. They’re soon interrupted by a dinner bell, and frankly, I get it. Snacks over spoils. They hightail it back to the fort and tuck into some porridge.
While she was dishing out the gruel, I spotted a sweet set of keys around Lovis’ neck, a nice visual reminder that she’s holding it down as the lady of the castle. Speaking of costuming choices, a couple of the robbers are wearing Geordi LaForge style masks which lead to some… intriguing Google searches as I attempted to confirm whether they were authentically medieval.
Mattis dotes on a well-swaddled Ronja, calling her Little Pigeon while his jovial associates humbly offer forest detritus to the cooing baby. Scooped up for an aerial spin, Ronja ages several years, landing with a messy shock of hair and a practical, gender-neutral pairing of a tunic and slacks.
Ronja runs this fort, greeting everyone as she completes her farm chores. Her father reveals that the time has come for her to get acquainted with their arboreal surroundings. He warns her of the myriad dangers, rival robbers, harpies, grey dwarves, the rushing river, and Hell’s Gap, the chasm created when lightning struck their home the night she was born. Things get grim as Mattis imagines Ronja plunging into Hell’s Gap, saying “you’ll never do anything again.” Ronja takes this all in stride, staying super chill in the face of what seems like certain danger.
Mama Lovis packs a proto-fanny pack, a combination satchel and belt that she stuffs with a leather canteen and a hunk of bread. Studio Ghibli is known for their tantalizing depictions of food, but so far, the offerings in Ronja are a bit lean. Ronja’s foray into the forest is a solo quest, a sort of mini-Rumspringa that is only meant to last until nightfall. She narrows her eyes as the gates are thrown open, and she’s off, running towards the forest and her first taste of freedom.