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Western Animation / Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts

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"Up on top, on my own,
A human girl, so far from home,
The flowers are big,
And the bees are weird,
It's dangerous, just like I feared,
On the surface worl—AAH! STAY AWAY!"
— Kipo, before being attacked by a giant bird

Kipo and the Age of WonderBeasts is a Netflix original animated series produced by Dreamworks Animation and animated by Studio Mir, created by Radford Sechrist (How to Train Your Dragon 2, Kung Fu Panda 2) with Bill Wolkoff (Once Upon a Time, TRON: Uprising) serving as co-executive producer. The show is based on the short-lived webcomic Kipo created by Sechrist. The first season premiered on January 14, 2020.

The series follows Kipo (Karen Fukuhara), a teenage girl who lives underground with her scientist father over 200 years after the apocalypse. That is, until her community is destroyed, leaving herself separated from him and stuck on the fantastical surface world that has become overrun by mutants both intelligent and beastly. With the help of surface-dwelling survivors including the savvy Wolf (Sydney Makayla), the cheerful Benson (Coy Stewart), a talking insect named Dave (Deon Cole), and a mutated pig Mandu (Dee Bradley Baker), Kipo embarks on a journey through this ruthless yet adorable wonderland in order to reunite with her father. Along the way, the group encounters various quirky and dangerous beings, as well as find themselves in the middle of a devious mutant's world domination plot wherein Kipo and her people play a vital role.


The first teaser trailer can be seen here, the second teaser trailer here, and the season one trailer here.

Kipo and the Age of WonderTropes!

  • AcCENT upon the Wrong SylLABle: Benson pronounces the word “convenience” on a convenience store sign as “convenien-chay”.
    Benson: I believe it’s Italian for…”snacks”.
  • Adopt the Food: Averted. Wolf was raised by a pack of Newton wolves. She trains with them and after a year, it appears her adopted siblings and parents have accepted her as one of their own. But then it turns out she was just raised to be a final hunting test for the other pups. One of her adopted siblings hesitates to turn on her, truly considering her a sister, before relenting and saying that "we're wolves, you're a human".
  • Animesque: The show's art style alone gives off this vibe, to say nothing of that fact that the animation is done by Studio Mir.
  • Amazing Technicolor Population:
    • Subverted. While Kipo has an odd pink/purple skin-tone that goes unmentioned by other characters, no other human in the series, not even her father or deceased mother, shares it. Turns out there's a pretty good reason for that.
    • Mandu is also an odd example of this, being a blue pig when every other mutant (sapient or otherwise) has skin or fur colours that are normal for their species.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: Scarlamagne and his primate court are this to a T.
  • As You Know:
    Lio: (brings out his guitar) Hey, you know what I used to do to cheer up your mom?
    Kipo: (laughs) Yes, dad. You’ve played me that song a million times. It worked for me when I was six.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Mega-Mutes are bigger than most buildings and are some of the few animals that still act like animals. They usually have quite a few extra appendages, like leg, ears and/or noses.
  • After the End: Sometime during the 21st century, two hundred years before the start of the series, the Earth was ravaged by a currently unspecified apocalyptic event that forced mankind underground and resulted in the surface being controlled by warring classes of mutated animals with human-like intelligence.
  • Artistic License – Biology: It would be physically impossible for the megafauna and some of the megaflora to attain such gargantuan sizes (for example, insects can't get that big without their exoskeletons collapsing). The gravity on our planet is simply too strong.
  • Bilingual Bonus: In episode 5, there's a snack bag that has the word "감자"note  on it, which is Korean for "potato".
  • A Birthday, Not a Break: On her thirteenth birthday, Kipo's friends try to make it a fun day, but Scarlemagne's henchmen make even a day at an amusement park a fight for their lives. It's also the day Kipo notices the odd changes her body is having, which began the episode prior.
  • Blind Seer: Kipo thinks that Benson is taking them to one at the beginning of “The Astronomers in Turtlenecks”.
    Kipo: I’ve got it. You’re taking us to a mystical blind woman who lives in the trunk of a spooky old tree and doesn’t need eyes because what she can see is…the future.
  • Blithe Spirit: Kipo has no idea how dangerous life is for surface-dwelling humans and goes around trying to talk it out and/or help with the various mutes who want to capture or kill her. Her actions are so unlikely and her confidence so assured that this works (befriending the Timbercats, the Umlaut Snakes and at least one of the Mod Frogs), and it's one of the reason why Wolf designated her as pack leader for their plans to interact with the Newton Wolves.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Scarlemagne uses pheromones to render humans into docile servants for his entertainment (and occasionally Mooks.)
  • Cannot Keep a Secret: Kipo is this at first (she gets better at it), but it's what kickstarts the plot as it clues in the Mutes that she’s a burrow girl and could lead them to a burrow full of humans.
  • Conspicuously Light Patch: Occasionally used, such as an apple and a chunk of rubble in “Explosion Berries”.
  • Crazy Enough to Work: Wolf and the others quickly, if somewhat begrudgingly on Wolf's part, come to deem all of Kipo's plans as this after enough of her insane ploys actually manage to succeed.
  • Cuteness Proximity: Kipo has to actively resist petting the giant bunnies once she knows that touching them at all can incur the wrath of the mother.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: The rats have dark colored fur, Hellish Pupils and sharp teeth but they're one of the more egalitarian societies on the surface and they even help save Kipo and Benson from Scarlemagne's forces despite not having a reason to.
  • Death World: As mentioned above, the surface is practically a death trap. Even those who live on the surface (Mute and surface human) have to stay on their toes.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: From the intelligent Mutant inhabitants with a bone to pick with humanity, to the mindless Mega-Mutes acting on pure instinct, to even random plants that can kill you on contact, nothing is harmless in this world.
  • Evil-Detecting Dog: Mandu's usually the first to sense danger. She also expresses her disapproval when members of the group are behaving badly.
  • The Extremist Was Right: Hoag may have been unreasonable expecting everyone to obey exactly given the circumstances but it's hard to argue since Mr. Oak not following procedure partially caused the almost immediate discovery and destruction of site B.
  • Fantastic Racism:
    • Most Mute animals despise humans with pretty open hostility. They are also extremely tribal, with the vast majority outside of rats and raccoons sticking purely to their own kind and showing disdain for others.
    • Meanwhile, Wolf hates Mutes right back, in particular wolves, due to having been Raised by Wolves who were actually training her to be suitable prey for their other children. It's implied that the animal pelt she wears is actually one of them.
  • Gang of Hats: Besides being separated by species, the gangs of Las Vistas all have their own theme and musical motifs.
    • The primates' (lead by Scarlemagne) theme is classical music and dress in a Georgian-era aristocratic style.
    • Raccoons are exercise nuts and their theme are eighties music.
    • Mod Frogs are dressed like professional mobsters, with their music theme being a bit of an upbeat version of the Godfather.
    • Newton Wolves are scientists (specifically astronomers, as the name would suggest) and prefer to rap about everything they know.
    • Timber Cats (again as the name suggests) are lumberjacks with a huge love of folk music.
    • Umlaut Snakes are rocker girls, whose music preference is pretty obvious.
    • There are also the Glam Rock Hamsters which are exactly what it sounds like.
    • The rats run an amusement park/neutral ground where they want all creatures to be happy.
  • Gaussian Girl: Genderflipped in episode 10 with a Burrow-dwelling boy who Benson meets.
  • Gentle Giant: Most of the Mega-Mutes are actually rather non-aggressive, with the monkey only attacking the burrow due to mind control. The tortoise didn't have a problem with people riding it and the dogs are as playful as ordinary dogs, although their immense size and power makes them a threat to any playmates they have. Even the most dangerous Mega-Mutes, Mega-Bunnies, are only dangerous due to their protective instincts: it will only go after someone if they smell like one of its young, tearing up the environment in order to "bring it back home".
  • Gratuitous French: The rats of Ratland occasionally use French phrases.
  • Groin Attack: Wolf hits Dave in the crotch with a rock during wolf training. He's even seen covering his groin area afterwards.
  • Had to Be Sharp: Wolf and Jamock respectively say life on the surface demands pragmatism and selfishness to survive and that Kipo doesn't really seem to get it. With their help she survives anyway, and even finds resolutions that show they don't need to hold so tightly to those standards, which endears them to her.
  • Hellish Pupils: Most of the Mutes have solid colored eyes with slit pupils. Kipo developing these reveals her condition.
  • Hypocrite:
    • Most of the Mutes hate humans and view them as inferior beings, yet their societies are all based on various human subcultures.
    • Scarlemagne claims to only use his Mind Control pheromones on "lower-class primates" (aka humans) and he even says "even a monkey needs to have standards" but he uses a collar full of his pheromones to force a peaceful and possibly sapient Mega-Monkey to attack the human burrow.
  • Hereditary Hairstyle: Kipo’s mom has a very similar hairstyle to her daughter’s, only longer.
  • Impossible Shadow Puppets: A bee uses these to tell Scarlamagne that Jakmak let the humans go.
  • In Medias Res: The series starts when Kipo is washed onto the surface by an underground river after a disaster. We slowly learn what her life was like underground through flashbacks.
  • Incompatible Orientation: During their trip to Ratland, Kipo admits to Benson that she has feelings for him, only for Benson to politely turn her down due to the fact that he's gay.
  • Insignia Ripoff Ritual: Jamak is subjected to one after returning home as a result of losing the humans. His tie is clipped off by the boss and he is exiled from his home.
  • Intelligent Gerbil: All the animals still demonstrate traits of their respective species, such as the frogs living in a river filled with lily pads or the raccoons hoarding trash and living in a landfill. The Timber Cats are arguably the biggest example, residing in trees they've carved to resemble giant cat towers, using a litter box as a prison, and being summoned by opening a can of tuna.
  • Internal Reveal: A minor variant. The audience (and Mandu) learns that Kipo has shapeshifting abilities in episode five, but Kipo herself doesn't realize this until the following episode.
  • Left the Background Music On: The series seems to like this trope.
    • One of the first unusual creatures Kipo encounters on the surface world is what seems to be a car-sized slug-bus hybrid. When it cuts to her taking a ride on it, dubstep music begins to play. When she gets off, it’s revealed that the dubstep was coming from a couple of flashing neon bees that were raving in a flower earlier.
    • During the Cold Open of “Twin Beaks”, piano music plays in the background as the Mutes gather to await Scarlamagne. When he arrives, he’s playing piano.
  • Lotus-Eater Machine: A hive-mind of tardigrades called Tad Mulholland forces the group into one of these to feed off their brain energy in the seventh episode. Wolf gets a fantasy where she and Kipo are extremely buff Mega-Bunny hunters, Benson and Dave get a poolside mansion where they host dance-offs, Mandu gets an endless supply of cheese puffs, and Kipo reunites with her dead mother, who is also half-Mute.
  • Mood Whiplash: In the first episode, Kipo sings a goofy song about how strange and forlorn the surface world is. Just as she's relaxing and about to go into a second verse, she's suddenly attacked by a giant songbird.
  • Music Soothes the Savage Beast: Kipo calms the mega-monkey by playing her and her dad's favorite song on the guitar. It works completely and its movements reveal the control collar around its neck.
  • Mutant: The surface is populated largely by "mutes", animals who have various strange characteristics. They are usually larger than normal (sometimes much larger), have extra appendages and other features, and are often, though not universally, sentient. Much of the plant life has mutated as well, with patches of "death ivy" and cacti taller than skyscrapers dotting the landscape.
  • The Neutral Zone: The rat-controlled amusement park is designated as such according to Benson, with the only one not respecting this status being Scarlemagne.
  • No Longer with Us: When the Timbercats first talk about how they miss Yumyan Hammerpaw, they motion upward towards the forest canopy, causing Kipo and the others to assume that he's dead. It's only later that day, when she's trying to win them over by joining in on a song about how great he was, that they clarify that he's literally somewhere in the forest canopy; it's just that no one has the courage to go up and retrieve him.
  • Same Content, Different Rating: Despite being rated TV-Y7-FV in America and similarly elsewhere around the world, the Singaporean version of Netflix gave the show a baffling M18 ratingnote . This is most likely due to Benson saying that he was gay in episode 6.
  • Ship Sinking: Kipo develops a crush on Benson during “Ratland”, only for him to awkwardly reveal that he’s gay, but is glad to have her as a friend.
  • The Power of Rock: Kipo befriends the umlaut snakes of Cactustown by playing an epic guitar solo, at which point they decide that she's way too awesome to eat, deeming her an honorary band member.
  • Raised by Wolves: Literally. Wolf was raised by a pack of wolves. It's a touchy subject for her.
  • Running Gag:
    • Wolf facepalming in reaction to Kipo doing anything risky.
    • Wolf’s rules of the surface.
  • Scenery Porn: Unlike most post-apocalyptic settings, the world of Kipo is incredibly vibrant and colorful. Plant life is thriving and the mutes usually wear bright colors or are just brightly-colored.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Benson and Dave spend much of "Catcustown" debating on when to ditch Kipo, having decided that while they like her, hanging out with her is probably a quick way to die. By the end of the episode they've decided against it, go back to help, and apologize to Kipo... who had no idea they were planning to leave.
  • Silly Rabbit, Idealism Is for Kids!: Jamak seems to feel this way.
    Kipo: I’m not afraid of Scarlamagne. Me and my friends are a pack. We’ll find my people before he does.
    Jamak: Oh ho ho! Yippee! I’m sorry, I didn’t realize you had the power of friendship on your side! Ha ha ha… Your pack? They’ll abandon you at your most vulnerable. Just like my pack abandoned me…
  • Skewed Priorities: The rats who help Kipo and Benson escape ask them to fill out a customer satisfaction survey once they're out of the amusement park. They do it.
  • Tertiary Sexual Characteristics: The mob frogs. While male frogs all seem to have small mustaches, female frogs seem to all have fuller lips. Outside of that, they're all very similar, especially considering they all wear the same outfits.
  • Title-Only Opening: The show's main theme tune starts playing at the end of every Cold Open as a part of the environment is shown to form Kipo's name, be it the clouds, a cactus formation, or scratches on a tree. At which point it hard cuts to the logo, followed by the episode title.
  • Tomato in the Mirror: Kipo learns in the sixth episode that she's actually half-Mute, with the ability to shapeshift parts of her body into that of a jaguar to allow for night vision, super-strength, and an enhanced sense of smell. She has little control over it, however.
  • Trojan Prisoner: Kipo and Wolf let themselves be captured by the mob frogs, but Kipo is secretly bringing Mega Bunny fur with her, to attract the mother to their hideout and cause chaos so they can escape with Benson and Dave.
  • Underground City: Of the "Apocalypse Bunker" type. Kipo's original home was underneath a cloverleaf highway interchange, with another bunker being located underneath a field of Mega-Dogs.
  • Unmoving Plaid: All of the Timber Cats wear flannel shirts with plaid patterns that behave this way.
  • Unspecified Apocalypse: Whatever event occurred in the 21st century that resulted in planetary and societal disruption, the appearance of huge or otherwise mutated, sapient animals, and forced the remainder of humanity to either live in sheltered underground communities or as lone survivors on the surface is unknown.
  • Wham Shot: Scarlamagne taking off a dancer’s mask to reveal that he’s human.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: The first bunker was destroyed by the Mega-Mute, while the second was destroyed by Scarlemagne's forces.
  • You Dirty Rat!: Surprisingly averted. The rats are actually one of the friendlier and more welcoming of the Mutes, with their territory actually being a safe zone. As mentioned above, they even lack the disdain for humans that many of the other Mutes possess.


Video Example(s):


Kipo Confession

During their trip to ratland, a certain "friend" reveal something

How well does it match the trope?

5 (1 votes)

Example of:

Main / IncompatibleOrientation

Media sources:

Main / IncompatibleOrientation