Gravity Falls may have been off the air for three years now but its impact is starting to be felt with crew members starting to receive their own series. The first show to be a decedent to Gravity Falls, one of Disney’s largest animated series, is Amphibia which was created by Matt Braly. Braly has worked on Gravity Falls as a member of the art department primarily working on the storyboards and has been involved with animation industry since the early 2010s before getting his own crack at a series of his own.
Amphibia aired on June 14th on Disney Channel and features an isekai plot, revolving around a character getting trapped in an alternate reality/world, with rebellious yet good-natured Anne Boonchuy, voiced by longtime Disney actress Brenda Song (Suite Life, The Social Network), being transported to the world of Amphibia with humanoid frog creatures. This new world of Amphibia sets up a world where survival of the fittest rules the land with giant praying mantises and dragonflies actively look to eat the frog people. This allows a sense of reality and suspense as they are not at the top of the food chain and have to actively fight for survival. In the first two episodes “Anne or Beast?/Best Fronds” the main characters either flee or fight giant reptiles and insects namely snakes and mantises providing a B plot with solid humor along with suspense and action.
The character dynamics in the first two episodes are a mixture of trope laden dynamics and charming personality quirks. Anne being rebellious yet good-natured makes her like most other 13-year-old girls and with her transportation, to Amphibia being the result of getting caught up in peer pressure there is a relatable element to her character. Sprig, voiced by Justin Felbinger (The Lion Guard), a frog child with high energy and amazing positivity adds a nice juxtaposition to Anne’s slightly cynical character. The rest of the characters honestly weren’t great as they either blended into the background or were a copycat of a preexisting trope. This can be exemplified with Polly Sprig’s polliwog sister who is treated with more responsibility and mildly addicted to candy falling heavily on the existing tropes. As the series goes on it will be easier to get a better feel for the characters and examine character growth.
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In cartoons usually, the first season acts like a bunch of unconnected pilot episodes which may form some semblance of a plot by the end of the season. In contrast, Matt Braly takes Amphibia in the opposite fashion implementing a larger story at the end of the second episode turning the tone from happy go lucky to dark in the final seconds of the episode. While Anne was transported to a good part of Amphibia her other friend(s) were transported to the realm as well. Anne’s friend Sasha has been confirmed to be captured by the presumable main antagonist of the series Grime, voiced by Troy Baker (The Last of Us). Marcy Anne’s other friend present at the time of the transportation to Amphibia will likely be saved for a future reveal down the line.
I doubt this series will go full steam ahead with the plot as cartoons rarely do that but to know the direction of the series and anticipating other plot points in the next few episodes is a welcomed sight. Braly admitted he was building towards an “incredible climax” at the end of the season and watching the show in episodic order will deliver more of a payoff. This shows that there will be a continual yet slow paced build to the end of the season. Disney is launching new episodes of Amphibia every weekday until Friday which makes this the perfect time to hop (see what I did there?) on board.
Let us know your thought. What do you think of Amphibia?