The one thing I hated most about cartoons when I was a kid was the lack of continuity. One week a character could grow six arms, gain new super powers or learn how to speak to dogs. Neat! Except by the next episode, everything just started over as if nothing had happened.
That’s one reason I really love today’s cartoons. I’m a sucker for a good story with solid animation and a cool artistic style. That’s why I jumped at the chance to see an early screening of Amazon Kids’ new series Niko and the Sword of Light.
Rated TV-G, Niko and the Sword of Light is definitely geared towards the younger crowd, but it’s a far cry from rainbows and bunny rabbits. Think more along the lines of a younger sibling to Lord of the Rings meets Adventure Time. So what’s it about? Glad you asked! Let me… ahem… shine some light on the basic plot.
Niko is not your average 10-year-old boy. Uh uh. He’s a powerful warrior, the last of his kind, destined to embark on a truly epic quest to squash the darkness and bring light back into his land. Aided by a magical Princess who has trained champions before, Niko must journey to the Cursed Volcano and take down the evil sorcerer Nar Est. Many champions have tried before and all have failed, despite Princess Lyra’s tireless training.
Down to her last chance at stopping Nar Est, Niko holds the Princess and her family’s last breath of hope in his warrior hands. Only thing is, he’s just a kid. An impulsive kid at that. Niko loves to act first and eat later. Thinking doesn’t seem to play too big of a part just yet.
Armed with a powerful Sword of Light, Niko is joined by Lyra and a number of sidekicks to help him on his way. He makes new friends and conquers foe after foe, as he marches on episode by episode, ever closer to the Cursed Volcano.
I won’t go too much more into details, as I don’t want to spoil anything for you. But there’s a lot to love about Niko and the Sword of Light. I really like the animation style. It’s a bit serious with a hint of a cartoony style. Dark overall with its earth tones, but full of splashes of color throughout. When Niko uses his light-powered sword, it really shines through.
Not all is at seems throughout the land, too. Full of giant, dangerous monsters, no place is safe. But these monsters aren’t all what they appear to be. Many were regular critters embued with darkness from the evil Nar Est. So it’s really a neat twist to see Niko attack the darkness itself, rather than the creatures.
There’s also that whole continuity thing I talked about earlier. Not only does each episode build upon the previous one, but many actually end in a cliffhanger, picking up at the start of the next episode. It’s one continuous story of light versus dark. And it’s one story that will certainly brighten your day.
Season 1 of Niko and the Sword of Light debuts on Amazon Kids this Friday, July 21.