By now you know that I like so many shows with a fantasy and modern element to them. Ragnarok was a new one that showed up on Netflix that falls into that genre, so I knew I needed to check it out. Plus the show is a Norwegian show, and having Norwegian heritage, I was very interested in that aspect as well. So was it up there with other urban fantasy shows that I’ve watched?
In Ragnorak, Magne, a large but not always the most confident boy due to dyslexia, moves back to Edda, Norway where he was born with his mother, Turid and brother Laurits. It’s a sleepy town with one big industry, Jutul Industries that has most of the jobs. Magne and Laurits are dropped into a new school where Laurits fits in very quickly but Magne has trouble making friends, except for one other loner, a girl named Isolde. But there’s more going on in this town than meets the eye. Magne has an odd encounter with a shopkeeper right away when they come to town and he starts to notice things changing around him. From there the story takes some fantastical turns.
Let’s talk first about how I watched this show. Fairly often when watching shows from other countries I’ll watch it subtitled, this one I did not. I watched it dubbed in English. And I will say compared to some others I’ve seen dubbed, it works well. Yes, the mouths are off because of speaking another language, but overall I felt like it worked. What really works is t hat the voice actors are the same people who did the original voices, this means that you still get the same tone to match their facial expressions since they knew how they said it in the first place. So even if the moths don’t like up with what is being said, you don’t lose the feel. And I think the fact that they are going to carry a Norwegian accent into their English works as well. Growing up in Minnesota surrounded by a bunch of second a third generation Norwegians, there are a lot of mannerisms and speech patterns that carry over into the show. If you’re not as familiar with English/Norwegian speech patterns, I think it’ll still work fine, but might be easier subtitled.
I won’t go too much more into the story than I did in my little introduction, but I really liked it. It definitely has some young adult elements to it, but it isn’t completely young adult. The fact that they are high school students is always going to lend itself a little bit to that, but it does a good job of not dumbing it down to that level. I really enjoy how it delves into Norse Mythology in some ways. There are definite nods to things in the mythology that I didn’t notice right away but eventually became clearer and more interesting. The story is not extremely complex, but it doesn’t need to be, it has enough layers without feeling like it’s overly dramatic or overly convoluted. And they do a good job of developing character in a short time because the season is very short and the episodes aren’t all that long, the final episode is just over thirty minutes.
The look of the show is just beautiful. Now some of that is because Norway has amazing landscapes, because when it comes to special effects those do struggle at times. They clearly don’t have a massive budget for them, but for the most part there aren’t many in an episode. The rest of the filming, that of more standard school or house shots work for the most part. The inside and outside of the Jutul household always seems a bit disconnected because we never get to see a good transition between inside and out, but otherwise everything flows well and builds out the town of Edda.
Overall, this is a very fun show. I think that they do a good job with their blending of the mythology into a modern setting. It is a quick watch at only 6 episodes but still manages to pack a lot into those episodes. If you like that sort of mythology and real world blend, this is definitely one to checkout. And if the concept of Norse Mythology is interesting, I think it’s so fast that it’s probably worth it, even if you don’t love the idea of that fantasy real world blend. One that I’m looking forward to the second season of.
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