Since the unveiling of two new greenlit animated Disney Channel shows last year, fans have been eagerly waiting for “Amphibia,” which premiered on the network Monday. The show, created by former “Gravity Falls” storyboard artist Matt Braly, follows the adventures of Anne Boonchuy, a 13-year-old Thai-American who is magically transported to Wartwood, a small town full of frog-people, through a mysterious music box. There she meets Sprig Planter, a childish but kind-hearted frog who shows Anne what true friendship is.
Like Sprig, Anne appears to be child-like despite his first impression of her when she finds him in the woods. Upon finding out she won’t be able to leave Wartwood for two months, Anne instantly becomes homesick and recalls being pushed into stealing the music box. The show easily navigates through these types of situations with empathy, relatability and humor.
“Amphibia” would be the second Disney original animated series that features an Asian-American as a main character since Jake Long in the 2005 series “American Dragon: Jake Long.” The show marks the return of “The Suite Life of Zack and Cody” star Brenda Song to the network since “The Suite Life on Deck,” voicing Anne partly due to her being half-Thai.
While it’s too early to really say how prominent Thai culture will be in the show, the show promises to explore Anne’s heritage in later episodes. Braly, who is half-Thai himself, said he wanted the show to recreate his experiences of going to Thailand and being in an unfamiliar environment but “slowly but surely growing to love it.” He also said that Anne’s design was inspired by a childhood photo of his grandmother.
The first two episodes for “Amphibia” is available to stream on YouTube and on the channel’s on-demand app DisneyNOW.
Featured photo courtesy of Disney Channel.