Recapping Season One of Amphibia
Hey there, animation fans, it’s me, RJ Fritz! And I couldn’t be more excited about the news Disney put out on Tuesday. Starting July 11th, we’ll be getting new episodes of Big City Greens, The Owl House, and Amphibia. Three awesome shows in one summer block!
If you read my blog at any time last summer, then you’ll know that I’m a big fan of Amphibia. Created by Gravity Falls alumni Matt Braly, Amphibia hit the airwaves in June, 2019. I fell in love with it. It had the whimsy and adventure of Star with the mystery and lore of Gravity Falls. In fact, I love it too much not to talk some more about it. With that in mind, I decided to do a short recap of the events of Season One. For those who’ve held off on finishing watching it, or need to be convinced to give it a shot.
Bear in mind, this won’t cover everything; just the major plot points. Now then, let’s hop into the adventure!
A Normal Girl Living in Another World
Amphibia’s the story of Anne Boonchuy (Brenda Song), a normal, 13-year-old Thai-American girl. She enjoys normal teen things like magazines, hanging with her friends, and spending too much time on her phone. Only, her best friends, Sasha and Marcy aren’t that good an influence on her. Sasha, in particular, pressures Anne into doing things she doesn’t feel comfortable with. Case in point, on her 13th birthday, the two girls persuade Anne to steal this old music box from a thrift store. When they open the box, though, the box unleashes a bright glow of energy that envelops the trio.
When Anne comes to, Sasha and Marcy are nowhere to be found. Worse, Anne finds herself in Amphibia, a world populated by sentient amphibians, giant insects, and dangerous plants. Force to fend for herself, Anne gets mistaken for a monster by the people of the nearby town of Wartwood. However, after she helps saves the townsfolk from a giant bug, they reluctantly agree to let her stay. At least, until it’s safe enough to travel outside the valley in which they live.
Meet the Plantars
Anne ends up staying with the Plantars, a family of three frogs living on a small farm on the outskirts of Wartwood. They consist of Sprig, an adventurous and mischievous 10-year-old frog. There’s also his little sister Polly, who ‘s like Webby from DuckTales, only way more ax-crazy. Lastly, we’ve got Hop Pop, the kids grandpa. He loves his grandkids, but his old-fashioned ways tend to clash with the other’s younger worldviews.
Each of the Plantar’s reacts to Anne differently, at first. She and Hop Pop repeatedly clash over their “old vs. new” values. Polly threatens to beat her up if she tries anything (and gets disappointed when she doesn’t’) and doesn’t share her love of feminine activities. Sprig’s the only one to accept right away, with the two becoming best friends. Over time, though, the whole family grows to see Anne as one of their own. Likewise, Anne sees the Plantars as a surrogate family.
Wartwood, Slow to Accept, Even Slower to Respect
While the Plantars grow to love Anne, the residents of Wartwood, on the other hand, are slower to accept her. They treat her as a freak and an outcast and frequently pick on her. As a result, Anne spends much of her initial time trying to win over the people of Wartwood. The results are…mixed.
Things change, though, when new faces roll into town. Enter: the Toads. They rule over the valley from Toad Tower, demanding taxes from its residents for themselves. The Toads take a liking to Anne and invite her into their ranks. She accepts, thinking she’ll finally get some respect. When she sees that the Toads are merely bullies who abuse their power, though, Anne refuses to follow them any longer. After seeing her stand up to the Toads to protect the Plantars, the townspeople finally accept Anne, and she becomes the town hero. However, dark clouds gather on the horizon.
The Rise of Sasha
Unknown to Anne, Sasha also arrived in Amphibia. Unlike her, though, Sasha wound up being captured by the forces at Toad Tower, led by Captain Grime. Despite being kept as a prisoner, though, Sasha doesn’t do too bad for herself. She’s able to use her charm and charisma to repeatedly win over her guards. Then, a pair of giant Heron’s attack the Tower and almost take it out.
After seeing that Sasha can fight as well as he can lead, Grime agrees to let her go in exchange for helping the Toads fight off the Herons. With her leadership, the Tower’s able to drive off the Herons. Afterwards, Grime offers to make Sasha his Lt. with the promise of helping to find her friends and find a way home. Sasha accepts, and quickly cements herself as a leader of the Toad Army. Unknown to her, this also sets her on a collision course with Anne.
A Bitter Reunion
Things come to a head in the Season One finale “Reunion,” when Sasha shows up in Wartwood looking for Anne. And she brings Grime’s army along with her, before inviting everyone to Toad Tower for a party. While Anne and Sasha spend time reconnecting, though, it’s soon revealed that the party is a trap a-la Red Wedding.
Earlier in the season, Hop Pop had run for Mayor of Wartwood against Mayor Toadstool. He lost, but inadvertently became a symbol of rebellion against the Toad’s rule. Thus, Grime and Sasha plan to execute Hop Pop to reassert the Toad’s rule of the valley.
Horrified by their plans, Anne immediately rushes to save her new friends. Before they can escape, though, they’re confronted by Grime and Sasha’s forces, the latter trying to reassert her control over Anne. Thanks to the support of Sprig and the others, though, Anne is finally able to stand up to Sasha and see her for the toxic friend that she is. A fight between the two former ensues, but gets interrupted when mushroom bombs planted by the Wartwood residents explode. As a result, the Tower collapses, and Anne and Sasha left hanging onto the edge. Anne’s holding on to Sasha, and the Plantars are holding on to Anne.
Knowing that they won’t be able to save both of them, and realizing that Anne may be better off without her, Sasha chooses to let go of Anne and fall, seemingly to her death. Fortunately, Captain Grime saves her at the last minute, but two things are clear. Firstly, Anne and Sasha’s friendship may be over for good. Secondly, Anne and the Plantars are on Grime’s enemy list.
After the ordeal, Anne and the residents of Wartwood return home, with Anne emotionally drained and possibly traumatized. Despite everything that’s happened, though, the Plantars reassure her that they won’t give up on finding a way to get her home. Thus, part one of Amphibia comes to a close.
But wait, there’s more!
The Mystery of The Box
One of the recurring subplots throughout the first season was the mystery surrounding the music box that brought Anne to Amphibia. So far, we’ve gotten a few clues about it. Firstly, we know that it’s known as the “Calamity Box”. Which means that it’s dangerous
Secondly, in the episode “Bizarre Bazaar“, we find artifacts with artwork similar to the box. And the vendor who owns them wondering if Anne is “the one.” I don’t know what that means, but it feels like Anne came to Amphibia for a reason.
What secrets does the box hold? Where’s Marcy? And how will Anne return home. Hopefully, more of these questions will be answered in the upcoming season!
In the meantime, I highly recommend you go watch the show if you haven’t seen it already. The first episode is on YouTube for free, and the rest can be found on Disney+ and DisneyNOW.
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