Amphibia is the latest cartoon from Disney and creator Matt Braly and the first two episodes are available for anyone to watch now (for free!) on YouTube. The show follows two friends from different places. Sprig, a young anthropomorphic frog trying to prove himself to his community and Anne, a human teenager transported into his world via magical music box. Although they’ve just met by the time the show starts, Sprig and Anne’s friendship blossoms quickly. They’re two outsiders who find understanding in each other.
Amphibia is created and executive produced by Matt Braly, who looked to his own childhood for inspiration. Sprig and Anne’s world draws influence from Bangkok, where Braly used to visit family. In an interview, Braly described trips to see his Thai-speaking family as frighteningly enticing. Even though everything from the environment to his family opposed the familiarity of his California home, he loved it there.
Braly says “this amazing thing would happen every summer where, by the end of the trip, I wouldn’t want to leave. This sensation of getting to a new place, getting very uncomfortable and slowly but surely adjusting was a sensation I wanted to bottle up for my own show.” Anne, who the native frogs suspect is a vicious monster, can relate. She has no idea where she is or how to get home, but by the pilot’s end, she’s more than content with her newfound friend.
The world may be new, but Disney fans may hear some familiar voices. Brenda Song, London from Suite Life of Zack and Cody, voices Anne herself. Her and Braly, both of Thai heritage, bonded immediately over the show’s themes and Anne’s story. Song says “something I really love about what we’re doing with the show is that we’re introducing our audience to a very specific culture, but she’s not defined by it. It’s just who she is.”
Amphibia is a funny, heartwarming show that you can (and should) check out now. It’s already been picked up for a second season, and the first two episodes, Anne of Beast and Best Fronds are live on YouTube. The pilot hits Disney Channel on Monday, June 17.