Modern-day Australia Meets Old India

the underrated show that is The Elephant Princess

Imagine you are 16 years old again, what did you struggle with? School, perhaps or a crush. But can you imagine a giant elephant appears out of thin air in your backyard including its peculiar keeper? Probably not. Now imagine that exact keeper tells you you’re a princess and about to inherit the throne of the magical kingdom Manjipoor in an India long ago. This is the beginning of the Australian children’s tv show The Elephant Princess. The show is not as well known in Germany as for example H2O – just add water, this is probably because of its fairly short run. The first episode aired in 2008 and the show’s last in 2011, but it also only had 2 seasons and 52 episodes total. What makes the show worthy of being talked about is its look and the storytelling. The animations look really good for what the year 2008 and the show’s budget had to offer. The story is quite compelling for a ten-year-old. The magic and costuming make it perhaps even more pretty to look at. It even helped grow the portfolio of now Hollywood-actor Liam Hemsworth, younger brother of Thor himself Chris Hemsworth. 

So, let’s talk about it a little more in depth. The opening theme is a poppy up-beat song. Children will probably dance to it even before they have seen the first scene of the show. Alex (the main character) is mostly relatable. She struggles with growing up, school and her band, she has troubles with  guy named Marcus (played by Liam Hemsworth) whom she likes and sometimes argues with her best friend Amanda. 

It is also really nice to see some real character growth from both Alex and Kuru, the of elephant Anala. At first Alex struggles with the fact that she is supposed to free Manjipoor out of its misery and her magical abilities that come with being the princess of a magical kingdom. As the show progresses Alex becomes more and more comfortable with the idea of her inheriting the throne and starts to feel a sense of responsibility. Kuru is at first fairly sceptical of modern-day Melbourne, since Manjipoor finds itself a few centuries back in time. He also cannot understand that Alex is not overly excited about the news he broke to her and continues to call her “princess” against her will. Throughout the show however, Kuru starts to accommodate with the advances of the 21st century and even attempts to use technology. He also relaxes when it comes to Alex, not pushing the princess title. He starts to become more of a friend rather than a babysitter. 

So, if the children around you are interested in fantasy with an Indian look definitely give it a watch. You can even find all the episodes on YouTube. 

Editors Note: This is a review of the show that optimistically reads the Indian representation. It is however completely worth taking a closer look to consider whether the show appropriates or appreciates Indian culture, and we’re always happy to hear thoughts and discussion on the subject!