Netflix’s CG animated series Daniel Spellbound follows the titular character as he tracks down important magical items and ends up fighting for the fate of the world.
Talented and smart, yet clumsy and self-centred are a few of the prime traits that Tracker Daniel Spellbound exhibits. He’s a skilled tracker of magical items/ingredients, selling them for prizes to make a living.
A diabolical little pie maker wants Spellbound to settle the debts he owes her. Before she can exact any violent measures, Spellbound tells her he can get the infamous Fugu Rose to her, in exchange for his debt cancellation.
She agrees and Spellbound, with the help of a talking pig named Hoagie whom he frees from the pie maker’s captivity, acquires the rose. However, the Bureau of Magic Enforcement catches him.
The president of Bureau, Primus Camilla Thomas offers Spellbound to work for her, finding an item called Gryphon’s Egg before it falls into the evil hands, like those of the infamous and dangerous Dark Mage.
Reluctant at first, he eventually agrees to do the job. He heads off to find the tools and gears to get to the egg, encountering other trackers and Viktor Albright.
Lucy Santana, a Dowser working for the Bureau and one who has had multiple run-ins with Spellbound in the past, is tasked by Primus to aid and keep the tracker in check.
Daniel Spellbound, Lucy, and Hoagie all continue their adventure and navigate various perilous terrains and face multiple formidable foes.
They eventually get their hands on the egg and Lucy heads off to the bureau to deliver it to safe hands. Meanwhile, Daniel learns that his previous notions about the heroes and villains were wrong.
Lucy catches on to the fishy developments as well. The three central characters reunite to fight against the big bad and restore magic. They succeed and the world of magic is saved.
However, dangers for Spellbound don’t stop, as the season ends with him being hunted by other trackers. What’s more, is that Daniel is no longer a tracker as he learns that the guild has ousted him.
The voice cast of Daniel Spellbound does the job, and that’s about as great a remark that it warrants, as there are only a few instances of any unique performance here.
One performance of note, though, comes from the voice actor for Hoagie the enchanted pig, with some of the more animated cadence and line deliveries in the show.
There’s a clear effort at a world-building that introduces a bunch of different magical species and cultures in the fantastical world of magic.
The themes of the “wealthy hoarding resources for themselves” are surprisingly progressive and the conflict that Spellbound feels in siding with one elite or another is also great to see in an animation show mainly catered to kids.
The world-building falls flat when all the different species and sub-cultures ring essentially the same. From the fairies to the ogres to the insects, all magical species are one-note in their proclivity for insentient savagery and violence.
The one-note problem is so big that even the trackers seem to be only good at breaking out into violence, leaving only the protagonists and a couple of others to be the only voice of reason or nuance.
The animation feels like Pixar on a budget and the story isn’t gripping enough to distract from its sub-par quality.
Daniel Spellbound is a predictable genre affair that still possesses some fun elements sure to entertain the primary audience it’s targeted towards.
Director: Matthew Fernandes & Trevor Deane-Freeman
Date Created: 2022-10-27 12:30