They Will Never be Another Cartoon Like... Over The Garden Wall
LOver The Garden Wall is a cartoon masterpiece and I don’t say that often. Despite being only 10 11 minute episodes long series, it sucessfully tell it story from beginning to the end. The show breaks the cartoon trope that I don’t believe that they’ll never be another cartoon that mimics the masterpiece.
Usually, cartoons are bright, colorful, and have a hyperactive environment,
Like the The Amazing World of Gumball
The Ghost and Molly McGree
But for The Over Garden Wall, it’s quiet, not a trace of neon color, and the main colors you see are brown, red, orange, and other autumn colors.
Sometimes making you feel eerie of the world. Although there’s no sign of danger, but it doesn’t feel quite right.
It isn’t just the environment that is quiet, it’s also the music. Instead of being poppy, energetic, and being catchy, the soundtrack is folkier.
Such as Potatus Et Molassus, Prelude, Foward, Oneiro, and Come Wayard Souls
Then look at cartoon openings
Star vs The Forces of Evil,
and every other cartoon show openings, have the protagonist doing wacky things with hyperactive music playing
But for Over the Garden Wall, it’s slow and calm and doesn’t show you even you the main characters but shows what will the characters encounter in their journey with very calming music.
Unlike any cartoon that’s hyperactive, it’s more calming than the rest which is such refreshing to see especially it’s a kid cartoon.
Into the Unkown
The selling point of the show is the unknown. The protagonist of the place is set in the mysterious land without a clue of how and why they got in the first place, but their one goal is to find their way by pressing forward to the unknown. The world of the OTGW is built-in fantasy but doesn’t have witches, amphibians, and humanoid gems, but more on folktale tales such as
Pottsfield Harvest Festival.
Adelaide the “Good” Witch
The Ringing of the Bell
Making each adventure feel like it’s came right out of brothers grimm fairy tale. Each having it’s own unique story, own setting, and be unfamiliar to one another. So much wonder and mystery is what makes the show so interesting.
To make it the journey more enuring are the characters. The protagonists, Wirt and Greg, seem to be one note with Wirt being the more mature but timid and obedient, and Greg being the happy go lucky and naive kid.
However, they grow as the progress through the woods. Having them have chemistry, bond, falling out, and reconcile. Making them have a perfect dynamtic.
What I also enjoy is that theirs more depth into their character, making them more believable. In chapter 9: “Into the Unknown”, Wirt want to take a girl out to a date, but a womanizer will ask her out. Instead of going the hated dork asking the popular girl in school, it’s actually all in Wirt’s head, being paranoid.
People actually likes him, especially Sarah
and Jason Funderburker is more of a dweeb than Wirt.
It just Wirt overthinking about it, making him more a believable protagonist.
Their story of two brothers wandering into the unknown to find their way home, perfecly encapsulate to a fairy tale.
Influences and References
What makes this cartoon so different from other cartoons is its references and influence. Most cartoons will reference movies and animes
Such as Amphibia reference Jojo
The Owl House reference Dragon Ball Z
But with the Over The Garden Wall, their references are much older that not many have heard
Such as the school children are based on characters of Beatrix Potter
People were actually afraid of the nightly air for it may contain poison before the plague was explained in the 1700s.
Characters from “Babes from the Woods” are references to 1930s to 1940s cartoon characters.
While it’s a minor praise to the show, but you don’t see that a lot of cartoons making references to older cartoons.
Beware the Beast
The antagonist of the series, The Beast feels different than your standard cartoon villain. Instead of him taking over the world or bringing chaos, he plays more in deceiving to get what he wants by manipulating.
He isn’t even that powerful, but use words instead of action such as he manipulated the Woodsmen by telling him that his daughter soul is in the lantern and the only way to have her stay alive by chopping edlewood tree and grinding them to oil, which is made out of children that turns into trees.
His design is simple but very terrifying for blending in the shadows.
Reminds me a lot of the wendigo or Herne the Hunter
Then when the light shines on him, his true appearance is horrific for his body is made out of edlewood with twisted faces and holes covering his entire body.
What I truly love about it is how he was defeated. Instead of a big epic battle, good vs evil like every cartoon has done, they instead have Wirt didn’t fall for the Beast words and his threats, he even revealed his soul was actually in the lantern.
Wirt gave the lantern back to the Woodsman for he has his own business to deal with. Making the Woodsman realize that his daughter wasn’t in the lantern and blows out the lantern, ending his terror forever.
It’s clever how they’ve defeated the antagonist.
Over The Garden Wall is the greatest achievement in western animation history. Being only 10 episodes, but it was able to tells a very satisfying story. It didn’t need multiple seasons to tell its story, no sequels, no spinoff shows or a movie, but just a simple and short story. It is filled with childlike wonder with horrific moments, mature themes, and feel melancholy. Truly a masterpiece that can never be mimic.