Ronia, the only child of a bandit chief, grows up among a clan of robbers living in a castle in the woodlands of early-Medieval Scandinavia. When Ronia grows old enough she ventures into the forest, exploring and discovering its wonders and dangers like the mystical creatures that live there. She learns to live in the forest through her own strength, with the occasional rescue by her parents. Ronia’s life begins to change, however, when she happens upon a boy her own age named Birk. *Based on the 1981 children’s fantasy book Ronja Rövardotter (English: Ronia the Robber’s Daughter) by Swedish author*
Type: TV (26 episodes x 25 minutes)
Studio: Polygon Pictures, Studio Ghibli (Production cooperation)
Aired: Oct 11, 2014 to Mar 28, 2015
Watch online: Google
Sanzoku no Musume Ronja Episode Synopsis
Episode 1: The Child of the Thunder Night
Two rival forest bandit clans, the Mattis and the Borkas, fight each other for treasure from their victims and divide the forest in two. On a stormy night Ronia is born to Mattis, leader of the bandits of the forest castle and his wife Lovis; on the same day the castle is split in two by a lightning bolt, creating “Hell’s Gap.” Mattis, ecstatic about his daughter, calls Ronia the clan’s greatest treasure.
Episode 2: Into the Forest of Beginnings
The bandits overjoyed at Ronia’s birth find priority in her care and watching her grow up rather than robbing travelers in the forest. Meanwhile Borkas and his clan decrease their attacks on travelers as well. Years later Mattis and Lovis decide Ronia’s old enough to venture into the forest on her own, permitting her to leave the castle walls for the first time. Ronia is warned about various dangers such as the Gray Dwarfs before she is sent on her way for the day.
Episode 3: The Forest, Stars and Dwarfs
Excited to see the outside world, Ronia observes the sights and sounds of the forest with enthusiasm and wonder. She eventually falls asleep despite her father’s instruction to come back home before dark. Ronia wakes up during the night to find herself surrounded by Gray Dwarfs, small nocturnal creatures who are hostile to humans. She is eventually rescued by her father and the other bandits who come looking for her. Ronia learns to be brave and confident in the face of danger.
Episode 4: A Whistle I Can Hear
Now autumn, Ronia inquires about the goods her father and the robbers collect, not knowing they steal from others, much to her father’s dismay about revealing the truth; however they manage to deflect the question, keeping Ronia ignorant about the matter. Meanwhile guards have begun hunting Borka and his robbers, pushing them out of their part of the forest. Ronia is warned about the Borkas Bandits and told that they are scoundrels, though she has never met one. Due to the harpies becoming even more aggressive because of the season, making the forest more dangerous, Ronia decides to explore the lower depths of the castle. Ronia then discovers the way to Hell’s Gap and meets another child, a red haired boy, on the other side of the Gap who is whistling.
Episode 5: Enemy in the Castle
The red haired boy begins conversing with Ronia, boldly claiming he knows who she is. When Ronia inquires about who he is and how he got on the split side of the castle, the boy introduces himself as Birk Borkason. He reveals that he and his parents as well his father’s twelve robbers, the Borkas Bandits, moved in the night before and it is now Borkas’ Keep. The two children then insult one another’s bandit family before Ronia decides to leave. Birk proceeds to daringly jump across the gap to Ronia’s side, starting a jumping match between the two rival clans’ children. While jumping part of the ground breaks away, sending Birk over the edge and Ronia saves him using her leather rope before telling him off though Birk thanks her for saving him. That night Mattis rages over the news of Borkas moving in though he thinks Ronia is lying until the others confirm the news of Borkas having a son, born the same night as Ronia, and it sends him into a bigger rage. Everyone is restless that night, keeping watch should the Borkas Bandits attack them and Ronia is disappointed the first child she met is a Borkas.
Episode 6: Robber Stare Down
After spending the whole night on edge and standing guard the Mattis robbers confront the Borkas Bandits. The two clans stand opposite of one another across the divide of Hell’s Gap, insulting one another. Borka then explains he and his clan cannot stay in the forest anymore since soldiers are hunting for them. When Mattis rebukes him for stealing a place to stay, Borka counters with how Mattis has always been taking without asking. Confused about what Borkas meant, Ronia asks as she does not truly understand what a robber is. Mattis changes the subject by asking how Borkas got into the castle to which Borka gives credit to Birk who scaled the side of the cliff with a rope for the rest of the clan to use to climb. Borka goes on to recount when Mattis and he used to play together as children, not knowing either was from the rival clan until Mattis’ father found out and beat Borka. Thanks to the sensibility of Undis and Lovis, the two clans avoid fighting at Hell’s Gap and delay their battle for another day. Ronia runs off into the forest to explore only to encounter Birk, much to her annoyance and anger.
Episode 7: Song in the Fog
Ronia is annoyed her place of solitude is ruined by Birk and wants nothing to do with him. She tells Birk to leave her forest alone to which Birk says the animals belong to themselves and no one else, same with the woods. Ronia counters she has no problem sharing the wood with the animals just not with Birk and then runs off. When a mist settles over the forest Birk finds Ronia so she can lead him back to the castle. Leading Birk along with her rope Ronia soon finds herself lost in the mist, going around in circles and hearing laughter from dancing figures in the distance. Birk warns her not to listen to the Unearthly Ones’ song or else she’ll be lost forever. In a trance Ronia fights Birk so she can follow the figures but Birk refuses to let her go despite her scratching and biting him. The mist eventually lifts and Ronia snaps out of her trance, not remembering what happened and the two part ways though Ronia thinks less badly of Birk. Back at the castle Ronia asks Mattis once more about what he has taken without asking and he explains what a robber is. Ronja then swears she’ll never be a robber, let alone a robber chieftain like her father.
Episode 8: Fall Descends on the Forest
Mattis and his robbers attempt to find a way to Borka’s side of the castle but are thwarted each time. In the meantime the forest has become safer for travelers due to the decrease in robberies and the guards search for the Borkas only to find their old abandoned hideout. The Mattis robbers grow restless inside the castle and fight with one another over petty disagreements. Lovis puts them to work by tending to the livestock until they go hunting to get meat to stock up for the winter. Lovis and Ronia prepare the storehouse with food to last them all through the winter. Ronia finds a wild horse herd and vows to one day tame one like her father. While exploring Ronia wonders how Birk is doing since that day in the forest, not seeing him for all of autumn.
Episode 9: The Inescapable Snow Hole
Winter arrives and the Mattis Robbers are depressed with the endless snow shoveling and being pent up in the castle. Eager to tryout her new snow clothes Ronia starts a snowball fight with the robbers before returning to work. Mattis calls Ronia back in to present her with a pair of skis from his childhood. Ronia then goes out of the castle to try out her skis and over the next few days masters their use. While playing she falls down and gets her leg stuck, unable to pull it out. Rumphobs appear and she asks them for. The Rumphobs, whose roof her foot went through thus disturbing their underground home, do not understand and leave without helping Ronia. Ronia fears she is left alone to freeze to death.
Episode 10: An Oath Between Brothers
Ronia thinks about what will happen to her if it starts snowing again while she is stuck. Meanwhile the Rumphobs have fashioned her foot into a swing for their baby’s cradle to rock him to sleep as she struggles, wiggling her foot. A harpy spots Ronia and starts to taunt her, threatening her and attempting to free her in order to make Ronia her slave. The harpy tries to pull Ronia free and fly away with her in vain but promises to return the following day with her sisters to help her. Ronja’s life flashes before her and she gives herself up for being lost to die in the cold. Ronia wakes up to find Birk calling her name and mildly chiding her for losing her ski and getting stuck before she breaks down crying in relief to see him. Ronia clings to Birk and begs him not to leave her and he jokes only if it’s a rope’s length away. Birk goes to work to free Ronia’s foot and succeeds, to which Ronia cries in again out of relief and astonishment but stops as she prepares to go back home. Birk follows after Ronia to make sure she gets home safely and Ronia asks him to be her brother to which he complies, calling her ‘Ronia, my sister.’ The next morning the Mattis Robbers find themselves snowed in and Ronia wakes up with a fever, collapsing on the floor.
Episode 11: A Thing Done in Secret
Ronia wakes up with a fever and the robbers are worried since it’s the first time she’s been sick in her life. Mattias becomes emotional and dramatic, saying she’s going to die and Ronia reassures him it’s nothing and could have been worse, not mentioning getting stuck and nearly freezing to death. Lovis nurses Ronia back to health after three days in bed. In the meantime Ronia thinks about Birk, her sworn brother and keeps him secret for fear of breaking her father Mattis’ heart as well enraging him. Snowed in Ronia misses Birk and the robbers grow restless due to cabin fever, picking fights until Lovis delegates chores. Ronia explores beneath the castle, examining the dungeon and the blocked passage between Hell’s Gap. Ronia decides to clear away the rubble so she can see Birk on the other side, wanting to know if he really meant he’d be her brother.
Episode 12: A Whistle in the Basement
Ronia manages to created a small opening in the rubble and soon hears a whistled tune. Recognizing the song from when Birk whistled it, she begins whistling it back. Birk then calls out unseen to her from the other side and Ronia asks if he meant he would be her brother; Birk responds that it is good to hear his sister’s voice and it’d be nice to see her. Their conversation is cut short when Ronia hears someone down below with her and says they’ll talk tomorrow before running off. The next morning after Ronia and Mattis endure a lice combing from Lovis, Ronia heads back underground with some provisions. She is startled by Birk who’s been waiting for her on the Mattis Robbers’ side of the rubble and Ronia is suprised to see him pale and thinner. She learns that the Borkas Robbers are low on food and won’t last until spring. Ronia offers Birk a loaf of bread which he wolves down with eagerness and drinks all the milk. Ronia learns of how bad the Borkas Robbers have it and she decides to visit Birk every day to give him food. Brik and Ronia swear to secrecy, though they hate it, knowing how enraged their fathers would be to learn of their friendship.
Episode 13: Lousy Robbers
Birk secretly adds what food Ronia gives him to his family’s storeroom, giving the Borkas Robbers more food to last. Birk asks how many times Ronia plans on saving his life and Ronia swears as many as he saves hers. Both agree they dependent on one another and can’t be without the other. As winter draws closer to its end Lovis has the reluctant Robbers go into the snow for a delousing treatment and mid-thaw snow bath. Mattis scolds Noodle-Pete for talking about dieing soon when Mattis has known him his whole life and can’t do without him. Later the Robbers are forced to wear spare women’s clothing Mattis’ grandfather stole in his day, resulting in much laughter at the sight of the miserable Robbers who also got haircuts and shaved. Spring finally comes and as the Robbers can go out to rob once more Ronia is allowed into the forest again. Ronia finds Birk in the forest and shows him her spring cry to welcome spring and let out all the pent up energy from winter.
Episode 14: In the Great Spring
Ronia and Birk enjoy the sunny arrival of spring in the forest and decided to try to capture wild horses. They set their sights on two young stallions and attempt to tame them after roping them, naming them Rascal and Reckless. While Mattis raids a trading party traveling through the forest Borka appears, asking for half the treasure as his men are weak from the harsh weather. Mattis refuses, taunting Borka and telling him to get lost despite Borka’s humble pleas. Some of Borka’s men grow hasty and despite Borka’s orders shoot at the Mattis Robbers, wounding Bumper. Mattis swears vengeance and that he will wipe the Borkas out in spite of Ronia’s warning that the feud would lead to the end of the Mattis Robbers as well.
Episode 15: The Endless Dispute (Part 1)
Time passes and Bumper heals from his wound from the Borkas’ arrow. However Mattis is set on retaliating against the Borkas despite Ronia and Lovis’ reasoning. Ronia is anxious every time the robbers go out and wonders if all her happy days in the forest are gone. Ronia meets Birk in the forest and the two of them mull over how both their fathers are too stubborn to change and their happy springtime is ruined. Birk points out that the two clans have not been able to kill each other yet thanks to the Sheriff’s men swarming the woods but that won’t last forever. When Ronia returns home, she is told there is a pleasant surprise only to find that Birk has been captured and beaten by her father. Heartbroken and enraged Ronia screams at her dad he can steal anything he wants except people or else she is no longer his daughter. When Lovis tries to tend to Birk’s wounds Mattis tells her not to tend to the devil spawn and the two fight. Ronia spends the night crying and hating her dad after he carried the injured Birk away for the evening.
Episode 16: The Endless Dispute (Part 2)
The next morning the Mattis Robbers and Borkas Robbers meet at Hell’s Gap, each on their own side. Mattis presents Birk, battered and bruised, before an outraged Undis and grim-faced Borka. Borka understands that Mattis wants them out of the castle but calls the other’s actions underhanded and unspeakable. Mattis demands that they leave at once but Borka requests to let him find a safe place to move first by summer’s end and promises to go if Birk is returned to him. Mattis tells Borka that is fine and he’ll keep Birk until Borka moves out, meaning the boy will be in his possession for months to come. Ronia cannot tolerate the thought of Mattis mistreating Birk further and keeping him in the dismal dungeon until Borka moves out. Much to everyone’s shock Ronia jumps across the Gap onto Borka’s side in defiance of her father’s plans, becoming Borka’s leverage for trade to get Birk back immediately. Mattis, overcome with shock and disbelief by Ronia’s actions, agrees to return Birk but states that he has no child. Lovis demands Ronia be returned as she has a daughter and that Mattis has lost all sense. As the two children are exchanged Birk calls Ronia her sister and tells his mother Ronia saved his life and Ronia remarks he saved hers as well. Borka and Undis are outraged to learn of the friendship and Birk fights with them, storming off and leaving a tearful Ronia. Meanwhile Mattis is in an almost comatose state, refusing to eat or speak to anyone.
Episode 17: Moving Together
For three days Ronia looks for Birk in the forest but doesn’t find him while Mattis refuses to eat and remains in bed in a catatonic state. The Mattis Robbers are restless and downhearted as their raiding has been put on hold until Mattis is better while Ronia wonders where Birk is and feels lonely. On the fourth day Ronia finds Birk in the forest and he tells her he’s moving out of Borka’s Keep and into the forest as he can’t stand his parent’s nagging anymore. Ronia has the idea of moving in with Birk as she can’t put up with Mattis’ silent treatment any longer and thinks of living in the Bear’s Cave, her father’s childhood summer place. That night Ronia sneaks out of the castle with supplies and tells the robbers who are on guard duty goodbye before meeting up with Birk at the cave.
Episode 18: What Lurks Within The Cave
Ronia and Birk awaken at dawn in the cave due to the cold and start their day together “free.” When Birk resolves to fetch his crossbow for protection Ronia decides to make herself a bow by using Birk’s knife. The two go about the forest to fetch supplies and return to the cave only to hear something inside. Together they enter the cave and realize it’s only Gray Dwarfs so they drive them out of the cave by screaming. Birk discovers one loaf of bread has been eaten by the creatures, reducing the two’s provisions but Ronia says they can collect what they need from the forest. Later that day Ronia succeeds in making her bow and at night she wonders if Birk and she are missed by their families. She doubts Mattis misses her after having denounced her as his child but has a dream where Mattis is crying a lake of tears over her.
Episode 19: The Lost Knife
Early the next morning after their first night on their own Ronia and Birk catch fish for food. Ronia notices a wound on Birk’s foot and decides to gather moss to help with future injuries, knowing her mother’s treatments. A few days later Birk asks Ronia for his knife but Ronia remarks he had it last and the two argue, insisting the other has it. Angry, Birk accuses Ronia of taking it as she is a robber’s daughter when Ronia tells Birk he’s simply blaming her for his mistake. After exchanging hurtful words Ronia runs off, leaving Birk alone in the cave to live by himself. Soon Birk finds the knife but is too stubborn to apologize, instead sulking in the cave and planning to turn Ronia away when she returns. He realizes how he is acting and instead waits for Ronia in the cave nearly for the whole day before setting out to look for her. Birk finds an injured mare in the forest with Ronia nearby, tearful as she witnessed a bear attack the mare and kill her foal. Ronia uses the moss to put on the mare’s wounds and she and Birk reconcile. They name the mare Lia and decide to keep her until she heals as well as milk her so they have horse milk to drink. Together they swear not to let something come between them like something as trivial as a missing knife.
Episode 20: With the Wild Horses
Putting their trivial fight behind them, Ronia and Birk live together peacefully in the forest through the summer. While they milk Lia their two young stallions come over to investigate. Ronia stubbornly decides to try riding the wild horses again, only to be thrown off. After that she tries to ride them every day while Birk is milking Lia, attempting to tame them better without success. Birk has the same results at first but finally gets his horse to allow him to ride. Ronia becomes exasperated at her horse who taunts her and Birk who shows off while riding. After a wild ride on Rascal Ronia succeeds in taming the stubborn horse. Eventually Lia’s milk dries up and they bid farewell to the mare, thanking her for allowing them to have her milk. While horseback riding Ronia and Birk are attacked by a harpy but manage to get away. When they get back to their cave they find an unexpected visitor waiting for them.
Episode 21: The Roaring Waterfall and the Wild Harpies
Lil Snip greets the two at their cave, presenting a bundle full of bread loaves Lovis prepared. Ronia is excited to see her friend and offers Birk some bread but he silently wanders off, leaving Lil Snip alone to ask Ronia to come home. Ronia asks how things are and if Mattis has talked about her but Lil Snip says Mattis has forbade her name being spoken and things are melancholy. He begs Ronia to come home so things can be better but Ronia refuses until Mattis acknowledges her. Lil Snip informs Ronia that Noodle Pete isn’t doing so well and the soldiers in the forest have severely hindered robbing. Shaggy was captured by the sheriff and is in jail along with two Borkas robbers as the sheriff swore to capture all the bandits in the forest. When Lil Snip leaves, giving Ronia some salt for the meat, Birk upsets Ronia by remarking she didn’t go home to her father. Ronia retorts she has no father and she won’t have a brother either if Birk keeps it up to which Birk apologizes. Later the two go swimming in the river but are attacked by a flock of wild harpies. They manage to escape thanks to Birk’s plan using camouflage but the two head toward the waterfall, unable to swim away.
Episode 22: Our Summer
Ronia and Birk try to escape the river current as they are swept toward the waterfall as the harpies fly overhead. Ronia almost doesn’t make it but Birk helps her to shore and the two exhausted children rest. When they get back to the cave Lovis is waiting for them. Birk storms past without a word and when Ronia asks if he’ll greet her mother he remarks he doesn’t greet uninvited guests. Ronia scolds him for lacking manners and rushes to her mother in relief. Ronia tells Lovis she’ll never return to the fort but her mother says Mattis will throw himself into the river if she doesn’t return. Ronia is skeptical but Lovis goes on to say Mattis cries and calls for Ronia in his sleep. Ronia says he will never come to ask her back home and she’ll never return until he does. In the morning Birk admits he’s a coward, only acting as if Ronia is his sister when they’re alone since he’s afraid of her leaving him. Birk resolves to only talk of the present since it’s summer and they’ll spend that together, but Ronia say she’ll stay no matter the season. The two continue to enjoy their summer days together as winter draws closer.
Episode 23: Life Is Precious
Ronia wakes up from a nightmare of Birk being frozen in the lake, prompted by the chill of winter around her. Birk and Ronia try to keep warm as autumn becomes colder. Birk remarks that Ronia will soon leave him as it’s becoming colder and return to her family. Ronia goes off to get water and finds Mattis crying at the river. Ronia begins crying and runs to her father who takes her in her arms, calling her his child and saying he has his child back. He asks her to come back but Ronia hesitates when she sees Birk nearby. Seeing Birk, Mattis calls him over and asks him to come back with them as Ronia is fond of him. Ronia then speaks to the scowling Birk alone and ends up slapping him after he says he would rather freeze then be Mattis’ whipping boy. Ronia tells him life is to be treasured and she would not leave him in the cave for winter as she would freeze with him rather than leave him alone. Birk then agrees to follow Ronia where ever she goes and the two leave the Bear Cave with Mattis. Birk then parts ways to see his family though Mattis has granted permission for the two children to meet and play. Mattis presents the idea of the two robber clans uniting before each child returns to their families.
Episode 24: Duel at Dawn
Mattis orchestrates a jailbreak, rescuing Pelle and two of Borka’s men from the Sheriff. Ronia and Birk talk about the rescue as they play together in the forest. Mattis grumbles about Birk constantly being around the castle but admits he gave his word. That night Noodle-Pete warns the sheriff will win if the clans do not unite and tells Mattis to make amends with Borka. He then suggests that the two chiefs duel to see who will lead the united clan. Ronia pipes up that it would be best to give up robbing all together. The next day Mattis meets Borka who warns him about the sheriff’s ambush as a favor for Mattis freeing his robbers. Mattis then begrudgingly suggests the two join forces and Borka agrees only to say he will be the leader but Mattis says the same for himself. The two then prepare for a duel the following morning to determine the new chief.