For fans, both old and new, Moomin TV animations have played a pivotal role in kindling a love for the adventures of Moominvalley. From an early German production in 1959 to the global phenomenon "Moomin" in 1990, and the award-winning "Moominvalley" from 2019, this blog takes you on a journey through the fascinating history of Moomin TV animations.
Moomin TV animations 1959-2019
Nearly 80 years since the first book, The Moomins and the Great Flood (1945), the Moomins have become a multi-media phenomenon with a large TV back-catalogue. Here is a run-through of the incredible history of Moomin TV animations – it’s a round-the-world trip!
1959-1960 – Die Muminfamilie (“The Moomin family”)
All the way back in 1959, Augsburger Puppenkiste, a West German production company, created a puppet show called Die Muminfamilie. This first ever Moomin TV release came out in two seasons and a total of 12 episodes.
The first season (episodes 1–6: Die Muminfamilie – Eine drollige Gesellschaft) was based on the book Finn Family Moomintroll (1948), and the second season (episodes 7–12: Die Muminfamilie – Sturm im Mumintal) on the book Moominsummer Madness (1954).
Here is a fan-posted video of the first episode of Die Muminfamilie:
1969-1970 – Mūmin (“Moomin”)
Already by the 1960s, the Moomin fandom had spread to Japan: in 1969, the Fuji Television network started broadcasting a 65-episode long animated series, created partly by the world-famous Hayao Miyazaki, which was largely inspired by Moomin stories, Mūmin.
Tove Jansson, however, did not approve the first Japanese Moomin animation, which is why it was never translated into other languages or shown outside Japan. The key characters’ personalities and appearances were nearly unrecognisable, and though based on the Moomins, the stories differed hugely from the world Tove Jansson originally created; adding cars, violence, and drunkenness.
Here is a fan-posted video of the first episode of Mūmin:
1972 – Shin Mūmin (“New Moomin”)
The second Japanese Moomin animation, Shin Mūmin (New Moomin), released in 1972, with as many as 54 episodes. Still featuring many “creative differences”, the more child-friendly version was approved by Tove Jansson, and hence, received international distribution rights.
Here is a fan-posted video of the first episode of Shin Mūmin:
1978 – Mumi-troll i Kometa
Some years later, in 1978, an 18-minute animation based on the book Comet in Moominland (1946) was released by a production company, Ekran, in the Soviet Union.
Here is a fan-posted video of Mumi-troll i Kometa:
1978-1982 – Opowiadania Muminków
Around 1980, another puppet show animation based on the Moomin books was produced for Polish, German and Austrian TV. Premiering in Poland in 1978, the original version aired for four years with 78 10-minute episodes. The rights were later sold to other countries, and an English version of the show, featuring 100 5-minute episodes, aired in the UK between 1983-1985.
This is probably the best-known animation show of all older Moomin animation.
Tove Jansson even got involved in the English scripting process, and in 2008, Filmkompaniet in Finland reused the original material and released it as both a feature film and individual episodes for the Nordic audience.
Here is a fan-posted video of Opowiadania Muminków:
1980-1983 – Shlyapa Volshebnika
Between 1980 and 1983, Sverdlovsktelefilm, a production company from the Soviet Union, released three short films based on the book Finn Family Moomintroll (1948). This lesser-known animation used cut-out props and gave perhaps the most distinct look to the characters out of all Moomin adaptations – Moomintroll was even given dungarees and hair!
Here is a fan-posted video of Shlyapa Volshebnika:
1990-1992 – Moomin
After five different TV animations based on or inspired by the Moomins, the globally recognised series Moomin aired in 1990.
The show actually goes back to Japan, where Telescreen Japan, together with a Dutch company, Telecable Benelux B.V, produced the new series, originally called Tanoshii Mūmin Ikka, or “The Moomins“. Unlike the earlier Japanese efforts, this series was more aligned with the original Moomin stories.
The Finnish version produced by Dennis Livson aired in Finland in 1991. Benny Törnroos produced and sung the well-known theme songs in both Finnish and Swedish, and there are now more than 60 versions of them in different languages.
The 104 episodes of Moomin became a worldwide phenomenon and have, to date, aired in over 120 countries. The English episodes are all available on Moomin Official’s Youtube channel – not in all countries due to copyright matters. (If you can’t find the series paylist, it’s unfortunately not available to you.)
The series even spawned second a spin-off series, Delightful Moomin Family: Adventure Diary, which to fans in some Pacific countries was just another season of their favourite series, but it was never dubbed in English or other European languages.
2019 – Moominvalley
Nearly 30 years after the premiere of the widely successful ’90s series Moomin, a Finnish production company, Gutsy Animations, produced a new 3D-animated series, Moominvalley.
Premiering in 2019, the series brought the Moomins into a 3D space for the first time, with a new high-quality visual style. Each season of Moominvalley has a specific theme: the first season focused mostly on Moomintroll and his perception of the world, the second season focused on the whole Moomin family, the third season’s theme was community and the fourth season’s (premiering in 2024) theme is utopia.
The latest Moomin TV animation has brought together long-time Moomin fans and new, younger fans to enjoy the adventures of Moominvalley once again. Moominvalley has already broken records as the most watched TV series in 2019 in Finland and the winner of several national and global awards.
The series is available on several streaming platforms around the world, such as Viaplay (all three seasons streaming in selected countries from 10th December!), Sky, Apple TV, Prime Video, or other local services, depending on your country. In Finland, Moominvalley is available in Yle Areena.
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