The Sort of Japanese Restaurant
Bob & Nancy
City of Ghosts is a charming, beautifully rendered animated title. It’s an educational, well-written docu-series that tries to appeal to both kids and adults alike. For the most part, it actually nails its premise pretty well. Filmed exclusively using a mockumentary format, City of Ghosts is a cute diversion from eerie, prolonged fourth-wall breaking stares (hello, Dora and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse!)
In its simplest form, City of Ghosts feels like a combination of Welcome To My Life and Creature Comforts. These two influences are then thrown in a blender with a sprinkling of colourful animation and educational content about Los Angeles.
The set-up follows an enthusiastic group of kids who each take their turn in the spotlight, going on the hunt and investigating strange occurrences around town. This weirdness manifests itself through various friendly ghosts, who happily chat to the kids about their different personal lives and influences.
The first episode follows Chef Jo’s new restaurant opening in Boyle Heights while another shifts across to a café owner called Sonya, who hears strange drumming noises. There’s also another episode that switches up the format by interviewing a ghost who communicates through whistling.
Given the intense focus on Los Angeles, those living in America will almost certainly get more out of this one but the multicultural influences are a massive plus, making it a must-watch for kids around the globe.
Visually, the show looks fantastic too and there’s a great combination of stop-motion and traditional 3D animation. The characters are rendered well and there’s a uniqueness to the designs here that help give this some authenticity.
Each episode clocks in at around 20 minutes or so too, so there’s never a danger of this one outstaying its welcome with the kids. While the really young members of the family will undoubtedly end up bored with the long interviews, anyone aged 7 or over will find something to enjoy here.
Charming, well written and full of some lovely bits of educational content, City of Ghosts is a wonderful little animated title and another welcome addition to the Netflix kids catalogue.