moomin sea


The 26 Animated Features submitted for the Oscars.

When any work is adapted as often as Tove Jansson’s Moomin stories have been, there will be differences between portrayals. This means that many characters can have surprisingly different personalities in each story. Because many fans come to know Moomins through different adaptations (most often books or 1990s TV series which started the Moomin boom), it's worth considering how different characters can be depending on the version. Here are how some main characters differ between adaptations:

Originally posted by sniffinmoominland

Moomintroll is probably the character with most consistent characterization. As the main character, he is the heart of the story and everything happens around him (except the last book, some rare strips and episodes etc.). So he needs to change the least to suit the tone of the stories. In earlier Moomin books, Moomintroll is a typical curious young boy who is lyrical, sentimental and emotional but also adventurous and brave. He is very dependent on people around him especially his mother and his best friend Snufkin. Later books have him experience some adolescent moods and heartaches but his personality stays the same thorough books. In the comic strips he is still emotional and dependent but his naivety is also emphasized. This is mainly done for comedy. Most animated adaptations keep his sweet and insecure but brave personality. Notable exception is 1960s Japanese anime adaptation, where Moomin is more like a classical rascal of a boy protagonist. This is one of the details Tove Jansson disliked.

Originally posted by snarflegank

Moominmamma and Moominpappa are important characters in all adaptations. Moominpappa is often the protagonist in Lars Jansson’s comic strips and Moominmamma appears is almost all Moomin stories. Their personalities are often consistent and clear like their son’s. Moominmamma is always safe, warm and motherly. In later Moomin books, we do get to see her hidden side but this does not compromise her earlier characterization as the perfect mother. Moominpappa, on the other hand, gets surprisingly deep and human flaws to his personality in later books. He still remains strong leader and an egotistical but caring father in all versions. Granted, in comics his ego is promoted a bit for comedy.

Originally posted by seinaet

Snufkin is a character with as many personalities as there are adaptations. What remains consistent is his independence, wisdom and some level of sarcasm. In earlier books, he is almost social and happily greets new people. He also willingly chatted about his life and adventures. This is later removed as he becomes unsociable and so quiet it disturbs other characters. His love for freedom becomes more like an obsession with it. In the comics, Snufkin is more like a rare guest star. Here his personality is very simple and he mainly appears to give wise advice to Moomintroll. In animated adaptations, he is often included in the main cast but with surprising differences. In 1990s animated series, he is the perfect big brother and mentor to everyone in Moominvalley. This Snufkin is much kinder and more patient than any other Snufkin. However, it should be noted that this depends on the dub. Japanese version has a sweet and gentle Snufkin compared to Finnish dub, where he is more serious and sarcastic.

Originally posted by happymoomin

Little My is not present in earlier Moomin books but after her debut, she quickly became one of the main characters and an icon. This may explain why her personality is one of the most consistent in all books. She is an independent trickster and a harsh little girl. At times, she is almost like a force of nature rather than a character. She serves as voice of reason for Moomin family and does not show much character depth. When she appears in the comics, she can easily keep her brash personality and keep dishing out harsh truths because it easily suits the comedic tone. The most well-known animated version is actually toned down a lot from her original portrayals. Her 1990s version has insecurities about hurting others, getting scared or her looks. This Little My is also more emotional and can be seen blushing or looking sad.

Originally posted by happymoomin

Snorkmaiden is another character who’s portrayal varies a lot. In a way, she has become the character that portrays all sides of femininity (good and bad). In the books she is nurturing, beautiful and down-to-earth, even if a little vain. In the comics this is discarded in favor of a more comic portrayal. Here she is flirty, extremely vain and temperamental. She is not too loyal to Moomintroll (to be fair, their relationship is a bit more like play-pretend and practicing rather than an engagement) and often gets the adventure started by chasing after a man. It’s not surprising that many of her animated portrayals lean more towards the book version which is more suitable for serious stories and children. Notable aversion is Moomins on The Riviera, which adapts the comic with a same name and keeps her personality exactly like comic strip

Originally posted by kamisa-chan

And last for this post, The Groke. She is an important presence in the Moomin books and very well known even though she rarely appears in person. In earlier books we meet The Groke who is obsessed with ownership and extremely mean. She is simply a villain for a children’s story and completely different from the deep, suffering figure that appears in later books. It can be argued that they are different characters, but this is inconsistent too. In earlier books Grokes are portrayed as a race of monsters that can hunt innocent creatures anywhere. In Moominpappa and The Sea, The Groke declares that she is the only groke. In the comics, some Grokes appear as simple monsters to run away from because a personification of loneliness and depression would not suit the comedic tone. 1970s portrayed The Groke as just lonely and a lot less scary. This Groke even delivers mail. 1990s portrayal of The Groke is famous for giving many children nightmares, but the series also kept her vulnerable side. This makes it the adaptation which stays most true to her final portrayal in the books. 1990s animation even kept her crush on Moomintroll, which is just slightly hinter in Moominpappa and The Sea.