‘Costume Quest’ and talking about otherness

‘Costume Quest’ is a new cartoon by now legendary Burbank, CA animation studio ‘Cartoon Frederator’. The studio is known for creating shows like ‘Adventure Time’ and ‘The Fairly OddParents’.

Screenshot from the new cartoon show.

The show is an adaptation of a role-playing video game by the same name and is beautifully animated with a muted color palette and wonderful score. I was enjoying the show with many people comparing it to ‘Gravity Falls’ which has become a catch all for any new cartoon that shows the potential to be good.

Image from the original game.

The show revolves around four children that find halloween costumes that allow them to transform into their avatars and this is used to defeat ‘Repugniants’ that are monsters that become powerful from eating nougat. It’s a fairly straightforward ‘defeat the bad guys’ plot. This is until the show gives us the origin story for these ‘Repugniants’, In the episode ‘Ghosting’ we get this long exposition explaining where the monsters came from, “Since the beginning of time monsters have crossed over into our world. In the dead of night portals open between our world and countless others. Now most of the monsters that come through these portals are good, and only want to start a new life here on earth, but 100 years ago some monsters arrived with more diabolical intentions. The Repugniants, they came to Auburn Hollow looking to steal every last ounce of our famous candy nougat, nougat transforms them makes them more powerful, with the nougat they could have formed an army strong enough to take over the universe but 4 brave kids in magical costumes stepped up and stopped them. The Repugniants were defeated and ran back home, but some of them however decided to stay and complete the mission no matter what!”

This early episode introduces a very different dimension to the ‘monsters’ in the story and bears striking similarities to the current narrative around how illegal immigrants are coming into the United States. It may be that I am reading too much into this, the newest episode reveals that the costume shop owner who is helping the children in one of the ‘good monsters’, but is scared to reveal this to all the children.

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