They are the Moomins

Moomintrolls or commonly known as Moomin is a Finnish-Swedish cartoon creation by Tove Jansson. Her first Moomin family book was published in 1945. After many books were create it became a comic strip in the British newspaper, then an animation series ( Moomintrolls became a popular overseas franchise. Moomintrolls live in Moominvalley, they are white troll like creatures with long snouts and tails. The Moomin animations follow around the Moomins and other characters in Moominvalley. The success of Moomintrolls is due to the fact that it serves as a connection builder between people of all ages.

Moomin’s name expanded over the years. Not only did they have an animation series, comics and books, they also had puppet plays, an opening at an art museum, an opera, cafés and a theme-park. Moomin doesn’t only have popularity in Finland and Sweden. They gained popularity in Britain, Singapore, China, Japan, Korea and many other countries. With a colorful pallet and endearing characters, Moomin became  Finland’s most famous family. With all of the talk and expansion more people can get into the Moomins. This can create a connection from citizens all over bonding due to Moomins. It creates different reasons to how everyone fell into the appeal of Moomins. Maybe they grew up with it, liked the hidden message or liked the cute appeal and colors.

According to Katariina Benedetti whom is the director of project SF100SG, a Moomin project in Singapore, “The Moomin characters are a vivid representation of the wide range of human emotions, but they are mostly kind and good natured and keen on helping and promoting a message of peace and forgiveness. This message perfectly fits the needs of today’s world.” ( Here she is saying that the message that the Moomin’s are giving and expressing are good for anyone of any age. The Moomins are about kindness and peace, which is something everyone needs more of. This world has a lot of negative emotions surrounding it, so positivity could help little by little. Though the Moomin’s were set for younger audiences, adults and teens can still enjoy Moomin regardless.

Moomin’s characters are all different yet similar in a way. All of them have very expressive emotions that humans have.  The main Moomin characters are Little My, Moomin, Moominmama, Moominpapa,  Snorkmaiden, Snufkin and Sniff. Other characters here and there will pop up during the shows and books. Snufkin and Moominmamma brings more of the peaceful and collected aspect of emotions due to their nature and actions. The tone of their voice is very calming to the ears. Sniff is timid and cowardly and Moominpappa is philosophical, he tends to think more. Little My is fiery and irritable yet honest and reliable. Sorkmaiden is more of a daydreamer who is similar to Moomin in lots of ways. Both of them are typically happy and energetic. Though since Moomin is the main character, therefore he has more of an emotional range than the others. In the Moomin animation, episode 13, titled ‘The Last Dragon on Earth’ Moomin in a sad tone says to Snufkin, “I think he likes you more then me.” Moomin had caught a tiny dragon in that episode but the dragons seems more calm around Snufkin. While the dragon was around Moomin it would behave rashly, thus causing Moomin to say that line. The Moomin’s different personality can help immerse people into the story, they feel more relatable that way. These characters bring more peace and positive emotions to children, while still bring in what is to be called negative emotions.

Moomin’s merchandise skyrocketed along with Moomin’s popularity. Sophia Jansson, Tove’s niece had said to the UK’s Daily Mail, “A lot of it goes over the heads of children. Those expensive mugs flying off the shelves are not being bought by or for children! There are themes Tove expresses that are eternal – family versus loneliness, adventure, how to handle a hard time – all set against storms and mountains. People find a sense of belonging in the Moomins. They allow them to pick up on feelings they maybe didn’t know they had – such as missing someone.” Not everyone is connected to all the emotions and feelings. Some might push away certain emotions or not think about it. Creating them to not know that one might feel it. While watching Moomin, people can try to place and pick up these missing emotions that are laid down throughout the animation.

Children aren’t the only ones in love with the Moomins. Adults purchase the merchandise with flying ease. More Moomin cafés and exhibits are popping up in Asia, Sweden and Finland. Allowing adults to be more excited about this adorable and loving franchise. Not only can adults get excited with merchandise and new Moomin themed areas, the show and the Moomins themselves create a connection to emotions that children may brush over. Children will feel all of the emotions, but not really understand them as an adult would. One emotion that may be brushed over by a child may not be brushed over to an adult. Children tend to be happy all the time which can get more difficult as they grow up. Stress and pride may brush over child as they don’t tend to do much with these emotions.

Sophia Jansson did lots of interviews about the Moomins and her aunt Tove. She likes to bring the realness and emotions that she shares with the Moomin’s story. “Tove never set out to document. She was a storyteller. The book is about the relationship between someone very old and someone very young – the mutual disregard but very great respect and friendship” (The Guardian)  An underlying story like this can appeal to all ages due to the fact that they can all relate to it in some way.  Adults find it enjoyable and can get attached the the lovable hippo-like trolls. The Moomin family became a Jansson family business that brought all ages together. It’s like Finland’s Disney.

Although people who aren’t Moomin fans, might think that the characters are just superficial and cute, its influence goes beyond the children’s cartoon to emotional connector and inspiration. Tove’s work on the Moomins were based on people and actual events in her life. She brought things she loves, such as her family, friends and her childhood into a creation that could inspire younger audiences.