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Ulysses 31

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Ulysses 31
Ulysses 31 promo poster pic.png
Genre: Anime
Science Fiction
Action
Adventure
Fantasy
Drama
Running Time: 25 minutes (NTSC)
24 minutes (PAL)
Country: France
Japan
Release Date: 10 October 1981 - 3 April 1982 (France)
Network(s): FR3 (France)
Nagoya Broadcasting Network (Japan)
Syndication (United States)
Created by: Jean Chalopin
Nina Wolmark

(inspired by Homer's Odyssey)

Seasons: 1
Episodes: 26 (13 aired in the U.S.) + pilot


Ulysses 31 (also known as Ulysse 31 in France and Uchu Densetsu Yurishizu Satiwan or Space Legend Ulysses 31 in Japan) is a French-Japanese, science-fiction, action, adventure, drama, anime series that is a space-themed reimagining of the Greek epic, Homer's Odyssey. It was co-created by Jean Chalopin and Nina Wolmark, with co-production between DIC Audiovisuel and TMS Entertainment. It is notable for being the premier DiC animated series. In the United States, only the first half of the series aired as part of the syndicated Kideo TV block in 1986.

Plot

In the 31st century, based at a space station on the planet Troy, space-faring hero Ulysses plans to return home to Earth following the Trojan War. After his son, Telemechus, is kidnapped along with several other children, he goes off to rescue him and the others. After battling and slaying a cyclops, the children are freed, but the gods aren't pleased with the cyclops's murder. Poseidon urges Zeus to retaliate by forcing the spacecraft in which he and his crew are traveling called the Odyssey to an isolated part of the galaxy. Zeus persecutes Ulysses and tells him he must go through several tasks before he can get back to his planet. Ulysses is under a tight deadline, as he must travel back to Earth before the next comet passes the Earth or his wife, Penelope, will marry another man. Most of Ulysses's crew is put into suspended animation, except for Telemechus, who accompanies him on his journey. The two are joined by a blue-skinned, humanoid, alien girl named Yumi (Themis in the French dub) who has telekinetic and telepathic powers, whom Telemechus meets along with her big brother, Numinor, when they were kidnapped and the two siblings come from the planet, Zotra. A small, red robot with super strength named Nono (who was given to Telemechus as a birthday gift) also joins them and the four meet other people, aliens, and Greek, mythological figures while going through obstacles to face, and fend off foes along the way.

Why It Rocks

  1. Although the animation isn't 100% perfect, the visual style of its blend of classical European art and Japanese anime makes the illustrations beautifully drawn.
  2. This adaptation is a creative take on the story and the writing of the episodes' storylines is just as well-done.
  3. Many of the character designs are exquisitely illustrated.
  4. The characters themselves, especially the main ones, are mostly fine, as are several of the supporting and minor characters.
  5. The voice acting in the English dub is nothing to complain about at all.
  6. The theme song is great, though the synthesized music itself is better than the lyrics.
  7. Although this isn't the original version, it's a great way to introduce Greek mythology to the uninitiated, especially the kids.
  8. Has a mixture of comedic (mainly with Nono) and dramatic moments, and concerning the latter, they aren't afraid to get deep.
  9. One episode, called "Strange Meeting", is about Ulysses and the others time-traveling to Greece, and the time of the original Ulysses who they meet along with his son. This is a nice tribute to the original story.

Bad Qualities

1. Despite his good qualities, Nono can come across as an annoying comic relief at times to some.

2. The lyrics to the theme song in the English dub aren't as strong or perfect as the music.

3. For some reason or another, only the first half of the series aired in the U.S.and was dropped from the airwaves afterward (although that might be due to a lack of good ratings).

4. The animation isn't consistently perfect, such as one scene in the first episode in which Telemechus, Yumi, and Nono are supposed to run towards Ulysses when they meet him, but they look like they're running in place instead.

5. The pilot episode didn't receive an English dub.

Trivia

  • This is among the three, space-themed shows from the 1980s produced or co-produced by TMS Entertainment. The two others are Mighty Orbots and Galaxy High School.
  • A second season was intended, but ended up being cancelled instead for some unknown reason.

Videos


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