WARNING! Spoilers ahead!
This article may reveal major plot points, especially considering the episode, season, or series had either been released recently or not in specific countries yet.
Papyrus is a French-Canadian animated television series based on the comic book of the same name by Lucien De Gieter. The animated series was produced by Dupuis, which first aired on April 8, 1998. It contains 2 seasons comprising 52 episodes that ran until 2002. Then during or after its run, comic books are made based on those TV episodes.
The story‘s setting is in ancient Egypt. At the beginning of the ages, the falcon god Horus and the god of destruction-ruler Ombus Seth were struggling for rule in Upper and Lower Egypt. The Council of Gods decided-Seth was sent into exile and Horus took over Egypt. For two thousand years, one pharaoh alternated another. But Seth was preparing for revenge. He escaped from exile, captured the god Horus and imprisoned him in a magical sarcophagus in his Black Pyramid in Ombos. Egypt is thus deprived of its ruler and lives under the threat of Seth and his evil servant Aker. Thus the gods chose the young fisherman Papyrus to find the secret gate to Ombos, free Horus and return peace to Egypt. Armed with a magic sword, Papyrus protects Pharaoh Merenre and his daughter, Princess Théti from all Seth's threats.
The cartoon is primarily historical fantasy, action, and adventure with a tint of drama, comedy, and mature themes. But the spirit of the series is above all adventurous and full of tension.
Why It Rocks
- Most episodes that are originally based on the comics remained faithful.
- The series is pretty educational on ancient Egypt regardless of whether people are fans of the topic.
- Diverse characters with their own distinct personalities, flaws and quirks, another thing that makes the show enjoyable.
- Furthermore, memorable characters with complexity and characterization:
- Papyrus is a young fisherman tasked by the gods to fight demonic forces. Although he prefers a simple and laid-back life and repeatedly shows he does not necessarily enjoy his job. This also plays into his confessed insecurity due to his many misadventures. In one episode, he gets corrupted by Seth and became one of the best villains in the series.
- Although sometimes arrogant, Theti serves great use and has shown to be a strong-willed character; sometimes getting out of being a damsel and even going far to help Papyrus when he is in danger. She is the priestess of Isis.
- Tiya is a smart, perky, tomboyish girl with her pet monkey Shepsi, who also have an important part in the show.
- Bebo is an eccentric nomad whose childish behavior comes off as funny and sometimes hilarious.
- Ratoufer is a soft-spoken, devoted priest. Although he is the direct opposite of Aker rather than the protagonist himself.
- Pharaoh Merenre is a surprisingly interesting case. Not only is he titled a peaceful ruler, but is also revealed to be a widower due to a tragic incident involving his wife.
- Ahmes is the younger brother of Merenre. Ahmes is arguably the most interesting and realistic villain. His personality and implied backstory of favoritism with Merenre are what separate him from most recurring antagonists in the series.
- Great voice acting in both French and English dubs.
- Tons of great action scenes.
- The series does a good job at presenting themes such as xenophobia, death, alcohol, and even incest (which are not uncommon in the real world). Also not afraid to sneak in adult humor from time to time.
- The character designs are pleasing to look at. Also doing a good job at making each ancient civilization distinguishable based on historical facts.
- Papyrus is a fun and relatable character.
- Funny moments like Papyrus commenting on how everyone is concerned for a cat instead of the fact that he burns his throat after drinking Bebo’s spicy soup.
- Improved animation in the second season.
- Great writing and dialogue.
- Its iconic opening.
- Dark and memorable episodes like "Lord of the Crocodiles" and "Neferure".
- The series is well constructed and based on accurate ancient Egyptian historical elements.
- The sceneries are beautiful and visually appealing.
- The gods are given personalities that are reflected on their roles, and maintain their importance in the lives of the ancient Egyptians.
- While fun to watch, the episodes can get repetitive.
- Although it can be overlooked, the animation isn't the best especially in the first episodes of the first season. And the last episodes in the second season basically reused frames from earlier ones with only 5-6 minutes of original animation. Though this is because of funding problems with the series.
- Papyrus’s relationship with Theti sometimes feels forced, and downright abusive.
- We never see Papyrus finally free Horus or discover his real name. But this, again, is the result of issues with funding.