English: Ulysses 31
Status: Finished Airing
Aired: Oct 3, 1981 to Nov 30, 1982
25 min. per episode
G - All Ages
L represents licensing company
Score: 7.221 (scored by 594 users)
1 indicates a weighted score
SynopsisIt is the thirty-first century. Ulysses killed the giant Cyclops when he rescued the children and his son, Telemachus.
But the ancient gods of Olympus are angry and threaten a terrible revenge: Ulysses is sentenced to travel through the universe of Olympus with a frozen crew on a quest to find the Kingdom of Hades. Only when he has found the Kingdom of Hades will his crew be free of their curse and he will be able to return to Earth and to his beloved Penelope.
Related AnimeAlternative version: Ulysses 31 Pilot
Characters & Voice Actors
Ulysse 31 illustrates perfectly the idea that combining different cultures expertise may lead to a wonderful result as this anime is a Japanese French production involving artists from both countries. It was made at a time Producers not only want to entertain children but also educate them (in this case about Greek Mythology) in the framework of an anime with a good artistic value. Other examples of such policies are Les mysterieuses cites d’or (The mysterious cities of Gold) and il etait une fois l’homme (once upon a time..man).
Ulysse 31, as you have understood,is a futuristic transposition of the Odyssey epic poem and the scene takes place just after the war of Trojan. We follow the adventures and ordeals of Ulysses, young Telemachus and the mysterious Themis throughout their galactic voyage.
The story is based (faithfully or loosely depending on the episode) on the Odyssey and each episode unravels a new mystery that Ulysses have to discover, a new charismatic character that Ulysses have to confront with or a new barrier that the Gods have set for Ulysses. Will he finally reach the Kingdom of Hades and return to the warm heart of his Beloved Penelope?
The story is simply excellent and raises several concepts and ideas such as Love, tyranny, religion, Fate,drugs, the redundancy of Human life... an excellent mean to stimulate a child curiosity and mind as this anime was aim for children! Moreover, there is not always a Happy ending for each episodes : Life can be cruel sometime... Thanks to the work of Jean Chalopin and Nina Wolmark.
Art and animation are surprinsigly good for an anime of that period even by Today's Standards. This is mainly due to the Famous Shingo Araki/Michi Himeno's Work (Goldorak/Grendizer, cat's eyes, Lady Oscar, Saint Seiya...) and the design of Manchu.
Music score is nice to listen to and match the anime ambiance by its synthpop features.
Most Characters are well conceived and they have their own development. It is easy to identify with them and feel some empathy towards their ordeals.
The French dubbing had involved professional Dramatic Art Theater actors voices (especially Jean Topar) and are consequently very enjoyable. The English Dubbing seems well made as well.
Overall no matter how old you are, this is truly a must see masterpiece and a good introduction to Greek Mythology in general.
ANIME MINOR JEWELS SERIES
Full list of the review series can be found on this page, 3rd post from bottom:
This series is a children’s version of Homer’s Odyssey. Its setting is the 31st century, so instead of having Odysseus facing witches and sea monsters in the ancient Greek Archipelagos, he is dealing with aliens and robots in uncharted regions of space.
ART & SOUND SECTIONS: 9
Quite good, despite their years. There is a lot of fine animation, atmospheric music and cool looking visual effects. Odysseus’s spaceship and laser gun-sword are awesome. The depiction of space, accompanied by gloomy music themes is truly spine chilling. The ever-presence of the Olympic Gods in the form of huge, stale, semi-apparent figures is very imposing. Most monsters are cloaked in an aura of fear. I must say, for a series that is supposed to aim at kids, it is quite scary. Kids watching this may have nightmares at night with so much frightening atmosphere going around.
This is one of those anime whose aesthetics will always be top-notch. I give them an almost perfect score for achieving what most retro don’t.
STORY SECTION: 3
Just like in Odyssey, Odysseus is cursed by the Olympic Gods and is sent to forever drift in space, without hope of returning home. But he doesn’t give up and continually searches for a way to defeat his fate and reunite with his wife.
Unfortunately, the story is twisted to resemble a fairy tale and everything seems very fake as a whole. As a Greek myself, I thank the producers for advertising our mythology with so many references to several famous Greek myths. But I must also bitch at the fact that Greek myths are not your average fairy tales with too-goody protagonists and a moral message in the end. Epic stories that turn to kiddy shows deserve a lot more attention than what we get to see here. It undermines their importance and kind of insults our ancestors’ talent at great storytelling.
Even if you try to look at the story without referring to the original myth, the result is still lame. Story exists only in the first and in the last episode. All other episodes are stand-alones, there is never any on-screen bloodshed despite the numerous battles, there is never a bad thought crossing the heroes’ mind, and everyone acts like immature 10 year olds. There is an ending but it leaves you kinda apathetic. It’s just not thrilling enough.
CHARACTER SECTION: 4
Besides the strong presence of Odysseus and the Gods in the story, all others are there just to fill the void or offer comic relief. Little kids and funny robots next to cardboard monsters which remain shallow and stale throughout the series. No resemblance with the multi-layered ones from the original myth.
VALUE SECTION: 5
Before the original story, this is but a childish fairy tale. It can still be seen as a well-made grim fairy tale and half of its duration is still worthy to follow.
ENJOYMENT SECTION: 7
Story and characters aside, almost all episodes are interesting to watch. The atmosphere, the machines, the monsters and the mystery around them are so imposing that can stick with you for good. The problems are kinda resolved easily and rushed all the time and that is what prevents this series from truly shining.
Lost In Space. An old American sci-fi series and a recent movie about a family lost in space that tries to return home. read more
Both series have combined mythology and space travel. In Odin is a clear allusion to Norse mythology, while Ulysses 31 does Greek mythology because it is based on Homer's Odyssey.
In Odin the battles and the designs are better and more elaborate, and has a scheme more complex so to speak.
Ulysses, meanwhile, has a concise end while Odin was concluded before they had planned and can only solved part of the story.
Both are classic adventure anime from the 80s which both were produced/written/directed (depending on the title) by Jean Chalopin and Bernard Deyriès together with Japanese Studios.
The also both have soundtracks created by Shuki Levy and Haim Saban, and both (English) dubs are made with the same voice actors.
Opening Theme"銀河伝説オデッセイ(Galactic Legend Odyssey)" by Neverland
Ending Theme"愛･時の彼方に (Love, Over the other side of time)" by Neverland
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