Cult Classics: Ulysses 31

30 Nov

ulysses 31


For me a cult classic is something that you have to dig for–it’s not something that everybody already knows about or talks about.   I’ve yet to hear anybody talk about this cartoon at great length, and have recently rediscovered it.   As a kid it was the sort of cartoon that was on after school that I watched because it’s on.   However, returning to this years later, the show is extremely strange.

Combine the weirdest parts of Japanese anime and French animation with Homer’s Odyssey, and put it all in space.   It’s not really a retelling of the Odyssey but more “inspired” by the story if you know what I mean.   What this adds up to is a dark space opera that has Ulysses, his son Telemachus, an alien girl, and No-no the robot, flying a ship filled with floating dead bodies through space.

The tone is almost bleak to say the least.  Each episode they encounter a planet, usually filled with desolate landscape and underpopulated, where the people there try to stop them from moving on.   The design is really strange, part star wars, but they include these alien organic elements that are really creepy.  Add to that vast scenes filled with no talking and spacey sounds (not really music) really gives this show a sense of loneliness and isolation that I’ve never seen in a cartoon before.     The writing is of the same tone as classic Doctor Who, and often comes close to quality.

There’s also a cheesy element–at one point Ulysses is trapped in a giant pinball machine, and the theme song is like someone decided the Top Gun music wasn’t enthusiastic enough, and the dubbing doesn’t really match the mouths–sometimes to the point where I wonder if what we’re hearing in English is the same as what was said in the original script at all.

Anyway, I’d highly recommend this–it’s good Saturday morning cheesy fun.

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