Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Ulysses 31

One last Ulysses post for Bloomsday, although I'm cheating slightly, this one has nothing to do with James Joyce... Remembering my favourite cartoon growing up, Ulysses 31, a Japanese-French production which was a staple of childrens' television throughout most of the 80's. The concept of the series was rather ingenious, mixing Greek mythology with sci-fi action and adventure, as Ulysses and his companions - his son Telemachus, Yumi, a humanoid alien girl rescued in the first episode, and Nono, a nuts n' bolts eating robot, wander the spaceways in their ocular-shaped ship The Odyssey in search of a route back to Earth. Ulysses 31 is often lumped in with other cartoons of the 80's - M.A.S.K, Jacye and the Wheeled Warriors, Inspector Gadget, but the series was much more ambitious in scope and storytelling, and plots could be surprisingly sophisticated and dark for its young audience. In addition, the series featured a fantastic eclectic soundtrack which encompassed hard rock, expressionist guitar licks, Vangelis-style synthesizer, experimental soundscapes, and Blaxploitation boogie, as well as the incredibly infectious theme song. The current English-language DVDs of Ulysses 31 are hard to find these days, but fortunately all 26 episodes are available to view in good quality on this youtube page


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