Ulysses 31 (TV Series 1981–1982) Poster

(1981–1982)

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10/10
Excellent animated series, well worth seeing!
Sentinel-1520 October 2002
"Ulysse(s) 31" is a brilliant animated series from the early 1980's, a brilliant French-Japanese co-production. It is basically a science fiction re-telling of Homer's famous epic, with the noble & heroic titular character now lost in space, after having offended the Greek Gods, and looking for a way home.

Of course, adapting and updating such an old story would not work without some changes here and there, and so new characters and situations and setting were added. Even so, the series was, and is, a great way to introduce people to the great stories of ancient mythology.

The quality of animation is very good (for a product of its time, anyway) with a good musical score, catchy theme song included.

Highly recommended for fans of animation, SF fans, and anyone who is interested in mythology.
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Legends of the Future.
Bing-184 June 1999
This French cartoon series is a wonderful modern take on the ancient Greek legends about Ulysses.

Having rescued his children from being a sacrifice to the Gods of Mount Olympus, the futuristic Ulysses, sees the crew of his space ship frozen and his ship cast off into deep space at the mercy of the Gods. What follows is a series of adventures, based on the legends, that Ulysses, his children, and one of comic my hero's, NoNo have to pass in order to reach the Kingdom of Hades and the way back to earth.

A wonderful series to introduce todays young children to the lessons of the Greek legends, as it did me ten years ago.
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Excellent
chanelit-16 August 2003
I found this on IMDB but mistake - I didn't realise that they would list it.

This has to be one of the best animated shows ever - made in France and developed in Japan, it's Homer's Odyssey, set in the 31st Century.

Ulysses upsets the Gods and has to fly his ship to the Kingdom of Hades to unfreeze his crew and return to Earth. On the way, all manner of obstacles get in the way as he flies across the Universe desperately seeking the Kingdom.

Top stuff - just such a shame it's not available on DVD (hint)!
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One of the finest cartoons ever from France
elp_gr3 June 2002
But, well, France is known for its interesting artistic production. Ulysse 31 offered a very interesting futuristic take on Homer's Odyssey and was immensely successful and utterly enjoyable.

They did some excellent work.
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10/10
Quite possibly among the finest sci fi cartoon ever made!
covertrunning29 January 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Ulysses 31. Take a legendary story from homer and give it a totally futuristic look set in the 31st century and you have Ulysses 31! An animated diamond of a cartoon. Spaceships, futuristic weapons and space adventure with the spirit of Homers Oddessey carrying the story onward and upward. Of the sci-fi cartoons that are made for TV audiences this could well be worthy of the top accolade and a high ranker in overall cartoon ratings. Top marks for a splendid story line and depth by the French. First rate quality animation and artwork from the Japanese masters of anime. With the English language and a superb pulsating, thumpin' 80s theme tune (think high concept electronic rock) makes this a timeless masterpiece. Each episode began with the theme tune rolling as an introduction sequence (handy if you'd not watched the first episode!) played. (In 1986 Philip Schofield, a UK Children's TV presenter for BBC 1 got so carried away by the catchy lyrics that he sang the entire theme tune while on air!)

Whats even more staggering is that its well over 25 years old now and I've just watched it and it still rocks! For me as a kid of 8 yrs this kind of cartoon was serious stuff for kids to watch and had a lot of importance, you had death, hard choices, self sacrifice, mistakes people can make in their life. It actually set itself as a good role model for those watching.

Each episode alone was a mini film in its own right. Some don't even class Ulysses 31 as a cartoon but as an animated series!

Despite most of the other lead characters being children they come across not as childish nor skulking adolescents but as responsible members of the 'Iris' crew. Its possibly one reason that this cartoon still has an appeal to both adults and children.

The Ulysses character in it is heroic, brave, skillful, defiant and fearless in the face of the Gods yet still feels responsible for his crew (who he indirectly caused to be frozen). Kitted out with all the futuristic gadgets and weapons a cartoon character could wish for, a combined laser pistol and sword along with a jet pack and energy shield! Through the 26 episodes a whole range of stories and adventures are quested upon as he searches, much like in Homers Oddessey for the way home, the episodes themselves tend to quite accurate in the retelling, even though there's over 31 centuries difference! I never saw all the final episode so I still don't know if he made it or not.

Inspector Gadget, Thundercats, Battle of the Planets, Ghostbusters and He-Man all came close but they didn't quite make the grade of Ulysses 31.

For anyone who lambasts the 1980s for whatever reason, just retort that at the very least it had the coolest cartoons going! In fact for me cartoons went downhill after the 80s with very tame and lackluster examples coming from the 1990s onwards. But then I guess its hard to top Ulysses 31 and its kin!
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10/10
Released in the UK as Ulysses 31 (1981)
etoh7622 July 2004
Warning: Spoilers
Created in 1981, this 26-part DIC - Tokyo Movie Shinsha animated series brought a new spin on Homer's The "Odyssey", setting the adventures of Ulysses not in the past, but in the future universe of the 31st Century. The cartoon has obtained cult status in Western Europe, and due to its recent release on some cable channels recently, after a long hiatus, is finally being released on DVD.

The story lines, just as they were with Homer's original story, are engaging and thought provoking. Through their journey, our heroes make many friends and enemies – and losses. And when losses are made the cartoon never pulled any punches, a realistic approach that was lost on many cartoons for the next two decades. This unique style and presentation of the story make it difficult to sum up in a paragraph. Most of the episodes borrow ideas from Homer's book, but the concepts used to execute them in most cases radically differ from the original.

The series itself kick's off with Ulysses indeed blinding and going as far as destroying the Cyclops, a huge one-eyed metal monster. However this is in an attempt to rescue his own son Telemachus and two alien sibling children, Numinor, and Umi, the female lead in the cartoon (who have been abducted by the followers of the Cyclops as sacrifices). As with Homer's original story, the god Poseidon, still active even in the 31st Century, condemns Ulysses, family and friends to wander the dimension of Olympus. Their only way back home is to find the equally mythical Kingdom of Hades, but a further twist is added when Ulysses' shipmates, or "Companions" as they are called in the series, are made as "lifeless as stone". That is, they look and are as good as dead for most of the journey.

At 23 years old on writing, the series still contains a wealth of high concept imagery. "The Odyssey", the name of our heroes ship resembles a giant eye (the power source, referred to as "The Iris" actually looks like an iris with its own metallic lids), but the detail is staggering. Its central computer, Shurka, is an almost maternal figure, female in voice and often considered to be one of the main protagonists in the story. Character animation is first rate, with some impressive action sequences strewn throughout. The technology will stick in most people's minds, as Ulysses himself epitomised childhood cool with his gun that was also a laser sword, his thruster belt that enables him to fly of sorts, and his energy shield that just simply has to be seen in action to show what it does.

Robots, THE toy of the 80's, have a strong recurring theme throughout the cartoon - with the Companions as good as dead a plethora of different robots have to help run the ship, whether its catering, cleaning or fire-fighting. And of course there's the trusty robot side-kick, No-No, another main character considered by many to be the token comedy-relief character - an unavoidable sign of the times but done with enough gravitas as to not suffer the same fate of other side-kicks. That is, being remembered as 'the annoying one'.

One criticism that could be levelled at the series is a result of that age old problem – dubbing. The voices were originally cast in Japanese, and whereas the English voice cast do a more than sterling job, dialogue can sometimes come across as wooden. At the same time however, it is so infrequent it's barely noticeable.

Ulysses 31 tackled serious issues in a time when cartoons could be serious. It showed that cartoons could be intelligent and entertaining, which has endeared it both to children and adults. And lets not forget the rocking theme tune! Contemporary animation is starting to capture this mood again, and after the super-politically correct offerings that have dominated the airwaves until recent years, I feel privileged to have seen such a work of art.
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Fantastic futuristic version of "The Odyssey" by Homer
zx5653 April 2002
This was one of the great cartoons of the 1980's. Ulysse 31 introduced kids to the world of greek mithology in an exciting and fantastic adventure. This cartoon was a futuristic version of the classic tale "The Odyssey" writen by Homer, set in outer space instead of the Mediterranean Sea. Of course to make it a bit more interesting the cartoon had some things added. Without a doubt a great cartoon.
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10/10
Beautiful retelling of a classic legend
kkinne23 November 2010
Warning: Spoilers
This has to be one of my favorite animated series of all times. In this series, Ulysses (or Odysseus, if you prefer the original Greek version)is taking his son out for a trip through space when the boy is kidnapped by a cult of cyclops-worshipers. When Ulysses rescues him, and two Zotrian children Yumi and Numenor (actually, it's hard to call Numenor a child since he appears to be anywhere between 18 and 20 or so)the cyclops, the cult who worships it, and the very planet itself go up in a big fireball. Needless to say, Poseidon and the other gods aren't to happy about this and Ulysses and the children (plus a robot named NoNo)have to go through a series of trials in order to finally go home.

The characters are the most memorable thing about this series. They move with great fluidity and are drawn in a fairly realistic style, yet their ability to emote is not limited by this, unlike the characters in Filmation works, for example. My favorite character, by far, has to be Yumi, a blue-skinned little girl of about 8 years of age (little alien girls had never been seen before on animated TV). She was an alien, but she was also perhaps the most human character in the show whose sole motivation was love, for her brother and for the family to whom she desperately wanted to return. Another Zotrian character who appears early in the series is Atina,a young woman of about 20-25 whose love for a elderly blind human man is so deeply touching that you feel sorry that she only appears in one episode.

All in all, Ulysses 31, with its warm characters and moments of breakneck action, is by far one of the best animated programs of the 80s. By the way, unlike most animation of its era, the animation has actually aged quite well. There are a couple of episodes which seem a bit corny or nearly hallucinogenic in their weirdness, plus the dialog can occasionally be a bit groan-inducing due to language differences, but these minor quirks shouldn't turn anyone off. A classic in every sense...
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8/10
Homer in the 31st Century
mavmaramis31 July 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Not the fat yellow inhabitant of Springfield, but Greek writer.

The Odessy moved in time to the 31st century starts with Ulysses leaving for what should be a relatively easy journey back to Earyh along with his son Telemachus.

Then Telemachus is taken prisoner by the cyclops and Ulysses goes to the rescue.

He kills the Cyclops, rescues Telemachus and two blue skinned aliens, Numinor and his sister Yumi from the planet Zotra.

As punishment Poseidon sentences Ulysses to wander the realm of Olymous and turns his crew ("Comapnions") into stone. Only Telemachus and Yumi are saved due to them being in a healing chamber at the time.

Their only other companion on this journey is Telemachu's birthday present - the robot No-No, almost there for comedy relief but he does come into his own in one episode.

Through 26 episodes each of 25 minutes we journey with Ulysses as he travels through the Olympus searching for the way home - which Poseidon told him would only be found by going through the Kingdom of Hades.

Each episode is virtually self contained - no time period is specified between each episode so it is impossible to calculate how long they have travelled or indeed in which direction.

They have many strange encounters, most of them are of the problem-solving and overcoming obstacles type. Each episode has a message but it is not plainly laid before the viewer.

Often we are left wondering what happens to the people Ulysses leaves behind.

A great series but the after watching the last episode you are left with the unanswered question - what happens next? The animation is superb and the designs for star ships, and other objects are great.

Watch, enjoy and relive your youth.
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10/10
Space Odysey
hellraiser720 November 2013
I'm a kid from the 80's and one of the things and there have been many things that have always had a place in my heart. Two of them I treasure the most are mythology and animation, this show has both. This is another one of my favorite cartoon from the 80's that I feel as time went on became a forgotten gem.

The premise I think is awesome, retelling Greek mythology in a space opera fashion was a great idea. Both the sci-fi and fantasy genre have always been a beautiful combination because the sci-fi element I feel broadens the fantasy universe more. There is magic but there is also science, swords but also laser guns. But most importantly just demonstrates how timeless the stories of myth are as they have successfully translated to the 80's era.

I really love the animation, it's true it might seem a little dated now but for it's time it was revolution. Character animation is good but what impresses me the most is in it's background animation and the rich universe it has created, which is surreal but fascinating at the same time. From the space station which looks almost similar to the space station in "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine", from it's circular shape to the all seeing eye. But what impresses me the most is the worlds they visit, my favorite one is no doubt the planet with the games, I'll talk about latter. Even some of the hidden metaphors and philosophy is intact.

The music score I think is great, the theme song is great and I think is a bit underrated, it's on my list of favorite theme songs; it's exciting really fits the sci-fi premise with a few of it's techno beats.

The protagonists Ulysses (whom looks like Jesus), Telemicus, and Yuli are decent, their not deep protagonists their all two dimensional. But then again so are the protagonists in myth, like them their mainly just doers, severe whatever purpose the story delivers to them. All three have a genuine motive which is simply to get back home and awaken their friends; which by it's nature is the typical motivation device just to take the protagonists on the adventures we want them to go. The only weak factor no doubt is that stupid robot Nono. That character I always felt was out of place and practically useless.

But like in all mythology stories, were really in it for the adventures. I really love how not just is the show retelling Greek Myth but also other myths from around the world. Which is great because it introduces kids to ones we've never heard about and shows how broad mythology truly goes. Two of my favorite episode are one the retelling of the Maze and the Minator, loved the design of that maze it was cool. Though my favorite has been the one in the planet of games, which was pretty much "The Most Dangerous Game" premise where Ulysess had to play and survive each challenge, the most notable is the giant chessboard with robots representing the Chess figures, it's awesome.

There's not much else for me to say, it would be awesome if there was some sort of revival to this show, with today's tech it should at least be considered, I'd personally like to see some sci-fi versions of other myths as well as figures in them like Hercules and Jason. Overall, Ulysses 31 is a great odyssey you wouldn't want to end.

Rating: 4 stars
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10/10
An Out-Of-This-World Ride And A New Side Of All That Are Based On The Greek Poem.
Dawalk-12 November 2016
I didn't grow up on watching this series, as it aired a few years before I was born, it hadn't made it to America yet, and when it did I missed it since I read elsewhere that it didn't air in the states long enough for me to get to catch it. I wouldn't have known nor heard of it until after reaching adulthood when I came across reading about it on a few websites, including this one. Afterward, my curiosity was piqued enough to take interest in checking out this show. It took me a few months to get through viewing all the episodes at Kiss Cartoon and I'm glad I saw it. It's among the older cartoons that were new to me that I'm happy I discovered and wish that I had discovered, and watched sooner.

Fun fact about this is that although co-produced with Japan's Tokyo Movie Shinsha, this is the French DiC's premier animated series, which I previously didn't know. And what a great strong, start that was for the studio. It has since become one of my most favorite DiC productions and anime. I already knew of its other French-Japanese co-produced show from the '80s, The Mysterious Cities of Gold, when I was little/younger and after watching that on Kiss Cartoon, I decided to see this next. Though inspired by Homer's Odyssey, this space-age, sci-fi upgrade of it outdoes the original source in so many more ways than one. And there's a side of it like nobody had ever seen before then.

There are so many things this has: Not only Greek mythological references, but international mythological references, even a biblical reference in at least one episode (After The Flood) with the Ark as in Noah's Ark. As well as messages and lessons. Some certain, somewhat mature themes are included too, which are what set it apart from other cartoons of the time. Also, there's even an episode that referred to the original Ulysses who the futuristic Ulysses meets through a time-wrap and ends up transporting to the initial Ulysses's time and place in Greece. One very interesting thing I'd like to point out that hasn't been mentioned by any other the other reviewers here (though I know the evident reason) is there was one episode that I'm not sure either mentioned there having been more than one planet like Earth or if the original Earth had gone through various changes or phases. If it's the former, then that means it actually foreshadowed the possibility of one day discovering a second Earth a few decades ahead just as scientists have done in recent years.

Set in outer space in the 31st century, the titular character, Ulysses, is the captain of the eye-shaped spaceship, The Odyssey. After his son, Telemachus, is captured for sacrifice to the Cyclops, he meets a Zotrian alien girl named Yumi and her big brother, Numinor. After Ulysses comes to their aid, Zeus and the other gods are displeased with this, so they retaliate by having Ulysses's crew turned to stone while suspended in the air, and now he, Telemachus, Yumi, and robot NoNo must go through a series of courses before they can return to Earth. Numinor isn't affected as much as the others, so he's able to come out of his stupor a few times before the finale episode.Various Greek mythological figures and others are encountered along the way as they strive through the obstacles. It's truly one of those serial series.

This is a fantastic series. Anyone questioning whether it's a cartoon or an anime, I say it's more anime than cartoon, as to me, it seems to have the distinctive Japanese style to the animation. The animation is top-notch, most of the characters are fine. The blend of European/French and Japanese art styles are pluses. I saw only the English dub, but maybe the French and Japanese dubs are better. I love the theme song. Another reviewer mentioned another Zotrian named Athena, whose name references the Greek goddess of wisdom. She's one of my favorite characters and I wish there were other episodes featuring her too somehow.

This show has everything, including being action-packed. There's so much to it, even though at 26 episodes, first-time viewers would be better off seeing it for themselves. I haven't seen to pilot, but I plan to get to doing so eventually. I wish the show were longer. I read on its page at TV Tropes that a second season was going to follow, but then it was dropped. It's fun to wonder what hindrances the foursome would've faced next and maybe we would have gotten to see the other characters make recurring appearances along with seeing new ones. Want to watch a show that isn't too repetitive, then I'd recommend this. There's always something different enough that happens in each episode and events setting them apart from one another. Recommended as it's definitely among the best of the best. Like others said, it's a great way of introducing kids to Greek mythology. Now if only the complete series rather than just the select episodes would be released on DVD in the U.S. I might try to order the U.K. or Australian imports on the complete series, but I'd be able to watch it on the computer only evidently. I can see why this is so beloved. One of DiC's best that's one of a kind in the company's history. Not to be passed.
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Fantastic.
haoumaru10 August 2002
A fantastic series. A japanese-french production, one of the best anime I have seen. I have been an anime fan since i was 3, and this is one of the best. Yeah, the art style is not anime,but everything in it and the fact that it was produced mostly by japanese people, (even the character designer is japanese), it can count as an anime. One of the best series you will ever see.
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9/10
I remember this one!
fibreoptic11 February 2004
Warning: Spoilers
Ulysses 31, ahh yes, fantastic! Takes me back to when i was about 6 and remembering how it scared me in places because it really is dark in places and it is also rewarding as they all get home in the end. A nice little slice of nostagia for one of the first cartoons i got hooked on. Awesome!
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7/10
After one episode, this is pretty good stuff!
andynortonuk22 February 2004
I decided to watch one of the episodes of this series on FOX Kids, and here is what I think of the series after one episode; it's pretty good!

Ulysses 31, I think, uses a clever and inventive way of re-telling Greek mythology in this science fiction fantasy environment. It might be commonplace now for most kids' science fiction programmes today, but this might have been something different when it was first transmitted in 1981.

The dubbing is just adequate, but, as someone who is now used to watching foreign animation with sub-titles, I think that I might enjoy the dialogue more in its original French language, with English subtitles (hope that's one of the features on the upcoming DVD). The animation is just what you except from a TV animated series aimed at kids for from this era (watching Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors after this, the animation is pretty conventional). I do admire how they done the spaceship, when it is moving in space and remains quite static. Also, the attention on the spaceship is somewhat realistic (yes, I know it's a cartoon, but I pay attention to this sort of stuff!). Anyway, great work on the spaceship! I was skeptical on using this 2D cell animation for this programme, but, as I started to enjoy and progress further into the episode's narrative, it doesn't seem to bother me. Also, the music is pretty good throughout the programme too! Overall, pretty good series, but I will need to see more episodes to understand why this series is well celebrated.
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10/10
Timeless Epic Dressed Up As An Early 80s Cartoon
Pozdnyshev1 August 2015
Warning: Spoilers
I LOVED this show when I was a kid, and would never miss an episode on Saturday morning. Watching a few episodes as an adult, I was pleased to see that I still found it to be not just exceptionally good entertainment, but honestly some of the best I've ever seen.

Ulysses-31 is a cartoon adaptation of Homer's "Odyssey" which takes place in the distant future as a space opera. Aside from its setting which featured an unusual mix of spaceships and Greek ruins, the cartoon looks similar to others of its time. Like "GI Joe" and "Dungeons and Dragons" with their peculiar choppy animation and Anime-inspired character design.

In spite of these similarities, the feel of this show was very, very different from all others - a sad, dark, dissociated, and dreamlike atmosphere similar to the Dark Crystal or Phantasm. It was this that made me fall in love with the show.

I like to believe that this show's surprisingly stunning visuals, and its being adapted from the world's greatest epic, is what makes the show feel this way. I'm lucky to have grown up when this kind of thing was on TV, and not desperately stupid sh*t like "Adventure Time" or "Beavis and Butthead."
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10/10
Absolutely stunning!!!!
xristofilak6 February 2019
Best anime series ever. The plot and the animation are simply amazing!
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8/10
Odyssey in Space
tankace16 February 2017
Ulysses 31 is a lose adaptation of Homer's Odyssey and to be honest has copied many things from Star Wars like some of the weapons used in to a point that I was wandering if George Lucas had give them any lawsuit for plagiarism and when I check he surely did it.

In any cases the series is decent and it has good animation, though a bit cheap and dated for today and at times you feel that the plot is on repeat "Ulysses go to some adventure ,tries to win ,but the Gods do their thing and mess the whole effort". In any case as a kid series go is it good and it will make your children indirectly learn some ancient Greek myths.

And that is the best part of the series ,it very nicely fuses the sci-fi of the series with many of the most famous legends of the myths and I can't say that it was sloppily made for it seems the block of the work in the series was in that part and it was fine.

As for the music is cheesy as any eighties cartoon ,yet still is enjoyable and fits the tone of the series.

Over all it was an interesting experience and I want it to watch it because I wanted to see a different take to a familiar story and the final product wasn't bad at all.
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6/10
Its an old TV cartoon, made for a different generation.
I have to start by saying that I watched the first 10 episodes, then skipped to one before the last and watched the last one, the reason being that there seems to not be a sequence after the first episode, hence you can watch any of them but the last one after the first (I think).

It follows Greek mythology to certain degree with a childish touch. The episodes are somewhat predictive, its seems the sequence is to land on a new planet, Ulysses goes to look after trouble, his son who was told to stay in the space ship goes after him and saves him and/or backwards, they don't find news, maybe fix a thing and go back to the spaceship.

I watched this as a child back in the 80's thus I have to say my favourite part was the intro and outro because they brings me back good memories.

In all this is for an older generation, I guess it is better if you know Greek mythology very well and see how they changed the plot to make it fit the show (which I picked up a bit but I'm not a mythology expert).

If you want to see what this show is about, I recommend you watch episode 1, x, x, x, last.

I would have given it less than 6/10 but I enjoyed it as a child, so for the good times I'll save it from failure.
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