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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