May ’18 – “By The Great Galaxies” – Ulysses 31

Posted: May 16th, 2018 | Author: | Filed under: A Proper Blog | Tags: | No Comments »

It’s not massively common for anyone associated with Braw Towers to fall into or for the (ever-expanding-wallet-shrinking) nostalgia trap, but Agent Rob has to admit that his admiration for Ulysses 31 is about as close as he’ll ever get to indulging this modern phenomenon. There’s no doubt that his young imagination was well and truly fired – just as it was with the similar-ish Star Fleet and 80’s Doctor Who – by these highly imaginative and memorable animated ‘space adventures’. Over the course of this Manga Month (and perhaps into the mythical near future) we’ll hopefully cover every episode of this cartoon classic in detail….

Yumi, Ulysses, Telemachus and Nono

“It is the 31st Century. Ulysses killed the giant Cyclops when he rescued the chilrdren and his son Telemachus, but the ancient gods of Olympus are angry and threaten a terrible revenge….”

“Mortals! You defy the gods!? I sentence you to travel among unknown stars. Until you find the kingdom of hades your bodies will stay as lifeless as stone….”

EPISODE 1

In this opening episode Telemachus, the son of Ulysses, is ‘spacenapped’ from their ship, the Odyssey, and is to be sacrificed to the mighty Cyclops. In prison Telemachus meets (the other central characters) Yumi and her brother Numinor of the planet Zotra….

The ‘spacebase’ at Troy

The Odyssey

In their attempt to rescue these three, Ulysses and Nono – the obligatory comic relief robot – destroy the Cyclops, thus angering and defying the ancient Greek god of Poseidon. As such their ship is banished to a black hole where they will undergo many trials in the dominion of Olympus….

Shirka, the Odyssey’s computer

The Cyclops

At this juncture, while Ulysses repairs the ship’s Iris (its main source of power) for Shirka (its central computer), he is sentenced to “wander among worlds unknown” and his companions are frozen – “their bodies will remain as lifeless as stone” – until such a time as they eventually (hopefully) find the Kingdom of Hades….

Zeus

Nestor and the lifeless companions

This first episode – and one that my little brother delighted in telling me about when I came home from playing football at the park and caught the ending, knowing I would have to wait until such a time as it was repeated to finally see it – is a good enough introductory tale, essential for the initial set-up of the overarching plot, the mighty Cyclops and his eerily faithful disciples. Worth noting that it only takes 6 minutes for one of the especially memorable and haunting themes to make an audio appearance, ‘Le Cyclope et Les Moines Aveugles‘ and that after 9 & 1/2 minutes we’re treated to yet another classic bit of the ’31 soundtrack, ‘L’Odysseus‘….

Episode 1 – Vengeance Of The Gods

Agent Rob‘s been watching these episodes on an historic 3 DVD set ‘The Complete Series‘ from 2004 but the lucky(?) readers of this blog can enjoy them courtesy of TheAdamAdamant‘s Youtube Channel. Adam has, over the past four years been diligently and lovingly restoring the entire series episode by episode. Indeed, all the beautiful, crisp screengrabs on display are sourced from said videos. I’ll be sure to link/share the very best of these restored Ulysses 31 episodes here….

Not content with his services to the obvious betterment of mankind, Adam Adamant has somehow unearthed the original 15 minute (decidedly) Japanese (looking) pilot of the show – the final 1981 series was a French-Japanese co-production – taking the time to dub it into English too. This intriguing curio is (his but) yours to view above….

Of course, for many people, myself included, much of the (enduring) appeal of Ulysses 31 is the tremendous original soundtrack – composed by Denny Crockett and Ike Egan (with Shuki Levy and Haim Saban)- comprised as it is of quietly brooding, highly atmospheric, proggy space rock. And, thanks to the dedication of French composer/musician David Colin/Parallax – who obviously knows quality when he hears it – you can listen to rerecorded excerpts here or indeed invest in a lavish variety of physical versions here. Agent Rob was lucky enough to grab a 10 track work in progress sampler of the very best tracks online many years ago and, IMO, the greatest of them all is this effort (AKA the aforementioned ‘Le Cyclope et Les Moines Aveugles‘)….

Ulysee 31 Soundtrack – La Malédiction Des Dieux



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