[[quoteright:350:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/2369.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:350:From left to right - Nono, Telemachus, Yumi and Ulysses]]

->''"It is the 31st century. Ulysses killed the giant Cyclops when he rescued the children and his son Telemachus. But the ancient Gods of Olympus are angry and threaten a terrible revenge... "''
-->--Opening narration

'''''Ulysses 31''''' (French: '''''Ulysse 31'''''; Japanese: 宇宙伝説ユリシーズ31, '''''Space Legend Ulysses 31''''') is an anime series co-produced by [[Creator/TMSEntertainment Tokyo Movie Shinsha]] studios and Creator/DiCEntertainment[[note]]with further animation work outsourced to Creator/NakamuraProductions and Creator/WangFilmProductions and backgrounds by Creator/StudioJack, all uncredited[[/note]]. As the name implies, it is based on Creator/{{Homer}}'s ''Literature/TheOdyssey'' and heavily borrows plot elements from it, as well as various plot elements and characters from other famous [[Myth/ClassicalMythology Greek myths]].

In the 31st century, spaceship commander Ulysses flies home from the Trojan War. On the way back to Earth, he rescues his son Telemachus and two young Zotrians (Yumi and Numinor in Japanese; Themis and Numios in French) from a HumanSacrifice and destroys the {{Cyclops}}, angering Poseidon and the other gods who rule the universe of Olympus, from which it came. Zeus curses Ulysses by dragging Ulysses' ship, the Odyssey, through into Olympus, putting his crew and Numinor/Numios in suspended animation, and erasing the ship's memory files that contain Earth's location. Ulysses will now have to wander throughout unknown galaxies in the Olympus and face various threats and dangerous traps set by the gods until he finds the realm of Hades, at which point his crew will be revived and he will be allowed to travel back to Earth.

He is accompanied in his quest by his teenage son Telemachus; Yumi/Themis in French, a blue-skinned alien little girl with [[PsychicPowers telepathic powers]]; and a small toy robot named Nono.

The series is an unusual product of international collaboration, that is still right now rather unique in its quality (there was a two-week delay for episode production, instead of the standard one-week; the French team was almost entirely made of professional illustrators, which forced the Japanese animation team to actually simplify the graphics, but also gave them enough inspiration to go much farther than what they were used to). A second season was planned but ultimately cancelled.

The ''Odyssey'' was originally planned to be animated by computer, but the single wireframe model generated was still too complex to render for the machines of the times. So, the only computer animation left is the opening credits.
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!!''Ulysses 31'' provides examples of the following tropes:

* AcePilot: Ulysses is a damn good pilot with the Odysseus' small vessels.
* AIIsACrapshoot: The malevolent A.I. Cortex.
* AllMythsAreTrue: And they're happening again, ''[[{{Recycled IN SPACE}} in space]]''!
* {{Ambadassador}}: Ulysses is implied to have been ambassador or peace treaty-maker during the Trojan War, yet he never hesitates to face down the assorted monsters the gods throw in his path.
* AnimalEyes: Zodrians have cat-like slanted eyes with a vertical slit for a pupil.
* AttackReflector: In the first episode, Ulysses finds out that the parabolic antenna carried by Nono can reflect back the Cyclops' EyeBeam, and orders Nono to [[HoistByHisOwnPetard reflect the beam back into the Cyclops' eye, destroying it in the process]].
* BadassBeard: Ulysses' beard is not as big as his hair.
* BadassNormal: Ulysses. Especially considering he's basically going up against the gods themselves completely alone with the help of only two children, a small robot and his ship's technologies.
* BalefulPolymorph: Circe turns Ulysses' crew, Yumi/Themis and Telemachus into [[PigMan zombified humanoid pig slaves]].
* {{Bishonen}}: Telemachus
* CatGirl: The Sphinx's daughter has cat ears, CuteLittleFangs and the personality of a spoiled feline.
* ClockPunk: The realm of Chronos has clocks ''everywhere''.
* CoolShip: The ''Odyssey'' (based on the space station from ''Film/TwoThousandOneASpaceOdyssey''), and Ulysses' various small ships.
* CoolSword: Ulysses' lightsaber (blatantly inspired by ''StarWars''). The hilt can be used as a blaster gun.
* CosmicEntity: The gods of Olympus, of course. And some of Ulysses' enemies of the week are more or less this.
* CosmicPlaything: A very literal example.
* [[CrapsackWorld Crapsack Universe]] / DeathWorld: The Olympus is full of shipwrecks, empty giant cities and desolate worlds where the gods or other entities enjoy tempting and tormenting unlucky humans endlessly.
* CrystalSpiresAndTogas
* TheCutie: Yumi/Themis
* CyberCyclops: For the obligatory blinding of the cyclops scene, he got revamped this way, in order to fit into the sci-fi setting. Also served by cultists who have put out their eyes and jammed a large crystal into the space between the sockets.
* DerelictGraveyard: One that has both its own name ("The Graveyard of Wrecks and Hulks") ''and'' an infamous reputation.
* {{Determinator}}: Ulysses. He's going up against the gods themselves with no help except for a computer, two preteens and a small robot. He'd kind of have to be.
* EarthShatteringKaboom: The Cyclops' planet [[LoadBearingBoss explodes after its death]].
* ElementalEmbodiment: The two perpetually colliding space storms, Charybd (fire) and Scylla (ice).
* {{Enthralling Siren}}s
* EverybodyHatesHades: Mostly averted. Hades takes part to Ulysses' final trial in the last episode and his role is more or less faithful to his mythical one.
* EverybodyLives: [[spoiler:By the last episode, no one in the Odysseus has died.]]
* EvilLaugh: Zeus regularly has one.
* ExpositoryThemeTune: ''[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OZ4c1X5ene8&feature=related UlysSEEEeeeEEEeeeEEES, no-one else can do the things you dooooo!!]]'' To French ears, the dub heard at the beginning is hilariously [[LargeHam hammy]]. [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vxlNw-vz7l8 Compare with the original version]].
* FailureIsTheOnlyOption: Many episodes offer a map of Olympus or a shortcut back to Earth to Ulysses, only to have it snatched away by the end.
* TheFettered: Ulysses, since he's an IdealHero, MartialPacifist and so on.
* FollowTheLeader: In the 90's Marvel Comics had a team called the Pantheon, and rather noticeably it had a member named Ulysses whose powers were having an energy sword and shield.
* GenreBlindness: Ulysses and everyone else haven't wised up to the fact that they are reliving Homer's epic in a SF context, despite meeting the original Ulysses at one point (near the very end of the series). 31st century Ulysses does remark the gods treating the both of them rather similarly, however since the future cast gets a reboot to the beginning of the episode, he can't remember it.
** Most episodes are based on Ancient Greece myths, however only half of them do allude to ''Literature/TheOdyssey'' -- and those that do, due to AdaptationDistillation, only bear a vague resemblance to the original. This actually appears very well when the cast is sent to the past, as although similar-looking and a good warrior, 31st century Ulysses is far from being as eager for revenge as his ancestor. Let's not forget that Odysseus was more well-known for his trickery than his courage in battle (though the guy was hailed as one of the best warriors of his time, he was also known to avoid direct confrontation whenever he could help it and/or didn't feel like bathing in the blood of his enemies).
* AGodAmI: Circe wants to achieve godhood through omniscience.
* GodIsEvil: The gods persecute Ulysses in particularly petty and underhanded ways. This is normal for Myth/ClassicalMythology, which is practically defined by its {{Jerkass God}}s, but the gods of ''Ulysses 31'' manage to be even crueller.
** Punishing Ulysses for slaying the Cyclops here is arguably worse than in the original Odyssey, because here it's not Poseidon's son but a robot he created, and which is being used by a bunch of lunatics to [[PoweredByAForsakenChild drain the lives of children so they can see]], as it implies that either Poseidon didn't care what they were using it for... ''or actually created it for that purpose!''
** The episode "Flowers of Fear" features killer robo-plants that can hide themselves away perfectly when dormant, but react to the presence of life by growing into huge monstrous plants that seek to blast the living creature with lasers. The gods sowed these things across the entirety of a planet devoted solely to medicine... because they were too good at curing sick people for the gods' liking (Mind you, they were so good at curing sick people they could cure ''death'').
* GoodIsNotDumb: Ulysses might be naive at times, but he's smart enough to always overcome the odds in his favor.
* Myth/GreekMythology: A SpaceOpera take on it.
* HairOfGoldHeartOfGold: Telemachus is made of this trope.
* {{Hellevator}} / SpaceElevator: There is a giant elevator in the kingdom of Hades, and it drives dead souls to his inner kingdom.
* HeroProtagonist: Ulysses, naturally.
* TheHomewardJourney: The whole premise is about Ulysses going through many perils in the Olympus galaxy to get back home (Earth replaces Ithaca in this setting).
* HuntingTheMostDangerousGame / DeadlyGame:
** The episode "Guardian of the Cosmic Winds". Aeolus, King of the Cosmic Winds, kidnaps Ulysses to provide entertainment for his daughter's birthday party.
** The episode "The Magician in Black," too. A powerful wizard breaks the gods' curse over Ulysses's crew...but as payment demands to hunt the three best among them.
* IdealHero: Ulysses, definitely. Good luck finding a single moral flaw in his character.
* IdenticalGrandson: Played with. 31st century Ulysses and original Ulysses (and both Telemachus) are confused for each other, but their loved ones can tell the difference fairly easily.
* ImpossibleTask: Finding Hades' kingdom, for starters. Ulysses is then pitted against several seemingly impossible tasks by the gods over the course of the series, but always triumphs.
* IncorruptiblePurePureness: Ulysses is tempted many times into choosing an easier way to get back to Earth (usually by having to let his companions behind) by the gods throughout the series, yet he always chooses to stay and never abandons his companions.
* JetPack: Ulysses' UtilityBelt allows him short flights and hovering.
* KillerRobot: In the episode "Trapped Between Fire and Ice".
* KillSat: Cerberus. A satellite that guards the entrance of Hades' kingdom and destroys the ships of the living who dare to approach with a trident-shaped beam.
* LaserBlade: Ulysses's weapon is a laser gun that doubles as a lightsaber.
* {{Leitmotif}}: The haunting [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WQaknWwIunc theme of the gods]], among others.
* ALoadOfBull: The Minotaur appears in "Lost in the Labyrinth".
* LooksLikeJesus: Ulysses. Justified in that in this version, Ulysses is a Messianic figure of sorts.
* LongNeck: Nono is able to stretch his neck to great lengths.
* LotusEaterMachine: In, get this, "The Lotus Eaters". Although, with this being an adaptation of the original legend, it doesn't quite fit the usual definition.
* LuckilyMyShieldWillProtectMe: Ulysses' [[DeflectorShield energy shield]].
* MagicMirror / TheMirrorShowsYourTrueSelf: The Sphinx is in possession of a mirror showing the true personality of people reflected in it. He is Genre Savvy enough to keep his [[SpoiledBrat daughter]] away from it.
* {{Magitek}}
* ManlyTears: In the episode "Calypso", Ulysses almost shed a tear.
* MartialPacifist: Ulysses only resorts to using violence to defend himself.
* MasterComputer:
** Shirka, the Odysseus' A.I.
** Cortex
* MindControl: "Mutiny on Board". The gods control Ulysses' crew, reviving the companions as crazed zombies who take over the ship and try to crash it into space glaciers.
* MookMobile: The Tridents. They exist solely to harrass the Odysseus and to be shot down by Ulysses.
* MotherShip:
** The ''Odysseus''.
** The Tridents carriers.
* MysticalWhiteHair: Yumi/Themis is a telepath and she's got white hair.
* NemeanSkinning: Referenced in the design of Ulysses' spacesuit.
* OldSchoolDogfight: Ulysses against the Tridents emulates the dogfights from ''Franchise/StarWars'', which were based on UsefulNotes/WorldWarII dogfights.
* OminousOperaCape: [[spoiler:The personifications of Zeus, Poseidon and Hades during Ulysses' final trial in the last episode]].
* OrpheanRescue: In the last episode, Ulysses meets the 31st century Orpheus, who wants to find his wife in Hades' kingdom. Ulysses' entrance into Hades' kingdom can be considered as one too, as Hades wants to turn his crew into his own citizens.
* PapaWolf: Ulysses will do ''anything'' to protect or save Telemachus. And Yumi as well, since she has become an adoptive daughter of sorts.
* PluckyComicRelief: Nono is basically there to provide humor with his clumsiness to counterbalance the otherwise deadly serious tone of the cosmic threat the gods put upon Ulysses.
* PointyEars: The Zodrians (like Yumi) have pointy ears.
* PowersThatBe: The gods intervene overtly but also like to pull the strings unnoticed.
* ProngsOfPoseidon: In this universe, the trident symbolizes the Olympus gods' power, not only that of Poseidon.
** [[MookMobile The Tridents]], naturally.
** The Cerberus satellite's weapon has the shape of a trident and fires trident-like beams.
** The Minotaur wields a trident.
* RapidAging: Chronos' curse on Ulysses' crew, Yumi/Themis and Telemachus.
* RecycledInSpace: The show is literally ''Literature/TheOdyssey'' [-IN SPACE-]!
* ResetButton: The giant clock in "Chronos, Father of Time" can turn back time.
* RiddleOfTheSphinx: Ulysses is naturally submitted to one, and wins.
* RidiculouslyHumanRobots: Nono's antics make him ridiculously human. He packs a wide range of human emotions like shyness, anger, sadness or even love.
* RobotBuddy: Nono, a small red robot Ulysses offers to Telemachus for his birthday.
* SecretTestOfCharacter: [[spoiler:Upon finally reaching the Kingdom of Hades, Hades allows Ulysses to return to Earth... [[SadisticChoice provided he leaves all his companions behind]]. [[GoingDownWithTheShip Ulysses refuses]]. Just as it seems that all is lost, it turns out this was the final trial of the gods and [[EarnYourHappyEnding he is now free to return to Earth with all his revived crew]].]]
* SelfDuplication: The power of Hercrone, the Sphinx's daughter.
* SharkMan: The foot soldiers of the gods are shark-like humanoids.
* ShoutOut: To a good bunch of {{Space Opera}}s: ''Film/TwoThousandOneASpaceOdyssey'', ''Franchise/StarWars'', ''Franchise/StarTrek''...
* ShrinkRay: Antipathes' prism in "Temple of the Lestrigones" can shrink anything, from humans to spaceships. The effect can be reversed with the other faces of the prism.
* SmallAnnoyingCreature: Nono's antics make him one.
* SpaceIsCold: The entrance to Hades' Kingdom.
* TheStoic: Ulysses never says a word during a fight.
* TakenForGranite: The Zotrians in the episode "The Lost Planet".
* TimeTravel: At one point Ulysses travels back in time to ancient Greece and actually meets the original Ulysses.
* ToHellAndBack: The last episode involves Ulysses going to Hades' kingdom.
* TrademarkFavoriteFood: Nono loves snacking small nails.
* TowerOfBabel: Circe never stops building a giant tower to house all the knowledge in the universe.
* TwoFaced: Chronos has a face on the back of his head.
* TheUnderworld: Hades' kingdom is this for the whole Olympus galaxy.
* {{Unicorn}}: With Pegasus-like wings and a freezing ray, in the episode "The lost Planet".
* VariantChess / HumanChess: Ulysses must fight giant chess pieces in "Guardian of the Cosmic Winds".
* WickedWitch: In the episode "The lost Planet". [[spoiler:[[RousseauWasRight She is actually a nice person]], [[FriendToAllChildren especially towards children]]. It turns out she just became crazy when the Zotrians evacuated their children from the moon once it started to move away from the orbit of Zotra, and turned them to stone because she thought they hated her]].
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