[[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... "''
-->-- OpeningNarration

''Ulysses 31'' (French: ''Ulysse 31''; Japanese: 宇宙伝説ユリシーズ31, ''Space Legend Ulysses 31'') is a [[TheEighties 1981]] French-Japanese anime series conceptualized by Jean Chalopin (who created ''Anime/TheMysteriousCitiesOfGold'' and ''WesternAnimation/InspectorGadget'' the following years) and Nina Wolmark, and co-produced by [[Creator/TMSEntertainment Tokyo Movie Shinsha]] studios and Creator/DiCEntertainment[[note]]with further animation work outsourced to Creator/NakamuraProductions, Creator/WangFilmProductions and Creator/ArakiProductions, with backgrounds by Creator/StudioJack, all uncredited[[/note]] under the supervision of Bernard Deyriès. 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 (hence "31" in the title), spaceship commander Ulysses flies home from a galactic conflit he helped end pacifically on the planet Troy. On the way back to Earth, he rescues his son Telemachus and two young Zotrians, Yumi and Numinor, 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 ''Odysseus'', through into Olympus, putting his crew and Numinor in suspended animation, and erasing the ship's memory files that contain Earth's location.

Ulysses will now have to wander throughout unknown worlds in the galaxy of Olympus and face various threats and dangerous traps set by the gods until he finds the Kingdom 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 journey by the only two persons who were not put in suspended animation, his teenage son Telemachus and Yumi, a blue-skinned alien little girl with [[PsychicPowers telepathic powers]]. Nono, the small red toy robot Ulysses offered to Telemachus, also accompanies them.

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 ''Odysseus'' 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.

'''Characters tropes go on the [[Characters/Ulysses31 character sheet]].'''
!!''Ulysses 31'' provides examples of the following tropes:

* AllMythsAreTrue: And they're happening again, ''[[{{Recycled IN SPACE}} in space]]''!
* AncientGrome:
** Think of the trope but RecycledInSpace, with Latin names such as Ulysses and the Parcae being used alongside Greek ones such as ''Odysseus'' (Ulysses and his ship thus have the same name).
** Add to that soldiers from the actual AncientGreece episode looking more like Roman soldiers than Greek hoplites.
* 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]].
* BalefulPolymorph: Circe turns Ulysses' crew, Yumi/Themis and Telemachus into [[PigMan zombified humanoid pig slaves]].
* BrainwashedAndCrazy: "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.
* 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' laser-saber (blatantly inspired by the lightsabers of ''Franchise/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 this, to variable degrees.
* CosmicPlaything: Ulysses is very literal example, being played with by the gods.
* CrapsackWorld: Crapsack ''universe''. The Olympus is full of hostile entities and dangers at every corner for Ulysses, the children accompanying him and the ''Odysseus'' itself.
* CrystalSpiresAndTogas
* {{Cult}}: The Cyclop's monks are a cult worshipping it, offering it children in sacrifice.
* 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.
* 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 or aliens endlessly. Not to mention giant fire and ice storms ''in space'', a gigantic magnetized ships cemetery and various asteroid fields the gods enjoy putting in the way of the ''Odysseus''.
* DerelictGraveyard: One that has both its own name ("The Graveyard of Wrecks and Hulks") ''and'' an infamous reputation.
* EarthShatteringKaboom: The Cyclops' planet [[LoadBearingBoss explodes after its death]].
* ElementalEmbodiment: The two perpetually colliding space storms, Charybd (fire) and Scylla (ice).
* {{Enthralling Siren}}s
* EverybodyLives: [[spoiler:By the last episode, no one in the Odysseus has died.]]
* 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. Once they reach their episode allotment, though...
* FirstRunSyndication: Although created in 1981, it didn't air in the U.S. until 1986 when it aired as part of the syndicated Kideo TV block.[[note]]It would go on to be replaced by reruns of ''WesternAnimation/TheGetAlongGang''.[[/note]]
* 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.
* {{Hellevator}} / SpaceElevator: There is a giant elevator in the kingdom of Hades, and it drives dead souls to his inner kingdom.
* 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.
* 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.
* 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.
* {{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".
* 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.
* 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}}
* MookMobile: The Tridents. They exist solely to harrass the Odysseus and to be shot down by Ulysses.
* MotherShip:
** The ''Odysseus''.
** The Tridents carriers.
* NoOntologicalInertia: In one episode Ulysses meets a wizard who frees his companions from the gods' curse. When the wizard is killed by a treacherous servant his spell is broken and the companions go back to sleep.
* 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.
* PerplexingPearlProduction: "Temple of the Lestrigones" has [[CoolStarship the Odysseus]] shrunk by the baddie du jour. Ulysses sets out in a small spherical scout ship, which is caught in an oyster and covered in nacre within hours.
* 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.
* ProtagonistTitle: Ulysses is the show's protagonist. "31" means "31st century" meanwhile.
* 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.
* 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]].]]
* 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.
* SpaceIsCold: There are asteroid-size icebergs in space, most notably at the entrance of Hades' Kingdom.
* StockFootage: Those shots where Ulysses and Telemachus are reunited after winning the day and fall into each other's arms? It appeared in the pilot, and it was shamelessly reused in several other episodes.
* StockSoundEffects: Many sounds (especially the activation of the {{Laser Blade}}s and the Tridents' laser shots) were taken directly from ''Franchise/StarWars''.
* TakenForGranite:
** The witch turned all the adult Zotrians living on her moon into stone in the episode "The Lost Planet".
** The treasure of the Sirens is guarded by a giant metal tentacle that turns all the beings it touches into metal statues.
* 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.
* TowerOfBabel: Circe never stops building a giant tower to house all the knowledge in the universe.
* 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".
* WheelOfPain: A bunch of these are shown powering the loom of fate.
* 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]].