Western Animation: Moi Renart
"A star is born!"Moi Renart
("I Renart") is a French animated series first broadcast in 1986, made by Bruno-René Huchez, who was behind several popular French animated series in The Eighties
It is a very loose adaptation of Le Roman de Renart
, an anthology of satirical tales written in the French Middle Ages. The original stories were about a fox called Renart outwitting other animals as they try to chase food. Those tales were so popular that it even replaced in French vocabulary "goupil" with "renard" (French for fox)
The animated series is set in Paris
during The Eighties
. The characters are very anthropomorphized animals (realistic human bodies, animal heads). It has a much more comedic tone, and more often than not, Hilarity Ensues
The plot is about Renart, a cocky and joyful young fox, who goes in Paris and decides to set up an agency where he says he can do any
job. He often badgers his greedy and grumpy uncle Ysengrin who is a car salesman, gets in trouble with the law, and tries to seduce beautiful vixen journalist Hermeline.
- Absent-Minded Professor: Professor Grimbert, big time.
- Alien Abduction: There are no actual extraterrestrials in the show, but an episode is about Renart's aunt Hersent, who sees a movie about an alien invader who abducts a french fries salesgirl and they live Happily Ever After (because the alien's a cool guy and she was in an unpleasant engagement). So she sets up a french fries stand and waits for an alien to abduct her! Renart dresses up as the alien and "abducts" her in a disguised helicopter to please her.
- A Load of Bull: Mac and his teammates in Renart Big Mac.
- Animated Adaptation
- Ass in a Lion Skin: Renart and other characters would impersonate other humanoid-animal "species", but also non-anthropomorphic animals! (such as a gorilla or bear)
- Attractive Bent-Gender: Renart impersonates a woman several times, and they are more often attractive than not. Even his own uncle wants to touch Renart's leg when he is impersonating a cleaning lady. What is less attractive is his incapacity in making an attractive female voice.
- Big Bad: Moufflard the vulture.
- Catgirl: Many of the hotties Renart meets are anthropomorphic cats, especially in the "Vieux Roublard" segment.
- Cats Are Mean: Tibert, the main cat character, always antagonizes Renart. Subverted with Superchou, who is very nice but a ditz.
- Child Prodigy: Little Crack who has a super-intellect and is being cared by his rich grandfather so that he can run his criminal empire.
- Clear My Name: Renart gets framed for bank robberies in one episode and has to take matters in his own hands to prove himself innocent.
- Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Renart's aunt Hersent, especially in the Alien Abduction episode.
- Cunning Like a Fox: Obviously.
- Dirty Cop: Inspector Tibert may usually be on the side of the law, but is secretly embezzling money and does work for Moufflard.
- Dogs Are Dumb: Budvilin. So much.
Moufflard: What are you writing again, you idiot?"
Budvilin:"Well, I am writing that I can't write!"
- Early-Bird Cameo: Although more of a Reused Character Design, we can mention:
- Mimi the gun trafficker in Ciné fric frac appears as an extra in the fourth episode where she is shoved by Renart disguised as a maid on skates.
- Paprika Magot from the The Kiosk Affair appears as a Tarzan-girl who rescues Renart from a gorilla in the "Vieux Roublard" segment in the first two episodes.
- Hélène from The Vixen appears in the "Vieux Roublard" segment where she is being wooed by a pig (who could be Natta).
- Everything's Better with Monkeys: Renart has a tiny white non-anthropomorphic monkey called Marmouset as a pet and sidekick.
- Evil Old Folks: Mister Crack.
- The Eighties: Moi Renart was set and broadcast in this period. There are actually very little Eighties culture elements visible; the most visible part is when Renart daydreams a music video starring himself with showgirls, robots serving champagne, Grace Jones spitting a car and the Statue of Liberty on rockets.
- Fountain of Youth: The penultimate episode is about a chemical that turns people into children, both physically and mentally.
- Frogs and Toads: The first episode is about Renart thwarting frog trafficking.
- Furry Confusion: There are anthropomorphic animals treated like humans, and non-anthropomorphic animals treated like, well, animals.
- Furry Fandom: It is sometimes speculated that this series launched several young French people into furries...
- Gay Paree: The action mainly happens in Paris, although it is hardly a romantic one.
- General Ripper: General Bigeard shows some slight aspects of this.
- Guile Hero: Guess who.
- Intrepid Reporter: Hermeline, Renart's would-be girlfriend.
- Just a Stupid Accent: Would often impersonate a "foreigner" like this.
- Kind Hearted Simpleton: Budvilin who is very hardly actively engaging into crime.
- Latex Perfection: Renart is able to impersonate female characters with a good latex mask. There's also an episode where villains frame him for a bank robbery by masquerading as Renart himself.
- Lighter and Softer: The original tales are
a bit hell of a lot darker and more pessimistic, but the difference is a bit too big to make a comparison.
- Mad Scientist: Professor Grimbert, but a benevolent one.
- Market-Based Title: Of the episodes released on VHS, almost all of them had their title changed to be more... generic.
- The Fox in the Stars? Nah, just call it The Movie!
- The Kiosk Affair? Nah, call it Vote Renart!...
- Tartala Bloune? Nah, call it The Cult.
- Master of Disguise: Renart, who only occasionally uses Latex Perfection.
- Messy Pig: The pig family, who is seen from time to time and act like slobs.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Several characters are inspired by celebrities at the time:
- Superchou is basically children singer Chantal Goya.
- General Frimard is basically General Marcel Bigeard.
- Princess Corolle de Saint-Zéphyr is basically Princess Stéphanie de Monaco.
- Moulio Moulino is basically singer Julio Iglesias.
- President Ducoi is basically President François Mitterrand.
- Non-Human Sidekick: Marmouset the monkey. Okay, okay, nobody is technically human in the show since the "human-like" are anthropomorphic animals... but hey, it still counts, right?
- Off Model: The characters will sometimes look very weird for a second or two, such as Renart showing a very cartoony face when in shock or Ysengrin being suddenly twice as large as Renart when standing next to him.
- The Fil-à-Film VHS releases had mostly AWFUL cover art, obviously done by some crony who used a screen-still as reference to clumsily reproduce something that looks like a bad child tracing (and Fil-à-Film had a lot of awful cover art to offer!).
- Paper-Thin Disguise: Some of Renart's disguises amount to that: he easily impersonates General Bigeard by simply tucking his ears in a cap and putting a big band-aid on his snout!
- Petting Zoo People: All of the characters (except Marmouset) are furries with almost photo-realistic human bodies.
- Porky Pig Pronunciation: Professor Grimbert always talks like that.
- Rascally Rabbit: Little Crack in Jess Bomb.
- Rebellious Princess: Princess Corolle de Saint-Zéphyr refuses the Arranged Marriage that her father forces her into and she'd prefer to give up the royal life and be an artist at a circus. Which she does.
- Recycled IN SPACE!: It's Le Roman de Renart with Petting Zoo People in Paris in The Eighties!
- Reused Character Design: Done several times. For instance, Zazou the effeminate dance instructor looks exactly like the pop-art artist shown in another episode.
- Setting Update: From Middle Ages to the 1980's.
- Shout-Out: In the first episode, Marmouset goes watch a TV series on a TV watch. On the screen is shown Clémentine, another classic French cartoon of the 80's that was also made by Bruno-René Huchez and had the same character designer (Pascale Mauraux). The music heard is Renart's theme, though.
- Sudden Name Change: In the Moulio's concert episode, Hersent is suddenly called "Ysengrine". This only time.
- Sympathetic Inspector Antagonist: Inspector Tibert.
- Those Two Bad Guys: Pelé and Budvilin, Moufflard's two henchmen. Pelé is the mean smarter one, Budvilin is the dumb nicer one.
- Tsundere: Hermeline shows parts of this.
- Trademark Favorite Food: Mac the Football Player loves peanut butter hamburgers.
- Unexplained Recovery: The villains are all turned into babies and incarcerated in the penultimate episode. Last episode, and they're again adult, free and committing crime in space.
- Widget Series: It is a weird French thing.
- You Dirty Rat: Pelé, Moufflard's henchman, is a rat and very mean.