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Western Animation: Once Upon a Time
Once Upon A Time... is a series of educational cartoons released by Procidis.

There are eight installments for this series:
  • Once Upon a Time… Man (1978), a series concerning the history of humans, starting in pre-history and progressing to World War II. In the final episode, it branches slighty as part of future predictions concerning pollution and warfare, by presenting an optimistic path.
  • Once Upon a Time… Space (1982), a science-fiction cartoon
  • Once Upon a Time… Life (1987), conerning the human body and how it works
  • Once Upon a Time… The Americas (1991)
  • Once Upon a Time… The Discoverers (1994)
  • Once Upon a Time… The Explorers (1996)
  • Once Upon a Time… Planet Earth (2008)
  • Once Upon a Time... Music (2007; Released only in Spain)


This series contains the following tropes:

    Once Upon A Time... Man 

  • Ascended To Carnivorism: Edmontosaurus was shown eating Triceratops eggs.
  • Bubbly Clouds: A pilot in World War I dived out of the plane, landed on a cloud to catch breath, before using the parachute to reach the ground.
  • Bungling Inventor: While Maestro does show inventions, there are plenty of episodes where they break down. In some cases, the mechanical devices explode.
  • By The Hair: A variation, where the pre-humans pulled their desired women by the hair. The women offered no resistance, as if they wanted to be dragged along.
  • Conscription: There's at least two means of conscription shown. The eleventh episode shows a man dragging two to the volunteer booth for the crusades. Later episodes use thugs to force signatures, and an even later one has them sign while drunk.
  • Cranial Eruption: Damaging head injuries result in one.
  • Down in the Dumps: The final episode shows attempts to clean up a junkyard that's become aggressive.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: The guillotine is only shown chopping the head off a cigar, to symbolize an execution.
  • Et Tu, Brute?: The English version plays the trope straight. However, the original French version has Caesar saying "Toi aussi, mon fils" (You too my son).
  • Fat Girl: The episode concerning trains had a minor obese character having trouble squeezing in through the train's doorway.
  • From Beyond The Fourthwall: The clock at the corner of the screen sometimes reminds characters of an error they're making. For example, Maestro using modern numbers in 350 BC, or a viking woman upset that her lover isn't monogamous.
  • Hammerspace Hair: Maestro tends to hold large objects in his hair, and in one episode, merges two small boards into a longer board.
  • I Surrender, Suckers: The Vikings had difficulty assaulting a fortress. Because of the failure, they approached the castle to parley, saying that their chief was killed in battle- and as such, they wish to convert to Christianity; the chief is to be buried with his weapons as per their tradition. Once inside, the chief jumped out of the coffin, passed the weapons the allies, and started the rampage.
  • Judgment of Solomon: Depicted as originally described. Then, a later episode spoofs the judgement with two men fighting over ownership of a pig, with a suggestion to cut the pig in half.
  • National Geographic Nudity: Early episodes had the humans with a breast drawn and uncovered - usually when the woman was carrying her baby. However, there were one or two Discretion Shots or Scenery Censor mixed in.
  • Non-Fatal Explosions: During the Storming of the Bastille, a child cheering on the attackers.
  • No Sell: Jumbo shrugs off any attack. Even weapons used against him break, whether they're clubs, swords, or whips.
  • Pillow Pistol: Shown in the French revolution episode. As an artistic licence in gun safety, Maestro kicked the bed when he saw bed bugs approaching.
  • Public Domain Soundtrack: Toccata and Fugue in D minor, BWV 565 was used as the introduction theme. You may sometimes hear other classical StandardSnippets as well.
  • Raptor Attack: Archaeopteryx incorrectly has four fingers on its wings, with the feathers attached at its wrist.
  • Regular Character: The same characters are shown in each episode - with each episode being a different section of history.
  • Right on Queue: Episode 14, where assassins burst into a house, having the door slammed after the third one. The first three are hung from the window above. The door then opens, asking for the next in line to enter.
  • Road Sign Reversal: In the episode with the 1910-era automobile racing, one group was ahead of the pack, and decided to mess everyone behind by adjusting a road sign to Bordeaux. However, the previous scene showed the sign being spun by a breeze, and the cheaters actually corrected the sign before going down the wrong road.
  • Slapstick: A lot of humor is based off of Amusing Injuries.
  • Stock Dinosaurs: Archaeopteryx, Stegosaurus, Allosaurus, Apatosaurus (called Brontosaurus), Diplodocus, Brachiosaurus, Pteranodon, Elasmosaurus, Tylosaurus, Edmontosaurus (called Anatosaurus and is incorrectly depicted with a crest), Triceratops, and Tyrannosaurus rex all appear in the first episode.
  • Totem Pole Trench: The second episode had two children use a grass skirt to look taller.
  • Walk This Way: The episode for Louis XIV had one drill sergeant try to train new recruits. The instructor tripped over a rock, tossing the rifle into the air, and hitting the other instructor. The three recruits did the exact same thing, landing their thrown rifles on the same instructor.

    Once Upon A Time... Space 

  • Always Chaotic Evil: General Pest, Glorious Leader of Cassiopeia -said to be chosen because masses follow him-. From using slaves to build a massive base in a planet near of a star close to going supernova, and when it happens prefering to save first the hardware and later the people to allying with the Humanoids hoping to betray them later.
  • Artificial Intelligence. The Great Computer.
  • Artistic License - Astronomy. Despite this cartoon having an educational side teaching basic astronomical concepts, there're some examples of this trope:
    • Asteroid Thicket: Several examples, starting with Sol's one as appears quite prominently on the show's opening credits. Avoided, however, with the rings of Saturn.
    • Old-School Dogfight: Space battles follow this trope quite well, with ships being really close to each other when fighting (within what seems as visual range) and moving -the most maneuverable ones, at least- like planes.
    • Space Is Air: See Old-School Dogfight above.
    • Space Is Noisy: From the sounds made by the engines of ships to the one caused by their weapons. Not that it's exclussive just to this show, though.
    • The different alien races are said to come from different constellations -examples include Auriga, Cassiopeia, Centaurus, and many others, with Cassiopeia even using the W formed by the brightest stars as seen from Earth as their symbol, when from their homestars those constellations would be unrecognizable as the stars that form them are usually at very different distances one of each other. This goes even further in the episode three (The Green Planet), where we see and are said how Cassiopeia controls several, and even two crude starmaps showing those asterisms can be seen as background.
  • Battle Theme Music- Three different music pieces are used for combat scenes.
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: The episode The Giants takes place in a planet inhabited by giant insects such as thermites. There's a Giant Spider, too.
  • Cool Starship: Lots of them, from the Cassiopeian Murene and Nautilus to the Omega Confederation heavy cruisers or the Ursus freighter.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: the near-complete destruction of the Cassiopeian Navy by the Humanoids in the episode The Battle of the Titans. The ending of the series, with the Humanoids being destroyed by the beings of light met by Psi in the episode The Infinity of Space counts too.
  • Earth-Shattering Kaboom: The Humanoids try their planet-destroying ship, actually formed of six smaller vessels that join together, with what looks like a Moon-like planet after defeating the Cassiopeians, the Great Computer menaces to do that with their homeworld if they do not surrender. There're two others involving stars, one of them natural when an unstable star becomes a supernova and the other of them induced by energy beings to destroy the Humanoid fleet in the last episode.
  • Energy Beings: Psi, the female protagonist who has psionic habilities, knows some of them who destroy the Great Computer and their fleet in the last episode.
  • Everything Is Better With Dinosaurs: The episode In the Land of the Dinosaurs has our heroes visiting a planet populated by those animals. They're presented, however, as the old-pre Dinosaur Renaissance ones with water-based sauropods or a Tyrannosaurus Rex walking upright.
  • The Federation: The Omega Confederation.
  • The Future: The show takes place in the year 3000.
  • The Future Will Be Better: Even if there's evil aliens and other menaces, the show presents a galaxy where different alien races live in peace and the Earth is recovering (see Humans Are Bastards just below).
  • Humans Are Bastards: The episode The Long Voyage features a ship with a single crewman launched by the Earth in the XXI century and that finds Omega. One of the things he brings is a set of what look like video tapes depicting the human species in an good, light-hearted and optimistic way, that are stolen by Cassiopeian agents and played in their planet. Among other thigs, the video starts with two hunters shooting a deer, continues showing a heavily polluted, over-populated planet and a huge traffic jam said to last more than a day and having beaten a previous record, and ends showing tanks and nuclear missile-launching trucks boasting with the high number of explosives per inhabitant in Earth.
  • Insignificant Little Blue Planet: While the leaders of the Omega Confederation are humans, Earth itself is just a minor member of it.
  • International Coproduction: Once Upon a Time... Space (and perhaps the other series) is a co-production of Procidis with several TV companies of different countries, having been animated in Japan by Eiken -so it's actually anime and not western animation-.
  • The Juggernaut: The Nautilus warships of Cassiopeia are proved to be more than a match for the Omega warships, until the Confederationdevelops a ship to counter them. The Great Computer ships qualify too, mopping the floor with the Cassiopeian ones
  • Limited Animation: Some ships use the same model again and again. Especially noticeable in shots that show large fleets.
  • Planet of Hats: In several episodes the protagonists travel to planets that turn around this trope such as a planet habited by the Greek Gods (episode The Planet Mytho), other by incas (episode The Incas), and other by prehistoric humans -oddly enough, this one is in the Andromeda Galaxy- in Towards Andromeda.
  • Recycled In SPACE: Cassiopeia, clearly based on the Romulans from Star Trek down to their looks, is the Roman Republic with space technology, Crystal Spires and Togas, and aliens instead of humans. They have a bit on inspiration on the Nazis, too, their military carrying arm bandages that evocate Nazi ones.
  • Robot War: the conflict first between the Humanoid and Cassiopeian forces and when the latter are defeated the one between the Humanoids and Omega. There're two other episodes (The Revolt of the Robots and The Revenge of the Robots) where this trope appears too.
  • Shout-Out: one race that comes from the Andromeda Galaxy resembles the Andorians from Star Trek.
    • There're also other Shout-Outs in the dialog, such as when the Computer greets the people from Omega using the phrase "Welcome to the Rendezvous with Yama".
    • In the episode Earth, we visit an Earth that is recovering of centuries of pollution and worse and there's an orbiting theme park named "Barille's Land". Albert Barille was the creator of the series.
  • Show Their Work: In one of the episodes (The Rings of Saturn) the protagonists visit the largest planets of the Solar System. While the moons of Jupiter are described in some detail showing the knowledge of them that existed at the epoch the cartoon was made (what the Voyager probes found there in 1979 and 1980), the moons of the others are described much more vaguely and even appear as featureless orbs since at that time knowledge about that topic was very limited. This can be noted, too, in the opening credits.
  • Telepathy: Psi (also known as Mercedes or Kira in other languages).
  • Theme And Variations Soundtrack: The soundtrack of this series has some themes that follow this trope, being variants in different musical styles of a single theme (from synthethizer or jazz to chamber or orchestal music).
  • Theme Music Abandonment: Or maybe Executive Meddling. In the Spanish doubling the title song and the ending credits song in the latest episodes were changed by the very different theme sang by Parchís, a child band very famous in Spain at the time. See it by yourself
  • Turned Against Their Masters: The robots in the episodes The Revolt of the Robots and The Revenge of the Robots, both taking place in the same planet and wanting to be trated as humans.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: The Great Computer and the scientist who created it, who offered it to their fellows as a way to have the humans living in peace. It turns out the concept the Great Computer has of giving peace to the men is having them tightly controlled and living without technology as in the Middle Ages.
  • What a Senseless Waste of Human Life: During the battle between the Cassiopeia and Humanoid fleets, and when their finest warships, the Nautilus-class, are being slaughtered by dozens, one of the officers onboard the flagship ask the admiral to think about how useless is the battle. In the same battle, the Humanoids tell two times their opponents to surrender, the third and last one coming with the warning of destroying their homeworld if they don't comply
  • World Tree: A big, sentient, tree found in one lush planet of the Pegasus sector without intelligent life, that appears in the episode The Green Planet. It turns it dislikes those people who mess with nature.
  • World War III: According the episode Earth, that narrates the backstory of that planet, there was that followed by a Second Renaissance (or something alike) -an epoch of, by the way, Crystal Spires and Togas-.


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