Western Animation / The Legend of the Titanic

Not as Animesque as this picture makes it look.

The Legend of the Titanic is a full-length animation loosely based on the infamous Titanic disaster, specifically the recent hit Titanic. It was released in 1999, produced in Italy by Mondo TV and animated in North Korea by SEK Studios, the same studio that made Squirrel and Hedgehog. Not to be confused with that other Titanic cartoon called Titanic: The Legend Goes On.

The plot is set on a voyage of the RMS Titanic, and concerns the romance between a Duke's daughter, Elizabeth, and a gypsy prince who calls himself Don Juan. Maltravers (called Baron Vandertilt in the dub of the sequel) is the unscrupulous owner of a whale hunting company, who wishes to own whaling rights of all seas owned by Elizabeth's father. He intends to marry Elizabeth, and then make her father to sign over all whaling rights to him. Oh, and then he intends to cover his tracks by sinking the Titanic afterwards. You know, because it wasn't depressing enough that it was an iceberg that did it. Talking mice, dogs and undersea animals make an appearance.

Unlike that other Titanic cartoon, though, this one has actually a sequel called In Search of the Titanic, also titled Tentacolino, which takes place three years after the first installment. In Search of the Titanic has little screen time for the actual Titanic ship and most of it takes place in Atlantis. It also features some musical numbers which compete with those in Titanic: The Legend Goes On.

The movie was produced by Mondo TV, who prior to making this helped co-produce the anime Cinderella Monogatari with Tatsunoko. Later, they would go on to produce the cartoon Angel's Friends.

Both films provide examples of the following tropes:

  • Accidental Pun: Smiley belongs to an Andalusian prince, and is therefore an Andalusian dog.
  • Artistic License Biology:
    • Tentacles' dog nose.
    • The sharks being able to overpower a killer whale. In real life, killer whales will occasionally prey on sharks.
  • Artistic License History: Used to the point that everyone survives the sinking.
  • Artistic License Physics:
    • For starters, unlike what the first movie depicts, icebergs don't sink.
    • Speaking of said iceberg, the sharks keeping the Titanic from dodging it was pointless because the ship had too much momentum to swerve in time. All they accomplished was putting themselves in unnecessary danger.
  • Beta Couple: Mice in the first film, dogs in the second film.
  • Big Bad: Maltravers in the first film.
    • In the second film, there's a whole menagerie of villains, so it's kind of hard to tell. But the most vocal and ambitious one is the (self-proclaimed) Emperor.
  • Conspicuous CG: Looks like the makers tried to show off their CG and it's most commonly seen during long-distance shots of the Titanic, but also elsewhere in the first film and ocean in the second.
  • Disneyfication: A grossly extreme example. In the first film, the ship is rescued from sinking by a giant octopus atoning for having chucked the iceberg in the ship's way in the first place. And everyone survives, even the captain and the band. The only possible saving throw is the ending, which implies that the narrator of the story, as a sailor, exaggerates and makes up stuff. This does absolutely nothing to excuse the sequel, which involves mermaids, Atlantis, talking toys, and evil mice.

The Legend of the Titanic provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Green Aesop: Against dolphin/whale hunting.
  • Grow Old with Me: Top Connors and Stella seem to have been married a long time after the events of the movie. Both of them are still alive at least 80 years later! (Ronnie is said to have gone back to Brazil. No word if he's alive or not.)
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Two times. But they (somehow) weren't real deaths anyway.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Maltravers, Rachel, Jeffrey, and Rachel's sister leave in a lifeboat just before the Titanic hits the iceberg. Maltravers planned to have Mr. Ice guide them to his whaling ships. But Mr. Ice was defeated, and his message never went out, and thus they are left to be drowned at sea.
    • Maltravers and Jeffery are alive in the sequel without explanation of how they survived. Of course, the sequel doesn't have the best continuity.
  • Impossibly-Low Neckline: For a very Disney-esque movie, the animators sure didn't have a problem with making Elizabeth's neckline very low for the time period. Same goes for her stepmother.
  • The Ingenue: Elizabeth.
  • Lens Flare: During CG flybys.
  • Lighter and Softer: There are times when Lighter and Softer actually works, and then there's that other Titanic cartoon, and then there's this...
  • Love at First Sight: Taken to the extreme.
    • More like Love at First LINE.
    • More like Love at First Smell of the Glove, for the gypsy prince.
  • Magic A Is Magic A: Thrown out the friggin' window. Elizabeth can talk to animals because her tear was caught in a net of magic moonbeams, and the initial magic was enhanced by the dolphins. No, really. How, then, does Maltravers' henchman understand the sharks? It's never explained. We don't even get so much as A Wizard Did It.
  • Meaningful Name: Tentacles, Mr. Ice, Maltravers, Don Juan...
  • Mood Whiplash: The group of mice try to fix the telegraph by having one of the mice use their mustache to connect the wires with hilarious results of the signal going through but then he dies. Except not really.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: The Mice sabotage the telegraph on the ship to prevent Maltravers from sending the "open season" message to his whaling fleet. Unfortunately, this later prevents the Titanic from calling for help after it strikes the iceberg.
  • Off-Model: The animators of North Korea's SEK Studio have quite a few problems regarding perspective at several different scenes. Most obvious ones are some of the objects or character not having a consistent size.
    • Connor's model changes slightly here and there, missing whiskers, and having different ear and facial shapes.
  • Perverted Sniffing: Don Juan takes a good whiff of Elizabeth's glove.
  • Pimped-Out Dress
  • Plot Hole: In the present day, how did Connors obtain the whistle the whalers use to contact Mr. Ice? How did he even know who Mr. Ice is? They never met.
  • Rich Bitch: Rachel.
  • Satellite Character: Rachel's sister has an identical personality to Rachel herself, and serves no real purpose besides collaborating with the villains. And to top it off, both of them have evil cats, who serve no purpose at all.
    • She only speaks twice in the film (both times in unison with Rachel), and only once do any of the other characters acknowledge she exists.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Anyone who is associated in any way with the sinking of the ship.
  • Swiss Army Tears: Here, in conjunction with moonlight, they help to understand dolphins. Although other characters seem to understand them too.
  • Trrrilling Rrrs: "But rrrememberrr, not all that glitterrrs is gold!"
  • Unexplained Recovery: Camembert (the mouse who got electrocuted) and Tentacles.
  • Unreliable Narrator: This was implied (whether or not on purpose) at the end of the movie, when Top Connors, the grandfather mouse, finishes telling his grandchildren the story. His wife Stella (who had also been on the Titanic as a passenger) tells the kids that "your grandfather loves to tell stories, but like all sailors you must not take everything he says seriously."note 
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight
    • None of the passengers seem to notice or care that a bunch of anthropomorphic mice are having a big dance party on deck in the middle of the film.
    • That giant talking octopus appearing in the Hudson River doesn't seem to catch any media attention.
  • Upper-Class Twit: Rachel gives off vibes of this.
  • Urine Trouble: Smiley piddles on an officer's shoe.
  • Villainous Crush: One may assume Maltravers has one for Elizabeth, but he's only interested in the whaling rights; he actually has no apparent interest in her at all.
  • Voodoo Shark: Or Voodoo Dolphins. The explanation for why Elizabeth can talk to dolphins doesn't explain why she can talk to mice, or cephalopods for that matter.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The introduction indicates that the film will feature some explanation of why the Titanic is remembered as sinking with tremendous loss of life, and even provides an easy way out by hinting that there's some magic that can turn people into dolphins. But no, the passengers simply arrive safely in New York, with no explanation of why it's remembered as such as disaster.
    • How did Connors get that whistle?
    • What happened to Don Juan's gypsy entourage?
  • Whole Costume Reference: Some of Elizabeth's dresses are... very close to Rose's.
  • Wicked Stepmother: Elizabeth's stepmother Rachel, who is much crueler than the stepmother from the other Titanic cartoon. Rachel is in league with Maltravers, wants Elizabeth to marry him, and even betrays her husband to Maltravers. She also has a cat named Lucifer. Rachel escapes with Maltravers after he sinks the ship. Makes you wonder why she didn't just leave her husband and marry Maltravers.
    Elizabeth: (to Rachel) If Mr. Maltravers is so important to you, then you marry him!
  • Your Size May Vary: Most notably, Tentacles, who starts off about three times the size of the dolphins and sharks, then just a few scenes later is almost as big as the Titanic itself.
    • Likewise in the Framing Story, those are either really small skyscrapers or really huge mice.

In Search of the Titanic provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Adaptation Dye-Job: Don Juan's eyes in the first movie were blue, but they change to gray here.
  • Ambiguous Gender: Beyachio's voice could be thought of either way, young male or young female. Never outright stated as to which is true due to no pronouns being used.
  • Ambiguously Gay: Pingo, the toy fish adviser to the King of Atlantis, talks in a stereotypical gay lisp. He also has long eyelashes and is constantly smiling.
  • Animate Inanimate Object: Besides Living Toys, there's also a throne for Re, the king of Atlantis.
  • Anachronism Stew: Plenty. For example, the submarine looks more modern than the one in 1915. Also, some of the toys in Atlantis look more like modern toys (especially the Barbie look-alikes - one of them is even wearing Barbie's original 1950s swimsuit) than toys that existed at the time.
  • Apparently Human Merfolk: A large part of the population of Atlantis.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Baron Maltravers regularly does business with talking, gangster sharks, but finds the idea of them fighting fish-people from Atlantis to be "ridiculous".
  • Atlantis: Where most of the events take place in the sequel.
  • Atlantis Is Boring: And so is this movie!
  • Bag of Holding: Pingo and his box.
  • Black Comedy: Supposedly the scene where the rats are in the insane asylum.
    • Black Comedy Rape: The sumo rat grabs one of the nurses and forcefully kisses her. Really, not as funny as it might sound.
  • Boastful Rap: Mr. Ice, the shark leader from the first movie, raps about himself being the terror of the sea. About halfway, the genre of the song changes.
  • Continuity Snarl: This film directly contradicts the first film in many ways, and the ending is such that conflicts with the entirety of it.
  • Cool Chair: The walking throne which the king (Re) has.
  • Crapsaccharine World: Atlantis is (unintentionally) portrayed as this. It's a utopia where its inhabitants - human or otherwise - are rescued, nurtured, and imprisoned for eternity.
  • The Dandy: Pingo.
  • Demoted to Extra: Both Maltravers and the Duke of Camden; the former only appears in three scenes, never interacts with the main characters, and has little purpose in the movie; while the latter only gets to appear in one scene and doesn't even get any dialogue.
    • Elizabeth herself counts too. She mainly just appears in the background, has maybe 5 lines, and is only really featured in the beginning and at the end. And she was practically the main character in the first movie!
  • Dude Looks Like a Lady: One of the soldier toys, in a really odd scene.
  • Electric Jellyfish: A rather interesting example. Jellyfish in here are used by Mr. Ice to send telegraphed messages to Baron Maltravers.
  • Everyone Loves Blondes: The male characters seem romantically interested in Elizabeth, despite her being married to Don Juan.
  • The Faceless: Re, the king, which just makes him even more suspicious.
  • Face Palm: A "facetentacle" happens when the shark finishes his musical number.
  • Fate Worse Than Death: The rats are committed to an insane asylum and the head doctor announces that they'll stay there forever, with a menacing voice and pointy teeth no less. Oh, and the protagonists aren't feeling the slightest bit of guilt or sympathy either.
  • Flying Dutchman: The Titanic becomes this when you think about it. She can never return to her home port of Liverpool, or any human port, since the now-immortal Don Juan and Elizabeth are her captains and can never go to the human world again.
  • Gender Equals Breed: Guess what kind of breed the female dog is.
  • Happily Married: Don Juan and Elizabeth.
    • Connor's wife, Stella, is mysteriously absent. In fact, Connors doesn't sound old enough in this movie to be married.
  • Heart Symbol: Smiley gets one when he sees the female dog.
  • Hook Hand: One of the villainous mice has one.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Razorteeth, who hates the color yellow, has yellow on his captain suit.
  • Improbable Age: Top Connors and Ronny were originally in their teens or twenties, but they somehow de-age in the sequel. Either that or they were gender bent.
  • Living Toys: They populate most of Atlantis.
  • Love at First Sight: Smiles and the unnamed poodle. How could they have resisted?
  • The Masquerade: Inhabitants of Atlantis don't want their city to be revealed.
  • Mix-and-Match Critters: Beyachio is essentially a manta ray and an otter mixed together along with a warm color scheme.
  • No Name Given: The female dog and the red dolphin not referred to by name, nickname, or title, making their name unknown.
  • Obviously Evil: Re, despite being supposedly on the side of the good. He chuckles maniacally, keeps his face hidden, holds two people and their animal friends hostage in his city, and maroons said people on an island with no one else around for miles. Yeah, this is the kind of guy who should be in charge of a city.
  • Only Sane Man: The mouse points out the clear flaws of the kingdom, the King seeming more like a Big Bad for starters.
  • Our Mermaids Are Different: For one thing, their king, Re is completely hidden in his robed outfit.
  • Plot Hole: Quite a few, even compared to the first movie, though poor dubbing could be a cause for some.
  • Put on a Bus: Stella and Rachel.
  • Scenery Porn: Surprisingly, a lot of shots at Atlantis are very well-drawn.
  • Secondary Character Title: Tentacolino, or Tentacles the giant octopus, is not the main character and is Out of Focus for a good part of the movie.
  • Shaking the Rump: It goes by pretty quick, but the showgirls do this during the rave musical number.
  • Small, Annoying Creature: Pingo, hands down. Ask anyone who's seen the movie.
  • Spring Coil: Pingo has one.
  • Stockholm Syndrome: The only possible explanation for the protagonists having no resentment at all towards the people of Atlantis, after the latter tricked the former into drinking the Elixir of Life, which forces them to stay in Atlantis for the rest of their lives. Throughout the rest of the movie, they continue to worry about a plot to overthrow Atlantis, but apparently have forgotten their friends and family (even weirder when you consider that Top Connors should be married).
  • Technical Pacifist: Atlanteans.
  • Temporal Paradox: Bobsheaux pointed out in his review that since Top-Connors never made it home, he'd be unable to raise his kids wherever they were in America, therefore he can't tell the story of the first movie; meaning both movies write each other out of existence.
  • Tempting Fate: "Honestly, there really isn't anything to worry about." Then sharks arrive.
  • Took A Level In Dumb Ass: Don Juan, who advocates in favor of drinking strange liquids as long as they have pretty colors. He also never once questions The King or any of the other dubious events that happen.
  • Took A Level In Jerk Ass: Don Juan, once again, is rather unkind to Smiley in this movie.
  • Trap Door: Connors and Ronnie fall into one.
  • Villain Decay: In the first film, Maltravers and the sharks were portrayed as sinister, genuinely threatening villains, capable of planning the Titanic's demise. However, in this film, they are portrayed in a more foolish, light-hearted way (the shark's leader even getting a rap).
  • Villain Song: In this case, it is a shark in the second film who gets to sing.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Re might as well be this.

Alternative Title(s): Tentacolino, In Search Of The Titanic