Western Animation / The Legends of Treasure Island


A cult British cartoon and a very loose Animated Adaptation of the Robert Louis Stevenson novel of the same name.

Jim Hawkins' father, having been issued a death threat by pirates over the ownership of a treasure map, hands it to his son so he may search for the treasure and thus keep it out of the hands of the ruthless Long John Silver. With the assistance of old sea dog (literally) Captain Smollett, Jim gathers a crew and finds his way to mysterious island, albeit with Long John's crew at his tail and the island's numerous supernatural forces hindering their search.

Alongside it's Funny Animal premise, the show deviates greatly from the novel due to the heavy use of magical elements and a few extra cast additions (most notably Jane, a young hostage-turned-Mook of Silver's that joins Jim on his quest). Noted for it's high quality animation, and a rather notable voice cast (including Dawn French and Hugh Laurie).

Two seasons were made within 1993-1995.

Not to be confused with the anime Animal Treasure Island, a similar loosely based Funny Animal adaptation.

Tropes employed include:

  • Action Girl: Jane, though she does pick up the Distress Ball a lot, was obviously created with this in mind, so much that it is her who defeats Pew in the finale.
  • Adaptational Villainy:
    • The show converts Long John Silver, one of the most morally ambiguous antagonists in fiction, into a straight played For the Evulz villain that antagonises Jim from the very start.
    • In the book, Pew is a henchman who dies before they even get to the island; in Legends, he becomes the Bigger Bad, and is portrayed as a black magician on top of his blindness.
  • Animation Bump: The show switched studios from Moving Images in the first to Fil-Cartoons in the second, the latter having a slightly cruder style, with stiffer animation and more cartoony backgrounds.
  • Ascended Extra: In the original book, Pew was simply a blind former pirate who hands Billy Bones the Black Spot and ends up trampled to death by horses before the journey even begins. Here he's turned into a sinister Hidden Agenda Villain with magical powers who in the final episode gets his hands on a magical Amplifier Artifact lying among the treasure (his plan all along) and even manages to kill Captain Smolett.
  • Back for the Dead: Captain Smolett, who reappeared in the finale after being absent through the majority of Season Two, only to be killed off by Pew.
  • Big Red Devil: The devil and Silver's demon henchmen in series 2.
  • Bound and Gagged: The show seemed to have an almost unhealthy obsession with this. Almost every main character is tied up on a frequent basis, and sometimes for a lengthy portion of the episode. Even some of it's promotional artwork uses it prominently.
  • Bratty Half-Pint: Apparently Jane was such an insufferable example in her early life that when Silver kidnapped her for ransom, he ended up stuck with her. Comes off more as an Informed Flaw on screen, since while her bad attitude perks up at times, she's far more benevolent to the team most of the time.
  • Butt Monkey: Squire Trelawney, with Jim and Jane having the occasional moments. Rat and most of the other underling pirates are this to Silver.
  • Cannot Talk to Women: Played with. Jim usually acts very casual towards Jane, however at one point she seems to get somewhat affectionate and he makes a hasty exit.
  • Deal with the Devil: Silver coerces the devil to let him escape the Underworld, but on the condition that he bring Jim to him as a replacement. In the end, Satan decides to take him back.
  • Death by Adaptation: Captain Smollett, who is supposedly killed by Pew in the final episode. Also, Long John Silver as well.
  • The Devil Is a Loser: When Silver is sent to the Underworld following his death in the first season finale, he manages to rather handily outgambit the Laughably Evil Devil and his Minion with an F in Evil into giving him the means to escape. He gets sent back by the finale however.
  • Died Happily Ever After: The ending to the episode "Emily", with her and her father ascending into the sky waving.
  • Disney Death: Done in excess, albeit not always through the audience's perspective.
  • Disney Villain Death: Long John Silver, into a volcano, he gets better though.
  • Distress Ball: Done frequently with most of the main crew. Jane in particular switches erratically between being the most capable member of the team or being Jim's personal Damsel in Distress.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Long John to the highest degree. He has zero scruples and is merciless sadist, but has a palpable charm and wit. He was able to brown nose the devil himself to achieve his own means.
  • Flanderization: Reversed for some characters. Ben Gunn went from a kooky rambling old hermit to more lucid and self preservational in later episodes. Similarly Jane started off more moody and sarcastic, but became more soft spoken and friendly.
  • Funny Animal
  • Furry Female Mane: Jane, though all the male characters tend to wear either hats or powdered wigs. Well, aside from Ben's castaway beard.
  • Girls Need Role Models: The series adds a female co-protagonist, Jane, who is almost as effective and competent a protagonist (if not sometimes more so) as Jim himself.
  • Industrialized Evil: Silver convinces the devil that the torments in Hell are pathetic and to allow him to institute better ones. He turns the place into a big factory where the inmates work moving lava to produce "absolutely nothing!" and builds a self-destruct switch to blackmail Satan into letting him leave.
  • Informed Species: Is Jane a vixen or a cat? It's even harder to tell in the second series where her bushy tail is missing.
  • Inexplicably Tailless: In Series 2 most of the cast except for Silver.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Jane at her worst. Also Squire Trelawney, who is even Lampshaded as such in the first episode.
  • Later Installment Weirdness: The second season throws any remaining links to novel completely out of the window, with the focus now entirely on supernatural or cartoony scenarios and half the cast being put Out of Focus. The episodes are noticeably lower quality cosmetically, with changes in animation studios, voice actors and music to accommodate the lower budget, as well as an unusually upbeat new title theme.
  • Laughably Evil: Arguably the one remaining redeeming aspect of Silver's is that he retains a high amount of whimsy within all his bloodthirst. He and his pirate mooks often act as Ineffectual Sympathetic Villains.
  • Lovable Coward: Squire Trelawney.
  • MacGuffin Melee: The opening titles showcase one over the map to the treasure.
  • Mood Whiplash: The show has surprisingly dark elements and a creepy amount of supernatural twists on the original story, though it's merged within a lot of cartoon slapstick.
  • Power Creep, Power Seep: In the first season, Silver was Pew's Dragon and completely dominated and intimidated by his magical strength. In the second season, Silver works for another cohort, with Pew having to sweet talk him into a deal. He even loses to Silver in a comedic fisticuffs.
  • Put On The Bus: Captain Smollett and Dr Livesey are left tending to the ship while the others search the island in Season Two. Silver's mooks are also Out of Focus. However, The Bus Came Back for the former two in the final episode.
  • Recycled In Space: It's Treasure Island with Funny Animals, meets Lost.
  • Replaced the Theme Tune: Both the orchestrated opening and closing themes are replaced with a vocal song in season two, due to a change in music composers.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: What happens to Jim's father isn't shown but Dr. Livesey tells Jim that "he's fine", he's also a Composite Character with Billy Bones (both of whom died in the original).
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad: Jim and Jane get many episodes near completely to themselves (both together and individually). Doubles as Smurfette Breakout for Jane.
  • The Starscream: Long John will usually double cross anyone he strikes a bargain with. He tries to get rid of Pew a couple of occasions (this becomes complicated in the penultimate episode, since Pew intends to do just the same to him).
  • Swallowed Whole: Late in series 2 Jim gets swallowed by a dragon Pew summoned, and Silver gets teleported into the bowels of the beast by his "boss" to retrieve him.
  • Upper-Class Twit: Squire Trelawney remains true to his novel rendition for the large part. His actor Hugh Laurie basically reuses his George persona suitingly enough.
  • Whatever Happened to the Mouse?: For some odd reason, in the final episode, somewhere after Captain Smollett and Dr. Livesey return to help Jim, the devil sidekicks Silver had accompanied disappeared and aren't referenced again.