Western Animation / The Octonauts


The Octonauts is a British-American children's television series, produced by Silvergate Media for Cbeebies and animated by Brown Bag Films. The TV series is based on the children's books written by Vicki Wong and Michael C. Murphy of Meomi Design Inc. In the United States, it airs on Disney Junior.

The Octonauts follows an underwater exploring crew made up of stylized anthropomorphic animals, a team of eight adventurers who live in an undersea base, the Octopod, from where they go on undersea adventures with the help of a fleet of aquatic vehicles. The subject matter is reminiscent of a blend of Star Trek, Thunderbirds and Jacques Cousteau. Although it is science fiction as regards its technology, the exotic creatures and locations that the crew encounter are real marine animals in their natural habitats.

This cartoon has examples of:

  • Adorkable: Shellington
  • Always a Bigger Fish: Literally. One particular moment has Kwazii fleeing from an eel (in effort to distract it long enough for Peso to retrieve something from the eel's home), and attempting to scare the eel off with sea snakes. However, the "snakes" were a Mimic Octopus in disguise.
  • Ambiguously Gay: Peso, and sometimes Shellington.
  • Animals Not to Scale: Played straight with the crew to some degree or another, especially with Barnacles the polar bear. Averted with the other animals that appear in the show however.
  • Artistic License: While pretty minor, venomous animals are called poisonous throughout the show.note 
    • Also, the Colossal Squid's size is shown to be far larger than it actually is. While the Colossal Squid is larger than the Giant Squid, the Colossal Squid is only larger in mantle size. The Colossal Squid has much shorter tentacles, with just a wider and stouter body[1].
    • Further more, the venomous nature of these animals is often downplayed a bit. For example, Kwazii has been stung by a Lion Fish in one of the episodes, and treats it as if it were a minor sting. They're not.
    • In general, the fact that the show teaches some incredibly specific details about the traits of marine lifeforms...ignoring the fact that communication through speech is really just a human thing.
  • Big Damn Heroes: In "The Electric Torpedo Rays", Sandy the Leatherback Sea Turtle comes just in time to aid Barnacles in catching up to the falling Octopod.
  • Carnivore Confusion: One way to avert the Predators Are Mean subtrope is to emphasize how "tiny" their prey are (e.g., krill). When a cute animal is acknowledged as prey, it is usually saved by the heroes, to the chagrin or annoyance of the predator.
  • Bittersweet Ending: In the episode when Kwazii is trying to find the map that belonged to Calico Jack, he can't get it because it is guarded by slime eels. He DOES eventually get it, but there are already a bunch of animals in there, so he has to leave it. And to really rub salt in the wounds, Dash took some embarrassing photos of him getting slimed. Everyone laughs, EXCEPT for Kwazii, who just looks...angry.
  • The Octonauts and The Specific Sea Creature
  • Cats Hate Water: Averted with Kwazii, given the nature of the show.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Dashi found a pretty seashell early in "The Hermit Crabs", and when Peso and Tweak needed to find a bigger shell for the hermit crab they helped, Dashi uses the shell she found.
  • Edutainment Show
  • Everybody Laughs Ending
  • Every Episode Ending: The "Creature Report" at the end of every story, which is a combination of lecture, singing, and marching, with a "dance break" in the middle.
  • Everything's Better with Penguins
  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: It's used as a Running Gag, where in some episodes Barnacles explains a plan to Kwazii, Peso, and Shellington, but then he sees Kwazii swimming out of the Gup.
  • Eye Patch Of Power: Kwazii, who's easily the roughest, toughest member of the Octonauts. Subverted in that it's mostly for decoration as he can see with both eyes.
  • Female Feline, Male Mutt: Inverted with Kwazii, a male cat and Dashi, a female dog.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: The Seahorse Tale episode is full of innuendo, for example, Kwazii saying to the Captain and Peso that Sonny and Janice were "Busy with their dance".
  • Giant Squid
  • Hard Work Hardly Works: Averted. Every success is somehow related to the high amount of training each team member has in their field.
  • Height Angst: In the water bears episode, Peso wishes he was bigger and faster, despite all that he did in Season 2.
  • It's Quiet... Too Quiet: Kwazii whispers that "It's quiet, too quiet" in "Enemy Anemeones" and that he doesn't like it. Captain Barnacles then asks him that if it's too quiet, Why Are We Whispering?
  • I've Never Seen Anything Like This Before: This is Captain Barnacles's reaction to the jellyfish bloom in "Jellyfish Bloom."
  • Magic A Is Magic A: How can Peso talk while holding his breath under water? The same way all the other animals talk.
  • Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: Tweak to Peso, before Peso mans up.
  • Multinational Team
  • Never Say "Die": Death is not mentioned but sometimes alluded to; e.g., "If that shark stops swimming, he won't be able to breathe!" or "You'll be sucked into that whirlpool!" or "Those are terrestrial crabs - they can't swim!" Arguably one of the best well known quotes from this show is this quote from Boris the Narwhal:
    Boris: If we don't get air soon, we'll be right back where we started!
  • Not Evil, Just Misunderstood: Kwazii likes to speculate about a lot of the stuff the Octonauts encounter being caused by strange and scary monsters. Instead, when the Octonauts encounter strange phenomena or troublesome behavior, it's just sea creatures doing what they do normally, often as a natural defense mechanism. Examples include a snapping shrimp that knocks them all out with his loud sound he makes by snapping his claw, and slime eels protecting their territory by sliming.
  • Oh Crap!: Tweak's ears twist up when something bad happens. (Or when she's scared, mostly the former.)
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: The main cast in its entirety.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: All the way on the Idealism side.
  • Something Nauts: The titular organization.
  • Stock Footage: The creature report is mostly recycled animation.
  • Took a Level in Badass: The Vegimals in "The Very Vegimal Christmas." Building a new GUP? Check. Saving the Octonauts from danger? Check. Cooking the Christmas dinner? Check. Looking cool while doing so? CHECK!
    • Peso in many Season 2 episodes.
  • Toilet Humor: In one of the episodes, the Octonauts hear something that sounds like breaking wind, then Shellington informs them that herrings communicate by blowing bubbles out of their behinds. Kwazii's reaction is PRICELESS.
    Kwazii: They blow bubbles... Out of their behinds?!
  • The World Is Just Awesome
  • Underwater Base
  • Vampire Vords: The vampire squid Peso helps on his first solo dive into the Midnight Zone talks like this.
  • Villainy-Free Villain / White and Grey Morality: This show features absolutely zero villains. In fact, some creatures who could be considered villains in other shows, such as sharks, can be quite friendly and are hostile only because of their need to sustain themselves, not because of actual malice.
  • Wrench Wench: Tweak.