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:

  • 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.
  • A Day in the Limelight: The Christmas special is this for the vegimals.
  • Animal Gender-Bender: Episode 3-10 has the baby platypus' parents make a big showing of their stingers. Only male platypi have these.
  • 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  Furthermore, 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.
    • 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].
  • Avengers, Assemble!: The Octoalert, calling all of the Octonauts to attention, and presumably opening up comm lines for whoever activated it (generally Barnacles) to tell the others where to assemble.
  • 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.
  • Bland-Name Product: In one episode: National Seeographic.
  • 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.
  • Catch Phrase: Tweak, Once an Episode, will say something along the lines of "I'll do it faster than you can say Buncha Munchy Crunchy Carrots"
    • Shellington's is "Jumping Jellyfish!"
    • Barnicle's is "Octonauts, let's do this!"
  • Character Name and the Noun Phrase: The Octonauts and The [Specific Sea Creature].
  • 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.
  • Cats Hate Water: Averted with Kwazii, given the nature of the show.
  • Chekhov's Classroom: Happens in the Christmas special. Shellington explains how he found the Veggimals, later, in the episode, they are given A Day in the Limelight
  • 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. Also, if Tweak is shown fixing up something new early on (particularly a new GUP), expect it to be used by the end of the episode.
  • Cool Boat: All of the vehicles shown - from the Octopod, an octopus-shaped underwater habitat that's capable of traversing most of the world's oceans, to the various GUP crafts, all of which are submarines with extra capabilities (from deep-sea exploration to towing).
  • Edutainment Show: The goal of the show is to teach young children about sea life and responsible maintenance of the ocean while entertaining them.
  • 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.)
  • Once per Episode: "Sound the Octoalert! Octonauts, to the (location)!" Sometimes played with, like when Shellington, flustered by the fact that he was the one who needed to activate the Octoalert, said a random location that didn't exist. Or when it was late at night and they had to use the "Silent Alarm". Another time was that Barnacles sounded the alarm... when everyone was already together!
  • Orphaned Etymology: All the sea creatures refer to themselves names given to them by land-dwellers. The lemon shark likely hasn't seen any lemons, and the sea cucumber and seahorses likely haven't met their land based namesakes.
  • Power Trio: While all of the Octonauts have their moments, Barnacles, Kwazii, and Peso are the most frequently involved in the main action of the episode's plot, and if a team is needed in the field, it's often those three.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: All the way on the Idealism side.
  • Something Nauts: The titular organization - the "octo-" portion of the name comes from its founder, Professor Inkling, who is a dumbo octopus.
  • Stock Footage: The creature report is mostly recycled animation.
  • Swordfish Sabre: In the episode "The Swashbuckling Swordfish", Kwazii speaks of the legend of the "Flying Swords", which turns out to be a trio of swordfishes. Kwazii encounters them while hunting for treasure and actually engages them in swordplay for a while, but ultimately ends up helping them and they all part on good terms.
  • Tagline: "Explore, rescue, protect!"
  • 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?!
  • Underwater Base: The Octopod, which is mobile, contains a sizable garden and decent living quarters in addition to the storage and work areas everyone needs, and rarely surfaces.
  • Vampire Vords: The vampire squid Peso helps on his first solo dive into the Midnight Zone talks like this.
  • 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.