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Animation / Tayo the Little Bus

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"With his friends by his side, Tayo's always having fun!" Now it's in your head. You're welcome.

A South Korean kid's show about a bus named Tayo and his friends. It is so popular in its home country that the South Korean government turned real city buses into characters from the show in order to teach kids how to ride the bus. Human characters play a large role in-universe, both as friends and riders of the buses.

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This show provides examples of:

  • An Aesop: Being a kid's show, almost every episode contains one.
    • "I Can't Sleep!": Don't stay up so late watching TV, or your entire sleep schedule will be off for days.
    • "Laugh, Pat": Pat the police car does a great job enforcing traffic rules with Rookie the police officer, but the former is getting a little overbearing. One day, a wayward feather gets stuck in Pat's rear window, forcing the straight-laced Pat to laugh uncontrollably (and at inconvenient times). Pat eventually learns that traffic safety is important, but delivering reminders in a harsh manner can alienate (and even frighten) your fellow citizens.
  • Adults Are Useless: Refreshingly averted. Adults regularly help the buses and other characters, and provide insights and advice when needed. They do, however, back off and let the kids solve their own problems as they see fit.
    • "Tiny Tayo": After Tayo gets shrunk by Hana's experimental shrink ray, he gets accidentally taken home by a young boy. To eventually switch Tayo with the boy's real toy bus, the adults don't just grab the kid's bus and try to switch it - they use clever negotiation to get Tayo back.
  • City of Adventure: Except a few episodes where the main characters travel to a farm, the entirety of the show's (mis)adventures takes place in a city.
  • Color-Coded Characters: Tayo is blue, Lani is yellow, Gani is red, and Rogi is green.
  • Construction Zone Calamity: Happens every time there's roadwork going on. Traffic backs up, cars get stuck and need towed out, etc.
  • Cool Garage: The little buses live in a garage complex that features a virtual reality driving simulator, a gigantic flat-screen TV, a private car wash, garages color-coded for their convenience, and easy access to Hana the mechanic.
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  • Damage-Proof Vehicle: Averted. Cars routinely get into scrapes (sometimes even full-on crashes) and need to be fixed up with Hana. Some episodes focus on acquiring parts for broken vehicles, or showing how repairs are performed.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: The first few episodes of Season One differ in animation quality and this is more obvious in the buses' facial expressions. The human characters move around more stiffly, too.
  • Ear Worm: The theme song is so catchy, the characters even sing it in-universe! In one episode, it serves as a major plot focus.
  • Faking Engine Trouble: The buses do this sometimes in order to get out of working their routes.
  • Follow That Car: Regularly occured and even stated with new buses, traveling to new locations, police chases, etc.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: Tayo the blue bus (melancholic), Gani the red bus (choleric), Lani the yellow bus (sanguine), and Rogi the green bus (phlegmatic).
  • Hanguk Manhwa Aenimeisyeon: So very South Korean.
  • Hollywood Police Driving Academy: Averted. Police cars are nearly anal-rententive in following traffic laws and driving safety. Not stopping with your nose in front of the stop line is an offense!
  • Iconic Item: Hana is never without her hat! She even gets an episode about its origins.
  • Inconsistent Dub: Sometimes the characters' names are pronounced differently from season to season. Examples: Lani is pronounced "Laney" and Citu is pronounced "Cito."
  • Korean Media: Brought to you by Iconix Entertainment[1].
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: Not so much in the beginning of the series, but they definitely add up over time.
  • Missed the Bus: What the main characters aim to avoid - they are taught to run their routes on time and don't want their passengers to be late.
  • Never Say "Die": In the first episode, it is established that buses don't die when they get old - they get scrapped. This leads to the same Fridge Horror that it does in Thomas the Tank Engine.
  • Nobody Can Die: No matter how bad the accident or crash, everyone can be fixed. Confusing, though, when you consider Never Say "Die" above.
  • Not So Different: The buses attend school, learn to drive, play on a playground, go to work, ask for days off, get sick, suffer from insomnia (no kidding) - just like the people in the show.
  • Origins Episode: The series likes to do this for a lot of its characters. Hana, Gani, Citu, and Heart get one.
  • Parental Substitute: Citu, a larger and older bus, serves as this to the little buses. Also serves as Team Dad.
  • Sentient Vehicle: All vehicles and aircraft have eyes and can talk. Season One reveals that buses can inherit "memory chips" from scrapped predecessors.
  • Ship Tease: Are Hana and Rookie the policeman just cordial acquaintances, or is there more to their friendship?
  • Snot Bubble: Well, it IS am Asian show, after all.
  • Toilet Humour: Buses "fart" by visibly straining to release exhaust fumes from their tailpipes. Yep. It's even used as a problem-solving device when a little boy is too afraid to ride a bus: Tayo farts and the little boy thinks it's just hilarious, and eventually rides the bus. Though considered crude in the Western world, it's quite funny for its native audience.
  • True Companions: A great example of this trope. From the minute they meet each other, they're welcoming and supportive.
  • Workaholic: Citu the older bus is shown to be this when the little buses beg him to take them on a picnic one weekend. He initially resists, but decides to go anyway.
  • Wrench Wench: Hana takes care of all of the buses at the bus garage, as well as random vehicles from around the city. She's never without her tools.

Episodes of this series provide examples of:

  • Country Mouse: "Nana Visits the City"[2] is Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Nana, a rural bus, is invited to visit Tayo and his friends in the city. She and her pick-up truck friend subsequently get lost and make other obvious tourist mistakes.
  • Day in the Life: The very first episode of Season One is even called "A Day in the Life of Tayo[3]."
  • Everyone Meets Everyone: The series opener has Tayo whisked off to his new home, where he meets his fellow buses (minus Gani, who appears in a later episode).
  • Good Luck Charm: Hana the mechanic gives Nuri the taxi one of these, when the latter is having a bad day.
  • Insomnia Episode: An entire plot[4] focuses on Lani's inability to get a good night's rest, thanks to her staying up too late watching TV one night.
  • Mistaken for Servant: Not so much servant, but student: On Tayo's first day of school, he runs into a new car and he immediately assumes she's a fellow new classmate. The entire episode features Tayo taking her around the city and treating her as a peer. When school starts, the kids anxiously wait to meet their teacher and it turns out to be Tayo's new "friend." Hilarity Ensues.
  • Newcomer Saves the Day: Gani surprises everyone on his first day of work because he somehow knows all the bus routes. He also is able to anticipate Hana's needs because of the memory chip she installed in him.
  • Snowed-In: Averted in "Tayo's First Snow Day[5]." The buses still have to work.
  • Talent Contest: "Nuri is a Superstar" is an entire episode devoted to a minor recurring character (Nuri, a taxi) and her upcoming taxi talent show. Funnily enough, the song that wins them the contest is the show's theme song.


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