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Anime / The Wonderful World of Puss 'n Boots

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The film behind the mascot of Toei Animation. Released in 1969 as a full-length animated feature, Nagagutsu o Haita Neko (“The Cat Who Wore Boots”) follows the story of Puss ‘n Boots, here named Pero, after he escapes execution and flees into the countryside where he has to fend off against three bumbling cat assassins all for the crime of saving a mouse.

Wait, what?

Despite its namesake, the film is largely a reimagining/expansion of the fairy-tale with many changes added to it in order to flesh out the characters and plot. The biggest being that the titular cat is actually a kind-hearted fugitive who meets the three miller’s sons by chance, rather than simply being a mysterious gift or inheritance like in the original.

Upon first meeting, our hero Pero observes that the third and youngest son, Pierre, is bullied and enslaved by his older brothers, who plan to keep their late father's fortune to all to themselves instead of dividing it fairly between the three. Once exposed, they kick Pierre out of the house and leave him with only a sack of potatoes to eat. From then on, the two decide to stick together and Pero hatches a plan to marry Pierre to the lovely but lonely Princess Rosa, and take down Lucifer, an all-powerful ogre sorcerer who plans to force the princess to marry him in three days. All whilst fending off against incompetent but persistent cat assassins, resulting in a lot of Slapstick and swashbuckling action with fencing and all.

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Directed by Kimio Yabuki, though the film is better known by the animators that worked on it such as Hayao Miyazaki, Yasuo Otsuka, Super Mario Bros. promotional artist Yoichi Kotabe and his wife Reiko Okuyama, the list goes on. See here for more information.[1]

The film spawned two sequels, Ringo Rides West (Ringo Goes West in the UK) in 1972, and Puss in Boots: Around the World in 80 Days in 1976. The former revolves around a Murder Mystery set in The Wild West, while the latter is loosely based on Around the World in 80 Days.

The third film itself also spawned two videogames, Nagagutsu o Haita Neko: Sekai Isshū 80 Nichi Dai Bōken ("Puss in Boots: An Adventure Around the World in 80 Days") in 1986 and Puss ‘n Boots: Pero’s Great Adventure for the NES in 1990, with the latter serving as the basis to an episode of Captain N: The Game Master series, albeit under very different designs of Pero and his adversaries.

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Tropes Found In:

    The Wonderful World of Puss ‘n Boots 
  • Adaptation Expansion: One of the few movies to give Puss ‘n Boots a name and backstory. Additionally, the ogre is not only a shapeshifter, but a grand and powerful sorcerer that can make castles out of diamonds, feasts out of thin air, and even lay waste to the land if angered enough.
  • Adaptational Nice Guy: While it’s not uncommon for the feline to be made more sympathetic than the original, here he's more or less presented as a gentlemanly cat with a slight mischievous streak and a penchant for getting in over his head. His main defining trait is that he refuses to eat mice despite it being against Cat Law, and became a fugitive for helping one escape. His "niceness" is further cemented by his habit of going far and beyond to help a friend or stranger in need, such as offering to help Pierre find untold riches after the latter is rendered homeless, and then promises to help Pierre marry the princess not because she's rich but because of Love at First Sight. So his kindness is often unprompted, while the original Puss always had some sort of motive or reasoning behind it in order to help someone out.
  • And Now You Must Marry Me: The ogre threatens to destroy the kingdom if the princess does not marry him in three days, then kidnaps her when her time is up.
  • Anti-Hero: Much like his literary counterpart, Pero always keeps his end of the promise even if it resorts to stealing, lying, or posing as royalty.
  • Artistic License – Biology: The ogre’s hippo form strangely has wolf-like fangs instead of tusks, even though most of his other animal forms remain fairly true to their species as far as the animation goes.
  • Big Bad: Lucifer the ogre stands as the final obstacle between Princess Rosa's and Pierre's relationship, going as far to kidnap the princess himself, and threatening to dispose of the entire kingdom or Pierre if he doesn't get his way.
  • Big Brother Bully: Daniel and Raymond have essentially turned their youngest brother into a slave, forcing him to do chores and cook gourmet dinners for them everyday while they do the easy work. They even make it a point to constantly put down Pierre, even when the latter does a good job, and also force him to eat gruel.
  • By the Lights of Their Eyes: Pero and the cat assassins during their fight in the wine cellar.
  • Cats Are Mean: Averted by the main hero, Pero, who goes out of his way to help those in need and refuses to eat mice despite it being the law of his kingdom. Played Straight by every other cat that appears in the film.
  • Cats Hate Water: Averted. Pero does not hesitate to cross a river while running away from assassins, and his only complaint when getting caught in the rain was that the weather was so bad that not even he “would put a dog out”.
  • Character Tic: Pero's whiskers curl whenever he gets a clever idea, complete with trumpet fanfare.
  • Dragons Are Demonic: Lucifer's dragon form terrifies all who feast their eyes upon it, and moves in a very slow, snake-like manner.
  • Dub Name Change: One of the miller's sons, Raymond, has his name changed to Simon in the English dub.
  • Everything's Better with Princesses: Subverted, since we quickly learn that Princess Rosa doesn't have it easy for many, many, many different reasons.
  • Furry Confusion: Occurs when the ogre transforms into a regular cat in front of the two-legged, almost-fully-clothed Pero. The latter doesn’t seem to comment on it at all, aside from praising him for his shapeshifting skills.
  • Half-Dressed Cartoon Animal: Pero and the Three Blunderers do not wear pants.
  • Large and in Charge: The Cat King, as he’s noticeably larger than the other cats.
  • Love at First Sight: Pierre when he first sees the princess.
  • Magic Mirror: The ogre has a magical fountain that can see anywhere and anyone he chooses.
  • Morphic Resonance: Lucifer keeps his crown and beard in all forms, and his green skin or purple tunic sometimes translates into green or purple fur when he's transformed but not always.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Lucifer the King of Power.
  • Nice Hat: Pero with his red Musketeer hat with feather.
  • Nice Mice: Subverted. The mice burglars attempt to steal the heroes’ food while they’re not looking, but still seem to have a code of honor of sorts by volunteering to steal for them as thanks for sparing their lives.
  • No Name Given: The individual assassins that make up the Three Blunderers are never named, except in the English dub, where the youngest assassin is given the name "Gideon" in one scene.
  • Rags to Royalty: Pierre is not only a miller’s son, but also slaves away under his brothers doing cooking and chores for them. He acquires a more comfortable life after successfully passing off as a Marquis and getting to stay in the castle while trying to court Princess Rosa. Even after admitting his lie, it becomes his permanent home after rescuing and marrying her.
  • Red Is Heroic: Despite the current page image, this is actually Pero with his red musketeer hat, red tunic, and maroon cape since he wears no blue in the film.
  • Royal Decree: The King decreed that any man who considers himself to be the richest and bravest man in the kingdom can claim the princess' hand in marriage. This comes to bite him in the bum when Lucifer appears.
  • Rule of Three: Three miller sons. Three cat assassins. Three days for the princess to marry the Ogre. A three-headed dragon. There are a lot of threes in this movie.
  • Scaled Up: Lucifer doesn't just turn into a dragon, but a three-headed one.
  • Siblings in Crime: Not explicitly stated in the first film, but the third movie clarifies that cat assassins are a band of brothers.
  • Soul Jar: The Ogre’s skull necklace is the source of all his magic and life force. If exposed to sunlight, it will be the end of him.
  • Terrible Trio: The cat assassins are known as the Three Blunderers in the English dub.
  • Tricking the Shapeshifter: Invoked, but unlike in the original tale, Pero fails to off the ogre while he’s in mouse form.
  • Villainous Crush: The ogre undoubtedly is head over heels for the princess, and goes out of his way to make her happy despite forcing her to marry him.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: The ogre, naturally. Though this time he is mostly using it to impress his bride-to-be rather than simply showing off. He also turns into a three-headed dragon when Pero's plan to kill him while he's a mouse fails.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Due to the "All Cats Must Kill Mice" rule of their kingdom, the cat assassins will attempt to kill and eat any mouse, including mouse children, which Pero lampshades when confronted after refusing to eat a mouse (which would've redeemed him as a mouse-hating cat and gotten the cat assassins to leave him alone).
    Pero: Do you really want to liquidate me for saving a child's life?!
    Cat Assassin 1: You say "saving a child's life" but the child you saved was a rodent!
    Cat Assassin 2: And you know the penalty for saving rodents!
    Ringo Rides West 
  • Bar Brawl: The bandits use this as a means to ruin Annie’s restaurant upon opening night in an attempt to drive her out of town.
  • Bloodless Carnage: Despite the number of gunshots and even deaths during shootouts, not one drop of blood is shown. Becomes especially apparent with not only Annie’s father, who was already found dead and murdered by bandits, but also Blackie’s death since he was shot out in the open for all to see.
  • Butt Biter: When one of the bandits tries to kidnap Annie, Pero delivers a nasty chomp on his bum to force him to let her go, much to the amusement of the entire town that was watching the entire time.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The forged Mexican coins, as they end up exposing the villains and saving Jimmy’s life.
  • Corrupt Politician: The Mayor. If anyone is investigating against him, he uses the bandits to run them out of town or kill them off them when they know too much.
  • Counterfeit Cash: The counterfeit Mexican coins.
  • Cowboy Episode: Compared to the other films, as the other two are based off of Perrault's work, while this one has a Western setting and plot.
  • Dub Name Change: The original Japanese dub kept his name to Pero, but in the English dub he was renamed to Ringo in reference to the real life cowboy, Johnny Ringo.
  • Expy: The biggest bandit looks exactly like a Palette Swap version of Lucifer the Ogre, but with the addition of a cowboy hat and bandana. And Annie herself looks like a more humbly-dressed Princess Rosa with a ponytail.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: The Big Bad is not only shot on-screen, but we get to see him struggle in his final moments. His ability to walk gives away, his vision starts going, and he even spends a few moments choking and struggling to breathe before finally kicking the can after getting shot in a duel.
  • Family-Unfriendly Violence: Granted, it is a Western where shootouts are common, though the film still stands out as being much more violent compared to its prequel and sequel.
  • Pocket Protector: Jimmy is saved from a bullet by three Mexican coins and his Sheriff badge, all layered on top of each other to create a makeshift shield in his chest pocket.
  • Hollywood Natives: The Native American mice with their feathered caps, tipis, and peace pipes.
  • Peace Pipe: Offered by the chief of mice after Pero saves a member of his tribe.
  • Primary-Color Champion: While Pero's trademark red is still the dominant color, here his attire changes to red and blue with a yellow bandana and belt buckle.
  • Riding into the Sunset: Well, for Jimmy at least. Subverted with Pero as he gets knocked off his mount and is chased by assassins on foot towards the setting sun.
  • Would Hurt a Child: The bandits, the Big Bad, and even the Mayor share this trait, though Blackie takes it to a new level as he not only holds Annie hostage at gunpoint, but he shoots Jimmy after he surrenders, and tries to shoot Annie himself after he lets her go.
    Puss in Boots: Around the World in 80 Days 
  • Animals Not to Scale: Gourmon the pig is larger than most of the patrons and staff in the restaurant he frequents, including Carter the hippo and the dog restaurant owner.
  • Arranged Marriage: Susannah’s uncle arranged for her to marry a rich man’s son in order to get more money, much to her disgust. Though, given that she was an actor hired by Garigari to stall Pero, this is most likely all a lie.
  • The Bet: What kickstarts the plot. Pero has to travel around the world in 80 days or else become Gourmon’s slave for life.
  • Canon Foreigner: Dr. Garigari actually came from an old TV series known as Hustle Punch prior to appearing in this film.
  • Climbing Climax: Pero has to race to the top of the Clock Tower before it strikes noon in order to officially complete his trip around the world. Also doubles as a Chase Climax as he has to outrun the raging Gourmon, who will do anything and everything to make sure Pero does not win as all his wealth and pride was poured into The Bet.
  • Clockworks Area: Pero and Gourmon have to maneuver through the gears of a Clock Tower as part of the Climbing Climax, providing the inspiration for a certain scene in The Castle of Cagliostro.
  • Crossing the Desert: As part of the trip around the world, Pero and Carter attempt to cross the Sahara in an automobile.
  • Damsel in Distress: Susannah, as she’s first seen trying to run away from her abusive fiancé and hides behind Pero for protection. Turns out it was all just a ruse to ruin Pero's chances at winning The Bet.
  • Decoy Damsel: Susannah was just an actress hired by Dr. Garigari to poison Pero and make him lose a few days of the trip.
  • Disney Acid Sequence: The love duet scene between Pero and Susannah counts as this, even though it was All Just a Dream thanks to the mickey slipped into his drink.
  • Don't Make Me Take My Belt Off: After briefly getting lost, Squeaky gets spanked by his father in front of everyone for running off while they’re in a foreign country.
  • Dub Name Change: In the English Dub, Pero is renamed to "Pussty" to reference the Puss in Boots title since there are no other references to the Fairy Tale within the film. Too bad it sounds a little too much like something else, even with the letter T thrown in.
    • Gourmon's name changed to Sir Rumblehog, and Dr. Garigari was changed to Dr. Mysterioso.
    • Also in the same dub, Carter the hippo is renamed to Tumbo.
  • Eskimo Land: The North Pole is apparently populated by anthropomorphic bears and narwhals who live in igloos. Who knew?
  • Evil Is Petty: A large part of The Bet was to satiate Gourmon's ego, as he uses it to not only prove that traveling around the world cannot be done in 80 days, but to show that he's always right.
  • Expy: Dr. Garigari bears a lot of similarities to another cloaked and monocled wolf, Professor Moriarty from Sherlock Hound, a series which premiered a decade after this film. Both share a similar choice in clothing, have Dastardly Whiplash personalities, and are also pretty handy with gadgets. They pilot their own submarines and even share voice actors.
  • Furry Confusion: An Eskimo bear child uses a polar bear to pull his sled across the tundra.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: He may not look like it, but Pero can build submarines and airplanes within hours in order to make up for lost time as he travels around the world. Dr. Garigari also qualifies, but can build bigger, deadlier variants along with giant robots.
  • Marry for Love: Susannah proclaims this as part of her protest against her Arranged Marriage. Though Pero preaches this viewpoint as well, making him a Rare Male Example.
  • Only in It for the Money: Despite trying to ruin Pero's bet and by extension, life, Dr. Garigari is ultimately only it for the paycheck promised to him by Gourmon.
    Gourmon: What do I pay you for!?
    Dr. Garigari: To get richer.
  • Pantsless Males, Fully-Dressed Females: Susannah is the only female, and fully-dressed cat to date in the entire franchise.
  • Parasol of Prettiness: Susannah carries one in order to fit her sweet Southern Belle personality and also add to her Proper Lady mannerisms.
  • Pig Man: Gourmon is a giant pig that towers over everyone both in size and in ego.
  • Race Against the Clock: Down to the very last chime.
  • Southern Belle: Susannah is presented as this, with her code of dress and Dixie accent.
  • Tiny Guy, Huge Girl: Susannah is twice Pero’s height when standing up.
  • Unfortunate Name: In the English dub, Pero goes by "Pussty", which is only just a letter off from a certain insult.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Gourmon as Pero gets closer to the top of the clock tower as his anger takes over, rendering him from a Rich Bastard to an outright raging animal as his clothes become torn and he becomes more physical as he tries to catch and stop Pero from completing the race, even in front of the entire town as they watch helplessly from below. His logic even becomes more nonsensical than usual, believing that his actions are okay either because there were no rules against it when The Bet was set up or because he can do whatever he wants.
  • When the Clock Strikes Twelve: Not midnight, but noon in this case as when it strikes this hour on the 80th day, The Bet is over.
  • World Tour: Again, what's a Around the World in 80 Days adaptation without one?

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