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Franchise / Tabaluga

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Tabaluga, a small green dragon, is the protagonist of a franchise of the same name.

He was created in 1983 by German singers Peter Maffay, Rolf Zuckowski, and Maffay's songwriter Gregor Rottschalk. Originally only created for one concept album, the franchise has since spawned 6 concept albums, 4 musicals based on them, a novel, a Game Show, an animated series by Yoram Gross with a spin-off movie, audio drama adaptations of this series, several smaller books, Board Games, and an award for charitable work (the "Golden Tabaluga"). And to top it off, a new CGI movie was released in December 2018, later dubbed and released in English in 2019 under the title "Ice Princess Lily".

To make matters more complicated, the many concept albums and musicals have a rather different continuity than the cartoon, which is more well-known internationally, with the second musical (Tabaluga und das verschenkte Glück, "Tabaluga and the Fortune that was Given Away") featuring both characters from the former and the latter.


Common connections between the continuities are Tabaluga, his father Tyrion (often as a ghost), and the villain Arktos.

     Notable Works in the Franchise 
  • Tabaluga, oder die Reise zur Vernunft ("Tabaluga, or the Journey to Reason"), 1983; first concept album
  • Tabaluga und das leuchtende Schweigen ("Tabaluga and the Shining Silence), 1986; second concept album
  • Tabaluga and the Magic Jadestone, 1988; Shortened English adaptation of Shining Silence, by Chris Thompson
  • Tabaluga und Lilli ("Tabaluga and Lilli"), 1993; third concept album
  • The Tabaluga und Lilli musical, 1994; an adaptation of the third concept album (also incorperates elements from the first)
  • Tabaluga, 1994, novelization of Tabaluga story by Helme Heine and Gisela von Radowitz
  • The Tabaluga cartoon, 1997-2004; a cartoon based on the Tabaluga story, taking many inspirations from the novel and musical
  • Tabaluga tivi, 1997-2011; children's game show with Tabaluga characters as hosts
  • Tabaluga und das verschenkte Glück ("Tabaluga and the Fortune that was Given Away"), 2002; fourth concept album
  • The Tabaluga und das verschenkte Glück musical, 2004; an adaptation of the fourth concept album
  • Tabaluga und die Zeichen der Zeit ("Tabaluga and the Signs of Time"), 2011; fifth concept album
  • The Tabaluga und die Zeichen der Zeit musical, 2012; an adaptation of the fifth concept album
  • Tabaluga - Es lebe die Freundschaft ("Tabaluga - Long live Friendship"), 2015; sixth concept album
  • The Tabaluga - Es lebe die Freundschaft musical, 2016; an adaptation of the sixth concept album
  • Tabaluga der Film ("Tabaluga The Movie"), 2018; movie adaption of the Tabaluga story, taking inspiration of many previous adaptations, especially various incarnations of Tabaluga and Lilli

This franchise provides examples of:

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     General Tropes 

     Tabaluga und Lilli 
A musical about Tabaluga's struggles to free Arktos' "daughter" Lilli, based on the concept album of the same name.

     The Game Show 
Two teams of 4 to 6th graders participate in mostly action-oriented minigames (a quiz-round was introduced later). The team winning more games has to win the final round to win the Grand Prize. (Roller skates/a skateboard/a bike + the latest gaming console + a T-Shirt). Later they also played for money for benevolent institutions.
  • Confetti Drop
  • Consolation Prize: a T-Shirt, a basket full of merchandising and a board game
  • Dueling Shows: Tabaluga tivi vs. Tigerenten-Club. Both gameshows for children about a popular franchise (Tabaluga and Janosch) interrupted twice for episodes of popular kids shows.
  • Game Show Appearance: A variation. A Tabaluga animatronic was one of the hosts.
  • Soundproof Booth: Used for a while in the very first round: The kids had to answer questions about their teammate, who was in a Sound Proof Booth, then they swapped places. Replaced later with a "typical" quiz in the very last round.

     The Animated Adaption 
  • And I Must Scream: Arktos' final fate in the cartoon after having own powers rebound upon him, freezing him solid in a block of ice. He can't be defrosted like his previous victims, melting the ice would melt him as well, which would be lethal. So he's just stuck there frozen forever.
  • Art Evolution: While the character designs remained consistent, the animation has gotten better over the years. The pilot trailer marks the only time Tabaluga was animated with hand-painted cels. When the series got greenlit, Yoram Gross decided to use digital ink and paint. (It's also the first Yoram Gross series, along with Samuel & Nina to use this technique.)
  • Been There, Shaped History: The reason for Tyrion naming his son Tabaluga is his son visiting him personally in his youth (although Tyrion probably did not know that until he was an adult).
  • Big Bad: Arktos in Season 1 and 3, Humsin in Season 2.
  • Bratty Half-Pint: Tabaluga shows shades of this. As does Happy. Also Happy's cousin, Bobby.
  • Butt-Monkey: Digby in seasons 2-3.
  • The Bus Came Back: Dandy returns in season 1 finale and acts as a guard during Arktos' trial.
  • The Chick: Happy.
  • Can't Kill You, Still Need You: Tabaluga realises at the end of season 1 that, as the avatar of winter, Arktos is simply too important to the balance of nature to destroy completely, and indeed saves his life during season 3 for the same reason.
  • Call-Back:
    • The last person to talk with Tabaluga in the series is his father. He was also the last person to talk with him in the first episode of the series.
    • In season 2 episode Digby the Hero, Tabaluga recognizes the supposed place where he hatched.
    • Season 3 episode Pendant Lost, the series finale, has some too:
      • The prison in Glasstown where Tabaluga and Shouhu are held is the same one in which Tyrion was held years before.
      • The coronation is once again crucial point of the plot.
      • Shouhu reminds Arktos that Tabaluga is (still) prince of Greenland and is the only one that can legally be crowned as king.
  • Disney Villain Death: Humsin falls off the waterfall by the end of the second season. His death is very similar to that of an actual Disney villain, Percival McLeach from The Rescuers Down Under.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Season 2 episode Digby the Hero has Digby saving Tabaluga and friends from suffocating under the surface. And a year before said episode aired in Germany, Kursk submarine disaster had occured.
  • Eviler Than Thou: In the very first episode he comes in, Humsin immediately pulls it on Arktos who seeks allegiance with him, and shows him who now is the main villain.
    • In Season 3, Queen Isadora pulls it on Arktos. He falls in love with her and she uses his love for her to make a potion for her that would make her more powerful and suck the power out of him in the process.
    • To put it straight, despite being the Big Bad of the franchise and Tabaluga's (and his ancestors) arch-nemesis, Arktos is far from the most dangerous threat/most evil villain that Tabaluga faces. That is, until the last episode of Season 3, where Arktos does manage to get a hold of the dragon's pendant and use it to make Tabaluga completely powerless.
  • Expository Theme Tune: The English version, and probably many others (if they translated from English).
  • Flanderization: Digby goes from an intelligent know-it-all in season 1 to a dumb Butt-Monkey who serves as the series' comic relief in seasons 2-3. Averted in season 2 episode Digby the Hero.
  • Foreign Re-Score: The Italian dub has the music for the opening and closing themes recomposed, with the results sounding a bit more rock-sounding than the original.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Kayo, by the end of Season 3.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Tyrion dies seconds after hiding Tabaluga's egg from Arktos.
  • Interim Villain: Humsin in Season 2. While Arktos still prominently appears in Season 2, he has been reduced to a Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain who mostly just whines about not being able to conquer Greenland (and sometimes even teaming up with Greenlanders against Humsin, albeit for his own benefits) and Humsin is the real threat to Greenlanders. However, since Humsin dies in the end of Season 2, Arktos has his status as the main villain restored, though he is still quite incompetent and not as cunning as he was in Season 1.
  • The Jeeves: James, Arktos' penguin butler.
  • Killed Off for Real: Humsin at the end of season 2 and Arktos in season 3 finale.
  • Large Ham: Season 3 episode Scary Story has Tabaluga telling Arktos to, basically, skedaddle out of the former's camp.
    Tabaluga: Get on your penguin and go!
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Arktos in the series finale. After freezing countless Greenlanders, killing protagonist's father and threatening numerous living beings throughout the years, he gets frozen in a giant block of ice after his own ice beam, intended for Tabaluga, ricochets and hits him.
  • Like Father, Like Son: Played With in season 2 finale, Majority Rules. Tabaluga gets frozen by Arktos just like his father, but thanks to the Crystall Ball, averts Tyrion's fate.
  • The Mentor: Nessaja, Shouhou and Tyrion. If Tabaluga would listen to them...
  • The Movie: A movie adaption titled "Tabaluga and Leo" was released in 2005. It served as the show's Christmas Episode.
  • Minion with an F in Evil: Vulture, by far.
  • Monster of the Week: Usually, in vast majority of episodes, it's Arktos or Humsin who wants to destroy Greenland. That said, there are very few episodes that have an individual one-episode villain (though, Arktos or Humsin still show up).
    • In season 1's episode, "Queen For One Day", this is Billingua snake. She is a snake with hypnosis power, and her intention is to hypnotize both Tabaluga and Arktos, so she could rule Ice World and Greenland.
    • It actually became more common to have individual villains in Season 3 since Tabaluga embarks on a hero journey for Dragon's pendant. Thus, he encounters some villains on his journey (though, Arktos is still the main villain as he pursues Tabaluga so he could have the pendant for himself).
      • In the episode Eye in the Sky, the villain of the week is the evil warlock Tempest who enslaves rabbits from the local village and guards the wind sign (one of the five signs Tabaluga must acquire in order to have the pendant. It it revealed that Tempest was nothing more than a rabbit in disguise.
      • In a later episode, Whale of Tale, Tabaluga goes on a sea voyage to find water sign, and Arktos hires a crew of pirates who kidnap whales to pull Arktos's ship, destroy Tabaluga's ship, kidnap his friends, and almost kill Tabaluga.
      • In the following episode Arktos's Last Grasp, Queen Isadora shows up, and Arktos falls in love with her, while she uses him for her wicked ends.
  • Never Say "Die":
    • Averted in:
      • Season 1 episode Dragons Don't Cry: Happy is close to death because she has eaten poisonous fruit.
      • Season 2 episode Digby the Hero: Shouhu convinces Digby to save the lives of Tabaluga and co. who are trapped in a cave under the desert. The problem? When Shouhu discovers where the dragon and his friends are stuck, they are asleep because there was almost no oxygen in the cave.
      • Season 2 episode The Sands of Doom: in the retrospection, Arktos freezes Tabaluga's father, Tyrion.
      • Season 3 episode Menace in the Mountains: Tabaluga came so close to the Magnetic Mountain in order to get the last Dragon Sign, that if it wasn't for River of Life (and Kayo beforehand), he would die.
    • Played straight throughout the whole series with Arktos freezing other creatures. Justified because Tyrion died this way.
  • Not Quite Dead: Tabaluga in season 3 episode Menace in the Mountains. Arktos reaction to seeing him alive is hilarious.
  • Our Time Travel Is Different: River of Time serves as natural time machine, although the degree and way of the travel changes throught the series:
    • In season 1, the person has to look into the river to see the past like a movie.
    • In season 2, the person has to jump into the river and swim upstream (into the past), but has to swim downstream bit by bit to see how the events progress. The events are presented in varied ways: sometimes like a movie on the wall, sometimes the viewer is in the place of the events, although without the ability to change the events.
    • In season 3, the way is similar to the season 2, but the person has to come out of the river and the cave to see the past events in person, with ability to change the course of history.
  • Panty Shot: Happy in spades.
  • Platonic Life-Partners: Tabaluga and Happy. Granted, they are very different species of animals.
  • Plot Armor: As shown in one of the first season 1 episodes, Arktos cannot freeze Tabaluga.
  • Plot Hole:
    • Season 3 focuses on Tabaluga's quest for Dragon Pendant. However, in season 2 episode The Big Change, he already has it.
    • In one of the very early episodes, “Servant of Two Masters”, Shouhou shows the past from his crystal ball. In season 3, he claims the crystal ball doesn’t show past.
    • Season 1 episode “The Flow of Time”: Tabaluga sees his father's youth in River of Time. While Arktos also shows up in the retrospection, but he already is adult. Come Season 3 episode “Where is Winter?”, where Tabaluga goes back in time and meets his young father face to face, but here Arktos is very young ( compared with Tyrion being slightly older than he was in season 1 retrospection).
    • In The Last One of His Kind, it’s stated that Tyrion lived very long ago and that it sometimes takes centuries for dragons to hatch, explaining how Tabaluga can still be his son. However, in Servant Of Two Masters and The Sands of Doom, it’s shown that Shouhou lived during Tyrion’s times, and (in the former episode) was his mentor.
      • The latter episode also shows James being Arktos' servant despite the fact that it's clear James isn't that old.
    • The situation of the ostrich working for Humsin. In episode My Baby, where Humsin gets mad at her and many other of his servants and banishes them all, they end up in Greenland and with her husband, they raise their kids and befriend Greenlanders. However, the following episodes nullify this.
  • The Power of Friendship: Tabaluga and many Greenlanders had their lives saved by each other thanks to that.
  • Prophecy Twist: Played With. In episode Good Fortune, Shouhou's crystal ball shows that a great stone thrown by Humsin will destroy a net protecting Greenland. Greenlanders try to fight destiny, but at the end, the stone destroys the net, just like the ball shown... and then Humsin's land, because Kayo had stolen the net and repositioned it to guard Humsin's castle. This is because the ball does not answer questions about future in a straight manner.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: Many of antagonists' sidekicks (mainly James and Vultur) who have nothing personal against Tabaluga, sometimes happen to work and cooperate with the Greenlanders.
  • Purple Is Powerful: In the very last episode, where Arktos almost wins and is about to be crowned, he wears a purple royal cape.
  • Really Royalty Reveal: The first episode of season 2 reveals that Tabaluga is crown prince of Greenland, as all of his ancestors (Tyrion included, hence the crown is named after him) were kings of Greenland.
  • Rightful King Returns: The whole season 2 plot is basically preparing Tabaluga to be crowned as the king. Ultimately averted by Tabaluga himself by refusing to be crowned in the season finale.
  • Save the Villain: Tabaluga does this a lot. This sometimes backfires at him.
    • In the second-to-last episode of season 2, The Sands of Doom, Humsin asks Tabaluga to help him. The help turns out to be a trap summing a tornado, and Greenland ends up turning into a desert.
    • In season 3 episode Where is Winter?, Arktos is deathly ill, and Tabaluga has to go back in time to aquire long-lost flower, which will cure the snowman.
  • Seers: Shouhou is held captive by Arktos for his ability to see to faraway places using a crystal ball.
  • Shout-Out: To Formula One 2002 season in S3 episode Ready, Set, Go!.
    • The finish of the race (Arktos winning by the length of his nose) references the 2002 United States Grand Prixnote .
  • Sliding Scale of Continuity:
    • Level 3 (Subtle Continuity) in seasons 1 and 2.
    • Level 4 (Arc-Based Episodic) in season 3.
  • Stable Time Loop: In season 3 episode Where is Winter?, Tabaluga travels to the past by using River of Time and meets Tyrion, his father, face to face in his youth. They both learn their names at the end, thus creating the reason why Tabaluga is named as such.Bonus fact 
  • Ungrateful Bastard:
    • Arktos has been saved by Tabaluga on more than one occasion (one of the episodes of Season 3 is entirely dedicated to saving Arktos) and he still wages war on Greenland and wants to defeat Tabaluga.
    • Humsin takes it Up to Eleven. He pretends to be sick and dying, knowing well Tabaluga will try save him, and even promises to surrender. Once Tabaluga follows instructions to "help" Humsin, Humsin reveals he was faking it, and Tabaluga's actions lead to Greenland being turned into a desert.
    • Subverted with Vultur in the episode Dangerous Confidence. Vultur almost dies but Tabaluga saves his life by bringing him into a secret valley that Humsin is not supposed to know about. Later, Humsin attempts to destroy the valley, implying that Vulture did tell him... only to be revealed that Vultur did not say anything, and this was all staged by Arktos who wanted to make Tabaluga seem incompetent. This is carried into a next episode where Arktos and Humsin team up against Tabaluga and sent Vultur to spy on him. Vulture remembering Tabaluga saving his life, warns Tabaluga of the villains' plans. After that, this is forgotten and Vultur once again is on Humsin's side, and tries to help him in defeating Tabaluga.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Digby in season 2 episode Digby the Hero. If it wasn't for him, Tabaluga would be dead and Greenland would quickly fall under Arktos and Humsin's rule.
  • The Vamp: Queen Isadora in Season 3's episode "The Last Grasp" is this for Arktos. He falls in love with her and she promises to rule the world with him while in reality, she plans to rule it herself and only uses him to make the potion for her (when he breathes inside the potion, the energy gets sucked out of him).
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Chocolate ice cream for Arktos, carrots for Happy and sunflower seeds for Tabaluga (although the last one disappeared after season 1).
  • Like Father, Unlike Son: Season 2 revealed that Tyrion was king of Greenland. What Tabaluga decides to do in the season finale during his own coronation? Refuses to be crowned.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • Many named citizens of Iceworld (who often helped Tabaluga and his friends) do not show up post-Season 1 finale.
    • Unlike Kayo, all the Humsin's other servants do not come back in Season 3.
  • What Song Was This Again?: "Tabaluga" (the song the theme song was based off) was originally about Tabaluga being fed up with Tyrion telling him about right and wrong and wanting to be like the older dragons as a result. In all other languages, it became an Expository Theme Tune sung from a different perspective that not only talks about Tabaluga, but about Arktos as well.

     The movie "Tabaluga & Leo" 
  • A Boy and His X: A boy and his dragon friend. The two come to bond over their shared status as orphans and the troubles they endure over the course of the movie to become good friends.
  • Christmas Episode: The movie serves as the Christmas special for the animated series.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: In this movie we find out that one of Arktos' motivations for the conquest of Greenland is because his mother wanted to do it and he wants to do it all for her. He even sheds icy tears.
  • Happily Adopted: Leo at the end of the movie; the foster family that took him home for Christmas decides to adopt him permanently.
  • Harmless Freezing: Being frozen in a block of ice by Arctos has no ill effects on Leo. Granted, he was frozen only for a few seconds.
  • Human Popsicle: Shortly after arriving in Tabaluga's world, Leo is confronted and frozen solid by Arctos. Good thing Tabaluga was nearby and comes to his aid.
  • The Klutz: Leo.
  • Lightning Can Do Anything: A lightning bolt eventually powers up the giant toy dozer Arctos build (which previously wouldn’t start since it was modeled after a battery powered toy), allowing him to start his rampage. Justified since it needed electricity to work.
  • MacGuffin: The green crystal that is essential to completing the Greenland Day ritual for another 1000 years of good luck. It gets broken, forcing Tabaluga and Leo to get a replacement.
  • No Waterproofing in the Future: Arctos’ giant version of Leo’s toy dozer is eventually taken out with water, which causes it to short out.
  • Rage Breaking Point: During most of the movie Tabaluga remains calm and understanding with Leo even when the other Greenlanders turn on the boy, but after Leo’s clumsiness causes one accident too many, even Tabaluga gets mad. He calms down again rather quickly when he finds out Leo is an orphan though.
  • Token Human: Leo is the only main human character from the movie and, in fact, the first human to ever show up in Tabaluga’s world. Hence why the Greenlanders are rather suspicious of him.
  • Trapped in Another World: Leo is threatened with this if he doesn’t go back to his own world before the Greenland star disappears, because then the portal will close for another thousand years.
  • Walking Disaster Area: Not as bad as most versions of this trope, but Leo is rather clumsy and accidentally causes a lot of trouble because of it.

     Tabaluga (2018) 
  • A God Am I: Artkos' Villain Song includes the line "I'm a god / And you were born to follow".
  • Canon Immigrant: Tabaluga's mother, Tyria, who appeared only in 90's novel.
  • Cryptically Unhelpful Answer: When Tabaluga asks Nesseja the turtle on where to find his fire, she tells him It Was with You All Along. He then points out that her advice was both vague and obvious at the same time.
  • Covers Always Lie: With Advertised Extra in case of Lily. Some language versions (i.e. Australian, Russian, English) changed the title to Ice Princess Lily, due to release dates being close to Frozen II premiere possibly in order to draw more attention, making Lily the title character and eliminating Tabaluga from the posters. This backfired, as some reviews called the movie "a ripoff of Frozen".In fact 
  • Damsel in Distress: When Tabaluga and Lily flee to Greenland, Arktos convinces the Icelanders that Lily was kidnapped, convincing them to invade Greenland to save her. When Lily goes back to fix things, he captures her, forcing Tabaluga to go to Iceland and face the snowman.
  • Die or Fly: When chased by Arktos, Tabaluga and Lily find themselves at a cliff, at Lily's urging, they jump, and Tabaluga's wings grow to carry them both.
  • Love at First Sight: For Tabaluga when he gets a look at Lily.
  • Mood Whiplash Arktos' terrifying Villain Song is interrupted by...Limbo the polar bear's comical rapping and beat-boxing, trying to act as a diversion for Lily to save Tabaluga.
  • Power of Love: It's ultimately his feelings for Lily that help Tabaluga find his fire.
  • Quest for Identity: Tabaluga spends much of the movie unable to breath fire, and suffers some angst because he feels without it he's not a "real dragon."
  • Signs of Disrepair: Tabaluga finds his mother's grave with the words "Tabaluga" "Fire" and "Iceland" and some moss, which he assumes is a message telling him to find his fire in Iceland. Later on, he rechecks the grave and when the moss is wiped off, it reads, "Tabaluga, find your fire, beware of Iceland."
  • Unwitting Pawn: Arktos reveals that he created Lily solely to draw out Tabaluga. Lily for her part is shocked to learn that she's nothing more than "Dragon bait".


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