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Nightmare Fuel / Babar

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While most of the series offers "slice of life" morality lessons, complete with anthropomorphism, a number of the earlier episodes dealt with rather frightening and even violent issue.

Original books:

  • Babar's mother gets shot by a hunter on the second page of the first book, The Story of Babar, The Little Elephant.
    • The first book also has an illustration showing the old King of the Elephants taking the poisonous mushroom that killed him and then writhing on the ground, his skin a livid green.
  • There is a memorable Nightmare Sequence in Babar the King with Misfortune and her beastly minions threatening Babar.

TV Series:

  • The pilot episode, "Babar's First Step", in which a viewer is introduced to the merry elephant tribe before Babar grew up and "civilized" them, in which Babar's blissful times of playing in ponds with other baby elephants and his mother are ended by a hunter with a rifle. He gets no name...he is "the Hunter". The elephants don't know what the sound of his rifle blasting means, and the elders assume it is a "monster". Babar's mother is eventually shot while the herd are fleeing the Hunter, complete with Babar being thrown from her back and screaming and crying for her in the mud after she is shot.
    • Then getting to watch her make a last, desperate attempt to cover their escape by charging the Hunter; she gets fatally shot and falls over on screen, close range.
    • Made in 1989, elephant cognition (funerals included) had already received considerable publicity. You could not tell your children that this was "just a cartoon".
  • The fate of the Hunter is pretty freaky as it is distressingly unsettling. In "Babar's Triumph", the Hunter sets a fire in the jungle to help him and his men fight Babar and the other animals, but the fire gets out of control and starts sweeping back over the camp. His men, understandably, freak out and drive off in a jeep, being so panicked that they actually drive straight through the closed gate in their justified haste to get away. The Hunter, however, refuses to leave, screaming at them to come back, then doing a Skyward Scream about how he will not run and how he vows to destroy the animals... which then trails off into a Scream Discretion Shot of incoherent, enraged wailing as flames simply sweep over the screen. In a later episode, there's a flashback to this scene as Babar talks to his children about the past, and he mentions casually that this was the last that was ever seen of the Hunter.
    Hunter: They can't run! I won't run! I'LL DESTROY THEM ALL!!! (screams as he gets burnt alive)
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  • The episode "The City of Elephants". Halfway through the episode, Babar has this twisted nightmare where he gets confronted by "The Beast of Misfortune", a giant red elephant that laughs/growls etc. in a very deep voice, and "The Beast of Haste", a small white ghost elephant thing capable of contorting itself into various shapes.
  • The episode "Conga the Terrible" is a Trapped with Monster Plot taking place on an Isle of Giant Horrors. Babar and his friends (along with Rataxes and Basil) get shipwrecked on an island (named Skull Island) that is home to a Kaiju-sized Killer Gorilla with a fearsome reputation, who proceeds to menace them several times over the course of the episode. It is not until the very end of the episode where Cornelius decides to stand up against the ape and learns that he's actually a Gentle Giant who just plays up the monstrous act to keep away hostile people from his island.

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