Ik Mik Loreland was an Edutainment Show that ran for two seasons in 1994 in The Netherlands. It was developed to be accompanying a reading method coined Veilig leren lezen, which means "learning to read safely", and ended up traumatizing pretty much every Dutch child born between 1985 and 1995. This was especially due to the Big Bad Karbonkel, who was Nightmare Fuel to most viewers, which were aged 5-7 at that time.
The story starts in the fictional land of Loria. Everyone in Loria is obsessed with anything having to do with reading and writing, to the point where their entire lives revolve around it. In a cave nearby, there lives Karbonkel, an ill-tempered troll like creature who is illiterate, but desperately wants to learn reading and writing, so he can write a story about his species, the Karbonkels. One day, Mik, the protagonist, visits Karbonkel's cave and tries to teach him to read. But Karbonkel, impatient as he is, wants to instantly learn it. When Mik explains learning to read takes time, Karbonkel becomes very angry and uses his magic powers to turn the entire country of Loria illiterate out of spite, by removing all letters from the country. This turns Loria into the titular Loreland. To restore literacy in Loria, Mik sets out on a quest to reacquire all letters. Mik's journy brings her to strange lands, with equally strange creatures, who are either helpful, harmful or just weird. During her travels, Karbonkel follows her, trying to make her quest fail.
The entire series can be viewed Here.
Ik Mik Loreland contains examples of:
- Abhorrent Admirer: One of the characters gets one from episode 24 onwards, which goes hand in hand with Casanova Wannabe.
- All Trolls Are Different: The troll like Karbonkels are mostly illiterate, have the power to turn entire countries illiterate and are able to shapeshift into giant piranhas. If one does learn to read, he or she gains a more human like appearance.
- Anti-Villain: Karbonkel seems to be a Woobie Anti Villain. The reason why he turns Loria into the illiterate Loreland, is because he is frustrated about his inability to read and write.
- Audience Surrogate: The protagonist of the story, Mik, serves as one.
- Baleful Polymorph: Poes, a Cat Girl living in the maze world of Doolgaarde, was changed into an ape before meeting Mik.
- Batman Can Breathe in Space: There is a place called Kratermaan which closely resembles the moon. Nobody has any problem breathing there, though.
- Big Bad: Karbonkel is the main villain for season 1, the Bovenbonkel for season 2.
- Bigger Bad: The Bovenbonkel in season 1.
- Cat Girl: Mik comes across a Cat Woman living in the Mazeworld of Doolgaarde.
- Continuity Nod: Several times over the course of the show, mostly to refresh the memory of the viewer.
- Cyclops: Karbonkel has one eye permanently shut and turns into a one-eyed fish. He gets better, though.
- Edutainment Show: One of the best known examples for Dutchmen growing up in the 90's.
- Eldritch Location: The show is full of these, Doolgaarde in particular as an infinite maze. Karbonkelland actually ends up being one of the most normal locations in the show.
- Functional Magic: Karbonkel and all of his kin can do magic. Examples include turning entire countries illiterate and Voluntary Shapeshifting. Another manifestation of this ability is hacking into a computer. The attempt was unsuccessful, though.
- Genre Blindness: Mik has a serious blind spot whenever she finds herself in a situation reminiscent of a fairy tale. The Bovenbonkel really likes to make use of this.
- Genre Savvy: The second Big Bad, the Bovenbonkel, has some of this. Despite being from a species unable to read, he has knowledge about several fairy tales and uses this knowledge against Mik. A good example is when he uses an enchanted spinning wheel to make Mik fall asleep for a hundred years, explicitly mentioning his inspiration from Sleeping Beauty.
- Gotta Catch Them All: Every single letter has to be re-acquired over the course of the first season.
- Green-Eyed Monster: Both used figuratively and somewhat literally. Karbonkel's sole motivation for turning Loria into the illiterate Loreland, is because of his jealousy for their ability to read, while he himself is illiterate. He also has the ability to turn into a monstrous looking giant cyclops piranha, which has a green eye.
- Idiot Ball: The second episode starts with one for the main character as she comes across a shooting star. She could have easily wished for all the letters and words to return. Instead, she simply wastes her wish to dry her clothes.
- Leitmotif: Karbonkel has a very distinct one consisting of a set of strings, followed by a bass guitar. Whenever anything educational comes up, it is indicated by a distinct series of bleeps.
- Load-Bearing Boss: In the Series Finale, the tower with the Bovenbonkel in it collapses.
- The Lost Woods: Wildewoud ("Wildwood") is a huge forested area inhabited by anthropomorphic animals.
- The Maze: Doolgaarde, a dark and endless maze nobody has ever escaped from.
- Mister Seahorse: A key point in episode 19 where a male peacock lays a magical egg.
- Never Learned to Read: The troll-like Karbonkel is the only inhabitant of Loria who cannot read. When Mik tries to teach him, he gets so angry that he curses it to become the illiterate country of Loreland and scatters the letters of the alphabet across different places.
- Opening Narration: Only done during the first episode, though for exposition purposes.
- Our Dwarves Are All the Same: Averted. They may be small and occupy their time mostly with masonry and stoneworking, but they are more akin to a Rock Monster in some aspects.
- Paper People: The main character speculates about the existence of these people in episode 14.
- Parental Bonus: You can find plenty Innuendo and Puns, sometimes to get some crap past the radar.
- Sugar Apocalypse: Everyone in Loria becomes illiterate after Karbonkel transforms it into Loreland. All the colors are drained away from the previously vibrant town as well.
- Swamps Are Evil: Huiverhuizen ("Chillinghouse"), one of the lands visited by Mik, is a creepy swamp.
- Title Drop: In episode 13.
- Voluntary Shapeshifting: Karbonkel can transform into a green one-eyed fish.
- The Woobie: Karbonkel in the second season. After he learns to read, his appearance turns more human. Because of this, he feels he neither belongs to the Karbonkels or the humans, particularly Mik.
- World of Ham: Almost every character in this series really hams it up. The ones who don't can be counted on one hand.