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Adrian is an Italian animated series with an interesting backstory behind it which, possibly, will be even more well-remembered than the cartoon itself. And, alas, not exactly for the right reasons...

In a bombshell, the series was born from an idea of the famous italian singer-actor-producer Adriano Celentano, with the script worked on by Vincenzo Cerami (screenplayer of Life Is Beautiful) and based on artworks from Milo Manara. On paper, this sounds like the stuff of dreams, given that many people thought of this as a gran return to the screen of Celentano, who had seemingly faded quietly from TV, right?

Celentano had been planning the series since 2005, and officially started to work on it with the satellite television platform Sky Italia in 2009: originally, a 26-episodes series was planned for 2011, for a total budget of 13 million euros. As soon as 2010, Celentano required an extension, due to a series of production problems, while the animation was entrusted to SEK Studio (the same ones behind The Legend of the Titanic and its sequel Tentacolino). In 2012, when Sky pressured the Clan Adriano (Celentano's company) to keep their part of the bargain, Celentano tried to ask for another extention, or at least reduce the series from 26 to 13 episodes, but Sky had enough and Adrian was cancelled, and both sides sued the other. Luckily enough, mass-media company Mediaset took an interest in the series and in 2015 announced that Adrian would finally hit the screens on spring 2016. Still, the troubles were far from over, as they were forced to shift the date as in that period Adrian had just published a new musical album. Finally, in 2018, the series was ready to launch, and was on air in 2019, having being reduced again to nine, much longer episodes.

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The story is set in 2068, in a dystopian and corrupt Italy where the Government brutally enforces the law, conformism is mandatory and violence against women, immigrants and the poor is a daily matter of fact. Adrian is a calm and relaxed watchmaker who has his shop in Via Gluck, and is in love with a woman named Gilda. One evening, during the concert of arrogant rock star Johnny Silver, he's given 15 minutes of fame and allowed to sing whatever he likes. Adrian's following song, "I Want to Know", is a hit and makes him incredibly famous with the people, but at the same time attracts the attention of the police, who see him as a dangerous subversive and fear his potential to rouse the masses. Soon enough, Adrian is a wanted man, but also an icon of truth, justice and rebellion that open the eyes of people. It's also revealed that he secretly fights crime as a masked vigilante named "Volpe" (Fox).

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Each episode was preceded by a live-action show, Aspettando Adrian ("Waiting for Adrian"), where various famous comedians perform in sketches based on topics such as immigration or domestic violence, with Celentano himself as one of the guests. Unfortunately, things went south pretty much on the first airing, with an incredibly disappointing share of 19,07% which gradually lowered over the course of four episodes until it hit the rock bottom with a 7,66% rate. The results of Aspettando Adrian and Celentano's long awaited return were considered incredibly underwhelming (he appeared in the last 10 minutes of the first episode and only said 15-16 words maximum, then sung his songs in the next two episodes and in the last he didn't even bother to show up). Many critics were unbothered by the cartoon itself, considering it a bland Cliché Storm and pretty much a Self-Insert Fic with Adrian as The Ace, while the animation, at points good and at others bad, wasn't considered worth the 28 million budget spent on it. Add to this some big controversial and downright offensive content of certain episodes and you can see why this show was quickly shoved back in the shadows, under the pretense of a health-induced hiatus, even though rumors of a second appearence in autumn were released, but reputed unlikely.

After a long hiatus, the series resurfaced in November 2019, with the live-action part Aspettando Adrian replaced by another simply called Adrian Live - Questa è la Storia ("That's the Story", a lyric from the song "Il ragazzo della via Gluck"), featuring a different format with Celentano himself actually partecipating more amongst the other moderators and celebrities, while all the remaining cartoon episodes were run until December 2019. However, this revival was met with disinterest, as the long-delayed fifth episode was welcomed by a meager 10,44% of share, and no signs of recover in sight. As of today, many people consider Adrian a good example of What Could Have Been... which sadly has Gone Horribly Wrong. It was also reviewed by Yotobi.


This series contains examples of:

  • The Ace:
    • Adrian himself is a skilled watchmaker who's also clever enough to outsmart the government, strong enough to kick the ass of thugs with ease and charismatic enough to inspire people into a revolution.
    • Gilda is a younger version of Adriano Celentano's wife. As such she's beautiful, brave, courageous and perfect enough to host the whole abstract concept of Beauty.
  • Aerith and Bob: Adrian, Gilda, Marco... Dranghestein, and the double whammy of Anidride and Carbonica (anidride carbonica is Italian for carbon dioxide).
  • All Abusers Are Male: Adrian's setting has a disproportionate number of rapists among the antagonists. Gilda even goes on to claim that to a rape victim that, according to her, every single male is a rapist or worse.
  • All Men Are Perverts: Adrian is a sexual dynamo of innuendoes and sexual jokes, the town is chock full with rapists, and when Carbone the policeman asks his colleague Orso to play casual and normal to avoid drawing suspects on them, he promptly slaps the ass of a busty and curvy secretary hitting on her trying to blend more.
  • All Women Are Lustful:
    • Every single one in the setting, in a storm of sexual innuendos. Gilda? Is madly in love with Adrian, and when she feels sexually neglected she seeks a fling with "La Volpe". Margherita? Right after the Mayor of Milan grows a spine and starts fighting the corrupt government, she starts happily harassing him, going so far beg her to ravish her in the burning City Hall. Adrian has even to deal with a lustful old widow attracted by him.
    • When Piero, a spy employed by Dranghenstein to infiltrate the Friends of the Watchmaker secret society, is finally outed, the only girl in the group starts weeping because she truly wanted to have sex with him, and now she will be forced to psychologically torture him into confessing and facing lifetime imprisonment.
  • Alternate Self: Coupled with Real Life Writes the Plot, the ending reveals that Dranghenstein the Blood-Taker is basically an evil Gluck Street Boy.
    • Explaining for the non italian public: Adriano Celentano, the author in 1966 wrote a semi-autobiographic song about him and a friend living in Gluck Street, the same impoverished suburb in which Adrian lives in the show. Also in the song the friend gets the occasion to move away and become rich, but confesses to Adriano that he'd rather live the simple and edenic life in the green he's going to live than get his chances in the corrupt big city. Eight years after than, the friend is now a rich adult, "with enough money to buy Gluck Street", and wants to return home. When he does, gentrification has hit everthing hard, Gluck Street is now a defaced, anonymous block of buildings and wild cementification and the rich guy is now shattered and weeping about his lost past.
    • Dranghenstein is basically the Mirror Universe version of the Gluck Street Boy: someone who left Adrian and the whole Gluck Street with no intention to attempt saving it, but actually wishing to gentrify it fully for money. And almost succedeeding until his old friend butts in.
  • …And That Little Girl Was Me: The elder voiced Narrator explaining the weirdest part of the story in detail? It's an older Marco, the resident Teen Genius of the rebellion narrating Adrian's story to his nephew and nieces as an old, tired man proud to have seen the whole story.
  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence:
    • One of the possible explaination of the ending. Adrian, Darian and "La Volpe", as a permanent trinity, ascend to another plane to protect forever Peace, Beauty and Good.
    • In a Meta sense, Ilenia Pastorelli, the anchorwoman for the Adrian Live show, delivered a speech in which she shared the belief that Adriano Celentano himself somehow managed, by the way of his art, to ascend to another plane becoming the Adrian we saw in the show, who then ascended again.
  • Attempted Rape:
    • In the second episode Adrian as "La Volpe" thwarts one by knocking out cold the rapists. Unfortunately, Adriano thought it was a splendid idea to perform some Victim-Blaming by telling the two girls that "Had you not drink too much, you would have avoided this accident". Suffice to say.. this episode didn't go well with fans. And a speech from an actress against victim blaming in the following episode's "Aspettando Adrian" was perceived as an half-assed attempt to rectify things.
    • Adrian's Milano is said to be a Vice City so mired in crime that "La Volpe", by existing, managed to get the rape rates drop and if he ever took a day off, hundreds of women would be raped daily.
    • Basically it's how the Big Bad loses to Adrian: he attempts to rape Gilda, thus causing "La Volpe" to manifest and kick his ass. And he could have had the upper hand, being stronger and more powerful than Adrian, but he stops to attempt raping Gilda's friends for no reason but evil.
  • Author Avatar:
    • Adrian is Adriano Celentano. A younger Adriano as an Invincible Hero, which wasn't appreciated by most fans.
    • Gilda, that by the end of the story is recognized as the most beautiful woman in the setting, is no one but a younger Claudia Mori, Celentano's wife. Johnny Silver, the evil singer turned good and the most faithful ally of Adrian is based on their son, and when Darian decides to use a CG dog as his avatar for a pirate tv show, he uses the likeness of Celentano and Mori's daughter's dog.
  • Awesome Mc Coolname:
    • Apparently, Dranghenstein isn't the alias. The Blood-Taker is. Dranghenstein legal name is Dranghenstein. Mr. Dranghenstein, professional engineer. No wonder in the past they could tell that Dranghenstein would grow up evil, and Adrian good.
    • Armand Lethal, the sympathetic anchorman who's name is a pun to the Lethal Weapon series, with Armand being a pun for Arma, the italian word for Weapon.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: The main villains are the Head of Government and the mafia boss Dranghestein.
  • Beauty Equals Goodness:
    • Invoked, most heroes are good-looking, villains tend to be older and sinister. Then, Adrian cooperates with the Gov to smear the name of the "Watchmaker" and appears as "Darian", a comically hunched-back, large-nosed all man whose appearence seemingly defuses the enthusiasms of the rebels.
    • Invoked in the end: When Adrian kept babbling about how Beauty would save the world, apparently he was referring to the Abstract Concept of Beauty itself. That gets proptly incarnated in Gilda, Adrian's lover, as apparently according to the Narrator the human female is "Beauty itself that can talk and move" and Gilda is the most beautiful woman.
  • Black-and-White Morality: Played pretty much straight: there's no middle ground apparently, characters are either honest and just people or members of the oppressive and tyrannical government. This too was criticized as too cliché by some critics. According to Gilda, every single man is a rapist. If not worse. According to Adrian, rape can be caused by women drinking too much and getting themselves in troubles.
  • Bumbling Henchmen Duo: Orso and Carbone, the two agents following Adrian around to apprehend him.
  • Butt-Monkey: Orso after his Heel–Face Turn. Despite being lauded as a competent agent, he's also the one getting surpise Groin Attacks as a funny diversion, roaming around cooking pasta with a tennis racket instead of a colander and getting teased by his partner Carbone for his wacky personality.
  • Clark Kenting:
    • "La Volpe" is Adrian with a black jacket and a mask bought by Gilda. He even wears the same shirt and trousers underneath. Darian is Adrian with a goofy wig, a plastic Gag Nose with glasses and a pillow tied on the back to badly simulate an extreme kyphosis. He even managed to get thrown in a maximum security jail dressed as Darian and escape by removing the fake hump, nose and wig.
    • Gilda, the one that bought him the mask and the jacket, has to be told, twice, about Darian and "La Volpe".
  • Cain and Abel: Suddenly, and with no foreshadowing at all, the finale drops a Cain and Abel subplot to explain Adrian and Dranghenstein rivalry: they were pupils of the same dojo. One left his teachers to pursue evil and earn material riches by defiling beauty, the other stayed to pursue a righteous path of justice and a simple, humble life protecting beauty.
  • Contrived Coincidence: Adrian in a nutshell. Every single event in the series
    • Even if we pin the lightning storm deleting every video of Adrian singing I want to know, right in the first minutes of the story the whole Inner Circle of the Watchmaker gets assembled in the same place and meet each others at minutes each other. First a still evil Johnny Silver asks Adrian to perform on stage while he's fooling with his groupies, then Marco comes to snap pictures, videos and recording of Adrian, and in the end Orso and Carbone approach Adrian to ask him about the events.
    • During the first meeting of the Friends of the Watchmaker Adrian decides to attend. Gilda gifts him with a fox mask (who promptly forgets about for the rest of the series). A couple of hours after, Adrian witness the first of the infinite rape attempts of which is laden the entire serie, becoming "La Volpe" for the first time.
    • Orso and Carbone get assigned to the Watchmaker case. Right in time to reform and cover Adrian's tracks as much as they can.
    • When the formerly corrupted lawmaker Gallotti falls prey to an enforced curfew, "La Volpe" is casually there along with Oscar the journalist. Right to reform fully Gallotti and expose Dranghenstein's evil deeds to the press and Gallotti.
    • When finally the High Commissioner manages to jail Darian, Darian uses a combination of morse code and shouting in the drains to communicate with a fellow prisoner and start his plans to escape. The High Commissioner just then orders to assign him a deaf guard to make him feel more isolated. Furthermore, Darian apparently knows sign language for no reason and the guard is sympatethic enough to have let Darian do his sheningans the same
    • The Mayor of Milan fully gains courage just when Darian is jailed, lobbying for a more lenient treatment allowing him to escape.
    • Adrian escapes and loses his memory, but he's found by a former doctor, nursed to full health in no time, gets a second Tap on the Head restoring his full memories and meets the same thugs beating him first, avenging his loss. The sympathetic priest taking him in his parish even claims that the second tap, a soccer ball on the head, is A Godsend.
    • When Gilda decides to break the curfew and join the protest against the Corrupt Government, Adrian begs Orso and Carbone to wipe her criminal record (that would allow the Government to arrest her on sight). Orso and Carbone manage to single out her profile by tracking her Generation Xerox mother's profile and guessing a password they didn't know it was set at the first attempt.
    • As soon as Adrian and Dranghenstein meet, is revealed that they both were pupils of Anidride and Carbonica, masters of the martial arts, and Dranghenstein was the strongest disciple of the now wacky duo, followed by Adrian himself.
  • Corrupt Politician: Pretty much the entire series of villains, with a Sinister Minister in for good old measure, the sole exception being the mayor of Milan.
  • Crapsack World: This future is an horribly bleak exaggeration of Italy's worse aspects in one package. The best example is probably the fact that the immigrant boy Buba was forced to live in a sewer before getting his residence permit.
  • Creator Provincialism: In the above-mentioned lair of unjustice and wickedness that's Italy, which is the only town in this mess which has a leader who's honest and competent? That's right, Milan, Adriano's hometown.
  • Cruel Mercy: When the Friends of the Watchmaker manage to single out the spy in their ranks that allowed Darian to be captured they decide that Darian wouldn't like them to kill him. Instead they force him to play Russian Roulette daily with a secretly all-empty gun, claim to have fed him poison to mock him when he starts beg for his life and devote themselves to psychological torture him until he breaks and THEN keep him imprisoned for life until the new Government can imprison him for life (which happens). They even pass it off as Cruel to Be Kind: as they feel the spy is remorseless and thus uncapable to get redemption, they're attempting to save his soul by reigniting his ability to feel guilt with torture.
  • Dance Battler: As "La Volpe", Adrian's fighting style is remarkably similar to a dance.
  • Deranged Animation: The quality of animation is highly variegated: usually it's pretty good and fluid, even in scenes featuring many moving objects/people at the same time, but at moment's it devolves into scenes with bad, crude animations and to downright unfinished sketches. An infamous example is Adrian and Gilda's sex scene in the first episode, which features a sketch of Adrian with a grotesquely goofy face.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: "The Watchmaker" sings a song of rebellion that is a hit with the audience and inspires thoughts of rebellion in the population. Cue to the Government's only sensible answer: hunt him down and place a bounty on his head and do whatever they can to get rid of him.
  • The Don: Exaggerated by Dranghenstein, who's apparently in charge of all the Italian (and possibly foreign) Mafia clans.
  • The Dreaded: Dranghenstein is feared by everyone, even the impassible and cold Head of Government is afraid of his gaze.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: The Head of Government is willing to let Dranghenstein basically do everything he wants until he keeps money flowing and danger away from his office. The very day he asks him to let him blow an school full of young children to blame Darian, he joins the good guys.
  • Everybody Has Lots of Sex: Even taking out of the equation the rampant amount of sex crimes in the city, the good guys and girls in the show get to score a lot. And usually, a Heel–Face Turn is rewared with lots of sex.
  • Evil, Inc.: Dranghenstein's "Mafia International", headquartered in a skyscraper in the middle of Naples that puts Doofenshmirtz Evil Inc. to shame.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Dranghenstein, courtesy of professional voice actor Claudio Moneta.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Despite years have passed since Dranghenstein and Adrian were classmates and karate practioneers together in the same dojo, Dranghenstein still can't understand why Adrian choose to live a simple, secretive life while he could have used his amazing powers to get fame and wealth.
  • Evil Tower of Ominousness: The landscape of Naples is dominated by a giant skyscraper with a huge neon sign saying "Mafia International" on it as the base of operation of Dranghenstein. This screen alone was enough for the association "Noi Consumatori" to sue Mediaset and Celentano for the offensive and stereotypical representation of Naples.
  • Expy: Adrian's vigilante alias, La Volpe, is one to Zorro, an injustice-fighting secret identity of an unsuspectable character who hides his identity behind a black domino mask. Adrian's only original bit of having a vaguely fox-like muzzle shaped mask is countered by the fact that Volpe is the Italian for Zorro (Fox). Also, as Yotobi pointed out, Johnny Silver looks like a villain from Hokuto no Ken.
  • Fan Disservice: While Johnny Silver is connecting the dots (of an abandoned subplot...) connecting Adrian and Adriano Celentano, he has the vision of an Expy of Miele, the Manara character. However, the gorgeous girl sings with the husky, obviously male voice of Celentano himself...
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Anidride and Carbonica, the old, senile women with whom Adrian is friend talk about having raised him for a mission more than once. It's revealed in the ending that Dranghenstein and Adrian were the best and the second best pupil of their karate dojo, and Adrian honed his abilities to prevent Dranghenstein from defiling beauty by selling ugly skyscrapers to a corrupt government.
    • During the infamous You got yourselves in troubles because you drank too much, ladies scene, "La Volpe" delivers to the rapists a long-winded speech about how rapists are always cursed by God himself, because He molded the most trascended Beauty of the whole Creation in women. Also in the end a major plot point is how women are meant to host the trascendental idea of Beauty, lending it physical presence and fighting personally on its behalf, with Adrian as a guardian of some sort.
  • Funny Background Event: Courtesy by Orso, the wacky part of the duo Orso and Carbone. Who can be seen using a tennis racket as a colander, visibily hurt hours after he was kicked in the nuts as a distraction and so on.
  • Gainax Ending: One to rival Studio Gainax themselves. Adrian and Dranghenstein - who are revealed to be long-lost disciples of the same martial arts dojo - have their final showdown atop the Mafia International skyscraper while Luciano Pavarotti plays from a laptop. The Vesuvius starts to erupt, and at the same time an earthquake localized directly in Milan destroys the Region's HQ. Dranghenstein seems to have the upper hand, but a lightning strike turns him into stone. More lightning transforms Gilda and the other ladies into scantily-clad giants who, representing the idea of Beauty itself, destroy all other modern buildings in Italy while singing an English-language version of "Bella Ciao". And in the Distant Epilogue it's said that Adrian has ascended into an eternally young protector of Beauty in his three aspects of Adrian, Darian and La Volpe. Yeah.
  • Giant Woman: It happens in the ending, when Gilda and two of her scantly clad, sexy friends, are somehow possessed by the abstract idea of Beauty itself and, becoming giantesses clad in lacy lingerie and the tattered remains of their clothes, start tearing apart skyscrapers and "ugly" architecture.
  • Good Is Dumb: The Mayor of Milan is good, honest and can distinguish wrong from right. Unfortunately, he's also bumbling and clumsy, but has a valid help in his Hypercompetent Sidekick Margherita.
  • Good Pays Better: Adrian finds always a way to reward evildoers that swear their evil ways off and reform. Always.
  • Gratuitous English: Adrian's song "I Want to Know" mixes (actually correct) English with normal Italian text.
    • In the ending, the giant ladies and the people of Italy sing a version of "Bella ciao" with English lyrics, which might sound weird since it's a traditional Italian folk song. However, the most known Italian version is explicitly about La Résistance in World War II, while the English version talks of standing up for what's right in general, so it's somewhat Justified.
  • Guile Hero: Adrian himself manages to evade the governative agents with smart-thinking.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Orso, Carbone, Johnny Silver, Gallotti the corrupt lawmaker, the very Head of the Evil Government and every enemy faced by Adrian are unable to keep being evil when Adrian simply talks some good sense in them.
  • Hidden in Plain Sight:
    • The Friends of the Watchmaker, a secret society of four youth following the teachings of Darian, hide in a pub with a... Friends of the Watchmaker neon sign on it. Even then, Dranghenstein had to pay a spy and infiltrate them to find about their activities.
    • Adrian has a watchmaker shop in Gluck Street. Darian and "La Volpe" disguise are hilariously bad. Yet almost no one thought to look for the secretive Watchmaker in Adrian's Wathchmaker shop in Gluck Street.
    • After being outed by Dranghenstein as Darian, Adrian is able to evade capture by merely slipping back into his Adrian guise, or into "La Volpe" identity.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Government-aligned star Johnny Silver decides to let the "Watchmaker" have his 15 minutes of fame, like he used to do for shit and giggles. His song proves to be the trigger which ignites the fires of rebellion, setting the story in motion.
  • Incurable Cough of Death: Averted and downplayed. While the elder Narrator stops his story towards the end staving off a fit of cough long enough to leave him breathless, he quickly dismisses it and jokes about Too much future getting in my lungs. He's promptly revealed as an extremely old Marco, now a feeble granpa and extremely old, telling Adrian's story to a huge litter of nephews and nieces.
  • Informed Flaw:
    • A huge part of the plot apparently stems for the fact that the police is apparently unable to recognize "the Watchmaker" or remember what was he like, despite the fact that's essentially a Mr. Fanservice version of Adriano. To the point that when the Watchmaker is "unmasked" as the hideous hunchback Darian, even Gilda, Adrian's love interest, believes that Darian was the real Watchmaker.
    • Despite being the sexiest, most intelligent, brave and perfect woman, Gilda has to be told twice that Darian is Adrian, and then than "La Volpe" is Adrian. Despite having actually made up with "La Volpe".
  • Intrepid Reporter: Oscar, of the "Daily Truths" newspaper. He's honest, uncorruptible and always verifies the facts behind the news.
  • Irony: A movie whose main theme is the struggle against an oppressive and totalitarian regime... animated by a North Corean animation studio. A few critics took notice…
  • It Only Works Once: During the final Adrian-Dranghenstein confrontation, Dranghenstein lands a sucker punch with a cheap and dirty trick: he feints with his left hand, and jabs with the right. He tries the same trick again as soon as Adrian gets back up, but this time Adrian doesn't fall for the trick and steamrolls him.
  • It's Personal: According to the finale, Adrian is the ancestral enemy of Dranghenstein. Even if they don't care to share the information.
  • Jerkass: Adrian rescues two half-drunk girls from a gang of rapists... and then decides to engage in some gratuitous "You've asked for it" remarks to the clearly shaken victims. In Adrian's world, women are meant to be the living and collective avatar of trascendental concept of Beauty, as immanent concept can't talk, more or defend themselves without a proper Avatar, with Adrian acting as a guardian of some sort. In Adrian's mind, he just blamed two victims of rape for having risked the immaterial concept of Beauty.
  • Karma Houdini: Happens to the Prime Minister of the Evil Government. He initiates his Heel–Face Turn in the last episode because he starts fearing for his life as Dranghenstein has no further use for him, and helps the main characters save a primary school full of child. Just because of that, and after an entire life spreading evil around, while every single evil character gets lifetime imprisonment or worse, he gets away scot free with a single year of jailtime and the loss of his material wealth.
  • Kid Hero: Secondary protagonist Marco, a 14 years old hacker who has witnessed the Revolution. As of the new episodes, he's the de facto technical wiz of the revolution. An older Marco is the Narrator.
  • Lawful Stupid: The High Commissioner would go to any lengths to protect the law and shield the people from themselves.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Several times in the show.
    • When Johnny Silver, still evil then, kicks off the plot letting Adrian sing his title song I Want to Know on the stage of his concert, a thunderstorm deletes every recording on the event and removes Adrian's face from the mind of every bystander, allowing then Adrian to fashion the Darian identity. Even Johnny Silver, upon becoming a good guy, has to be told by Adrian their connection. Was the thunderstorm a casual occurrence, or the Powers That Be empowered Adrian?
    • When Adrian, as the vigilante "La Volpe", is going to deliver his can of whoop-ass again thunderbolts, earthquakes and rain follow him in his wake, with "La Volpe" suddenly able to perform moves straight out of Dragon Ball. Is that Rule of Cool, or the Powers That Be gave mystical prowess to Adrian to defend Beauty itself?
    • When Darian, Marco and Johnny start a pirate TV, Darian uses a pan nailed to a tripod as a makeshift antenna, becoming able to transmit in the whole Italy. Again, he shows how he did to the director of the jail where's put into. Was some kind of magic empowering the pots and pins antenna?
    • Again, when Adrian escapes and hides into a Church, he happens to meet the thug who beat him mercilessly during the evasion attempt. He brutally beats them up, as they were trying to steal from the kind priest, and the more he beats them, the more the surrounding area starts to go wacky, until a tempest blows and eartquakes tear fissures on the ground eating away every single building in the block, save for the church itself.
    • The ending. Oh boy, the straight insanity of the ending. Is that a spruced up reconstruction of the Unreliable Narrator, or Adrian is able to command storms, rain, lightning, turn people into stone and cause volcanic eruptions with his will?
  • Moral Dissonance: Adrian's entire morality and values make no sense. Unless you consider Adrian the greatest hypocrite of his times.
    • Adrian is a staunch believer in women's right and their self-appointed (or even appointed by an Higher Power) protector. Still, he believes that nowaday girls drink too much, and land themselves in big troubles. Spelling it out loud to a couple of girls he just saved from rape.
    • Also, the same Adrian makes a point of playfully mocking Gilda for everything she does wrong. Knowing she's acting like that because he refuses to tell her about his secret identities and, as such, she can't trust Darian and she's falling for La Volpe.
    • Adrian claims to be a peaceful, all loving hero. Yet, he usually leaves behind him a long line of permanently crippled mooks or worse.
    • Adrian believes excessive gentrification and urbanization are killing the human soul. The solution? Destroy every single building, restarting civilization by scratch, no matter what.
  • Meaningful Name: Dranghenstein's name is a portmanteaux of 'Ndrangheta, the Calabrese Mafia, and Frankenstein, and he's the leader of an association made of combined mafia from all over Italy and possibly Europe.
  • Men in Black: The two bad guys Orso and Carbone who are after Adrian.
  • National Stereotypes: The only african boy in the movie is called "Buba" and is, of course, islamic. Also, Naples is the headquarter of Mafia International, the latter of which greatly outraged people.
    • Also a swiss clock company is shown putting a bounty on the Watchmaker to become their spokesperson.
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands: While at first Adrian is simply a buff watchmaker well versed in martial arts, by the end of the story he's an unstoppable force of nature commanding eartquakes, magic lightning to do his bidding, able to escape from anywhere and take incredible amounts of punishment, Dragon Ball Z grade.
  • Nightmare Face: A quick one-shot scene of Adrian having sex with Gilda use a sketch from Manara where Adrian's face resembles a crude caricature of Adriano's face more than anything else.
  • No Endor Holocaust: The earthquake which destroys Palazzo Lombardia - and only Palazzo Lombardia - in the finale apparently doesn't cause any victims, because it happened on a Sunday and it being an office building there was no one working at the time. Despite the fact that in real life it's situated in a densely built area of Milan which includes residential buildings.
  • No Name Given: The Mayor of Milan, the High Commissioner and the Head of Government.
  • Oddly Small Organization: The Friends of the Watchmaker, a secret society of youth trying to help Darian in his rebellion, are a four people band with three college age guys and a girl. Plus, a spy.
  • Police Are Useless: When Adrian briefly loses his memory and he's unable to patrol the streets as "La Volpe", it's stated that the sheer existance of Adrian made rapes less likely to happen, and with "La Volpe" retired women are being raped at an alarming rate. Justified, the Police in that world exists to serve the corrupt government, not caring for citizens.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: It's the expressed and straight out spelled belief Adrian clings to, even in the final. Not only the government in the plot is evil, but according to Adrian every time anyone gets even a taste of power, it's enough to turn him or her into a power hungry tyrant, trapping the human history in a never-ending cycle. A tad hypocritical by someone that's a bona fide superhero.
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: Every single rapist Adrian happens to meet as "La Volpe" gets beaten senseless, often crippled for life as "La Volpe" gleefully tears his limbs off and break his bones the most gruesome, graphically shown ways. And when the Big Bad is shown to be a rapist too, his lifespan gets numbered in mere minutes.

  • Real Life Writes the Plot: Adrian is basically Adriano Celentano is a distopian future. Gilda is his wife, Claudia Mori. Adrian's Italy is an exageration of every event happening in Italy during Celentano's life, and the poor district in which the Watchmaker lives is "Via Gluck", the place where Adriano Celentano spent the younger years of his life. Celentano itself was a watchmaker before being a singer and an actor, and born on January, 6th, he was called "La Befana" ("The Epiphany Hag"), a lore character of an hunchbacked crone giving gifts to good kids. And guess what's one of the shorthands for the Hunchbacked Darian?
  • Red Baron: Dranghenstein is known as "The Blood-drainer", as if he wasn't Obviously Evil enough on his own.
  • The Smurfette Principle:
    • Gilda is the the only girl in the inner circle of Adrian, among Marco, Johnny, Orso and Carbone.
    • The Friends of the Watchmaker are an all-male organization with a single girl in their ranks. However, she's the most ruthless and determinated of the fold.
    • However, Adrian himself thinks that women are closer to the ideal of Beauty and a living conduit between Beauty and Reality: as such, both women are pivotal for the success of the Watchmaker rebellion.
  • Spiritual Successor: To Joan Lui, an often criticized movie sponsored and willed by Adriano Celentano himself in which he played as the titular "Joan Lui", Jesus reborn in modern times to save humanity from the corruption of modern times. This time, Adrian has still amazing powers and he's able to change the world, but less as a Messianic Archetipe and more as powerful Shonen Manga Hero.
  • Special Person, Normal Name: Adrian is kind a tame name, in a world where people can be called Dranghenstein and Armand Lethal (a joke about the italian title for Lethal Weapon, as "Arma" is a literal translation for "Weapon"). Still, Adrian is the resident hero.
  • Spoiler Cover: The cover of the tie-in musical CD with the soundtrack is a frame from the final episode. The final battle between Adrian and the Big Bad, to be precise about that.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: For something that looks like a shonen anime fanfiction written by a teenager in a power fantasy, Adrian has moments of surprising realism hidden in a quagmire of suspension of disbelief
    • After a falling with Gilda, unable to follow her, Adrian begs Orso and Carbone to wipe out her criminal record, allowing the corrupt policemen of the Evil Government to arrest him at whim. But even if Gilda is now recognized an average citizen with no criminal record, the evil policement just decide to rape her, because she's an hot, defenseless woman breaking curfew and there will be not consequences, forcing "La Volpe" to come.
    • While she's still angry at Adrian, Gilda sees Adrian seemingly vanishing. Actually, he was arrested as Darian, but she starts thinking he fled with a lover and deserted her, deciding to go away. When she's told the truth from Orso and Carbone, she merely shifts from angry to worried as she starts fearing that Adrian didn't survive his own jailbreak.
    • When Adrian loses his memory and takes shelter with the homeless, Gilda sends Orso and Carbone looking for him. Orso and Carbone, being accomplished policemen on their own, patrol the hospitals looking for someone fitting Adrian's description. Failing to do so, they prepare themselves to the possibility that that can't be a good news, because it could just mean Adrian died without anyone able to help him.
    • Upon hearing Dranghenstein has hidden a bomb in a school, Adrian claims that being an handy watchmaker he's obviously able to effortlessly disarm it. But he is not, and Johnny Silver has to give up his life running away with the bomb in his arms.
  • Tall, Dark, and Handsome: Adrian himself.
  • Take That!:
    • The Government is pretty much the embodiment of everything that Adriano perceives as wrong and bad in Italy. Also, the narcissist, fickle rockstar Johnny Silver has the singing voice of Giuliano Sangiorgi, another italian singer founder of the band "Negramaro".
    • Wen Johnny Silver becomes one of the good guy, he loudly claims that he's done singing those silly songs turning people's minds feeble... swearing off forever and blaming every single "Negramaro" song he used to sing.
  • 10-Minute Retirement: After escaping from jail, Adrian is hit on the head and loses his memory for some days. Enough to get the crime rate soar, almost break the rebellion and make Gilda, Orso and Carbone believe Adrian just died and their mission is now failed.
  • Those Wacky Nazis: Basically, police enforcement and government agents are nazis with an half-done swastika.
  • The Three Faces of Adam: Darian's crew, and Adrian itself.
    • Darian is the Prophet, the owner of arcane and lost wisdom to which people flock naturally.
    • Johnny Silver is the Lord, a famous singer with his place in the world struggling to find balance, and achieving it because of Darian.
    • Marco is the the Hunter, seeking to find his place in the world.
  • And also
    • Darian is the Prophet
    • La Volpe is the Hunter
    • Adrian is the Lord
  • Two-Person Love Triangle: Summing up, Adrian has two secret identities, "La Volpe" and "Darian". Gilda hates Darian's guts and, when she feels neglected by Adrian (far too busy to be "La Volpe" and "Darian" to pay her her usual amount of attentions, even sexual), she starts falling for "La Volpe" and even kisses him passionately ready for much more. Despite being incredibly amused by the whole situation, he keeps Gilda blissfully unaware of what she's doing until the end of the story.
  • Unreliable Narrator: As an older Marco, telling his and Adrian's story to his kid is the elder narrator of the whole story, are we certain every apparent insanity in the setting has truly happened, or Marco was going senile, or simply trying to spruce up the story for a public of young kids and girls adding up something out of a shonen manga and a lot of tropes out of movies and young adult narrative?
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • During his escape, Adrian is helped by an old widow, to whom he promises sex in exchange for help. After he met again with Gilda, is unknown if he ever kept the promise.
    • An old swiss watchmaker puts a bounty on the Watchmaker for promotional purposes. After Darian is outed, he's never heard again.
    • Before the Friends of the Watchmaker and Darian's inner circle take the lead of the rebellion, Gilda is mentioned being part of a deep seated rebellion against the government, so old that even her parents were part of it. However, save for a couple of mentions, nothing is ever said about what they did and what they gained, and by the final episode the Watchmaker Rebellion becomes the only one worth telling.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Out of Universe, the reaction to Adrian's act of victim blaming was this. And the live-action attempt to answer this was seen as hypocrite at best.
  • Wife-Basher Basher: "La Volpe" basically boils to that. Imagine some kind of Batman figure, stalking the night in search for rapists, and then tearing them apart like they were made of wet tissue, letting them found the next morning crippled and injured as an example. Adrian holds the staunch belief that women are the abstract concept of Beauty itself, given a physical body by a kind God. As every rapist is defiling a woman, and every woman is Beauty itself Adrian (who claims to be the defender of Beauty) feels compelled to punish rapist as he would do with anyone trying to defile beauty, and he's able to access the same slew of powers he seems allowed to use to fight for nature and goodness.
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