Blake and Mortimer is a French-Canadian Animated Adaptation of the eponymous Belgian Comic Book series by Edgar Pierre Jacobs. It was made in 1997-1998 by Ellipse (which previously co-created The Adventures of Tintin) and Cactus Animation.
The series follows the adventures of two friends, Welsh Ace Pilot and MI5 agent Francis Blake and Scottish Omnidisciplinary Scientist Philip Mortimer, as they battle Diabolical Masterminds and Mad Scientists and try to solve mysteries in a Cold War-esque world.
Blake and Mortimer contains examples of:
- Adaptational Early Appearance: In The Secret of the Swordfish, two prototypes of the eponymous rocket plane have already been built before the Empire's global offensive, with Blake testing one right away as the episode starts and the other being blown up during the offensive to avoid capture. The Swordfish first appears much later in the comic book album, at the base in the Strait of Hormuz (it is the third Swordfish in the episode). Blake does not test it in the comics, he inaugurates it by flying it in battle against the Yellow Empire's fleet.
- Animated Adaptation: Of the Blake and Mortimer books who existed at the time (from The Secret of the Swordfish to The Francis Blake Affair, inclusive). The four last stories ("The Viking's Bequest", "The Secret of Easter Island", "The Alchemist's Will", "The Druid") were made especially for the animated series. The series counts 26 episodes, for nine comic book stories and four new ones, each one being divided into two episodes. NB: in this series, the stories covering more than one album (The Secret of the Swordfish, The Mystery of the Great Pyramid, Professor Satō's Three Formulae) are no longer than the shorter ones.
- Bait-and-Switch Credits: Minor one. The opening features three Swordfish fighter/bomber rocket planes flying over Mortimer and Blake. At no point in The Secret of the Swordfish do we see more than one Swordfish flying (unlike the comics, in which a squadron of them nukes the Yellow Empire's heardquarters). There's only the mention by Blake that the free world nations plan to mass-produce it at the end of the episode.
- In the adaptation of The Secret of the Swordfish, the Yellow Empire becomes simply "The Empire", all its members are now Caucasian, they no longer wear World War II-era Japanese uniforms, they no longer wield Nazi-era guns, their flag isn't the Japanese-looking flag from the comic book, and there aren't any references to their geographic origin. In short: the original ones were a transparent expy of both Imperial Japan and Nazi Germany, explicitly described as being Tibet and refered with a racist name, while the animated version are generic (and politically correct) bad guys. The Emperor is The Unseen and his hand is that of a Caucasian, so he's very much not the Tibetan Basam Damdu. Also counts as Pragmatic Adaptation.
- Mortimer's orginal catchphrase "By Jove!" (in other words, a synonym of "Oh my God!") became "By the tartan of Clan McGregor!".
- Canon Foreigner: All of the new characters from the original episodes not based on any comic book.
- Catchphrase: Mortimer's was "By the tartan of Clan McGregor!". At one point Olrik even interrupts him when he says it and says "yes, yes, don't you have something else to say?"
- Compressed Adaptation: A number of subplots and characters from the original material's complex stories have been axed to streamline the episodes.
- Gender Flip: Prince Icarus from Atlantis Mystery is transformed into a blonde princess.
- Genre Shift:
- The comic book version of The Necklace Affair is a story deprived of any sci-fi or supernatural element, which plot is about a heist planned by Olrik. The episode adapted from the comic book is a Scooby-Doo-like story featuring the ghost of Marie Antoinette, no less.
- In general, the four episodes written specially for the animated series belong to the supernatural / fantasy genre, instead of the usual science-fiction themes of most of the original comic books.
- Karma Houdini: Olrik due to being Spared by the Adaptation as he's Killed Off for Real in Professor Sató's Three Formulae. The ending of the last two-part episode, The Druid, has him escaping from the authorities.
- Recycled Animation: At the end of The Secret of the Swordfish, the footage of Blake destroying the enemy fleet with the new Swordfish is the same as him destroying the dummy fleet with the first Swordfish at the beginning of the story.
- "The Yellow 'M'" Shout-Out: Each episode title screen is a recreation of The Yellow M cover, with the circled "M" replaced by the shadow of a clock (cf. page image).