Calimero (Karimero) is an Italian/Japanese cartoon about a charming, but hapless anthropomorphized cartoon chicken; the only black one in a family of yellow chickens. He wears half of his egg shell still on his head, which is probably his main recognizable feature. Calimero originally appeared on the Italian television show Carosello (consisting of long commercials) on July 14, 1963. He was a testimonial for a line of soaps, and in each black and white cartoon he ended up washed and white, revealing he was just dirty and not black. Calimero's authors were Nino and Toni Pagot.
After becoming a popular icon in Italy the character was later licensed in Japan and had his own two-part anime series. The first series was made by Toei Animation and ran from 1974 to 1975, and the second, with new setting and characters, was made in 1992. The second series, the most popular and famous of the two, mostly consists of the many adventures of Calimero and his friends as they solve mysteries and make documentaries, usually getting into quite a bit of trouble. The series have become a stand in the memory of many Europeans, especially in Spain, Italy and France.
A third, CGI-made series was produced for the 50th anniversary of the character. It was released in 2014.
Calimero provides examples of:
- Adapted Out: The second series introduced new characters, but ditched out old ones like Piero's two friends (a rabbit and a piggy, if you are curious). The third series seemed to be doing this with Susy and Rosita, but they ended up coming back as secondary characters.
- All-CGI Cartoon: The third series.
- Alternate Continuity: The second series wasn't marketed explicitly as a sequel to the first, but it can be taken for granted, as the characters are older while the setting is noticeably the same. The 2013 CGI series, however, is a completely new continuity, as the characters are younger again and it takes place when Calimero moves to another city.
- Animation Bump: The differences between S1 to S2 are extremely noticeable. The first series is more akin to the original advertisment material.
- The Artifact: When he was introduced first in a puppet show from the late 70's, Valeriano was introduced as a Loony Fan of CHIPS who wore a motorcycle helmet all the time to imitate his TV heroes. This part of his characterization was ignored (mainly for copyright reasons) in later appearances, but he still wears the helmet all the time.
- Artistic License – Biology: Valeriano's parents, introduced in the 2013 series, are both white-feathered, which is an oddity considering their son is green.
- Ascended Extra: After spending the first series as Calimero's Spoiled Brat rival, Piero became one of his friends in the second series. He didn't lose his spoiled personality, however.
- Beta Couple: Valeriano and Rosita (although it was forgotten in the 2013 series, in which Rosita insteads likes a chick named Sandro). Piero and Susy look like another, but their case is perhaps more one-sided.
- Born Unlucky: Calimero's luck in the first series is less than impressive, being both a trouble magnet and not good at making decisions, the latter being justified given that he is a little child after all. He ends up having to ask for help (or pardon) from his parents half of the time.
- Catchphrase: "It is an injustice, it is!" or some variant. Actually, the line was very rarely said in the first series and original material at all, only becoming a true catchphrase in the second season when Calimero took a more heroic role.
- Cool Helmet: Valeriano commonly wears a red motorcycle helmet.
- Dead Unicorn Trope: Due to the character's popularity, "Calimero" became an old European slang for a person who feels unhappy and misunderstood to a childish extent. However, this was really a deep case of cultural Flanderization instead of an accurate portrait of the character. While it is true that Calimero often felt misunderstood in the series, he had actually a strong and upbeat personality (particularly in the second series) and always managed to get over his problems.
- A Dog Named "Dog": Mr. Gufo the owl teacher. "Gufo" means "owl" in Italian, so most dubs translated the name and rendered him Mr. Owl or some variation.
- Dub Name Change: To the extent that it's very difficult to tell apart the original names from the dub names.
- Piero has been known as Pedro, Peter, Pierrot and Pierre.
- Rosita has been known as Roshita, Rosalie and Rosella.
- Valeriano is also known as Giulano.
- Eggshell Clothing: The eponymous character wears half of his egg shell as a hat. It has multiple utilities, including a memorable one in the second series's opening, in which he uses it as an improvised raft.
- Iconic Item: Calimero's egg shell.
- Ideal Hero: Calimero has a great ideal of justice. From here his famous line "It's an injustice! It is!"
- Identical Stranger: The 2013 series introduce an owl teacher that is strikingly similar to Mr. Gufo, but who cannot be him, as the series takes place in a different city.
- Innocent Blue Eyes: Calimero has blue eyes, although he isn't particularly naive, at least in the second series.
- Lesser Star: In Spain, the second series was named "Calimero y Valeriano", which is a rather odd case, as Valeriano had no more protagonism than any other new characters (although he did end up becoming the most popular of them, perhaps due to the title).
- Lighter and Softer: The second series. It isn't that the first one was particularly dark, but by then Calimero only had Priscilla as a friend and was target of bullies and troubles, while at the second one he is more mature and has a band of True Companions.
- Like an Old Married Couple: In the first series, Calimero and Priscilla had some due to her occasional Tsundere traits. In the second, the niche is taken by Piero and Susy for laughs, although Calimero and Priscilla never leave it completely.
- Mad Artist: The pianist and composer Pianissimo. He finds inspiration in the oddest situations, specially if there are mess around.
- Nice Guy: Calimero is the most polite and good-natured character in the series.
- Not So Above It All: The typically righteous and just Calimero turns into a Green-Eyed Monster towards Tiberio when Priscilla is nice towards him in an episode of the second series. He gets over it when they discover the dirty business around Tiberio and resolves to help him.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: A rare example where The Hero Calimero is the Blue Oni to The Lancer Valeriano's Red Oni.
- Rollerblade Good: Calimero and Priscilla are shown rollerblading in the opening, along with Valeriano on a skateboard and Piero on a bike.
- Took a Level in Kindness: Piero from first to second series, and not a small one. He passes from being a rather vicious bully to a close friend to Calimero.
- True Companions: Calimero and his friends are the typical example.
- Twice Shy: Averted with Calimero and Priscilla. Although they (especially Calimero) become a bit shy in romantic moments, they apparently know perfectly each other's feelings and have no problem about it.
- Vague Age: The kids' ages are never told, but they seem to be in elementary school or around during the second series.