Muskehounds are always ready.
One for all and all for one,
One for all and all for one,
It's a pretty story.
Sharing everything with fun,
That's the way to be."
Dogtanian and the Three Muskehounds is a 1981 cartoon based on the novel The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas. The cartoon was created by Spanish animation studio BRB Internacional and co-produced in Japan by Nippon Animation, one of many successful collaborations between the two. The show aired first in Japan in 1981 on the TBS network, then debuted on Television Espanola in Spain a year later, and has since aired in various other countries, including the United Kingdom, France, Canada (in French), Mexico, Spanish-speaking South America, Portugal, and Brazil.
This was a remarkably faithful 26-part adaptation (with some inevitable bowdlerisation; for instance, Dogtanian's love interest Juliette is M. Bonacieux's niece rather than his wife), with one major difference: the principal characters are all anthropomorphic dogs, as is most of the supporting cast, with the occasional cat, pig, bear or rabbit.
Young Dogtanian is a child of poor but honest parents, living in a small village in Gascony, scrapping with his puppy pals and dreaming of becoming a Musketeer (the title notwithstanding, they're called "Musketeers" throughout - at least in the English dub). When a messenger arrives from his father's old friend Monsieur de Treville, head of the Musketeers, asking that Dogtanian be sent to Paris to train under him, our hero sets off armed with a sword, a decrepit old horse and an ointment that can heal any wound.
On his journey he falls foul of a mysterious cavalier, the Man with the Black Moustache, and ends up walking to Paris with no money and a broken sword. He arrives at last and falls in with the trio of friends known as the Three Musketeers: The Leader Porthos, portly Athos and romantic Aramis (the book roles of Athos and Porthos are swapped).
Dogtanian's spirit and swordsmanship soon make him an indispensible part of the team, and he settles down to a life of duelling with the Cardinal's Guards, wooing the lovely Juliette and foiling villainous plots against nice-but-weak King Louis and his wife Anne of Austria. His ultimate aim is to prove himself and be accepted into the ranks of the Musketeers.
Anyone who grew up in the UK and Spain in the 1980s will almost certainly remember this show, as it seemed to be on permanent loop along with The Mysterious Cities of Gold and Around the World with Willy Fog. By contrast, its ratings in Japan were poor, and it's not as well known in the United States either, although the English dub was made in California (and features none other than Cam Clarke as the voice of Dogtanian). A sequel series was made in 1990 that continued with a new story based on The Vicomte de Bragelonne, although changing "the man in the iron mask" for "the man in the golden muzzle".
BRB uploaded the full series for their youtube channels.
Not to be confused with Kunihiko Yuyama's non-canine take on the story, The Three Musketeers (1987).
- 10-Minute Retirement: Implied. After the attempt to poison Dogtanian at the end of the series is thwarted, Widimer (after initially contemplating offing himself by drinking the poisoned wine rather than face Richelieu's wrath for yet another failure) declares that he never wants to see Richelieu again and runs off, shouting "long live freedom!" However, he's back working for Richelieu in the sequel, suggesting that even if he did leave Richelieu's service it was only for a short time.
- Absurdly Sharp Blade / Artistic License – Physics / Implausible Fencing Powers: In the intro Dogtanian tosses an apple into the air with the point of his sword and cuts through it eight times while it inexplicably hovers in the air unaffected by gravity and catches it on the point of his sword seemingly intact. He then blows on it and it becomes a shower of over fifty wafer thin slices that float down to the floor. So somehow Dogtanian is able to use a rapier (a type of sword that doesn't even have an edge!) to slice through an apple, while it hovers in the air for no legitmate reason, using a number of cuts insufficient to make that many slices, to a degree of accuracy that permits each slice to be light and thin enough to float down in the air rather than falling to the ground normally, in such a way that the apple retains its overall structure until he blows on it. Right...
- Alternative Foreign Theme Song: Most of the foreign theme songs (including English, French, Portuguese, Hebrew, and Russian) were adapted from the Spanish theme. The English version in fact retains the Spanish "D'Artacan, D'Artacan" children's choir chant from the original. By contrast, the Japanese theme songs (both opening and closing) are completely different; in fact, the Japanese version has a completely different musical score.
- Animal Stereotypes: The Three Musketeers' strong loyalty is highlighted by them being dogs. Meanwhile, Milady, a villainous cat, showcases classic feline cunning.
- Animesque: It was co-produced in Japan after all. It definitely shows in the characters facial expressions.
- The first series does in fact count as anime, as it aired in Japan first before making it to the West. Nevertheless, it's BRB, not Nippon Animation, that owns the worldwide rights to the show, and as the second series was animated in Taiwan without Japanese involvement, the franchise as a whole is generally considered to be primarily of Spanish origin.
- Anthropomorphic Animal Adaptation: Dogtanian is, of course, a dog, as are the Musketeers. Most of the other characters are also dogs, though some are other animals like pigs.
- Art Evolution: The 1990 sequel series switched from Japanese studio Nippon Animation to Taiwanese studio Wang Film Productions. As such, Wang's animation is much noticeably different than Nippon's in color and design. But not for the better. The second series' animation looks almost like a cross between The Legend Of Zelda C Di Games and a mid-1980s Hanna-Barbera cartoon.
- The Big Guy: Athos is World's Strongest Man so of course he's the muscle on The Team.
- Cats Are Mean: Milady, a feline, is notably more devious than the other baddies.
- Chased by Angry Natives: While stranded on an island in Episode 22, Dogtanian and Pip get chased by a tribe of panthers who are led by a lion. The tribe are obviously angry with Dogtanian and Pip about something, but we never find out what.
- Coming of Age Story: For Dogtanian. When we first encounter him at the beginning of the series, he's little more than a child and still play fights with wooden swords. In the final episode, by which time he has overcome many obstacles and proved himself in combat on multiple occasions, he becomes a fully fledged musketeer.
- Compilation Movie: A 90-minute one, called One for All and All for One, was produced, condensing the episodes as well as providing a new script and dub.
- Damsel in Distress: At one point Rochefort kidnaps Juliette. Dogtanian's rescue attempt fails and she then escapes on her own.
- Deadpan Snarker: Pip the mouse has quite the sarcastic streak.
- Defiant Captive: Juliette has her moments, like the one when she gives Rochefort's squire a sound thrashing while tied up in a sack.
- Dub Name Change:
- Dogtanian is "D'Artacán" in the original Spanish. It's a pun in the original name "D'Artagnan", and the word "can" ("dog").
- Also, the musketeers were called "mosqueperros", a pun using "mosqueteros" ("musketeer" in Spanish) and "perros" ("dogs").
- The three musketeers had punny names in Spanish too: Antos, Pontos and Amis. The puns come from the original character names and dog breed names.
- Pip the mouse, an original character, was originally called Pom in Spanish and Japanese.
- Dogtanian keeps his original name of D'Artagnan in the Japanese and French versions.
- Darker and Edgier:
- The last episode, when Widimer brings Dogtanian the poisoned wine and Dogtanian attempts to persuade Widimer to drink it as well. When Widimer refuses, Dogtanian orders his servant Planchet to restrain Widimer so Dogtanian can force-feed him. It wouldn't be so bad if it was over quickly, but compared to his usual behavior Widimer actually holds out for an impressive length of time before breaking, to the point where Dogtanian orders Planchet to force Widimer's mouth open. Even then, Widimer doesn't make it easy for either of them. There's also really no reason for Dogtanian to do this in the first place. Thanks to Count Rochefort, he already knows that the wine is poisoned. Forcing Widimer to break and confess what Dogtanian already knows is sliding toward For the Evulz territory.
- The aftermath of this is fairly dark as well, as Widimer seriously considers suicide, to the point where he actually uncorks the bottle of poison wine and brings it up to his mouth to drink. Granted he gets over this reasonably quickly, but that's still some pretty dark stuff for a kid's cartoon.
- By American standards, the entire series could count, despite the fact that the English dub is of American origin. The series' startling level of violence (guns as well as swordfights), not to mention minor character deaths, an attempted murder, and alcohol consumption (mentioned even in the English theme song), set it apart from typical U.S. children's programming of the era, perhaps contributing to its obscurity in English-speaking North America (an alternate Latino Spanish dub aired in Mexico and South America).
- Second series as a whole is not exactly a good sequel, but Blanc Bec's constant schemes against the heroes really bring a darker tone to the overall mood.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Count Rochefort, especially in the final episode. Although a loyal servant of Richelieu, when Richelieu enthusiastically agrees to Widimer's suggestion that they poison Dogtanian, Rochefort is so disgusted by what he perceives to be a cowardly, underhanded trick that he not only walks out on them but goes straight to Dogtanian's house to warn him.
- Milady hates Dogtanian and knowing that Richelieu stopped taking actions against him and the other muskehounds, she doesn't hesitate to take Blanc Bec's offer to help him set a trap against Dogtanian by kidnapping Fleur, Dogtanian's daughter, but when he decides to take drastic actions by ordering her to cut Fleur's finger and send the blood in a written ultimatum to Dogtanian (in the original spanish dub, he orders her to cut off one of her ears!), she decides to stop helping him and tries to run away with her.
- Frothy Mugs of Water: Averted: "They drink their beer and swear they're faithful to their King". Also, Athos and Widimer are shown visibly drunk on more than one occasion.
- Fully-Dressed Cartoon Animal: Everyone except The Muskehounds, who don't wear pants.
- Actually, the makers of this show played with the idea, since it is revealed in quite a number of times that the muskehounds are all wearing tights under their garments, but they're the same color of their furs.
- Gender Equals Breed: In the sequel, Dogtanian and Juliette have a son called Philippe and a daughter called Fleur. It's not clear what dog breeds Dogtanian and Juliette are supposed to be, but Philippe is the same breed as Dogtanian and Fleur is the same breed as Juliette.
- Healing Potion: While not instant, the ointment Dogtanian's mother gives to him is said to be effective enough to heal any wound, which becomes useful on several occasions. He gave some to Rochefort when he was accidentally shot by Milady during their final duel.
- Kid Hero: Dogtanian is the only Muskehound cadet who gets to hang out with the fully-fledged Musketeers.
- Loophole Abuse:
- Widimer wants Dogtanian arrested for dueling with his men, saying that he drew his sword against the law. However, Dogtanian was unable to actually draw his sword due to it being stuck inside a scabbard, resulting in him dueling while it was still inside. note Widimer is forced to leave Dogtanian alone after the Musketeers point this out.
- Another episode tests the musketeers by requiring them to not draw their blades for twenty-four hours; if any of them fail to abide by this, Richelieu's men will replace them as the palace guards. Dogtanian gets hauled before the King after he gets into a fight with three of Richelieu's guards, but is not only spared punishment, but rewarded because he bested the guards unarmed while sticking to the rule.
- Master Swordsman: All the heroes, especially Dogtanian and Aramis.
- Noble Demon/Worthy Opponent: Count Rochefort turns out to be a man of honour. In the final episode, he personally tips off Dogtanian about Richelieu and Widimer's plot to poison him because he feels killing a cavalier in such an underhanded manner would violate the Code of Honour, challenging Dogtanian to a duel at the same time. It's implied that he intends it to be a Duel to the Death, but the duel is halted by a combination of Milady trying to shoot Dogtanian, but hitting Rochefort, and the arrival of the Three Musketeers before things can go that far.
- Not-So-Harmless Villain: Widimer is best known for the number of times he has failed as the least competent minion of Cardinal Richelieu. However, in his debut episode, he pulls off a successful Frame-Up plan by having one of his guards to commit robberies while being disguised as Porthos. The plan falls apart only because Aramis finds and catches the impostor. Before the impostor can be made to talk, however, Widimer kills him by shooting him. He also takes aim at Porthos, and while Dogtanian pushes him out of the way, the Musketeer's shoulder is injured for the two following episodes. In the eighth episode, Widimer attempts to shoot Porthos in the back while the latter is busy fighting his men and can't hear Dogtanian's warning over the sounds of battle; Dogtanian must take direct action to save Porthos. He's also the one who proposes Cardinal Richelieu that they poison Dogtanian in the last episode. There must be a reason why Widimer has managed to become the captain of Cardinal Richelieu's guard in the first place.
- Right-Hand Cat: Richelieu has a raven, presumably because a non-anthropomorphic cat would be too confusing.
- Sexy Cat Person: Femme Fatale Milady is one of the few cats in the cartoon. Though cloaked, her voice and mannerisms serve this trope.
- Spared by the Adaptation: Milady de Winter; her character was executed by beheading in the original Dumas novel. Here, she survives and even returns in the sequel.
- A Taste of Their Own Medicine: Blanc Bec, after finally being arrested, is sentenced to wear a golden muzzle on his head for the rest of his days in prison.
- Vile Villain, Saccharine Show: The series doesn't exactly has a Sugar Bowl as a setting, but Blanc Bec, the king's evil twin brother is a Monster: trying to usurp the throne, passing as the king, kidnapping the real one, putting him in a dungeon and make him wear a golden muzzle that covers his face; trying to break France's good relationships with a neighbor kingdom, getting the help of two corrupt nobles that start tyranizing their own people with overwhelming taxes and kidnapping Dogtanian's toddler daughter and even trying to bodily hurt her as an ultimatum against him.
- Count Bouchau, Blanc Bec's right hand, also counts, as he has no morals and will stop at nothing to help him achieve his goals.
- Villain with Good Publicity: Cardinal Richelieu serves the King, just like Monsieur de Treville.
- What Happened to the Mouse?:
- Monsieur Bonacieux, Juliette's uncle. He is kidnapped by Cardinal Richelieu's men during the first half of the first series. The series ends without telling us if he was rescued or not.
- Rochefort's squire is never seen again after Episode 21, in which King Louis sends Porthos, Athos, Aramis and Dogtanian to capture a pirate known as the Blue Falcon, while Rochefort and Widimer attempt to carry out the same mission on Richelieu's behalf. During the voyage, both ships become caught in a storm at sea which, out of all those on board the two vessels, only seven (Porthos, Athos, Aramis, Dogtanian, Pip, Rochefort and Widimer) are shown to have survived. So, while Rochefort's squire may have been lost in the storm, his exact fate is unknown.
- World's Strongest Man: Athos again.
- Wouldn't Hurt a Child: This is where Richelieu draws the line, even if they're Dogtanian's kids.
- Averted with Blanc Bec.