Jane and the Dragon is a 2005 Canadian-New Zealander All-CGI Cartoon based on a series of children's books written by Martin Baynton (who helped with development on the series). Co-produced between the world-famous New Zealand-based special effects studio Weta Productions and the renowned Canadian animation studio Nelvana, the series originally aired on YTV in Canada and on ABC in Australia; in America it aired on the Qubo block (seen at the time on NBC, Telemundo and Ion Television).
The series is about the adventures of the eponymous characters and their friends in the castle of the kingdom of Kippernia. Set in approximately the 800's, Jane is in training to become the first female knight ever. She gained the position at the age of ten when a dragon kidnapped the crown prince and she rescued him, finding out in the process that Dragon meant no harm, and thought that the prince was a key part of solving the dragon runes on his cave. After she returned with Prince Cuthbert and Dragon, King Caradoc allowed her to become a squire, which she had trained in secret for months beforehand.
The show received some glowing reviews from parents' groups and an Annie Award nomination. Despite this, Jane's adventures with her dragon were cancelled in 2006 with 26 episodes over a single season.
Jane and the Dragon provides examples of:
- A Girl and Her X: A Girl and Her Dragon.
- Adaptation Expansion: The TV series expanded upon the book and included homages, with the Jester giving Jane his armor and the Queen possibly having a hand in allowing Jane to become a knight.
- All There in the Manual: A lot of background information can be found at the Royal Archives.
- Almost Kiss: Rake and Pepper in the episode "Dragon Diva."
- Amnesia Episode: “Dragonphobia”
- And Knowing Is Half the Battle: The American edits add one to the end to some episodes, titled Dragon Talk, similar to Sailor Moon.
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: Subverted with Jane and Gunther, who are always arguing but are explicitly shown in one episode to not have feelings for each other.
- Beta Couple: Pepper and Rake, although there isn't really an official Alpha Couple yet.
- Bratty Half-Pint:
- Princess Lavinia has royal blood and is therefore used to getting her way. However, she idolizes Jane and is generally treated as a sympathetic character.
- Her brother Cuthbert also, who is regarded less highly by the main characters however does have redeeming moments on occasion.
- Breaking the Glass Ceiling: Jane is in training to become the kingdom's first female knight (having won the right to train as a squire by rescuing a prince from a dragon).
- Big Damn Heroes: Dragon and Jane return to the castle after a self-imposed banishment to save Gunther from a collapsed wall.
- Cannot Tell a Joke: Dragon. Jane also, when it comes to telling immature jokes.
- Childhood Friend Romance: Jester seems to be in the first stages of Unlucky.
- Deadpan Snarker: Most of the characters are snarky to some degree, but special mention goes to the main two.
- A Dog Named "Dog": Dragon (In Dragon’s case it’s makes sense since he doesn’t know if he even has a name so everyone just calls him dragon because that is all everyone knows him as). As well as Pig.
- Double Entendre: In the episode "A Dragon's Tail" Dragon is running a fever. Jane checks his temperature to confirm this. Which leads to this exchange...Jane: You are so hot!
Dragon: Thank you.
- Dragon Rider: Dragon gives Jane and sometimes her friends rides when they need them, however in Go West Young Gardener he makes it clear that he decides who/when he give rides.
- Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Jester and Smithy. Pepper and Rake are borderline examples, along with Gunther, which was chosen because it means warrior.
- Expository Theme Tune:Jester: There once was a lady-in-waiting, let's call her Jane, that girl wasn't ordinary.
Jane: No way for me, a lady stuck in waiting, I'd rather battle fire-breathing dragons! I knew I could prove a girl could be a knight though my friends all laughed at me, but, I wouldn't be discouraged and trained in secret then a dragon pinched the royal prince and everyone was freakin' so I went alone to the dragon's home, to slay the dragon.
Chorus: Hey now, hey now now, Jane and the dragon are best friends now!
Jane: Dragon's sweet, he let me save the young prince, then the king made me a knight's apprentice.
Chorus: Hey now, hey now now...
Jane: With Dragon's help I'll be a knight someday!
- The Ghost: When the Queen's royal portrait is vandalized. King Carradoc states that the "Court Wizard" is in process of repairing it. This wizard is never seen, and is only mentioned once more when they pick up fireworks, with Rake acting scared of him.
- Improbable Age: Most of the royal staff ranges from age 12 to 14 with no adult mentors in sight except for Sir Theodore and Sir Ivan training the squires. This is implied to be the result of most of the kingdom's adult staff having to work elsewhere after the castle fell on hard times.
- Ineffectual Loner: Gunther is the only one who doesn't seem to be on friendly terms with anyone in the court. In one episode, he gets fairly close to Dragon as they both share a love of lowbrow humor, but Dragon returns to disliking him at the end of the episode. In another, he is caught stealing flowers and explains that they're for a love interest, but the love interest is never seen or referred to again.
- Jerkass Ball: Jane acts like this to dragon in the episode ‘Mismatched’.
- Jane also acts like this him again in the episode ‘Dragonphobia’ when she briefly looses her memory.
- Jen’s mother acts like this in the episode “Shall We Dance” when she rather prettily forbids Jane from going to the Royal ball simply because she wants to go in her knights tunic rather than a dress her mother wants her to wear.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Gunther is obnoxious to Jane and occasionally the other denizens of the castle and often uses underhanded tactics to get his way. However, he has also gone out of his way to right his meddling father's wrongs, he won't break the code of a knight's honour and usually ends up doing the right thing by the end of the episode.
- Last of His Kind: Dragon might be this, although he and everyone else hopes he isn't.
- Like Reality, Unless Noted: Besides the presence of a dragon, the whole setting seems to be completely the same as a real-life medieval kingdom. Even the castle’s resident “wizard” is implied to just be some kind of chemist. Furthermore, Dragon is never shown to be anything more than a normal animal (an intelligent, talking animal sure, but not at all magic).
- Line-of-Sight Alias: When Jane becomes angry and threatens to run away to spite her friends, she claims that she has been recruited by one King Barrowclaw. Naturally, she was inspired when, under pressure to give the supposed king's name, she looked around and spotted first a wheelbarrow, and then Dragon's foot.
- Meaningful Name: Jane is probably the only one of her peers who doesn't fit this trope. Gunther, her fellow knight-in-training, means "warrior." Smithy is the blacksmith. Rake is the gardener. Pepper is the cook. Jester is, well... Jane's surname—given in the book, not the series—is "Turnkey", an actual medieval profession. It's another word for "dungeon-master".
- Middle Ages: The show is set in the medieval period, seemingly around the 8th-9th century.
- Monster and the Maiden: The show is about a peasant girl who lives and works in the royal palace and is best friends with the resident dragon. They help the king solve various problems in the realm.
- Mood Motif: Several, including ones that indicate when Gunther or his father are around, and a romantic violin motif used for Rake and Pepper.
- Multiple Demographic Appeal: For the young target audience, the show has neat 3D animation, minimal violence, good role models, and a big, friendly dragon. For their parents or curious parties, it has complex and realistic characters with believable problems, plots and dialogue that dodge predictability, sophisticated vocabulary, and genuine emotion with a hint of romance.
- My Beloved Smother: Dragon is a bit of a Mama Bear to Jane sometimes. In the episode ‘Foul Weather Friends’, after his goofing around causes her to fall off his back mid-flight, he becomes Mama unBEARable.
- Nobody Poops: Averted. Dragon does defecate, though it is never explicitly seen on camera apart from when Gunther and Dragon have a dung-fight. Apparently, dragon manure makes very good fertilizer. Dragon isn't incredibly shy about where he does it, either. The concept of a bathroom is completely foreign to him.Jane: I was going to the privy, and...
Jane: Yes, the privy...the privy chamber.
[Dragon looks confused]
Jane: The private chamber, Dragon! Not everyone is happy squatting on a public wall to do their business!
Dragon: Oh, that! Yes, well, [that's] the dragon way, loud and proud!
- No Flow in CGI: Averted, which is pretty amazing for a CGI tv show from 2006. Even Jester’s funny hat moves realistically!
- Only One Finds It Fun: In one episode, Pepper makes stew which she can't taste because for some reason, her tongue isn't working. It tastes of swamp water to everyone but Dragon.
- Orphaned Punchline: The 'joke' that Dragon wrote for Jester that ends "That isn't a cow. That's just my cave chicken". See Cannot Tell a Joke.
- The Plan: Jane pulls off one of these for an All Fool's Day prank.
- Papa Wolf: You best not threaten or insult Jane when her fire-breathing best friend is around. There is also Jane’s actual father who in the episode Fathers saves Jane after she and Dragon become trapped by a collapsed chamber within Dragon’s mountain.
- Real Women Don't Wear Dresses: Jane adamantly refuses to wear a dress to the ball, even when her mother pulls a jerkass move and forbids her to go without one. The end result is Jane choosing to skip the ball to chase after a garden thief. Word of God is that Jane felt that if she did wear a dress, it would be seen as backsliding from her goal to be a knight, especially in the eyes of her mother.
- Shipper on Deck:
- Pepper, Smithy, Dragon and Rake for Gunther and Jane before it is revealed that they do not, in fact, like each other. Gunther at least teases Jane over her interactions with Jester, implying he is aware of Jester's feelings, though that may just be him behaving towards her as usual.
- Jane herself seems to be a Shipper on Deck for Rake and Pepper, who are as close as this series comes to an Official Couple among the young characters.
- Sick Episode: Dragon has one in "A Dragon's Tail" and he briefly suffers an allergic reaction to a bunch of flowers in "Pride and Pollen".
- Princess Lavinia also has one in "Strawberry Fool" and the King tasks the castle’s staff with cheering her up.
- Teens Are Short: Both played straight and averted, as most but not all of the teenage characters are shorter than the adults. Truth in Television, as the series takes place in the 800s, and even as far back as the 1860s puberty still took place at age 16 and a half or older.
- There Is No Kill like Overkill: Sir Ivan's response to being humiliated by Jester is to prepare every weapon he can in two days and take all of them to the duel. Then Jester derails the whole thing by declaring a duel of wits, the one thing Sir Ivan is somewhat lacking.
- Toilet Humor: Dragon and Gunther have a fascination with this.
- Unconventional Food Usage: In the episode "Rune", the humans make a "21 Pumpkin Salute", which is just catapulting pumpkins into the air. Dragon calls it a "waste of good pumpkins".
- Unusual Euphemism: Jane and her friends use faux medieval-type curses ("Bat bladders!" and "Maggots!") and insults ("Biscuit weevil!"). Expect a string of these whenever Jane and Gunther start bickering.
- The Voice: Wolves often feature as a threat (notably in the episodes Foul Weather Friends and Knight Light) but are never shown beyond a shadow accompanied by growling or a howling in the distance.