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Western Animation / Katy La Oruga

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She may not look like it, but this is a caterpillar you do not want to mess with...

Katy La Oruga (Katy the Caterpillar for English dubs) is a Mexican-Spanish animated film released in 1984. It deals with Katy, a young caterpillar who is curious and playful, who lives in a cherry tree with her three sisters. Having had enough of eating cherry leaves all day long, one day she leaves her tree and encounters the spirit of Mother Nature, who tells the young caterpillar that she must make a journey to discover by herself who she really is. In the progress, Katy meets many animals, makes new friends, learns a lot of things about the world, and ultimately achieves her dream by metamorphosing into a butterfly.

Based on an original story by singer Silvia Roche (which was also the basis for the music album of the same name) the movie was a huge success in Mexico and Spain, and was even dubbed in English too with the titular character voiced by Barbara Goodson in the English dub. The film got a sequel in 1987 called Katy, Kiki y Koko (Katy Meets the Aliens or Katy and the Katerpillar Kids in English). In it, Katy now as an adult butterfly, lives in the same cherry tree she used to live with her children, Kiki and Koko, two young caterpillars who are as curious and adventurous as Katy herself used to. Katy loves her children, but has become a somewhat overprotective Mama Bear, which sometimes annoys them. Meanwhile, a group of Starfish Aliens from a lonely asteroid send one member of their species to Earth to capture creatures for food so they can devour them and regain their energy. Alien X as he is called, makes landfall in the forest where Katy and her friends live and it's up to the two young caterpillars to stop him.

The movies provide examples of:

  • Action Girl: Katy has her moments, moreso in the sequel which makes her an...
  • Alien Invasion: The plot of the second movie has Alien X making landfall in Katy's forest to abduct animals and the characters' attempts to stop him.
  • Always a Bigger Fish: In the first movie, a dragonfly seemingly tries to make a meal out of Katy, but flees in terror when it sees a spiderweb nearby.
  • Amazing Technicolor Wildlife: The animals are greatly colorful, both physically and metaphorically.
  • Amplified Animal Aptitude: You'll never see a caterpillar as courageous as Katy.
  • Animal Talk
  • Artistic License – Biology: Lots of it. Mostly regarding insect, bird and reptilian biology.
    • Katy herself metamorphoses in a cocoon, yet in real life moth caterpillars are the ones who encase themselves in cocoons, while butterfly caterpillars encase themselves in chrysalids.
    • The chameleons change colors to blend into their surroundings, which is a common misconception and not the actual reason why chameleons change color.
  • Award-Bait Song: "Un Día Volaré" (I'll Fly Someday).
  • Big Bad: Goliath the Cat in the first movie, the four aliens in the sequel.
  • Butterfly of Transformation: A literal example happens with Katy.
  • Butt-Monkey: Grako the hawk from Katy, Kiki y Koko is the forest's local bully, yet he almost always ends up outsmarted and hilariously defeated by creatures smaller than him, not to mention the adults are well aware of his misbehavior and continuously punish him both verbally and physically. He also ends up kidnapped by Alien X, who assumes his form and is later rescued by the folks he dislikes the most, causing him to decide to leave the forest for good.
  • Carnivore Confusion: Played with, in a fairly confusing way. On one hand, Katy meets certain creatures that could be her predators in real life, namely a toad and a group of chameleons, yet they are mostly friendly toward her. On the other hand, the spider, a dragonfly, Chester, Clyde and Goliath all have predatory intentions towards Katy and Gilberto.
    • Babo the bat tries to make a meal out of Kiki and Koko at the start of the sequel until he's scared away by Alien X's Ufo arriving on the forest. And Grako the hawk also tries to eat the two larvae as well. However, the elderly owl is friends with most animals of the forest, including our heroes, and Roseta, an old-aged squirrel, even shows some feelings toward him, nevermind the fact that squirrels are a preferred food source for owls.
  • Catchphrase: "Piquiti-Paf!", which was translated to English as "Wippity-pow!" Evidently, the author encouraged the screenwriters to have Katy say this as often as possible.
  • Chekhov's Skill: The spider Katy meets doesn't play a huge role on her own, but she does teach Katy how to knit, which turns out to come in handy when it comes time for Katy to make her cocoon.
  • Darker and Edgier: You know things take a turn for the serious when the sequel to your movie has an animal-eating, shapeshifting extraterrestrial monstrosity roaming in a forest.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: At the end, once Katy becomes a sexy butterfly, she inspires this in Clyde and Chester the crows, causing them to fly into a tree after she flies by.
  • Feathered Fiend: Clyde and Chester the crows from the first movie constantly try to eat Katy and Gilberto, but eventually switch sides when the latter save the former from being stuck in a can of tomato sauce and help the two friends fly back to home out of gratitude. Grako the hawk from the sequel is a mean a-hole who constantly bullies other animals with no remorse whatsoever.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Clyde and Chester, after Katy and Gilberto save them from being trapped inside a can of tomato sauce.
  • Humans Are Cthulhu: There are shades of this in both films. Humans do not physically appear in the first movie, but their omnipresence is clearly felt and Katy and Gilberto are truly in awe when visiting a city, almost as if they were on an extraterrestrial planet. Most animals often react to them with respect and fear, and the horse who carries Katy and Gilberto on their way to the city says he willingly serves humans due to their power and the fact that they treat him remarkably well. Later on, Katy and Gilberto see a port where a crane carries containers onto a cargo ship and the City rat accompanying them says that, while humans may be so wise and powerful, they also engage in what he considers to be mindless, violent wars with their weapons, which he chalks up to Blue-and-Orange Morality. In the end, humans appear to be mind-boggling, bizarre and strange entities for animals the same way any Lovecraftian deity would be to us. Humans physically show up for a while in Katy, Kiki y Koko albeit as live-action Stock Footage, adding to their otherworldy feel.
  • Humans Through Alien Eyes: The aliens of the sequel look at footage of Earth, and comment on it, notably:
    • They watch aerial footage of a city and comment that the creatures below (the cars) look very hard to chew.
    • They watch the launch of a space rocket and comment that it's a very primitive spaceship similar to the ones they were using hundreds of years ago.
    • They also watch footage of the San Fermín running of the bulls or encierro, with one of the aliens claiming that "the four-legged ones look very delicious".
    • They also watch a game of soccer and wonder if the ball is some sort of treasure.
  • Interspecies Friendship: Katy tries to make friends with almost every creature she comes across, but most turn out to be jerks or want to eat her. She does make a few friends, though — Gilberto the mouse most notably, and Bee #5344, the horse, and the city rat are all pretty nice to her. The crows also become friends with Katy and Gilberto after being rescued by them.
  • Noble Bird of Prey: Averted by Grako the hawk, who is a shameless bully and an unlikable jerk. The owl, however, is a wise fellow who is a good friend of Katy and her family and is crucial in undoing Alien X's Evil Plan.
  • Species Surname: Katy calls herself "Katy Caterpillar" in the English dub, though most English media translate the Spanish title more literally as "Katy the Caterpillar".
  • Super-Persistent Predator: Clyde and Chester the crows and Goliath the cat are incredibly focused on catching Katy and Gilberto, to the point of following them all the way to the city rather than simply trying to find new prey.
  • The Owl-Knowing One: Katy, Kiki y Koko introduces a good-natured, wise owl who works on a library inside a tree and serves as a mentor for younger animals and other creatures. He's also a good friend of Katy's family.
  • Vile Villain, Saccharine Show: The titular aliens in the sequel are about as goofy as the other antagonists, but Alien X out in the field is definitely not.
  • Wacky Parent, Serious Child: In the sequel, an older Gilberto is now a crime-solving detective for the forest, but he's gotten a tad more ditzy than the last time. His son, Arnulfo, is quite serious and seems to be far more capable than his father when it comes to solve any mysteries. He nonetheless loves his dad dearly, quirky as he is.

Alternative Title(s): Katy Caterpillar