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Western Animation / Oswaldo

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Clockwise, beginning bottom right: Oswaldo, Tobias, Leia

Oswaldo is a Brazilian animated series produced by Birdo Studio, the country’s most prominent animation studio (with the animation being done by India's Symbiosys Entertainment). It is the creation of Pedro Eboli, a Brazilian animator who would later go on to make North American cartoons like Netflix's Cupcake & Dino: General Services and Nelvana's Ollie's Pack.

The show's eponymous star is a 12-year-old penguin who was found on the beaches of Barra da Tijuca (a neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro) as a baby and raised by human parents as one of their own. Now infused with the quirks, obsessions, and pop culture knowledge of a typical tween, Oswaldo must navigate through the greatest challenge that any 12-year-old can face — middle school. But even for an excitable little oddball like him, things like that are always harder than they sound, and any problem he faces can and will result in the most unpredictable and bizarre outcomes. But no matter what kind of insanity Oswaldo faces on a normal day, our eccentric protagonist can always count on his parents Feramina and Paulito, as well as his best friends Leia and Tobias, to have his back and always be there for him.

The series debuted on October 11, 2017 on the Brazilian Cartoon Network feed, with an English dub of the series later being produced for CBBC in the United Kingdom. Quickly becoming one of CN Brazil's most popular series, a second season followed on June 3, 2019, and a third one arrived on January 6, 2020 followed by a fourth on November 4, 2020. Sadly, the series' fourth season proved to be its last, with Pedro Eboli stating in a January 2023 post on his Twitter that the series had been cancelled at a grand total of 52 eleven-minute episodes.

Tropes of the series:

  • 15 Minutes of Fame: In "Osviral", Oswaldo becomes an Internet sensation after making a complete fool of himself in Leia's new board games video. But he becomes a has-been within the span of a single Gilligan Cut, driving him to try and reclaim his fame by any means possible.
  • Alpha Bitch: Sandra, a mean and bossy girl who finds Oswaldo and Tobias annoying and constantly gets the former's name wrong. Oddly enough, she's more frenemies with Leia though. For a male example, there's Medeiros, a smug rich boy who is almost never seen without his luxury segway or his personal bodyguard Tenorio, and frequently picks on Oswaldo and his friends.
  • Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: Oswaldo has a very poor attention span, having trouble focusing and getting easily distracted.
  • Characterization Marches On: Oswaldo's Cloud Cuckoolander qualities are toned down as the series progresses, being increasingly acquired by Tobias as Oswaldo himself falls into more of an optimistic Nice Guy everyman role.
  • Christmas Episode: The Series Finale "Parents and Children" is set during the holiday, with the main trio's parents trying to find a popular toy to get for their kids.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander:
    • Oswaldo himself is a pretty eccentric character - an excitable, clumsy, and flat-out weird little guy whose brain is infused with useless pop-culture knowledge and is addicted to pizza, video games, and the Internet.
    • Tobias is a very close second in sheer eccentricity, sharing Oswaldo's excitable personality and short attention span.
  • Conspiracy Theorist: Oswaldo's teacher Professor Gibraltar is one. He often shares his theories with others and is quick to suspect aliens are behind anything strange occurring at the school. His obsession with aliens is also implied to be the reason his wife divorced him.
  • Company Cross References: In the episode "The Breakup", a claw machine featured plushes of the title characters of Cupcake & Dino: General Services - another show created by Pedro Eboli and produced by Birdo Studio - can be seen. Notably however, the duo have their traits switched around, with Dino being pink with a unibrow and Cupcake being yellow with a green headband. See here.
  • Creator Cameo: Series creator Pedro Eboli cameos as the voice of Ian, one of Oswaldo's classmates.
  • A Day in the Limelight: A few episodes focus prominently on other students in Oswaldo's class, or the teachers.
    • "Coconut Wars" has Vivian as the protagonist, with Oswaldo, Tobias, and Leia reduced to supporting roles in the episode.
    • Geovan has his origin story explored in "Georigins: Geovan Begins".
    • Alberto is a central character to the episode "Secret Santa", with Oswaldo and his friends trying to bring him into their group.
    • Oswaldo (and the viewers) learn a lot about Professor Joubert and Ozzy respectively in "Chez Joubert" and "Ozzy's Oil" respectively, with both adults receiving prominent roles.
    • "Ladies Forever" is entirely about Leia hanging with Sandra, Vivian, and Janete rather than Oswaldo and Tobias, with the boys instead being relegated to a minor subplot.
    • "Parents and Children" gives a large amount of spotlight to Oswaldo and Tobias' dads, as well as Leia's mom Principal Marilua, as they compete to buy a popular toy as their kids' Christmas present.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Leia, usually towards Oswaldo and Tobias' wackiness.
  • Detention Episode: "The Brunch Club", being a Whole-Plot Reference to The Breakfast Club, is naturally this, with Oswaldo, Sandra, P.A., Vivian, and Geovan all sharing a day in the detention room together and swapping interconnected stories about how they all got sent there.
  • The Ditz: Neither Oswaldo nor Tobias are especially bright, much to the exasperation of Leia.
  • Dub Name Change: The series' English dub changes many of the secondary characters' names from the original Brazilian Portuguese to more familiar English names.
    • Medeiros is renamed Mitchell, while his bodyguard Tenorio is renamed Terrence.
    • Geovan becomes Jermaine.
    • Janete is known as Janet in the English dub.
    • Principal Marilua is changed to Principal Marylee.
    • P.A. is called PJ.
    • Alberto is shortened to Albert.
    • Old Man Marilio, the crazy homeless man who shows up from time to time, is renamed Old Man Seamus.
  • Election Day Episode: "Elections", naturally. The plot involves Tobias and Leia running for class president against each other, with Oswaldo taking on the role of a journalist during the whole thing.
  • Emo Teen: Geovan, a depressed recluse with jaded outlook on life who constantly dresses in a thick black jacket, fits many of the stereotypes.
  • Feud Episode: "The Breakup" involves a fallout between Leia and Tobias, with Oswaldo left to figure out how to deal with the situation.
  • French Jerk: Professor Joubert, the school's art teacher, speaks in a French accent and has a snotty, pretentious personality.
  • Genki Girl: Janete is a sweet and peppy girl who loves cute things and speaks in an adorably squeaky voice.
  • Granola Girl: Principal Marilua. She only permits the school cafeteria to have healthy, organic foods, and when she has it shut down for safety violations in one episode, she has Ozzy replaced with a kiosk that sells organically-grown whole-grain mush.
  • Half-Dressed Cartoon Animal: Oswaldo doesn't wear pants, only a hooded shirt that he wears with the hood tightly wrapped around his head.
  • Happily Adopted: Feramina and Paulito treated Oswaldo as 100% one of their own kind, letting him enjoy all the things a human child would.
  • Hipster: Ian. He only likes bands that nobody has heard of and watches movies only through foreign dubs that he acquires before they're even released.
  • Interspecies Adoption: The title character is a penguin whose adopted parents are a pair of eccentric but loving humans.
  • Keet: Both Oswaldo and Tobias are extremely energetic and optimistic boys.
  • LARP: Leia organizes a LARP game for Oswaldo's birthday in the episode "Role-Playing" in the form of a journey Oswaldo must take to reach his parents' surprise party. Naturally, Oswaldo gets extremely off-track in the process of the game and has to restart from scratch multiple times during the whole endeavour.
  • The Mafiya: Parodied with one of Oswaldo's classmates, Dimitri. He's a pretty normal kid for the most part, but his getup, accent, and personality are intended to evoke the image of a stereotypical Russian mobster.
  • Missing Mom: Tobias' father appears on several occasions, but no mention is made of Tobias' mother.
  • Mistaken for Aliens: In "Close of the Checho Kind", Oswaldo and Tobias try to get onto the popular science-fiction kids' show Checho, not understanding that the title character is actually an actor in a spaceman costume and not a real alien.
  • Mistaken for Undead: In the episode "Beginner's Death", Oswaldo believes he is a ghost after he is "killed" in a game of laser tag, so he seeks Tobias' help to complete his unfinished business and pass on to the afterlife.
  • Nice Guy: Despite his numerous eccentricities, Oswaldo is very much a good soul at heart. He places a high value on his friendships, always tries to see the best in everything, and can always be counted on to do the right thing in the end.
  • Non-Standard Character Design:
    • Oswaldo's classmate Janete is notable for being the only non-infant human character on the show drawn without a nose.
    • Likewise, Alberto is the only character drawn with black dot eyes instead of full pupils like everyone else.
  • Nose Nuggets: One of Oswaldo's classmates, P.A., is distinguished by the constant stream of snot dripping from his nose. He once become a viral sensation when he used it as a yo-yo.
  • Not Himself: In "Anti-Leia", Leia decides to drop her usual responsible nature and become a rebellious slacker in order to teach Oswaldo and Tobias a lesson about responsibility. Unfortunately for her, this ends up backfiring when Oswaldo and Tobias find they like the new Leia and continue acting as their usual goofy selves.
  • Only Sane Woman: Leia usually plays this role when dealing with her friends' wackiness, although she's also this for Oswaldo's classroom as a whole, being the only normal kid in the class.
  • Passionate Sports Girl: Vivian is a very tall, sporty, and competitive girl in Oswaldo's class who loves volleyball, regularly trains in the gym, and dresses in an athletic outfit.
  • The Pollyanna: Oswaldo is rarely ever in a bad mood.
  • Prison Episode: Parodied in "Oswaldo is the New Black". While Oswaldo and his class are actually just attending a weekend field trip under Professor Joubert, Joubert's authoritarian management of the trip is played out similarly to a prison story, complete with Oswaldo plotting a breakout.
  • Quarter Hour Short: Each episode of the series airs as a single 11-minute segment.
  • Running Gag:
    • Whenever a sequel to a movie or video game is mentioned in the series, its usually titled "European Vacation" and features the characters in Bavarian outfits.
    • No matter how many times others tell him, Oswaldo can never be convinced that Medeiros' bodyguard Tenorio is not actually Medeiros' father.
  • Shout-Out: A few episodes reference and parody films in both title and plot, including "Bicycle Diaries", "The Brunch Club", "The Wizard of Oswaldo", and "The Shape of the Black Lagoon".
  • Show Within a Show:
    • Oswaldo and his friends are big fans of the "Bodybuilding Moths" film series.
    • A sci-fi kids' show called Checho plays a role in several episodes, with Oswaldo and his friends being fans of the titular star.
  • Slice of Life: Talking penguin protagonist aside, the series never goes into anything overtly supernatural and fantastic, instead deriving its chaos and absurdity from grounded and mundane situations. Any strange situations that occur in the show always turn out to be rationally explainable in some fashion.
  • Surfer Dude: Oswaldo's dad. He claims to work in marketing, but is usually seen hanging around the beach with a surfboard instead.
  • Swapped Roles: In "Oswaldobias", Oswaldo decides to get out of having to do boring family chores with his mother by swapping places with Tobias. Oswaldo's mom is not fooled by his efforts and decides to try and teach him a lesson by changing up her plans for the day with her son.
  • Token Non-Human: Oswaldo provides a protagonist example, with the titular penguin being the only talking animal of any kind seen in an entirely human cast of characters.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Croquettes are this for Oswaldo, his friends, and pretty much all the kids at school really. They're the main specialty of school cafeteria worker Ozzy, naturally.
  • True Companions: The friendship of Oswaldo, Tobias, and Leia is a core theme of the series and stays strong through thick and thin, with the trio often learning new things about one another and gaining a greater appreciation for each other as a result of the shenanigans their friendship puts them through.
  • Two Guys and a Girl: Oswaldo, with his friends Tobias and Leia.
  • Two-Teacher School: The staff at Oswaldo's school is pretty much entirely composed of Oswaldo's teacher Professor Gibraltar, Principal Marilua, the art teacher Professor Joubert, and Ozzy the cafeteria worker.
  • Wacky Homeroom: With the exception of Leia, Oswaldo's classmates are every bit as weird and eccentric as he is. Same goes for their teachers.
  • Women Are Wiser: Leia is the only girl of the show's central trio, but also the calmest, most level-headed, and most intelligent of the trio.