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Western Animation / Princess Sissi

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A 1997 French/Canadian animated series created by CinéGroupe and Saban Entertainment subsidiary Saban International Paris, very loosely based on the younger years of Elisabeth of Bavaria.

More specifically, the story focuses on the plucky young farm girl nicknamed Sissi who falls in love with Prince Franz from Austria. The rest of the series tells of the trials and troubles it takes for the two of them to actually get married. There's her future mother-in-law, who's looking for a better girl to marry her son; political tensions, Sissi's own father, and lots of danger and wacky adventures in between.

The show aired in France, Canada, Italy, Germany, Greece, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, the Netherlands, Poland, Hungary, the United Kingdom and some countries of Latin America (through Discovery Channel in the late 90s). Several DVDs have been released in Germany.


Compare Liberty's Kids, an American series with similar animation and genre, and Elisabeth, a deeply cynical (but possibly more fantastic) musical also based on Elisabeth of Bavaria.

Tropes related to the series:

  • Anachronism Stew:
    • A gorilla among the animals of Zaniouchka Circus. Captive gorillas were brought in Europe only by the end of 19th century and only as young animals that died early.
    • Submarine and airship depicted in the series are too advanced for the time of Sissi's youth.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: Arkas holds the title of Count and is one the two main villains of the series.
  • Arranged Marriage: Several attempts.
  • Artistic Licence – History: In spades.
  • Beta Couple: Colonel Andrassy and Ida.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: Arkas and Zotornick. They are both two of the few villains or antagonists not to undergo a Heel–Face Turn and are the ones who are defeated in the climax of the final episode.
  • Advertisement:
  • Catchphrase: Tina's cute "Simple as that!" Also, Fritz's ridiculous "By golly!", which is mocked when Sissi tries to expose him.
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: Sissi seems to suffer from it, rescuing a girl from a roof and Helena among others even when inconvenient.
  • Connected All Along: Tommy was directly separated from his father as an infant by the actions of Count Arkas.
  • Conveniently an Orphan: Young Tommy, Sissi's friend and most regular sidekick, was raised in a Bavarian orphanage before running away to live in the forest. He and his father finally find each other in episode forty-three, although they do not realize it until episode forty-seven.
  • Country Mouse: Sissi.
  • Decomposite Character: Due to Helena having been Sissi's sister in real life, this means her father in the series is one of Duke Max.
  • Easy Amnesia: While in Venice, Arkas loses and regains his memories multiple times by getting slammed by doors. Without remembering who he is, Arkas is a kind, honest, contrite man.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Sissi scales a mountain to rescue her brothers in the first episode, displaying her courage, tomboyishness, and devotion to her family.
  • Gilded Cage: Episode sixteen's title refers to this, as when Sissi is alone as royalty without Franz, she's trapped into learning dull manners.
  • Gold Digger: Helena wants to marry Franz to be the Empress.
  • Happily Married: Sissi's parents, Duke Max and Ludovica, are very much in love.
  • Historical Beauty Update: Not so much with Sissi, who was beautiful to begin with, but Franz and others are really egregious cases.
  • Historical Hero Upgrade:
  • Historical Villain Upgrade: Helena. In Real Life, after an Heroic BSoD that almost had her becoming a nun, Nene actually got over Franz and was Happily Married to the Prince of Thurn Und Taxis (and not to mention, she and Sissi were close enough to have Sissi right next to Nene's deathbed when she died). In the series, she's an ungrateful and clingy Gold Digger who hates Sissi with all of her soul and won't stop causing trouble to her. And the historical Helena was Elisabeth's sister, while the series denied their relation for the sake of turning the former one into an Alpha Bitch Sissi's Rival.
  • Hot-Blooded: Morgash, the second-in-command of the Hungarian rebellion. His tendency to make rash judgements and use violence causes many problems. When he is spurned by Sissi, and led to believe it is because she is in love with Gyula Andrassy, he tries to get her arrested.
  • Identical Stranger: Fritz for Franz.
  • Identical Twin ID Tag: For Sissi's brothers, Kyle and Konrad. Kyle's hair and clothes are always tousled compared to Konrad.
  • In Harmony with Nature: Tommy is at home in the woods and can communicate with animals for the most part, hence why his foster mother calls him a "wild boy".
  • Jerkass: Count Arkas and Helena are both lacking in anything resembling redeeming qualities.
  • Meaningful Name: Sissi's names her horse Tempest, a turbulent wind, after seeing how fast and wild he is.
  • Morality Pet: Zottornick's only positive qualities are his fondness for his pet dog, Demon, and Sissi's pet parrot, Gossip (which is rather inexplicable, given that Gossip proves time and time again that he hates and has absolutely no loyalty towards Zottornick).
  • Obliviously Evil: Helena is placed in charge of orphans. While her attempts at keeping them entertained appear to be genuine, they are poorly-thought out and borderline-dangerous; she tries to get them to play with a snarling Doberman, Zottornick's aptly named Demon no less, that she can barely control, and later she more or less forces them to frolic in the snow and do things like build snowmen even though it is freezing out and they are poorly clothed. She eventually just gives up and starts using them as servants.
  • Obnoxious In-Laws: Mean old Empress Sophia, constantly coming up with other brides for Franz.
  • Obviously Evil: One should really wonder why Empress Sophia trusts Councillor Zottornick so blindly, given his pale scrawny face, Evil Eyebrows, bald head and his deep sounding voice. He really looks like someone you should trust blindly, don't you think?
  • Pet the Dog: Empress Sophia is a snobbish Control Freak who adheres to protocol like a religion, but she has been known to show leniency when humbled or impressed enough. She improves vastly in episode forty-five, when she finally approves of Sissi and becomes more open to breaking tradition.
  • Pimped-Out Dress: Especially that wedding dress!
  • Pink Means Feminine: Some of her dresses, including her peasant dress.
  • Plucky Girl: Sissi.
  • Pretty in Mink: Sissi has a white winter coat trimmed with fur.
  • Puppet King: What Councillor Zottornick tries to turn Empress Sophia into. The reason he is so against Sissi marrying Franz is because he knows he can't control her so easily.
  • Saving the Orphanage: Sissi almost can't thanks to political slander but succeeds anyways.
  • Sibling Triangle: Downplayed; Franz's brother Karl is in love with Sissi as well, but he cares too much about her and Franz's happiness to stand in their way and therefore cannot be considered a rival.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Most of the plot comes from Sissi and Franz being torn apart time and time again.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Helena, even after Sissi saves her from drowning.
  • The Unintelligible: Helena's father, Herbert von Grossberg. It gets played for drama when Empress Sophia is unable to understand his attempt at explaining to her that Zottornick is a traitor who has just orchestrated the possible deaths of Franz and Karl.
  • Unrelated in the Adaptation: Sissi and Helena were sisters in real life.