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Western Animation / Rainbow Fish

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"Everybody knows, when they see that glow, it's Rainbow!"
Part of the Title Theme Tune

In January 2000, an Animated Adaptation of Swiss author Marcus Pfister's children's book The Rainbow Fish, was released. It was produced by Canada's Decode Entertainment (now part of WildBrain) and Sony Wonder Television (the kids and family entertainment label of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment) for Teletoon and HBO Family. It ran for 52 episodes over a single season.

The TV series takes the title character and the ocean setting and puts them into a new story, different from the children's books. In it, Rainbow Fish and his fellow sea creatures inhabit Neptune Bay and attend a school called "The School of Fish". Alongside his friends, another fish named Blue and a seahorse named Sea Filly, Rainbow Fish finds all kinds of adventures in the ocean, from exploring Shipwreck Park to spending time around his favorite hangout spots (usually Wanda the Octopus' diner) to avoiding such enemies as his bossy older sister Ruby and local bullies Chomper and Stingo.

Interestingly, this is actually the second Animated Adaptation of the original book, the first being a 1997 direct-to-home-video animated short retelling the book. This Rainbow Fish adaptation was released in the same home video alongside an Animated Adaptation of another book by Pfister called Dazzle The Dinosaur.

Tropes associated with this series are:

  • Acquired Situational Narcissism: Happens to Blue in "Prince Blue" when he learns his family came from royalty. He starts acting like a snobbish prince and belittles his peers, including Chomper and Stingo much to their anger. Meanwhile, Rainbow and Sea Filly are not angry at Blue as much as worried about him alienating everyone with his ego. However, it turns out Blue's ancestors were not royalty but the servants of royalty.
  • Adaptation Deviation: Rainbow keeps all of his sparkling scales for the TV series, unlike in the book where he gave all but one away. They are also nothing more than just part of his character design.
  • All Just a Dream: The episode Halloween Under H20, where Rainbow nightmares that Blue is an evil Dr. Frankenstein knockoff planning to remove his brain as soon as he's done creating a Frankenstein bride like-creature that looks eerily similar to Sea-Filly with the help of his devoted assistant Seagor (Sherman).
  • Alpha Bitch: Ruby can possibly be like this in school, but especially Angel in "Sea Filly Gets Her Groove Back".
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: This is how Ruby seems to view Rainbow, and he does show it on a regular basis, but at times, she does show that she does care about him a lot.
  • Artistic License – Law: In "Rainbow Fish Meets Wayne Grunion", Rainbow and Blue have to retrieve the eponymous side character's lucky puck from Sir Sword's safe. When Blue expresses concern that this would be stealing, Rainbow's reply is, "Blue, how can it be stealing? The puck's already stolen."note 
  • Bigfoot, Sasquatch, and Yeti: "The Vacation" features an undersea equivalent called "Bigfin", who also turns out to be Real After All.
  • The Bully: Chomper and Stingo, who are a shark and a stingray respectively.
  • Butt-Monkey: Rainbow seems to get in many misfortunes in the series, sometimes brought on by himself.
  • Canon Foreigner: Every character besides Rainbow. Blue and Wanda are somewhat based on the Little Blue Fish and the Wise Octopus from the original book, but it's never stated if they are the same characters, or just based on them.
  • Christmas Episode: "Santa Sword Is Coming to Town"
  • Community-Threatening Construction: The premise of "Eviction Notice", in which Sea Filly discovers that her old piano teachers are being evicted from their home a Corrupt Corporate Executive named Phineas T. Graunt, who plans to tear down their neighborhood and replace it with Shopping Mall and has similar plans for almost the entire city in future.
  • Connected All Along: In the climax of “Grandpa’s Fish Tales”, Rainbow discovers the famous clam ball legend known as the Cyclone turns out to be his own grandfather.
  • Cruel Cheerleader: Angel. She's very vain and makes fun of the boys, especially Sea Filly for being a tomboy.
  • Dean Bitterman: Principal Gefilte runs a tight shift in his school. He's shown to be a very tough substitute teacher too in one episode, assigning a book report over the weekend due on Monday.
  • Feud Episode: Between Rainbow and Blue in "May the Better Fish Win" (where they compete for an election) and "Cave Mates" (where Blue stays at Rainbow's house and the two have to put up with each other's habits).
  • Good Parents: Rainbow's parents are very supportive and loving towards their son, and fairly patient with his shenanigans. Blue's parents are a bit more firm, they do love their son at the end of the day.
  • Halloween Episode: "Halloween Under H₂O".
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Blue and Rainbow are very best friends.
  • In Name Only: It features a rainbow fish with sparkled scales and blue fish that are friends and retain the basic designs of their book counterparts. Also, Wanda shares almost the same characterization with the wise octopus from the book (albeit far less mysterious though). That's about all it shares in common with Pfister's original book.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: Wanda the Octopus is always there to help Rainbow and his friends when they need it and they hang out at her cafe.
  • It's a Wonderful Plot: The episode "It's A Wonderful Fish" has Rainbow having a bad day and wishing he was never born. He gets greeted by a guardian angel wish who shows him what his life would be like if that happened. Wanda would have nobody to talk to at her cafe, Blue and Sea Filly's team wouldn't win without Rainbow, Chomper, Stingo and Rainbow's family feel lonely without him.
  • Local Hangout: Many young fish go to Wanda's Cafe for Kelp Gushers.
  • Malicious Misnaming: Chomper and Stingo call Rainbow "Rainbow Creep".
  • My God, You Are Serious!: In "Sir Sword Goes Back to School", Sir Sword goes to Wanda's Cafe with the kids and orders for fancy cuisine as barnacle sticks with abalone gravy and a baby ocean green garnish. Wanda laughs, until she realizes he wasn't joking.
  • Negative Continuity: Most of the episodes can be watched in any order. The only episodes that do have to be watched are "Rainbow Fish and the New Girl at School" (as that introduces most of the supporting cast, especially Sea Filly), "Rainbow Fish Meets Wayne Grunion" (flashbacks were shown later in "Riptide"), "Sherman Shrimp" (as that introduces said character) and "Sibling Rivalry" (as that introduces Blue's sister Turquoise)
  • Non-Standard Character Design: Sea Filly is the only character with more human features, such as having a nose and hair.
  • Pun: It's a cartoon about fish, so this is expected.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: Played with in "Pen Pal". Chomper wins a wrestling match against Rainbow, though only by forfeit as Rainbow managed to beat him by out-maneuvering him. Either way, Chomper now has to fight the champion, an orca much bigger and stronger than him.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Miss Chips does not tolerate impudent or wayward behavior in her class at all, but she is a fair and caring teacher as long as her students do their best. She even has an interest in video games and other childish stuff.
  • Three Shorts: Each episode contains 2 11 minute stories.
  • Through a Face Full of Fur:
    • Blue in the episode "Sibling Rivalry". In this case, it's more like a through-a- face-full-of-gills-or-scales moment, as his cheeks get rosy when his mom says that both he and his baby sister, Turquoise, are her babies.
    • Sir Swordfish in "One Fish's Treasure". His whole face goes red with anger and annoyance after being startled by Rainbow Fish and causing him to spill seaweed out of his wheelbarrow, and his head gets steamy, frying the seaweed.
    • In "Ruby Slips In", Rainbow's cheeks become rosy twice: Once after he was busy bragging while playing sponge ball and he missed his catch; again after he's upset about his sister getting more attention from his friends than he does.
    • In "The In-Crowd", Rainbow's cheeks get rosy with embarrassment when one of the High Tides comments on him being colorful.
    • In "Father's Day", Rainbow's cheeks get rosy again when Blue mentions that his dad must be a spy (which embarrasses Rainbow because he stretched the truth about what his dad really does for a living).
    • In "Blue's Fishy Catch", Principal Gelfite's cheeks get rosy when he accidentally mentions the goal of winning a trophy in a clam-ball game and the students look at him skeptically, as he realizes that he forgot to keep his yearning to win it a secret.
    • Rainbow gets the rosy cheeks once again in "Guess Who's Coming To Dinner", when Chomper and Stingo make jokes at his expense about Mrs. Chips coming to visit his home for dinner.
  • Women Are Wiser: Sea Filly is (usually) much more level-headed and responsible than Rainbow or Blue.