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Western Animation / Testament: The Bible in Animation

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Testament: The Bible in Animation is a 1996 Animated Series produced by S4C. It features animated versions of stories from The Bible, each story using its own unique style of animation. It ran for two seasons in the United Kingdom and won one Emmy, with three nominations, in the United States.

Not particularly well known, it still managed a DVD release.

Testament provides examples of:

  • Adaptational Alternate Ending: In the original story of Jonah, the story ends with the titular character yelling at God to kill him after the small plant dies. This version extends it a bit more on God telling Jonah about forgiveness and while Jonah is still down, he understands more about it and smiles after seeing the children of Nineveh had become better people.
  • Aerith and Bob: Elijah and Ahab. Michael and Lucifer. However, all or most of these were common names at the time; we've only decided which ones to pass on to our children, and these have become normal.
  • Animal Stereotypes: The raven and the dove used in "Creation and the Flood".
  • The Antichrist: Shows up in "Creation and the Flood".
  • The Apprentice: Elijah gets one. He eventually takes over once Elijah ascends into heaven.
  • Art Shift: Each episode used a unique style of animation.
  • Asshole Victim: The priests from Daniel who try to get him fed to the lions. Guess what happens to them. Doesn't stop Daniel from trying to Save the Villain.
  • Baritone of Strength: Many examples; Noah/Samuel (both voiced by Joss Ackland), God (in most but particularly when voiced by Martin Jarvis) and to name a few.
  • Badass Cape: Elijah's spotted coat thing.
  • Badass Preacher: Elijah is most definitely one. Standing up to Jezebel is enough by itself even without everything else he did.
  • Basso Profundo: Elijah's speaking voice is a rumbling baritone, but when he sings with the voice of opera singer Bryn Terfel he definitely falls into this category.
  • The Bible: Obviously. Each episode was a story taken from it.
  • Big Bad: Satan in "Creation and the Flood". He's this for all of humanity, obviously.
  • Blasphemous Boast: Lucifer drops a pretty severe one of these when he declares his desire to elevate himself up as equal to God.
    Lucifer: I will be greater! I will step further, only one of a thousand thousand! Yes! Above the stars of God himself! I will be as the most high!
  • British Brevity: Two seasons, only nine episodes.
  • Bullying a Dragon: Satan tries to overthrow God. It doesn't go well since He's, you know, God.
  • Cain and Abel: Not the Trope Namer as might be expected, but Moses and Merneptah, the Pharaoh not realizing until after the Israelites have left that Moses was his friend. It is an interesting variation as Moses and Merneptah are not adopted brothers but, if we take the original text into account, rather adoptive nephew and uncle who are the same age.
  • The Chosen One: Saul and David were both the chosen one. Saul sees David as a rival to be eliminated, while David respects Saul's position enough to refuse to kill him—and in fact orders Saul's killer executed.
  • Clothing Damage: A non-fanservice example - after being spat out by the fish, Jonah's clothes are reduced to his cape and the skirt of his tunic.
  • Darker and Edgier: Most definitely more than your average animated show about the Bible. It tended to adapt stories directly without any sanitation and some of them were quite bloody or disturbing or both.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Quite a lot of the characters, but Elijah takes the cake with his ridiculing of Baal's priests.
    Elijah: Call him harder, for he is a god! Perhaps he is lost in thought, or he is away on a long journey! Perhaps he's fallen asleep!
  • Decapitation Presentation: Belshazzar and his court have their heads put on spikes by the Medes. This includes poor Ashpenaz, who was a cupbearer not a combatant.
  • Determinator: Despite having no obligation to Naomi after her husband dies, Ruth goes with her to Bethlehem, works hard in the fields and takes a much older man to be her husband because he is of the family line. However, she clearly loves Boaz and the two are shown as Happily Married at the end.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Anyone who doesn't follow God or sins against Him too badly is in for some pretty epic punishment. These include being beaten to death, turned to salt and burned alive.
  • Don't Look Back: Lot's wife is turned to salt for looking back as God destroys Sodom and Gomorrah.
  • Downer Beginning: Ridiculously so in "Ruth". We're introduced to Naomi, then her husband dies, then one son, then the other. The episode Starts with Their Funeral...
  • Evil Former Friend: Merneptah to Moses. Also Daniel and Belshazzar, which is why Daniel is spared upon Belshazzar's ascension to the throne.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Goliath, definitely. Jezebel has something of a contralto equivalent.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Each episode, except for "Creation and the Flood", is named after its lead character.
  • Face Death with Dignity: Saul resigns himself to his fate and leads his army into battle. Reading the source material and looking at the way his body is framed, you can also see he decided it was Better to Die than Be Killed.
    • Belshazzar grabs his sword and shield and goes out to fight the Medes rather than seek a way out, as you might imagine he would.
  • Fallen Angel: We get to see the first of them, Lucifer himself, cast out of Heaven.
  • Fat Bastard: Several, mostly royal; Ahab, Belshazzar and The Governor in Creation and the Flood.
  • Fate Worse than Death: Invoked by the Archangel Michael in "Creation and the Flood" when challenging Lucifer.
    Michael: Your pride will be brought down to the grave!
    Lucifer: I cannot die!
    Michael: You can long to die and you will.
  • Final Solution:
    • Happens to all of mankind (save Noah's family) in "Creation and the Flood".
    • All the residents of Sodom and Gomorrah.
    • Ramesses does this to the first-bond Israelite children. Ironically this is done many years later to the Egyptian children by the Angel of Death.
  • Fire and Brimstone Hell: Seen in "Creation and the Flood".
  • Forced Transformation: The king of Babylon in "Daniel" is turned into a beast by God.
  • For Want Of A Nail: David goes to rescue a group of women who were kidnapped by Amalekite bandits, which prevented him from joining Saul in battle.
  • Friend to All Children: Elijah is rough and stern, but when the Widow's young child is killed he is devastated and calls out God Himself.
  • God Save Us from the Queen!: Jezebel is far worse than Ahab.
  • The Good King: After the corrupt Babylonians, Darius is a refreshing example, making Daniel his governor. Nebuchadnezzar wasnt exactly good (he utterly destroyed Jerusalem) but is Affably Evil towards Daniel, raising him higher than any typical hostage would normally be.
    • The Pharaoh in "Joseph" is a Reasonable Authority Figure who places absolute trust in Joseph's abilities in order to save Egypt from famine.
  • Grumpy Old Man: Jonah, to the point where children call him "Jonah the Moaner".
  • Happily Ever Before: Moses ends with the Israelites free from Egypt... off to start a lifetime of wandering in the desert.
  • Hell Is That Noise: The transformation of the snake staff and the turning of the Nile into blood are accompanied by an unearthly screeching sound.
  • Humans Are Bastards: Bastardly enough for all of them to be drowned aside from one family.
  • Irrevocable Order: The Medes and Persians had a law that if the king's ring was used to seal a proclamation, then it could not be undone even if the king changed his mind. In "Daniel", King Darius made a decree that anyone who prayed to a God other than him for a period of a week would be fed to the lions—and sealed it with his ring. Daniel continued to pray, and despite Daniel being the King's favorite, and the King not wanting to go through with it, Daniel was still thrown to the lions.
  • Keep the Reward: Daniel turns down Belshazzar's offers of a reward for reading the writing on the wall.
  • Kill It with Water: The Red Sea closing on the Egyptian soldiers in "Moses".
  • Last of His Kind: Elijah is the last prophet of God left in Israel.
  • Lean and Mean: The Chaldean Chief Magus, made noticeable by the girth of the Babulonian kings he serves.
  • Losing a Shoe in the Struggle: Jonah loses one of his sandals when the sailors throw him overboard.
  • Nepharious Pharaoh: Merneptah following in the footsteps of his father Rameses II.
  • Pride Before a Fall: Satan grew proud, Satan fell...
  • Protagonist-Centered Morality: Inevitable thanks to Values Dissonance. Special mention goes to Elijah ordering the execution of all the prophets of Baal, even though the slaying of God's prophets had earlier been shown as an atrocity.
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: Satan's serpent form is particularly creepy in this version.
  • Rivers of Blood: The Nile turns to blood in "Moses".
  • Secret Test of Character: God's command to Abraham to kill his son, Isaac.
  • Spell My Name With An S: The accepted spellings for the individual portrayed as the Pharaoh of the Exodus are "Merneptah" and "Merenptah." The "Moses" episode, according to the credits, has his named spelled as "Mernefta", apparently a misspelling of the former spelling.
  • Stop Motion: Three episodes were made this way.
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Ahab and Jezebel.
  • The Unfavorite: Anyone who isn't one of the Jews/Israelites.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Other than Daniel, the other prince maguses (Ariach, Hananiah and... the other guy) are not seen again after their promotion.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: A few times characters try to go against the path that God has laid out for them. None of them manage it.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: After Adam and Eve break the rules in the Garden of Eden, they are cast out forever. Though there will be a way back, eventually.