The Neverending Story: The Animated Adventures of Bastian Balthazar Bux is an Animated Adaptation of The Neverending Story, presented as a loose sequel to the 1984 feature film. Produced by CineVox Entertainment and animated by Ellipse and Nelvana, it ran for a single 26-episode season from 1995 to 1996.
The overarching plot of the series is that Bastian regularly visits Mr. Coriander's bookshop and reads the Neverending Story, which transports him to the world of Fantastia. There, he undergoes various quests and adventures that range from helping out his friends to solving major problems threatening Fantasia itself. Bastian is most frequently aided in his travels by Bark Troll, a friendly if bumbling member of a race of humanoid trees, and the dog-like Falcor the Luckdragon. Engywook and Urgl, the gnomes, are also frequent allies. Other friends that show up less frequently include Atreyu and his talking horse Artax, Gluckuck the Tiny, and the Rockchewer family.
The most frequent villains that Bastian must battle against are Xayide (with her servants Three-Head and The Nimbly), Gmork of the Nothing, and the evil merchant Shadow Goblin and his slave Vermin.
This series includes examples of:
- Adaptational Badass: Gmork in the book and film was, whilst a fearsome monster, ultimately just a brute. Here, he is the Dimension Lord of the Nothing; the sapient manifestation of its endless hunger.
- Adaptational Wimp: The Auryn. Whilst it does grant Bastian some magical protections, such as shielding him from the flames of Grograman, it does not make him invulnerable. Nor does it have the Reality Warper powers of its literary counterpart.
- Adaptation Species Change: Ygramal in the book is a swarm of poisonous wasps sharing a Hive Mind that can assume whatever shape they like. In the cartoon, she's just a Giant Spider.
- Amazing Technicolor Population: The Greenskins of the Grassy Ocean are humans with, well, green skin.
- Fisher King: The Childlike Empress is the ultimate wellspring from which all Fantasia springs, and harm to her can cause harm to the kingdom. In the episode "Missing Memories", Xayide steals the Empress' memories from Yor's Minroud Mine; when she destroys a memory, that portion of Fantasia is erased from existence. In the end, Bastian has to rebuild her memory from scratch to recreate Fantasia.
- Invisibility Cloak: The episode "Belt of Invisibility" has Vermin discover Gmal, an invisibility-granting belt that Bastian got from Xayide and then use it to commit a crime spree across Fantasia. Bastian is forced to get a second belt from Xayide to stop Vermin, only for this one to make him not only invisible, but eventually inaudible to everyone except Xayide.
- Made of Explodium: Urgl's bugbee honey, if mixed improperly, becomes a powerful liquid explosive. Which proves a great problem with Vermin steals a barrelful of badly mixed bugbee honey.
- Mirror Self: In the episode "Mirror, Mirror", Xayide creates a magical mirror that can produce clones of the opposite morality to the person it reflects. She creates an evil Bastian with it... and then it ends up creating a good Xayide!
- Motor Mouth: Jocko, a humanoid rooster introduced in the episode "Morla's Wish", is constantly rambling on and on with an endless array of never-ending stories. He ultimately admits that this has driven off pretty much everyone he's ever known and left him all alone. Ironically, this causes him and Morla to become best friends at their first meeting; Bastian even deduces that Jocko was the Childlike Empress' present to Morla.
- Multiple Head Case: The aptly-named Three-Head, whose three heads take turns at emerging from small slots in his shoulders and display distinct colors and personalities.
- Noodle Incident: Episodes frequently refer to past adventures that Bastian has had in Fantasia that the viewer never sees. For example, the episode "Belt of Invisibility" revolves around Gmal, the titular belt that Bastian was unknowingly tricked into accepting from Xayide in an unseen adventure.
- Our Gnomes Are Weirder: Engywook and Urgl, two Miniature Senior Citizens about the size of a Tiny with large noses. Engywook is a Mad Scientist and Gadgeteer Genius whose contraptions have a mixed record of reliability, whilst Urgl is a sorceress whose magic is far more reliable.
- Punch-Clock Villain: Vermin has no real interest in doing villainy, but is held in ruinous debt to the Shadow Goblin, forcing him to steal things or act as Shadow Goblin's muscle in an effort to try and get out from under his thumb.
- Rat Men: Vermin looks like a humanoid rat with bat's wings that allow him to fly.
- Taken for Granite: The plot of the very first episode, "Tears of Sadness", revolves around Xayide contaminating Fantasia's water supply with the tears of the Acheris, which transform anyone who drinks or even looks at the water into lifeless stone.
- They Killed Kenny Again: Xayide gets killed at the end of almost every episode, but somehow she always comes back for the next one.
- Treants: The Tree Trolls, who are trees with arms, faces and legs. They can be stuck-up and snobbish, but they're largely decent people, and Bark Troll is Bastian's closest companion in Fantasia.