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 on Family Channel.
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.
- Adaptation Dye-Job: Atreyu is a Greenskin, and he does, indeed, have green skin in this series. This is in contrast to the film series, where he looks like a normal Caucasian human. It could be considered an inversion, as this is in fact Truer to the Text: Atreyu is explicitly stated to be green-skinned in the book.
- Adaptation Name Change: As in the third film, the Rockbiter family were renamed the Rockchewers. Like Atreyu's example above, this is also Truer to the Text: The Rockbiter was said to be a "rock chewer" instead in the book.
- 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.
- Gmork in the book and the first movie is a wolf, while in this series seems to be some sort of werewolf.
- Amazing Technicolor Population: The Greenskins of the Grassy Ocean are humans with, well, green skin.
- Amazing Technicolor Wildlife: The Purple Buffalo of the Grassy Ocean, as their name implies, have fur in different shades of purple.
- Animated Adaptation: It's a cartoon series based on the original book of "The Never-Ending Story".
- Big Bad Ensemble: Xayide and Gmork both share this role, as they are recurring villains with highly ambitious plans; Xayide wants to conquer Fantasia, and will destroy it if she can't, whilst Gmork wants to devour the world. Xayide makes the most appearances, but Gmork is arguably the scarier of the two.
- Canon Foreigner: The series is filled with lots of characters that didn't appear in the book or in the movies, such as Large Head (Who seems to be some sort of Expy of the movie version of Cairon), the Shadow Goblin and Vermin. Bark Troll is a downplayed example: He does not appear in the book, but creatures known as "Bark Trolls" do, and he's based on them.
- Cool Horse: Artax appears in the series. Unlike in the book, he can’t talk, but he’s more capable of emotion than he was in the movie.
- The Dreaded: Sir Pomplemuse from the Sea of Mists is apparently very feared by the Mist Sailors; when Engywook reveals he needs to go to his island, the Mist Sailors react in horror.
- Fiery Lion: Grograman, Lord of Goab, the Desert of Everchanging Colors, and of Perilin, the Night Forest, is a powerful fire elemental that takes the form of a huge lion with a mane of flames. Although his fires annihilate anything that comes too close to him, he serves a vital role in burning away Perilin the Night Forest during the day, keeping it from smothering Fantastia. This actually becomes a plot point; his appearance in the series revolves around Xayide placing him into an enchanted slumber in order to unleash Perilin on Fantasia.
- 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's memories from Yor's Minroud Mine; when she destroys a memory, that portion of Fantasia is erased from existence. After he manages to drive Xayide out of the mine before she can destroy the Empress's memory of him, Bastian has to help the Empress rebuild her memory from scratch to recreate Fantasia.
- Hoist By Her Own Petard: Several of Xayide's plans eventually require her to get Bastian's help when they backfire;
- After Xayide renders Bastian invisible and audible to everyone else in Fantasia while still able to hear him herself, she attempts to force him to give her the Aurym, but instead Bastian uses his new state to taunt and bother Xayide until she removes the belt for him.
- When Xayide used Nightmare Weeds to make everyone's dreams come true and eventually be corrupted into nightmares, she is unaffected as she never dreams (explaining "The evil never dream"), but three duplicates of herself are forced to act as Three-Head's servant as each head has its own dreams.
- Inexplicably Identical Individuals: The Yskalmeri, or "Mist Sailors", are an entire species who look identical. This is played for laughs in their first appearance, when Bastion and Urgl have to take a Mist Sailor vessel and find themselves very puzzled when what seems to be the same individual keeps crossing the deck from different points and doing different things.Urgl: What is this, a one-man crew?
- 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's 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.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Bastian travels to Fantasia whilst sick with a cold in one episode, hoping to forget his misery. Unfortunately, because it's an Earth disease, it makes Falkor the Luck Dragon fatally ill, forcing Bastian to travel to the realm of Ygramal to find a magical medicine that can cure him.
- 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 Giants Are Bigger: The Rockchewers, who are both this and Silicon-Based Life, being they are made of living stone. Junior, a Rockchewer toddler, is about twice Bastion's height and several times heavier, and his parents are correspondingly larger.
- 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.
- Silicon-Based Life: The Rockchewers are stone-eating giant humanoids made of living stone.
- 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.
- Truer to the Text: This trope can be said for Arteyu, Artax and the Childlike Empress, who bear a closer resemblance to their literary counterparts both physically and personality-wise.
- Upper-Class Twit: Sir Pompelmuse, a mysterious noble who has his own private island on the Sea of Mist. He's a nervous, borderline hypochondriac fop, although smarter than he seems despite his cowardice. Weirdly, he's The Dreaded to the Yskalmeri, who are terrified at the mere notion of going near his island.