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Western Animation / Time Jam: Valerian & Laureline

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Time Jam: Valerian & Laureline is a French/Japanese animated television series based on the French comic book series Valérian and Laureline written by Pierre Christin and drawn by Jean-Claude Mézières. The series was produced by Satelight in Japan, EuropaCorp (which would also produce the comics' 2017 live-action film adaptation) and Dargaud in France and JM Animation in South Korea.

Their classic story comes to life in this animated series about two humans who must investigate a mysterious shift in time. The couple settle in the galactic capital Point Central and realize they are possibly the only humans left. They begin a new life as space mercenaries and adventurers, exploring the new space-time continuum while at the same time attempting to rediscover the Earth.

The animation first aired in France in 2007. It ran from October 20, 2007 to March 5, 2008 and spanned 40 episodes. The English-dubbed version of the series is available on Crunchyroll and on home media by Sentai Filmworks.


Time Jam: Valerian & Laureline provides examples of:

  • 100% Adoration Rating: Valerian, Laureline, and Prince Baral are beloved by half of the entire galaxy. Especially Laureline.
  • AcCENT upon the Wrong SylLABle: For the first half of the dubbed series, Gork Yodol's name is inexplicably pronounced Gorky O'dol.
  • Action Girl: Laureline is both feminine and badass, she faces many dangerous enemies with fast reflexes, acrobatic stunts and expert combat skills.
  • Adaptational Badass: In the comic book series, Monsieur Albert was a refined 20th century French gentleman who served as a contact to the time agents visiting his era. Here, while his characterisation is mostly unchanged, he is one of the inventors of time travel, and the mastermind behind half of the events happening to Valerian and Laureline.
  • Alternate Timeline: In Episode 16, Valerian discovers the unspoiled timeline in which he does not rescue Laureline. It's worse than Earth vanishing. Valerian dies, Lord Wilfrid de Tancarville marries Laureline against her will and establishes a millenia-old dynasty that allies with the Vlagos and tries to conquer the galaxy.
    • It should be noted that this is actually a third timeline created when he was sent back in time, but prevented from going home by another time agent due to changing the past. In the true original timeline, right after Valerian leaves for the past, Raymond de Tancarville leaves for the early 21st century and takes over the Earth.
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  • Artificial Gravity: The Space-Time Agency ships are stacked sideways when parked in their base on Earth but Valerian was still able to walk on the floor of his ship.
  • Artificial Intelligence: Rondha is the Tempus Fugit's onboard computer.
  • Art Shift: In Episode 34, Valerian and Laureline disguise themselves as Vlagos, and therefore become 3D modeled just like the rest.
  • Beauty Equals Goodness: The main "good guy" races are mostly different flavors of elves or cuter animal-people. The allies of the ugly Vlagos are monstrous and predatory. Subverted with Princess Pirna Elkali, Bitch in Sheep's Clothing.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Valerian and Laureline are constantly bickering, but as the show progresses it becomes clear that they have a secret attraction to each other.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Princess Pirna Elkali is Prince Baral's fiance. On their wedding day, she reveals her true colors as an accomplice to the Vlagos in their plot to conquer the galaxy.
  • But What About the Astronauts?: Even though the Earth is missing, the moon was left behind, complete with a moonbase.
  • Chick Magnet / Dude Magnet: Despite there being no other humans, Valerian and Laureline attract men and women from a wide variety of races. As time goes by they become celebrities, with a movie. Later deconstructed, as Laureline says she doesn't like being stared at like an exotic beast. In Episode 15, Laureline's beauty is exploited by the villains, converted into an advertising hologram that hypnotizes people into buying garbage products from Vlagos.
  • City Mouse: Valerian.
  • The City vs. the Country: Laureline, coming from the Middle Ages, loves nature and the countryside, and usually solves problems with deceit and charisma, while Valerian is a superior technician, and prefers the comforts of the future. They nearly separate over these differences in Episode 3. And even worse in Episode 30 and the finale.
  • Clarke's Third Law: At first Laureline thinks Valerian's technology is magic and keeps calling him a sorcerer.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl / Crazy Jealous Guy: Laureline and Valerian each get pissed when someone tries to steal the other away.
  • Combat Parkour: The fighting sequences tend to be very gymnastic-heavy.
  • Combat Stilettos: Laureline wears high-heeled boots with her suit despite the Combat Parkour and other physical activities she takes part in.
  • Common Tongue: Modern Galactic Language is the galaxy's lingua franca.
  • Danger Room Cold Open: The first episode starts with Valerian doing a mission that turns out to be a training simulation.
  • Dragon with an Agenda: Pirna.
  • Eccentric Mentor: Mr. Albert is a retired gentleman, is the inventor of spatiotemporal engine and also the only one who can fix it. This jovial gray-haired man, in a three-piece suit, follows the adventures of Valerian and Laureline distance. He has a lot of power, but prefers to manipulate Valerian and Laureline into solving the problem.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: In Episode 37, Gork Yodol becomes fed up with Pirna's repeated attempts to kill Valerian and Laureline despite Supreme Commander wanting them alive, to the point he destroys her ships and saves them both.
  • Everyone Can See It: Though they refuse to admit it, everyone constantly tells Valerian and Laureline what a perfect couple they are, how they're clearly in love with each other, or that they are going to get married.
  • Evil Smells Bad: Planet Vlagos's rings are made of garbage, and the planet sure smells like it.
  • Faking the Dead: Used a lot in the late third of the show, to throw off Pirna, and the Big Bad.
  • Fish out of Temporal Water: Averted with Laureline, who—despite being from the Middle Ages—flawlessly adapts to life in the 25th century.
  • For Want of a Nail: By taking Laureline out of the Middle Ages, Valerian accidentally sets a chain of events that makes the Earth as well all traces of it, disappear, several centuries later.
    • In episode 16 The Reveal is this was a change that Dr. Albert allowed and encouraged, because the original altered timeline is much worse.
  • Generation Xerox: Lord Wilfrid de Tancarville's descendant in the Alternate Timeline is identical to the original, and so is Laureline's descendant. The Big Bad, Raymond de Tancarville, is also identical.
  • Global Currency: More like Galactic Currency - Bloutoks.
  • Happy Fun Ball: The Vlagos sell unpopular, unethical and deadly products banned in half the galaxy, such as a mind control helmet and irradiated energy drinks.
  • Heroes Want Redheads: Laureline has red hair and a personality to match.
  • Hitler's Time Travel Exemption Act: Discussed in Episode 39, though not about Hitler. The Big Bad has time travel too.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: The Big Bad is able to automatically hunt Valerian by automatically warping to him in any time or space. So Valerian sets his time warp belt to the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius and tosses it to him, sending him straight into the volcano.
  • Honest John's Dealership: The Shingouz are greedy and only act in their own interest, looking to make a profit. They might sell Valerian and Laureline overpriced gadgets that will often malfunction or artifacts with dubious origins.
  • Hopeless Suitor: Valerian and Laureline have several.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: All episode names contain the word "Time" and usually are a common expression around that word.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: In episode 1 "Time Matters", Valerian and Laureline manage to avoid many arrows shot at them while escaping.
  • In Spite of a Nail: Raymond de Tancarville looks the same and takes over the galaxy with or without Laureline as an ancestor.
  • Lovable Rogue: Laureline is fond of solving problems with other characters through deception and charm.
  • Loved I Not Honor More: Laureline yearns to stay on one planet while Valerian loves adventure and travel, and it is the primary thing that holds their relationship back. In the finale Valerian would rather continue on adventuring than settle down in modern France with Laureline, to the point they break up. They reunite nine months later and resume as adventurers.
  • Love Transcends Spacetime: In Episode 16, in the Alternate Timeline, Laureline's descendant falls in love with Valerian all over again and supports him returning to the original.
  • The Magic Goes Away: In the finale, Dr. Albert disappears and takes the secrets of time travel with him, making the current timeline permanent. The Earth stays in its position, Earth remains in tatters (though everyone Valerian and Laureline helped seem to be footing the repair bill) and Galaxity is never restored, making the setting of the show a permanent deviation from the original graphic novel.
  • Man Behind the Man: Raymond de Tancarville is the true commander of the Vlagos.
  • Medieval Stasis: The modern Big Bad, Raymond de Tancarville, deprives the citizens of earth of the ability to read and write, and has the Earth designed with classic European castles and an army of mechanical knights.
  • Medium Blending: The Vlagos are the only 3D creatures in a universe of 2D characters.
  • Mid-Season Upgrade: In the second half of the show, they get their original timeship restored and upgraded. But the time travel only works on Dr. Albert's terms.
  • Minored In Ass Kicking: Gork Yodol can fight.
  • Mister Seahorse: The Vlagos Supreme Commander is the "male-equivalent" of a queen and lays all Vlagos eggs.
  • Multicultural Alien Planet: Central Point is the capital of the galaxy and home to 2,400 kinds of life forms from all over the galaxy.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: In episode 1 “Time Matters”, on his first space-time flight without supervision, Valerian breaks Article 3 of Time Travel Law, which prohibits Space-Time Agents from altering the past or the future by accidentally taking Laureline from the Middle Ages.
  • Obviously Evil: The Vlagos are dark squid-like, evil looking Starfish Aliens with four eyes and evil voices.
  • Old Media Are Evil: In Episode 25, the heroes get trapped in a deadly reality show where they must hunt deadly creatures and no contestants have ever survived.
  • Organic Technology: 60% of the Vlagos technology is organic.
  • Parental Abandonment: One episode involves an artifact that constructs immersive dreams out of a person's desires and memories. According to its constructs, Laureline was a Doorstop Baby and Valerian's parents were Space-Time Agents who disappeared during a mission when he was only five.
  • Planetary Relocation: This is how the Earth disappeared: it was part of a conspiracy from Tancarville to rule the Universe.
  • The Power of Love: In Episode 34, The Resistance builds a weapon to counter the Vlagos's Omega Energy weapon of mass destruction, that can only work with The Power of Love. Naturally, they attach Valerian and Laureline to it and ask them to kiss. Repulsed, they bicker Like an Old Married Couple instead, and it works.
  • Ripple Effect-Proof Memory: Valerian and Laureline are the only ones who remember that planet Earth and the Human Race ever existed.
  • Secondary Color Nemesis: Gork Yodol wears purple and has glowing green eyes.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: Laureline is fond of fancy outfits. Valerian, meanwhile seems to put a lot of effort into looking scruffy.
  • She-Fu: Laureline is an acrobat, and when she fights she has a tendency to perform gratuitous acrobatics.
  • Single-Biome Planet: Several of them. The main one in the show is planet Vlagos which was deliberately turned into a Bio Punk Eternal Engine and has rings that are basically made of garbage.
  • Sliding Scale of Villain Effectiveness: The Vlagos are low. Prima is very high.
  • Shout-Out: The Shingouz live on a world where it seems to be constantly raining and charge for absolutely anything there, including breathing air. Looks a lot like Ferenginar.
  • Spaceship Girl: Valerian's ship has a female voiced A.I. called Rhonda.
  • Subspace or Hyperspace: Traveling through space is made faster by entering sub-space. Can go from Earth to the galactic core in about three months.
  • The Teaser: Episodes start with a recap of the general situation - Earth is gone, Laureline is from the 10th C., they have to work as mercenaries. Then there is a teaser and only after that, the credits roll with the opening theme.
  • Tickle Torture: Is used effectively by the Rigor Mortis Quartet in episode 13 "On Borrowed Time".
  • Time Police: Time Travel is regulated and supervised by the Space-Time Agency. Intervening in past or future events is a violation of Time Travel Law. Article 3 prohibits Space-Time Agents from altering the past or the future.
  • Time Travel: The whole point of the series.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Monsieur Albert is always seen munching on apples, to the point that after a while Valerian and Laureline know he's been around when they find an apple core.
  • The Unintelligible: The Mortis Quartet are mostly silent, and when they speak, its a low, humming cacophony (like radio chatter).
  • Villainous Crush: In episode 1 "Time Matters", the local Lord Wilfrid de Tancarville insists that Laureline must marry him. When she refuses, he imprisons her.
    • Pirna for Valerian.
  • We Can Rule Together: Pirna fruitlessly tries this on Valerian when she thinks Laureline is out of the picture, to the point it is almost an Out-of-Character Moment.
  • We Wait: For all of the Vlagos' antagonizing of Valerian and Laureline, their Supreme Commander doesn't want them dead. He wants to observe them and trace them because he covets their secrets of time travel.
  • The Whole World Is Watching: The last episodes feature both instances of this:
    • First, Pyrna announces, across the galaxies, that the death penalty has been reestablished for subversives and that Valerian will suffer a Public Execution which he survives, thanks to have moved Pyrna to a High-Heel–Face Turn after showing her who really murdered her parents, and that it was the Vlagos who did it.
    • Second, Tancarville announces across Earth he will marry Laureline.
  • The Wise Prince: Noble in every sense of the term, Prince Baral is an outstanding politician, diplomat, a charmer and a telepath who has a sense of duty and sacrifice. He is a valuable ally of Valerian and Laureline. Heir to the throne of Aldébar 3, he is about to marry the princess Pirna Elkali to strengthen Aldébaranne Confederation in disregard of his personal feelings.
  • You Already Changed the Past: Valerian rescuing Laureline created the timeline that he left from. The Earth disappearing came about from someone else altering the past after he left. The only differences are the methods and speed that the Big Bad conquered the galaxy.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: Galaxity, and humanity's hegemony from the original graphic novel, are permanently erased from history.