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Western Animation / True and the Rainbow Kingdom

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"Zip zap zoo, I choose you! Wake up, (wish name)! Wish come true!"

True and the Rainbow Kingdom is a Canadian-American Netflix cartoon that premiered in 2017. In Canada, it airs on CBC Kids. On June 15, 2018, a second season was released. On May 3, 2019, a third season was released.

The series follows a little girl named True and her cat, Bartleby. True has the ability to use wishes, who are little creatures that live in the Wishing Tree. They are kept by Zee, the apprentice of the Rainbow King.

The show is animated by Guru Studio, whose previous works include The Backyardigans note  and PAW Patrol.

"Zip zap zoo, I choose you! Wake up, tropers! Wish come true!"

  • Added Alliterative Appeal: Many of the Rainbow King's exclamations are alliterative, usually with a colour.
  • Aerith and Bob: While True and Zee are real names, they're far less common than Grizelda.
  • Animesque: The show is basically a Western-made Magical Girl anime, although Lighter and Softer given that it's for children. Except there's no transformations.
  • Anti-Villain: Despite his agenda, Glummy Glooma is this. He's not a bad guy per se, just someone who wants to spread his depression to others, yet there's no Evil Plan, he's acting questionably and probably not intending to be malicious.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: In "Frookie Sitting," the magical flower first turns the puppy Frookie into five Frookies. After this problem is fixed, it ends up working its magic again, this time making Frookie into a giant dog.
  • Big "NO!": Grizelda has one in "Great Grizmos!"
    Grizelda: Nooooooooooooo-
    Bartleby: Are you done?
    Grizelda: -ooooooooooo!
  • Birthday Episode: "True's Birthday Party".
  • Blob Monster: The living sea is a harmless, friendly variation.
  • Cartoon Creature: The majority of the Rainbow Kingdom's denizens are of an unidentifiable species.
  • Cat Ninja: There is a small group of ninja cats known as the Kittynati, whom Bartleby idolizes.
  • Cats Are Snarkers: Bartleby's defining trait.
  • Character Catchphrase:
    • True has this when she uses wishes: "Zip zap zoom, wish come true!" She had to say it backwards to wield the Reewee's power.
    • Zee: "The wishing tree has heard you, True. It's time to get your three wishes."
    • The Yetis: "HI!"
  • Character Name and the Noun Phrase: The title "True and the Rainbow Kingdom".
  • Cinderella Plot: The True: Terrific Tales subseries has the episode "Rainbowella", where the titular Rainbowellanote  wants to audition to be the Prince'snote  royal dancer. Unfortunately, she's a horrible dancer, so the Fairy Godkittynote  gives her magical boots that improve her dancing. The boots fall off while she's participating in a dance-off and she runs off. The Prince has Glitzeldanote  try on the boots. They're too big, but rather than prove that she's the owner by putting them on, Rainbowella decides to dance in her own clumsy way. The Prince is amused by her unique way of dancing and decides that she will be his royal dancer.
  • Color Failure: Exaggerated/played for drama in "Cosmic Sneeze". The Wachoogieboogies cause everything in the Rainbow Kingdom, from buses to buildings to Zee and even the Rainbow King himself to change/lose color. By the time True and Bartleby return with the cure, the Rainbow Kingdom is almost entirely gray. Zee loses his cool upon realising this.
  • Comically Small Bribe: In the episode "Big Green Bounce", Bartleby tries to bribe one of Grizelda's Grizmos with some Fishy Poof Crackers.
  • "Could Have Avoided This!" Plot: Had Bartleby just waited for his turn to use the Switcheroo in "True Switcheroo", Bartleby's and True's spirits would not have been swapped by the device's swapping lasers.
  • Curtains Match the Windows: True, Zee, and Grizelda, who have blue, purple, and golden hair and eyes, respectively.
  • Dub Pronunciation Change: In the European Spanish dub, Bartleby's name is pronounced "bart-leh-bee" as opposed to "bartle-bee".
  • Dub Species Change: The troll seen in the episode "Fee Fi Fo Frookie" was changed into an elf in the Latin American Spanish dub.
  • Easter Episode: A You Mean "Xmas" variant is in "Wuzzle Wegg Day". Bartleby still has to find a Wegg to paint for True, and he finds a huge Wegg, but the Wegg partly hatches into a baby Wuzzlebun and runs off. True, Bartleby and the Rainbow King look for the Wegg and warn the townspeople that there could be a monster that steals Weggs, but then they discover the baby Wuzzlebun and are touched by how cute he is. The Rainbow King notes that it's the first Wuzzlebun seen in over a million years.
  • Epic Fail: This is what happens when Bartleby tries to use the Switcheroo, resulting in his spirit being ejected from his body and into True's and vice versa.
  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: In the episode "Winter Wishes", True and Bartleby go "aw" at Icy, the adorable ice crystal, and then Bartleby, still distracted by his cuteness mentions that he makes forever frost which can't be melted, and then they realize the situation.
  • Expy: Glummy Glooma's hometown, Soggy Bottom Swamp, is very similar to Foggy Bottom. Even the wiki mentions this.
  • Female Feline, Male Mutt: Inverted with Bartleby (male cat), but played straight with Frookie (male dog) and a Kittynati member (female cat).
  • Fictional Disability: In "Cosmic Sneeze", the Rainbow King falls ill with a cold-like illness called "the Wachoogieboogies".
  • Find the Cure!: The main plot of "Cosmic Sneeze" is True and Bartleby having to trek up Mount Tippy Tippy Top and retrieve a feather from the Hino Tari bird to cure an ailing Rainbow King.
  • Five-Second Foreshadowing: In "A Snoozy Sleepover", Bartleby says that using bendy straws make him feel like a princess, and True respons that you never know when a real princess might show up. Cue Grizelda.
  • "Freaky Friday" Flip: In "True Switcheroo", True and Bartleby come across a mysterious device known as the Switcheroo, which switches their bodies and spirits when Bartleby tries to test it out on his own. For some reason, they do not just switch back to normal immediately upon finding out (although they had trouble with each other's hands). Zee almost freaks out upon his discovery of this.
    • Later in the episode, the Rainbow King himself suffers this with some kind of bee-like insect. Then Grizelda and her pet Frookie suffer this when she questions why there are multiple crystals.
  • Free-Range Children: The main characters' parents are never seen on-screen, which also raises questions about the setting itself.
  • Friendly Tickle Torture: In "Great Gizmos!", when True wakes Bartleby, he tells her that he can't start his day without a hug from "you-know-who." She asks if he means the Rainbow King, saying that he's very busy, but there's always time for "True tickles."
  • Funny Photo Phrase: At the end of "The Big Green Bounce", Grizelda says, "Everything-back-to-normal face!" when she and the others take a group photo after Rainbow City's water has become purified.
  • Genius Loci: A character called the "Living Sea" appears in the episode of the same name.
  • Gross Gum Gag: In "A Snoozy Sleepover", Bartleby brushes his tail, only to find chewed-up gum stuck in there. He decides to chew it again, and True is appropriately disgusted.
  • Hated Item Makeover: Subverted in "Grizeldalocks and the Three Yetis". In True's parody of Goldilocks, Grizeldalocks refurbishes a family of yetis' cave by covering it in glitter and diamonds. At first, they look annoyed, but then it's revealed that they actually love the facelift their home got, unlike the original story where they were not pleased to see Goldilocks. Bartleby is quite surprised by this plot twist.
  • Incoming Ham: From "Zip Zap Zooooooom!:
    Bus: "True! What do we do? WHAT DO WE DO?!"
  • Incredible Shrinking Man: True and her friends exploit this to get past some crystal debris in "Zip Zap Zooooom!" with Syzer. Her reasoning? There are way to many crystals to shrink down.
  • Jerkass Ball: In "Zip Zap Zooooom!" Grizelda was so obsessed with winning the race at all costs and went full-on Dick Dastardly.
  • Karmic Butt-Monkey: Grizelda has a bright desire to be the best at what she does and has a record of putting others in danger to achieve it, but karma gets her and she often gets herself into danger.
  • Mad Libs Catchphrase: "Zip zap zoom, wish come true! Wake up, (insert wish name here)! Wish come true!"
  • Meaningful Name: True is the only girl able to use the wishes. What do wishes do? Come true.
  • No Antagonist: This series doesn't have a central antagonist or even a Big Bad, instead focusing on conflicts within its protagonists and/or the citizens of the Rainbow Kingdom. The only exceptions are the episodes "A Royal Stink" and "Happy Hearts Day", which features a villain: Glummy Glooma, cousin of the Rainbow King and the loneliest person in the Rainbow Kingdom; he seems determined to spread his gloom everywhere.
  • No Mouth: True, Bartleby, Zee, and Grizelda sometimes get this when they have their mouth closed very tightly or super small, possibly to ease animation.
  • Nurse with Good Intentions: Zee tries his best to care for an ailing Rainbow King in "Cosmic Sneeze". Key word: tries.
  • Obliviously Evil: Goway becomes the unwitting Big Bad for the episode "Wish Gone Wild" due to his Power Incontinence.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: In "Cosmic Sneeze", when the colors of the Rainbow Kingdom start fading away, Zee, normally a Mellow Fellow, starts freaking out.
  • Older Than They Look: The Rainbow King is over four hundred million years old.
  • Power Incontinence: Goway has barely any control over his power.
  • Sdrawkcab Speech: Reewee has a bad habit of covering his ears to anyone who averts this, as True finds out the hard way when she attempted to harness Reewee's power in "Wish Gone Wild".
  • Sentient Vehicle: Rainbow City Bus is autonomous and can think for herself, and one episode shows that she's not just a self-driving bus.
  • Shout-Out: "Zappy Cling" has Bartleby rolling through the kingdom getting an ever-increasing amount of objects stuck to him.
  • Status Quo Is God: No matter how big the change may be at the end of the episode, everything will always revert back to normal at the end.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: The Rainbow King and his cousin, Glummy Glooma, look almost identical, with the exception of wearing different headgear.
  • Sugar Bowl: The Rainbow Kingdom is bright, colorful and doesn't seem to have anything negative in its setting (Glummy Glooma's swampland setting being the exception).
  • Three Wishes: A key element of the show. As a rule, two of the wishes will at first seem obviously useful, while the usefulness of the third one will only become clear later on.
  • Title Theme Tune: "She's True, True and the Rainbow Kingdom!"
  • Token Human: True, Grizelda, and Zee are the only human characters on the show that we see on-screen. Everyone else is either an abstract creature, some kind of animal, or whatever.
  • Two Girls and a Guy: True, Grizelda, and Zee.
  • Unexpected Kindness: In "Wish Gone Wild", Zee is worried that the Rainbow King will be angry with him for accidentally letting Goway make all the images in the Wishopedia disappear. The Rainbow King turns out to be sympathetic about his plight, though, and he even helps him retrace his steps.
  • Unexpectedly Dark Episode: The Wachoogieboogies from "Cosmic Sneeze" are actually pretty scary when you think about it. They infect the Rainbow King and actively drain the color from the entire Rainbow Kingdom. Not only that, but judging by Zee's panicked reactions, had True and Bartleby not found the cure, the kingdom would have been doomed to be gray forever. And there's more; it's implied that the Wachoogieboogies could very well have killed the Rainbow King. Not exactly what you'd expect from a such a colorful, saccharine show.
  • Youthful Freckles: Zee has three on each of his cheeks.


True Getting the Wishes

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