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Reviews WesternAnimation / Il Etait Une Fois

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05/05/2020 12:37:56 •••


I'll center in this review with the second issue of the series (Once Upon a Time... Space), the one who unlike the others tells an actual history (Beware: spoilers ahead)

Even if it's a cartoon aimed at children the antagonists have more depth than the usual "Bad Guys who are bad because it's cool" or whatever, much especially the main one -the Great Computer-. In the episode where it's presented and its background is described, we see how it was created to bring peace to the galaxy by disarming opponents by force and even if they don't want that and ensuring peace through its superior firepower and numbers, telling the protagonists how it must exist because, basically, Humans Are Bastards and people like General Pest will keep appearing because of human nature, bringing interesting issues about free will. It's a pity the solution, even if the show is for children, is just having some Energy Beings, who appeared only occasionally before, destroying the Humanoid fleet and telling the protagonists in a final speech that the price for saving them is that mankind will have to continue enlightening, without interferences, and that they will return in the far future to see the progress.

Related aesops are the bad side of overdependencing of technology -and how the cold logic of a machine cannot replace human thinking, despite human flaws- and how power corrupts, something exemplified in Pest, who was chosen as leader by Cassiopeian senators because of his charisma among the masses planning to replace him when his objetives of dominating Omega were completed, and ends becoming the absolute ruler of Cassiopeia with a coup d'état. It's noteworthy how there're leaders in Cassiopeia opposed to war who get ignored on the ground of national interests, mimicking Real Life similar events-.

While the animation has not aged well, the scenery is quite often -at least- borderline Scenery Porn with really cool spaceship designs and futuristic cities. The soundtrack -by Michel Legrand- shines on its own mixing electronic, jazz, and classical music it's really worth to listen at and had some themes reused for Once Upon a Time... Life.

In all, astronomical goofs and Limited Animation issues apart, a very good series even if it's ignored in favor or the others "Once Upon a Time...". Highly recommended.

05/05/2020 00:00:00

What I found tiresome is that Pierre and Pierrot are mostly perfect (despite that Pierre was supposed to be The Everyman in Man), while Teigneux and Nabot are cartoonishly ugly and have no redeeming qualities. This point was made so clear, that at the same time that Pierrot and Psi were brave heroic soldiers in Life, Teigneux got stuck with representing bacteria (and played a brute, who ignored what his doctor said and had a heart attack) and Nabot represented viruses! And yeah, Teigneux had to play Hitler too at one point. Very subtle, Monsieur Barillé!

I guess I'm just used to more "modern" works, where even the cartoonists will give their protagonists some flaws and their antagonists some depth. But I can't help being annoyed by how simplistic and stereotypical this hero vs villain set-up is, even though I know that it bothers me more than it probably should.

However, I don't agree with the accusations of Limited Animation. Space is after all an European cartoon, that was made in the early '80s. And when you consider that, it looks very good indeed.

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