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Ulysses 31 - Odyssey

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Ulysses 31 - The Odyssey spaceship

Ulysses 31 was one of the weirdest, and at the same time one the most clever, innovative, and memorable cartoons of the 80s. In the 31st Century, Ulysses and his companions travel across the galaxies in a quest to bring their loved ones back to life, after a vengeance from the gods has rendered them in suspended animation.

The animated television series, with a single season of 26 episodes, was originally broadcast in 1981. Combining elements of Homer's epic poem Odyssey with sci-fi and epic space opera, this French-Japanese collaboration blends the best of European and Japanese story-telling and animation styles.

Ulysses' spaceship is the gigantic and appropriately-named Odyssey, a colossus built for long-distance space travel, measuring about 1,000m across. Here, it is obviously reduced and adapted to minifigure scale for increased playability and a feasible part-count, while preserving (as best as I could) the original shape. Here, here, and here you can see some images of the original spaceship as seen on TV. There is also a very detailed digital model and a huge and quite spectacular Lego MOC.

Main characters/ proposed minifigures:

Ulysses is the captain of the Odysseus. He achieved solar peace before incurring on the wrath of the olympian gods. He is now on a quest to reach the Kingdom of Hades in order to bring back to life his "frozen" friends. He yields a laser gun that also acts as a "light blade".

Telemachus is Ulysses son and second in command aboard the spaceship. He is a very handsome young lad and his weapon of choice is an energy-ball slingshot.

Yumi (Thémis in the French version) is a blue-skinned humanoid from the planet Zotra. She has strong telepathic and telekinetic powers.

Nono is the small red robot, a gift from Ulysses to Telemachus, providing some tech-expert, much comic-relief, and overall child adulation.

In this image of the characters you can see, from left to right, Nono, Telemachus, Yumi and Ulysses. The minifigures shown on the main image and elsewhere are my attempts to portrait them using the limited parts and prints available on LDD, but I'm pretty confident Lego would be able to do a much better job on them, especially with the little Nono, for which I had neither the appropriate face print nor the skill to assemble a decent brick-built character at the appropriate scale (he is actually considerably smaller than even Yumi).

The set comes with a space-hangar/stand on which to rest the Odyssey. The minifigures, spaceship and stand total 385 bricks, which means this could probably be produced as a €/$40-set. As a kid I was a huge fan of the series and, I have to say, it has aged considerably well, especially if you take into account that this was one of the first instances of Anime-style cartoons reaching Western audiences. The story is much more complex and well-developed than in most animated series, and has a significant cult-following. The series has recently been made available in a lovingly-restored english version by a fan. Search "Ulysses 31" on youtube to see all the episodes.

For more info on the series, here are two good pages and a fan site about it:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ulysses_31

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Anime/Ulysses31

http://ulysse31.saitis.net/ (in french)

Hope you like the project!

 

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