Spartakus and the Sun Beneath the Sea

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Spartakus and the Sun Beneath the Sea

The Inquisitors of the Living Crystal from episodes 2 and 28.
Format Animated Series
Science fiction
Created by Nina Wolmark
Country of origin France
No. of seasons 2
No. of episodes 52
Running time 20-26 minutes
Original channel Antenne 2
Original run September 17, 1985 – 1987

Note: In some cases the names of characters, places, and things were changed for the English version. The original name will be in parentheses.

Spartakus and the Sun Beneath the Sea is the English title of the French animated series Les Mondes Engloutis ("The Engulfed Worlds", also known as Shagma and Arkadia in other languages) created by Nina Wolmark. The series consists of altogether 52 episodes, each between 20 and 25 minutes in length, divided into two, 26 episode seasons.


[edit] Synopsis

The story concerns a fictional lost city, Arkadia (named after the poetical fantasy land of Arcadia), resembling a small Alderson Disk. This ancient civilization escaped a Great Cataclysm by relocating deep within the Earth, and was not aware life continued on the Earth's crust. Hoping to keep them safely away from the surface, their elders sealed all records of their past in the city's Archives. They survive by the light of an artificial sun, the Tehra (Shagma), but it is dying, and something must be done. With no other options, a few Arkadian children defy the law and enter the Archives. Armed with information about the world above, they create a messenger, Arkana, and send her to find help.

She encounters two siblings from the surface, Matt (Bob) and Rebecca, and brings them back through the underground strata to save Arkadia. They travel in a living spaceship called Tehrig (ShagShag), along with Spartakus (a wanderer) and Bic and Bac (a couple of pangolins).

[edit] Characters

[edit] Main

Arkana : The Arkadian children created her out of stone with the help of the Tehra's rainbow light. As she was made in the image of the surface dwellers, she has legs, unlike the Arkadians themselves. She is a well-meaning but naïve magician, capable of projecting illusions and telekinetic feats. Her mission is to seek help from above in repairing the Tehra. She is referred to by the show's villains as the "supergeophysical gal."

Bic and Bac : Among the oldest living things in Arkadia, these two happy little animals are the best of friends, and enjoy dancing to their song, the "Flashbick." They are a kind of pangolin, but unlike their real-life relatives, they have no scales or claws. They are affectionate, clever and playful, and can make fire by rubbing their noses together.

Matt and Rebecca : Brother and sister, these children from above ground join Arkana and Spartakus on their quest to save Arkadia. Matt (Bob) is the older of the two, and tries to protect his overeager sister, whom he affectionately calls "half-pint."

Spartakus : Formerly a gladiator in the city of Barkar, this young man escaped slavery following a revolt. His gauntlet conceals a magic crossbow and grappling hook, and can cause reactions when in close proximity to Arkadian artifacts. He remembers very little about his past, but often hums the songs his father taught him. His character is based on the historical Spartacus.

Tehrig : The only creature allowed free access to the Archives was Tehrig (ShagShag), an intelligent robotic vehicle vaguely shaped like a giant trilobite. It secretly helped the children of Arkadia gain entry to the records and serves Arkana and her friends as a transport. Though its computer-brain dates back to before the Great Cataclysm and possesses an encyclopedic database, there are large holes in its memory. It also contains a number of tiny robots called Triggies (Shagies) that it can mobilize to repair itself and sometimes distract enemies.

The Pirates of the Seas : Members of the Interstrata Marine Pirate Federation, these "punk pirates" roam the strata seeking helpless voyagers to rob or enslave, and they frequently show up to menace the show's heroes. Their appearance is often marked by a recurring theme song and dance performance. Their society is structured in the guise of a democracy controlled through mass media.

  • Nasty Max (Maxagaze pun with "Masque à gaz" (gas mask)) has a large blue mohawk and leads the vicious band.
  • Mighty Matt (Mattymatte), a simple-minded pirate with a small red mohawk, is Max's sidekick.
  • Massmedia is Max's girlfriend and broadcasts station FIPIRATE from her "radio craft." Her mohawk is blond.
  • Sleazeappeal (Seskapil pun with "sex appeal") has a green mohawk.

[edit] Recurring

Brigands of the Fjords : The Pirates of the Seas' rivals throughout the series. The only identified member is their leader, Ringmar, who frequently competes with Nasty Max for leadership of the nested worlds' rogues.

Shagmir and Loria Are the two of Arkadias elders who have the highest say. Arkana was presented to them and sent on her quest to the surface world. They tended to not believe the existence of any life on the surface.

The Inquisitors of the Living Crystal This three-person tribunal of blue-skinned judges is first seen in the second episode of the first season, "Le cristal vivant" (The Living Crystal). They try to make Galileo renounce his claims of a world beyond the Living Crystal and go as far as to have the group captured and psychologically "tested" to convince them that they are beings who were caught in the Living Crystal and are suffering "a deformation of time" and are even prepared to re-crystalize Tehrig if Galileo would not renounce his beliefs.

They are so dogmatic in their beliefs, that they simply declare, while watching the Tehrig flying away into safety, that the event is against nature and therefore never happened.

They are seen again in the second episode of the second season "L'échiquier des mondes" ("The Most Dangerous Game" in English).

[edit] Minor

Emperor Qin The ruler of a Chinese-like empire within the strata. He marched out to conquer Arkadia, however was eventually killed amongst his army of clay robot-like warriors.

Galileo A strata version of the real-world Galileo, who lived in the Living crystal. When he discovers the group imprisoned in a crystallized Tehrig, he breaks them free, however their existence proves the prohibited theory that there is life outside of the living crystal - he was forced to deny his statement - originally, he was allowed to leave with the group but at the last moment returned back home.

Gog and Magog two monstrous creatures sharing the same body, they are released to rage havoc on Arkadia, unintentionally, by Arkana, who is mislead by the Phoenix to use her powers and place a special auracite in place. However, in the end they are both forced back into their world.

Demosthenes A famous spokesmen, kidnapped by Nasty Max in order to help him learn the art of speaking and beat Rignar in the votes for leader of the Interstrata Pirate Federation. He is banished from his country because he did not have the protecting walls repaired, however he succeeds with the aid of the group and his unnamed opponent, who was fiercely speaking against him, must leave, ashamed.

The Mogokhs A nomadic warrior people, who oppress and steal from others. They are notable for their nigh invincibility and for the fact that they do never get down from the animal carrying them, because they are known to hate their riders so much that they will trample a Mogokh to death immediately. In the finale their leader, Baatu, is revealed to be Spartakus's father.

Méo and Myra A grandfather and his granddaughter, who live in a village pillaged by the Mogokhs, who are stealing their rations and seek aid from the group, eventually overcoming the Mogokhs.

Starkus A scientist and Star Healer on board a space ship, he investigates and tries to "cure stars". He met with Rebecca and Matt (Bob) and welcomed them, however upon hearing that they were accompanied by Spartakus and Arkana, he immediately disappears. Later, when the group leaves back to their own time and place (see "Star Healer"), he contacts them via Tehrig (Shagshag) and informs the surprised Arkana and Spartakus that they are his ancestors.

Thot A strange creature that lives in the ancient ruins of a long-destroyed city. He kidnaps Arkana, but without the intention to hurt her. He is later killed by Spartakus, who tries to protect Arkana.

Rainbow Spartakus's younger brother, he grew up in the lap of luxury as the adopted son of the lanista (trainer of gladiators) of Barkar. Unlike his brother Rainbow is cruel and nihilistic. After the lanista was overthrown Rainbow began to wander the nested worlds.

[edit] Miscellaneous information

[edit] Releases outside of television

  • The show's popularity in France led to the songs released on several bakelite records in the 1980s.
  • In France, a set of DVDs were released for the programme around 2000.

[edit] Versions

The English version aired on the American cable television network Nickelodeon from 1985 to 1987 and in reruns on early Sunday mornings through 1990, and also on the British Cartoon Network which broadcast the series around Europe. It also aired on YTV in Canada around 1989, and the Menudo closing song was never used for this version.

Beside the French original and the English dub, the show had the following versions:

  • A Hungarian translation (Az elsüllyedt világok, "The Submerged Worlds"). It originally aired on Magyar Televízió in 1990, and had started re-runs in 2005 on a children's television channel called Minimax. Since the channel is also dubbed into Czech, the show has another language version, called "Spartakus and the undersea suns" (Spartakus a podmořská slunce) (oddly enough all the English songs (although the titles are French) are translated and re-sung in the Hungarian dub, but left in the English version in the Czech dub).
  • A Japanese translation (Onigiri Arkadia Monogatari, おにぎり・アルカディア物語).
  • A Korean translation (title unknown).
  • A Latin-American Spanish translation (Espartaco y el Sol Bajo el Mar).
  • A Spanish translation (Los Mundos Sumergidos, reaired as Shagma 2000).
  • A Turkish translation (Kayıp Dünyalar, "Lost Worlds").
  • A Greek translation (Σάγκμα, "Shagma").
  • A Romanian translation (Spartacus şi soarele de dincolo de mări), premiered in 2005 on the Romanian Minimax, simultaneously with the Hungarian re-runs.
  • A Polish translation (Szagma i zaginione światy, "Shagma and the lost worlds").
  • An Italian translation (I mondi sommersi)

[edit] Changes

  • Since the names of the pirates were all based on puns, these were changed in every version to names that fit the languages to which they were translated.
  • The English version had a large number of name changes. Since the word shag found in most of the characters and terms associated with Arkadia (eg. Shagshag, Shagmir, the Shagma, etc.) has a meaning in British slang that means the same as sexual intercourse, new names were invented for these.
  • Also in the English version, Rebecca's brother Bob was renamed to Matt. The reason behind this change is unknown.
  • The songs were translated and re-sung by the voice actors in each version.
  • In the U.S. and Latin-American versions, the theme song was changed for the second season, as there was a new song made, performed by the boy band Menudo, in English for the U.S. version and in Spanish for the Latin-American version.
  • Cypriot singer Anna Vissi performed the theme song of the Greek version, before her hype as the country's ultimate pop star.
  • The Hungarian Magyar Televízió only bought and aired the first 26 episodes of the programme. The second season was never bought, and the reason for the decision never surfaced. While the children's channel Minimax started regular repeats of the show, there has been no talk about purchasing the second season.

[edit] List of episodes

[edit] Season 1

  1. The City of Arkadia
  2. Living Crystal
  3. Between Two Worlds
  4. Arkana and the Beast
  5. The Pirate Klub
  6. The Law of the Mogokhs
  7. Night of the Amazons
  8. The Capture of Demosthenes
  9. Tada and the Royal Insignia
  10. The Icy Web
  11. The Pirate Convention
  12. Out of Control
  13. Children...and Mice
  14. The Gladiators of Barkar
  15. The Emperor Quin and the Eighth Kingdom
  16. The Dark Hole
  17. The Drummer
  18. Rebecca, Pirate of the Sea
  19. Star Healer
  20. The Prisoners of Lost Time
  21. Emergency Landing
  22. The Court of Miracles
  23. Interstratas War
  24. The Defeat of Gog and Magog
  25. Dr. Test
  26. The Secret of the Auracite

[edit] Season 2

  1. Prophecy of the Auracite
  2. The Most Dangerous Game
  3. Cyrano
  4. The Tightrope
  5. The Twisted Rainbow
  6. High-Risk Highrise
  7. The Boy Pharaoh
  8. The Floating Casino
  9. Prince Matt
  10. The Land of the Chameleons
  11. The Token of the Manitou
  12. The Master of the Tongues
  13. The Land of the Great Spider
  14. The Ransom of Peace
  15. The Triangle of the Deep
  16. Uncle Albert
  17. Tehrig's Nightmare
  18. Rainbow's End
  19. Holiday Fever
  20. Dodo
  21. The Shadow of the Tehra
  22. The Temple of the Condor
  23. Mama Thot
  24. Gateway to Dawn
  25. The Path of Light
  26. The Return of the Prisoners of the Lost Time

[edit] External links

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