Anyone remember this old cartoon series? A psychedelic French-Japanese cartoon series from the 80s with big hair, surreal plots, and a fantastic surf-rock soundtrack?

Try this to remind you:

I recently found the following in a corner of my hard drive, which I'd obviously written after watching a bunch of episodes. Make of it what you will.


ULYSSES 31: A Generic Episode

SCENE ONE

[Stock footage #3: the Odyssey, seen at an oblique angle, sails through space. Cheesy hippy rock music plays.]

ULYSSES (v.o.): Stardate thirty-one thousand and a bit. Here I am in a spaceship the size of a small city drifting through uncharted space with only my teenage daughter ---

TELEMACHUS (v.o.): Son.

[The bridge of the Odyssey. Everyone is in their usual places.]

ULYSSES: What?

TELEMACHUS: I'm a boy.

ULYSSES: Really? It's quite hard to tell you know. All right with only my teenage son and his prepubescent alien friend for company. I sometimes wonder whether we shall ever see Earth again.

YUMI: Or Sartra the white planet my home!

ULYSSES: Or Sartra. With just the three of us ---

NONO: And me don't forget me I'm here you know!

ULYSSES: I wish I could. All right and my son's robotic companion. Still with just the four of us ---

SHIRKA: I am here also Ulysses.

ULYSSES: [sighs] The five of us ---

CHORUS OF ROBOTS: Do not forget us also Ulysses.

ULYSSES: Oh never mind.

[There is a long pause.]

YUMI: Ulysses?

ULYSSES: Yes Yumi?

YUMI: Why don't we have any commas? It's very hard work saying anything in a single phrase because I keep running out of breath and I don't like it Ulysses [gasps].

ULYSSES: Don't ask Yumi.

[There is another long silence.]

NONO: Would anyone like a small nail?

[No-one replies, but after a while they all start looking around expectantly.]

SHIRKA: The Odyssey is entering a zone of unknown radiation.

ULYSSES: Finally.

SHIRKA: We are being attacked by giant squirrels.

[They fight off the giant squirrels.]

YUMI: Look those squirrels have the trident symbol on it it is a sign of the gods!

ULYSSES: The gods!

TELEMACHUS: The gods!

SHIRKA: Long range sensors are picking up signs of an obvious trap ahead.

ULYSSES: Hmm. We must investigate this obvious trap. There may be information there that could lead us back to Earth.

YUMI: Or Sartra the white planet which is my home!

SHIRKA: We are receiving a transmission from the obvious trap.

ULYSSES: Put it on the main screen.

[A beautiful alien woman appears on the screen.]

BEAUTIFUL ALIEN WOMAN: Help us! We have the Easily Breakable Object of the Gods, but we are under attack by --- [transmission breaks]

ULYSSES: Yes definitely we must investigate this obvious trap and help her. I mean them. Shirka set course maximum photonic energy.

SHIRKA: I strongly advise against it.

ULYSSES: Shirka...

[Stock footage #7: the iris ripples and the engines fire up. More cheesy hippy rock music.]

SCENE TWO

[On board the Obvious Trap, the Beautiful Alien Woman is talking to the gods. The Easily Breakable Object of the Gods is on a pedestal not far away. The March of the Gods theme is playing in the background.]

THE GODS: You know what you must do.

B.A.W.: Yes I know. Lure Ulysses in and destroy him or else you will kill me and all my people.

THE GODS: Only if you do this will you be free.

B.A.W.: Meh.

[The gods depart.]

B.A.W.: I can tell this is going to go very badly.

SCENE THREE

[The Odyssey approaches the Obvious Trap. It is under attack by trident ships.]

YUMI: Look the Obvious Trap is under attack by trident ships!

ULYSSES: The gods!

TELEMACHUS: The gods!

ULYSSES: You two stay here and I will go out and save her. I mean them.

[Ulysses departs. His fighter blows up all the trident ships and he lands on the Obvious Trap.]

YUMI: Telemachus?

TELEMACHUS: Yes Yumi?

YUMI: Why didn't we just shoot all the tridents using the power of the iris' photonic energy?

TELEMACHUS: Don't ask Yumi.

NONO: I'm more intelligent than any other robot here. Oops! [He falls over.] Would anyone like a small nail?

SCENE FOUR

[Ulysses is escorted to the B.A.W. by a group of extremely attractive female guards wearing impractical clothing.]

B.A.W.: Hello Ulysses. Thank you for saving us. I'm afraid I'm going to have to kill you now.

ULYSSES: Look it's the Easily Breakable Object of the Gods! I can find Earth with --- wait what?

B.A.W.: Guards dismissed. [The guards file out.] You have no idea how much I hate to do this. [She attacks him half-heartedly.]

ULYSSES: [He draws his light sabre, sorry, sword, and defends himself.] Why are you doing this?

B.A.W.: The gods made me do it.

ULYSSES: The gods!

B.A.W.: [beating him back with her sword] Ulysses?

ULYSSES: What Beautiful Alien Woman?

B.A.W.: Why does your space suit have a cape?

ULYSSES: Don't ask.

SCENE FIVE

[Meanwhile, back on the Odyssey...]

NUMENOR: [twitch]

YUMI: Look Telemachus Numenor moved he's waking up if only I was closer to the planet my telepathic powers tell me there is something there that can help him! [gasps for breath]

TELEMACHUS: What?

YUMI: I'm taking him down to the Obvious Trap.

TELEMACHUS: Ulysses said to stay here.

YUMI: What's your point?

TELEMACHUS: Never mind.

[Yumi pushes Numenor into shuttle #1 and flies it down to the Obvious Trap.]

SCENE SIX

[Meanwhile, back on the Obvious Trap...]

B.A.W.: Oh Ulysses I can't kill you. [She dispiritedly drops her sword.]

ULYSSES: I still don't know why you wanted to in the first place.

B.A.W.: The gods were threatening to destroy all my people if I didn't but instead I fell hopelessly in love with you.

ULYSSES: I shall save you from the gods!

B.A.W.: Yeah right.

ULYSSES: But I will need that Easily Breakable Object of the Gods in order to save my Companions and find the way back to Earth.

B.A.W.: Whatever.

THE GODS: You have betrayed us Beautiful Alien Woman! You will pay the penalty!

[The Obvious Trap is suddenly attacked by giant mechanical aardvarks.]

B.A.W.: Like I didn't see this coming.

SCENE SEVEN

[Meanwhile, back on the Odyssey, Telemachus is sitting in the control room looking bored and kicking his feet.]

NONO: Would you like a small nail?

SHIRKA: Telemachus your father is in danger.

TELEMACHUS: He is?

SHIRKA: Yes. The obvious trap is a trap.

TELEMACHUS: It's a trap?

SHIRKA: Yes.

TELEMACHUS: I must save him! [He and Nono leave in shuttle #2.]

[The control room is empty.]

SHIRKA: I could just leave them here you know. No-one would ever know.

[A nearby sandwich toaster nods.]

SHIRKA: [sighs] Poker anyone?

SCENE EIGHT

[Meanwhile, back on the Obvious Trap, Ulysses and the B.A.W. are fighting off the aardvarks. The B.A.W.'s guards are getting killed all over the place, but because this is a cartoon, they don't bleed and their bodies are turning into cheese.]

ULYSSES: There are too many of them! [He holds off an aardvark with his shield and chops another two up with his light sabre, sorry, sword.]

B.A.W.: This is all the fault of the gods!

ULYSSES: The gods!

YUMI: The gods!

ULYSSES: Yumi! What are you doing here?

YUMI: Numenor ---

ULYSSES: Just stop there.

[While Ulysses is distracted, an aardvark attacks him.]

B.A.W.: Look out Ulysses! [She throws herself in the path of an aardvark. She kills it and falls to the floor.]

ULYSSES: No!

B.A.W.: Ulysses... I... will... always... love... you...

YUMI: He's married.

B.A.W.: Meh. [She dies.]

ULYSSES: No! Curse you gods!

YUMI: Can we go now?

ULYSSES: All right.

[Yumi's shuttle explodes.]

ULYSSES: Dammit Yumi that the third shuttle this week.

[Telemachus swoops down in the other shuttle.

TELEMACHUS: Father!

ULYSSES: Down here!

[They all climb aboard the shuttle, taking the Easily Breakable Object of the Gods with them, and fly back to the Odyssey. Behind them, the Obvious Trap explodes in a psychedelic swirl of colour.]

SCENE NINE

[Back on board the Odyssey. Shirka is obsessively watching the scene from 2001 where Hal kills the crew of the Discovery, over and over again. She hurriedly switches it off as Ulysses enters the control room.]

ULYSSES: Shirka full photonic energy away from here.

SHIRKA: Yes Ulysses.

ULYSSES: And thanks to the power of happiness they shall live live for the rest of their lives in a state of happy butterflies and bunny rabbits.

[They all stare at him on confusion, and then out the window at the debris where the Obvious Trap used to be. Ulysses looks slightly embarassed.]

NONO: Look the Easily Breakable Object of the Gods is glowing!

[They stare at the object. The door opens and the Companions come in, freed by its power.]

ULYSSES: Companions!

YUMI: Numenor!

[Nono drops the Easily Breakable Object of the Gods, which shatters.]

NONO: Oops.

[The Companions float back up into the air and leave the room again.]

ULYSSES: Companions!

YUMI: Numenor!

SHIRKA: Oh well.

ULYSSES: One day I will free my Companions and find my way home I swear it!

NONO: I want to see Earth again.

YUMI: And Sartra the white planet which if you hadn't realised by now is my home!

TELEMACHUS: And mother.

ULYSSES: Oh yes her.

YUMI: She must be awfully bored.

ULYSSES: Yes.

YUMI: And lonely.

ULYSSES: [more emphatically] Yes.

YUMI: With all those suitors around...

ULYSSES: [grits teeth]

YUMI: Ulysses?

ULYSSES: Yes Yumi?

YUMI: Why does Telemachus have blond hair while you have red hair?

[There is a long silence while the Odyssey sails on through space. Eventually Telemachus nudges Nono.]

NONO: What? Oh I'd forgotten. Um... would anyone like a small nail? [He falls over.] Oops!

[They all laugh at him.]

SHIRKA: [very quietly] I hate you all.

ROLL CREDITS