Around the World with Willy Fog

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"Fog: he's the one who made the bet, and he knows he'll be exactly right on time. Fog is his name and he can play with his life in many ways, that's what they say."

If the phrase "Round, all around the world, round, all around the world" is now going round, all around your head, you probably grew up in Europe in the 1980s and early 1990s, specially Spain and the UK.

From the same stable as Dogtanian and the Three Muskehounds, this Spanish cartoon (whose original title is La vuelta al mundo de Willy Fog) did for Jules Verne's Around the World in Eighty Days what its predecessor did for The Three Musketeers, namely populated it with Funny Animals and put it on at teatime.

The basic plot of Jules Verne's novel remains intact: dull, wealthy gentlelion Willy Fog (Phileas Fogg in the book) gives up his orderly lifestyle when he accepts a wager that he can travel around the world in eighty days. On his journey he faces opponents who have followed him from London, as well as the constant struggle to catch boats and trains on time and all the perils foreign countries, climates and people can throw at him.

Other characters include Rigadon (Passepartout in the novel), Tico their Mascot-a, and Romy (Aouda in the novel), the gentle touch (they all love her so much).

Rigodon, a cat, is a circus acrobat who hoped for a quiet retirement when he applied for a position as Fog's valet but now finds himself dragged into adventure. He is accompanied by Tico, a hamster-thing in red dungarees.

Romy, a panther, is an Indian princess rescued by the travellers from a suttee, who falls quickly into the role of group chick, medic, and Love Interest for Fog.

Dix (Fix in the novel) and Bully (original character), canine detectives from Scotland Yard, believe that Willy Fog is a bank robber using an unlikely cover to flee from justice. They pursue Fog and his party unrelentingly and do their best to obstruct them. Fortunately for Fog they're a pretty incompetent pair, especially bulldog Bully.

Transfer (original character) is a sinister Master of Disguise hired by the members of Fog's London club who have bet against him, to ensure Fog cannot win. His true form appears to be a wolf but he can disguise himself as any character, though viewers can spot him from the way one eye gleams red at suitably dramatic moments. Unlike Dix and Bully, who just want Fog under arrest, Transfer is actively out to kill or incapacitate him.

The show's theme song was so popular that when the presenter of Children's BBC offered viewers a Willy Fog Song Sheet printed with the lyrics, demand was overwhelming. The same can be said about Spain, which version was performed by the famous band Mocedades.

In the 1990s, the series was followed by Willy Fog 2 which has Willy, Romy (now his wife) and friends having new adventures directly adapted from Verne's most famous science fiction novels, Journey to the Center of the Earth and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.


Tropes used in Around the World with Willy Fog include:
  • Adaptation Expansion: The series includes new characters, a bigger development of Romy/Aouda (see Tear Jerker) and two extra stops in Hawaii and Mexico that weren't in the original novel.
  • Animal Stereotypes: Fog is a lion, appropriately for an English aristocrat, while determined but dim detectives Dix and Bully are both dogs and wily Transfer is a fox. Inverted with Rigadon, who does not follow the Cats Are Mean stereotype; neither does the charming Princess Romy.
    • In the original novel, Fog was actually compared to a lion in appearance. The same crew also made a series from Sandokan, who was, surprise, a tiger.
  • Annoying Arrows: For Koa the Elephant at least.
  • Art Evolution: Much like Dogtanian's follow up, the animation studios changed from Nippon Animation to Wang Film Productions.
  • Bag of Holding: Rigodon's suitcase.
  • Barefoot Cartoon Animals: The entire cast.
  • Battle Butler: Rigodon. So much.
  • Beleaguered Assistant: Rigodon to Willy, Bully to Dix.
  • Big Eater: Tico, despite his diminute size.
  • Canon Foreigner: Three very central ones, compared to the original novel -- Tico, Bully and Transfer.
    • Tico and Bully seem to be included mainly for comedy relief, so that Rigodon and Dix can have someone to talk to, and -- in the case of Tico -- include a Spanish character in the cast, given that there were none in the novel. Transfer, on the other hand, presents a recurring antagonist who's actually a threat (which can't really be said of Dix and Bully), as well as neatly taking over some of Phileas Fogg's more morally-questionable actions from the book, so that Willy Fog becomes more of an unquestioned hero.
  • Cartoon Creature: What on earth is Tico supposed to be?
  • Chekhov's Gun: Rigodon refuses to fix his grandfather's clock each time they enter a new time zone, but has the time right when they finally make it to London. This makes Fog realize that they have gained an extra day by travelling eastward.
  • Clock King: Willy Fog. Explained best by Tico: "This is not a person, it's a chronometer!"
  • Criminal Doppelganger
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: You really don't want to engage Rigodon in a fight.
    • Or Fog, especially if he has his walking stick with him.
      • Even Tico has his moments of badassery, usually if someone's threatening Rigodon.
  • Doesn't Like Guns: Mr. Fog.
  • Everything's Better with Princesses: Specifically, Princess Romy.
  • Expository Theme Tune: "Hey, now the story must go on, 'cause a lot of time has gone, we must be ready to go away. Eighty days around the world..."
  • Four-Fingered Hands: The entire cast.
  • Funny Foreigner: Rigodon (French) and Tico (Italian--although he was Spanish in the original Spanish version).
    • An attempt to make a But Not Too Foreign main cast in the original Spanish version in fact, since there aren't Spanish characters in the novel.
    • And in the Portuguese version, he is Portuguese (and voiced by a woman).
  • Gentleman Adventurer: Fog, utterly against his previous character.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: What, attempting to mention gambling and gaming on a supposedly children's show??
  • Hammerspace: Transfer's various disguises must come from something like this. Almost like Brain in Inspector Gadget who utilises this trope to the nth degree.
  • Heterosexual Life Partners: Rigodon and Tico.
  • Inspector Javert: Dix and Bully. Their unusually determined efforts are Lampshaded when a local police chief complains that they're blowing more of Scotland Yard's budget on this intercontinental chase than he makes in a year.
  • Interspecies Romance: Willy (a lion), and Princess Romy (a panther). They even get married in the end.
  • Knife-Throwing Act: While Rigadon and Tico work in a circus while pennyless in Yokohama, Rigadon almost gets killed in a knife act thrown by villain and Master of Disguise Transfer. Willy Fog steps up and saves him.
  • Latex Perfection/Master of Disguise: Transfer. How did he hide those huge ears? Hammerspace Hair ears?
  • Let's Fight Like Gentlemen: Played straight by Fog; avoided by Rigadon, Tico and Transfer.
  • Lighter and Softer: Surprisingly, not as much as you'd think; on the whole this is a very faithful adaptaton of Jules Verne's novel, with good things and bad things happening to the characters throughout -- though there are a few aspects that have been softened a little.
    • Most notably, there's Willy Fog himself, who compared to the Phileas Fogg of the novel is a far more jovial and friendly fellow (even if he is still obsessed with punctuality).
    • Subverted with the revelation of what happened to Romy's relatives, whose fate is far worse in the cartoon.
  • Local Reference: The inclusion of Spanish character Tico.
  • Lost in Translation: Tico's not only Spanish in the original version - he has a very thick Andalusian accent and uses a lot of Andalusian slang.
    • Don't even try the Japanese version. While in the Spanish VA he has a kinda deep voice, in Japanese they try the "kawaii" effect with a high-pitched voice.
  • The Musical: In 2008, a Willy Fog stage musical (featuring actors in Funny Animal makeup) opened in Spain to commemorate the series' 25th anniversary.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: The series neatly sidesteps some of Phileas Fogg's ethically questionable actions in the book by transferring events to Transfer and his sabotage attempts in order to make Fog the unblemished hero.
  • Prospector: The gang meet an old one in San Francisco that has gone mad over the years and carries a bag of dirt thinking it's gold dust.
  • Psycho for Hire: Transfer.
  • Quintessential British Gentleman: Willy Fog, of course. (And his species is even Britain's heraldic animal!)
  • Race Against the Clock: Fog and co. race to make London before Big Ben strikes.
  • The Raj
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money: Need to get through the Indian jungle? Buy an elephant! Ship running out of coal? Buy the ship and burn the furnishings!
    • Screw the Money, I Have Rules: However, Fog is only interested in winning the bet for the sake of sportsmanship; he spends almost as much money on his journey as success will win him.
      • Sullivan also has his particular layer of this, as he doesn't care about the bet money as long as Willy loses it. He even promises his 5000 pounds to Transfer if his sabotage attempts are succesful.
  • Single-Minded Twins: Dr. Frik and Dr. Frok, German twin archaeologists working at the same excavation in Egypt.
  • Small Annoying Creature/Team Pet: Tico, though unlike most examples he has a role and character that extends a bit beyond comic relief.
  • Trigger Happy: Most of the population of 1872 San Francisco is pictured this way.
  • Victorian London: Although, averted with Liverpool, which somehow, appears not to fit this trope.
  • The Wild West