Wakfu is a 2008 French cartoon by Ankama Animation set within the world of an MMORPG of the same name, which is set 1000 years after the production company's other MMO, Dofus. The whole show is completely kid-friendly, since the target audience is 8-10 years old, but tons of jokes are aimed directly at older audiences and fans of the game, is full of Fan Service, and the plot itself matures enormously.
The first season follows a group of adventurers aiding The Hero, Yugo, in his search to find his true family. Together, they battle their way through various dangers, all the while being chased by Nox, a time-manipulating mad-man powered by the energy of all living creatures (the wakfu), which he harvests through swarms of parasitic, robotic bugs.
From a technical point of view, Wakfu is drawn with vectors using the Adobe Flash program, and follows a lot of anime clichés, though the final work is quite unique (and tends to be pretty awesome). It's also notable that the series is animated almost entirely in France, which is rare considering the costs of such a production. Ankama's sister company in Japan is responsible for the animation not done by Ankama proper, the bonus episode "Noximilien" was animated by Madhouse, and a 52-minute feature on Ogrest was made in collaboration with Studio Ghibli.
Wakfu is considered a "cross-media", consisting of the animation, the MMOG, and a trading card game. However, the animation has generated four other Spin-Offs by itself: a series of shorts called Mini-Wakfu, which supplies some useful background information on the two games (Dofus and Wakfu); a browser-based MMORPG, Wakfu: The Guardians, which uses the same engine as Dofus and allows the player to "replay" the episodes of the series through small dungeons, with characters similar in appearance and powers to Yugo; a series of graphic novels titled Wakfu Heroes; and a Beat'Em Up called Island of Wakfu for the Xbox Live Arcade that acts as a Prequel for the series.
The show is produced by France Télévisions and Ankama themselves, with Netflix co-producing the show's third season alongside France Télévisions. The series currently consists of 65-episodes over the course of three seasons. The first season ended on June 5th, 2010, and included a bonus 27th episode (not included in the slated 52) exploring Nox's past. Season two began airing February of 2011, and a 3 part OVA was released in 2014. The third season premiered on France 4 (instead of the usual France 3) on September 2nd, 2017, with the finale airing September 17th, 2017. The Netflix premiere happened on October in France, and was released for the rest of the world on April 6th, 2018.
This series and The Guardians have a Character Sheet.
- Adaptation Dye Job: Yugo has darker hair in this special than in the series.
- Always a Bigger Fish: The Giant Enemy Crab gets eaten by a Giant Squid.
- Artificial Human: Dathura, one of the magic dolls created by the god Sadida.
- Art Shift: The animation of this special was done by Studio Ghibli. It shows.
- Bag of Holding: Otomaï has a Havresac where he carries his many alchemical concoctions, as well as Dathura and the Stones.
- Big Eater: Ogrest. He has an extra-dimensional stomach.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: From the one line Dathura actually gets in the special, you'd think she was grateful to Ogrest for returning her to life. Then you play the game and read the tablets in Incarnam, to find out that Dathura took advantage of Ogrest's infatuation to get him to use his superior strength and durability to get her several Dofuses, which she used as some arcane power grab. Ogrest was forced to put her down himself, and all of the sudden it kind of makes sense why he's crying enough to cause a world-shattering cataclysm.
- Blessed with Suck: Ogrest is a being made from an Ogrine and is gifted with extraordinary strength, durability and longevity. However, his tears are enchanted in such a way that if so much as a drop of them touches the ground, they can cause water levels to spontaneously rise.
- Collapsing Lair: Taking the dofus from the boat start a mechanism that causes the whole treasure island to sink.
- Color Coded for Your Convenience: As can be expected, Otomaï's potions to create ice, fire or lightning are blue, red, and yellow, respectively.
- Colossus Climb: Ogrest has to fight a giant crustacean on the island by climbing it.
- Dish Dash: A variant with Otomaï frantically catching the toffees before they'd fall in his Ogrine preparation. However, he misses one... and the rest is history.
- Dog Pile of Doom: Ogrest with the coral monsters.
- Ear Wings: Ogrest finds out by accident that his large ears allow him to fly by flapping very fast (hummingbird-like fast, in fact). It's quite instinctive at the start and he has a hard time controlling it, leading to a few crashes.
- Egg MacGuffin: The dofus on the treasure boat.
- Embarrassing Nickname: Short-Tail is called "Kiki" by his brothers. He doesn't like it, but since he'd bet to stay silent for a year, he can't call them on it.
- Facial Markings: Dathura
- Fire, Ice, Lightning: Otomaï can use all three form of energy as attacks with his potions.
- Framing Device: The "Legend of Ogrest" is told by Alibert to a bedridden Yugo.
- Giant Enemy Crab
- Giant Squid
- Go for the Eye: The giant crustacean being already blind in one eyestalk, Ogrest go for the valid one.
- Gratuitous English: Otomaï's animated gemstones helpers are called the "Stones" in the original French.
- How Do I Shot Web?: Ogrest trying to get the hang of his strength and flight.
- Indy Escape
- Jumping on a Grenade: Ogrest does this to save Dathura. Thankfully, he's tough enough to survive it.
- Look Behind You!: Otomaï, to distract the Ecaflips while he's shapechanging into Short-Tail.
- Loveable Rogues: The three Ecaflip brothers.
- Love Martyr: Despite knowing full well that his "son" was capable of doing such, Otomaï refused to believe that Ogrest was solely responsible for the Great Flood. A belief that is survived through his disciples.
- MacGuffin Girl: Dathura, whom both Otomaï and Ogrest wish to repair and bring to life.
- MacGuffin Guardian: The Giant Squid for the treasure.
- Meaningful Name
- The Nose Knows: The Ecaflips claim to have an acute sense of smell; it doesn't help them in the Spot the Imposter situation, however.
Medium-Tail: Ugh! They both smell equally bad.
- Our Homunculi Are Different
- Papa Wolf: Otomaï to his "creation", Ogrest.
- Pink Girl, Blue Boy: Otomaï's two animated Stones have very little features, but the blue one has a boy's voice, and the pink one a girl's voice.
- Pint-Sized Powerhouse: Ogrest
- Pirates: The Ecaflips.
- The Power of Love: How Ogrest manages to reanimate Dathura at the end.
- Rock-Paper-Scissors: The Ecaflip brothers have one such game before meeting Ogrest.
- Simple Staff: Otomaï
- Stuff Blowing Up
- Otomaï's initial experiment, leading to Ogrest's birth.
- Short-Tail is fond of using explosives.
- Spot the Imposter: Otomaï forces the Ecaflips into this by taking Short-Tail's appearance.
- Super Strength: Ogrest
- Swiss Army Tears: Ogrest's tears can create ungodly amount of water, but in the end they also turn a sapphire into a pure Ogrine, allowing Dathura to animate.
- Third Person Person: Ogrest
- Time Compression Montage: Ogrest growing up from a baby to a youngster is shown in a succession of still frames.
- Treasure Is Bigger in Fiction
- Used to Be a Sweet Kid: Ogrest, oddly enough, was an adorable, well-meaning, if somewhat awkward little ogre in his youth.
- The Voiceless: Short-Tail, a.k.a. Kiki. He made a bet with his brothers that he could stay silent for a full year.
- Voluntary Shapeshifting: Otomaï, by drinking potions.
- Watch Out for That Tree: Ogrest's first attempt at flying leads to a crash against a stone pillar, and then a boat.
- X-Ray Sparks: Long-Tail when struck by Otomaï's lightning potion.
- You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Otomaï
- Adaptation Dye Job: A really noticeable change in character design is present between Wakfu and its "Noximilien" special. The eldest (judging height-wise) child and Nox's wife have black hair in the series, while being blonde in the special -- in addition to the wife's massive character redesign.
- Art Shift: And how. It was animated by a completely different team and directed by Masaaki Yuasa, and as such the animation is quite reminiscent of Kaiba.
- Go Mad from the Revelation: Noximilien slowly loses his grip on reality under the influence of the Eliacube.
- Ignored Epiphany: Noximilien returns home to see that his family has left him. He reads a letter from his wife and realizes for a moment what is happening to him. He packs up to get ready to join them. Then the clock starts ticking...
- Locked Into Strangeness: Noximilien's hair turning from blond to white.
- Mad Eye: Noximilien acquires one at the end of this bonus episode.
- Meaningful Rename:
Noximilien: My children called me "Daddy", my wife called me "Milien". From this instant, the world shall learn to call me "Nox"!
- My God, What Have I Done?: Noximilien realizing that his family is dead because of his obsession with the Eliacube.
- Rage Against the Heavens:
Noximilien: I'll fight time -- that great, deceiving fool! Soon I'll be as powerful as the god Xelor! Yes, even more powerful... [...] DO YOU HEAR ME, XELOR?! I'll surpass you and I'll bring back my family!
- Sanity Slippage: The whole damn thing.
- Special Edition Title: The whole usual sequence from the season 1 credits opening plays normally until the aforementioned "Jump" moment, where it does a time-reversing-effect like in episode 26 (complete with reversed music), ending with a close-up of the Eliacube.
- Start of Darkness: The whole bonus episode. Even the following Mini-Wakfu episode contributes, by showing the creation of the first Noxine.
- Twitchy Eye: Noximilien at the end of the episode.
- The Watchmaker: Noximilien's profession.
- Bloody Murder: Katar, the villain in the short, uses his Prehensile Blood to wrap around Goultard.
- I Have Your Wife: The villain kidnaps Goultard's wife and children in order to lure him into a fight. He kills them before Goultard arrives, and taunts him about it in order to make Goultard angrier. This is actually all part of a plan to get a parasitic demon that feeds off of rage to see Goultard as a more appetizing host and jump from the villain into Goultard. The villain doesn't get to enjoy his newfound freedom for long, however, as Goultard kills him immediately afterward.
- Pilot: Before the actual show was made, a short called Goultard le Barbare was used to perfect animation techniques. It can be watched in French here (starting at ~18:15).
- Super Strength: Goultard is shown to have an insane level of strength even as a kid.
- Anti-Poopsocking: In the MMORPG, you can only sell your wares through your haven bag while you are logged out.
- Crap Saccharine World: Everything is colorful and a bit of chibi-style, like the characters... until you get to know more of the background story. Nightmare Fuel ensues.
- Green Aesop: Barring certain areas and certain materials, resources and monsters don't reappear of their own accord once you've collected or slain them. If you want to fight or craft anything else, you need to collect their seeds and replant them.
- Names to Run Away From Really Fast: N... just N. (For the non-francophones: in French, the letter "N" sounds like "haine", meaning "hate".)
- Nice Hat: Each and every Eliatrope has a magnificent hat.
- Sdrawkcab Name: The "Island of Emrub", which is "Brume" ("Mist") backwards. Also fitting to the first Wakfu episode title, "Child of Mist".