Rayman: The Animated Series
Rayman: The Animated Series (also known as Rayman: The TV Series, or just Rayman) is a French-British-Canadian series of animated shorts created by Ubisoft in 1999, based on the Rayman adventure game series, following the success of Rayman 2: The Great Escape. It was meant to be a 26-episode series, but only four were completed when it was cancelled mid-series, leaving a fifth episode near to completion. The series was only broadcast in France, Germany and the Netherlands, but was released on VHS in North America, and later on DVD in France.
The evil circus owner Rigatoni has enslaved Rayman and his friends, forcing them to work in his traveling circus. Rayman decides that they must break free and they soon escape from the circus, only to be chased by Inspector Grub, who is intent on capturing the "fugitives." and Rayman and friends try to seek freedom along the way.
Why It Sucks
- Poor grasp on the original source material: It bears little resemblance to the video games. One could easily replace Rayman with any other character and nobody would notice any difference.
- Rubbing even more salt into the wound is that this was supposed to advertise and promote the success of Rayman 2, but this cartoon has nothing to do with the game.
- Another example of this poor grasp is that none of the characters from the original Rayman games appear in the series except for the titular character and Razorbeard (who was given a goofier, worse design and was given a weaker appearance as being the inept lackey to Rigatoni (despite Admiral Razorbeard being the main antagonist in The Great Escape)). Not even the lovable characters such as Globox (Rayman’s best friend) and Murfy show up.
- It also fails to understand the video games it was based on. For example, instead of the interesting and visually pleasing worlds of the games, the setting is a generic city that looks weird and ugly.
- Average and sometimes janky CGI animation, even for 1999 standards.
- Awkward and mediocre voice acting, with the exception of Billy West as Rayman himself.
- The question regarding the pronunciation of the word 'car' as 'cah' was answered on Twitter by Billy West himself: he grew up in Boston and grew up sounding like the aforementioned accent. He never really did sound like that since he was actually born in Detroit but he thought the accent was charming. He thought throwing in odd touches would give a character more life and longevity. In fact, he still talks about Rayman to this day.
- It should also be noted that Betina's voice is changed several times for no discernible reason.
- Poor writing.
- Some nonexistent jokes.
- Most of the plots boil down to Rayman and friends getting into trouble and trying to avoid a cop who is tasked with hunting them down. Not to mention that the ending never suggested if they ever get out of Grub's case and hinted on Rayman and friends still living with Grub, which is just very nonsensical.
- Some ugly character designs, especially for Lac Mac, whose design looks ugly and stupid.
- Rayman at least still looks like his game counterpart.
- Billy West does a decent job voicing Rayman, as stated before.
- The soundtrack is also decent.
- Occasional amusement the show can present at times (whether it is unintentional or intentional comedy like the police badge gag in the "No Parking" episode for example).
- One clever joke said by Rayman before outsmarting Grub when he pauses Lac Mac driving from the back seat to easily trick Grub in the "No Parking" episode.
- Vanessa Coffey, famous for being the executive producer of the Nicktoons: Doug, Rugrats, The Ren & Stimpy Show and Rocko's Modern Life and one of the two founders of Games Animation, now Nickelodeon Animation Studio, worked in this show as a story writer, creative director and executive producer. This show was the last cartoon she worked and the first and last one after she left Nickelodeon in 1995 to pursue her own projects, due of the show's cancellation, it ended killing her producer career on animation and since then, she didn't produce a cartoon ever again. After that, in these past few years, she is rarely interviewed about her days at Games Animation, excluding any mention of this animated series of Rayman, with her latest recent interview in the documentary Happy Happy Joy Joy: The Ren & Stimpy Story, released in 2020.
All 4 Episodes