Around the World with Willy Fog (Spanish: La vuelta al mundo de Willy Fog, Japanese: アニメ80日間世界一周) is a Spanish-Japanese animated adaptation of Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne produced by Spanish studio BRB Internacional and Televisión Española, with animation by Japanese studio Nippon Animation, that was first broadcast on TVE1 of Spanish Public TV in 1984.
In the same vein as BRB's Dogtanian and the Three Muskehounds, the characters are anthropomorphisms of various animals as the species depicted are of much greater variety than in that series. The core trio are all felines being pursued by three canine foes. Willy Fog (Phileas Fogg in the original book) is depicted as a lion, while Rigodon (Passepartout) is a cat, and Romy (Aouda) is a panther.
An English dub of the series was directed by Tom Wyner, which featured artists such as Cam Clarke (as Rigodon), Gregory Snegoff (Inspector Dix), Steve Kramer (as Constable Bully) and Mike Reynolds. While the series never achieved popularity in the United States, the English version found fame when it was broadcast on Children's BBC in the United Kingdom. The series was initially screened in 1984 in the UK (and has been repeated many times since) and then on RTÉ in Ireland, while other dubs gained the series fanbases in several other countries. The series was also dubbed into Japanese and aired on Japan's TV Asahi in 1987, where it was titled Anime Around the World in 80 Days (アニメ80日間世界一周, Anime Hachijūnichikan Sekai Isshū).
With all of the international versions, the height of popularity remains in Spain, where in 2008, the series spawned a live-action theatrical musical show in celebration of its 25th anniversary.
As with every morning since he moved into Savile Row, Willy Fog awakens at 8:00 am and rings for his servant, only to remember that he fired him the previous day for his inability to follow Fog's precise schedule. He has already arranged an interview for a replacement – former circus performer Rigodon, who is even now rushing towards Fog's house to make his 11:00 am appointment. Rigodon is accompanied by his old circus colleague Tico, who hides within his travelling bag, and prompts him through the interview, which gets off to a bad start when Rigodon arrives four minutes late. Nonetheless, Rigodon is hired by Fog as his butler and soon departs for the Reform Club.
At the club, the main topic of conversation is the recent theft of £55,000 from the Bank of England which was discussed till the bank's governor Mr. Sullivan arrives and requests a change of topic. Sullivan's off-hand remark that the thief is still in London causes the elderly Lord Guinness to bring up an article in the Morning Chronicle, detailing how it is now possible to travel Around the World in Eighty Days. The article states that one departs London by train for Dover, where one crosses to Calais, and on to Paris. From there, it is a train journey to Brindisi, and the Suez Canal, all within a week. Having rounded the Arabian peninsula, one would arrive in Bombay on day 20 and then a three-day railway journey to Calcutta. Hong Kong is reached on day 33, Yokohama on day 39, and then a mammoth three-week crossing of the Pacific to arrive in San Francisco on day 61, a week-long train crossing to New York City and then finally a nine-day crossing of the Atlantic back to London making it possible to circumnavigate the globe in eighty days. The other members of the club laugh at Lord Guinness's suggestion that he would take on the challenge if he were younger, prompting Fog to defend his honor by taking up the task himself. Sullivan bets Fog £5,000 that it is impossible, and additional wagers by three other club members increase this amount to £20,000. He then stuns the club by announcing that he will leave that very evening and promises to return to the club by 8:45 pm on 21 December 1872.
Rigodon is less than thrilled to hear the news of their impending trip, having spent his life travelling with the circus. However, he dutifully accompanies his master as they set out, with Tico still in hiding. Little do they know, however, that they are pursued by three individuals determined to halt their progress. Inspector Dix and Constable Bully of Scotland Yard are convinced that Fog is the thief who robbed the Bank of England, and the wicked and conniving Transfer, a saboteur, was hired by Mr. Sullivan to impede Fog's journey in any way.
Six songs were crafted for the series, composed by background score writers Guido and Maurizio De Angelis and performed by the group Mocedades. The songs were synced with the movement of the animated characters. The eponymous theme song, "La Vuelta al Mundo de Willy Fog", was sung by Fog, Rigodon, Tico and Romy, while Rigodon and Tico also provided the ending theme, "Sílbame" ("Whistle to Me"). Extended versions of both the opening and closing theme tunes were regularly sung by the characters in-show in short musical numbers during the course of the series. As was the "Dix y Transfer" duet in addition two different melodies performed by the protagonists entitled "America America" and "Hay Que Viajar" ("It Is Necessary to Travel"). The sixth song, "Romy", was performed by the titular character, although it only featured in the series in an instrumental form. It would, however, later be used as the closing theme of the sequel series, "Willy Fog 2". The Spanish soundtrack was released in 1984 in LP album, CD and cassette formats. The soundtrack can also be downloaded in Spanish in Mp3 format from Amazon's Spanish website.
The soundtrack was re-recorded for the English dub of the series by parties unknown, re-using the De Angelis's music but with new English lyrics that are similar to the original Spanish. Perhaps most prominently, "Hay Que Viajar" was retitled "Daisy", and became a song about a woman by that name. All six songs were re-recorded in their entirety – even "Romy", which did not appear in the series. The English soundtrack is available to download in Mp3 format from Amazon's UK website.
Two new theme tunes were composed for the Japanese dub of the series, both sung by Keiko Han. The opening theme was entitled "Sky Way", while the closing tune was named "Our Two Watches".
Songs in the Finnish dub were sung by the actors of YLE Import re-using the De Angelis's music but with new Finnish lyrics. In the Finnish dub some scenes are cut, which includes musical numbers in some episodes.
In Czech some scenes from Willy Fog episodes are cut (songs). But those "deleted scenes" are used in the opening and ending.Produced by: BRB InternacionalWith the collaboration of: Televisión EspañolaMusic by: Guido & Maurizio De AngelisMusic publisher: Cabum MagisterSpecial thanks to: Iberia, the airline of SpainSongs performed by: MocedadesDirected by: Luis BallesterExecutive Producer: Claudio Biern BoydOriginal screenplay: Claudio Biern BoydScript Co-ordinator: Rafael SolerDialogue Adaptor and Voice Director: Manuel PeiroAssociate Productors: José Luis Rodríguez & José Manuel IglesiasAudio mixed by: Oscar GómezEditor: Soledad LópezAssistant Editor: Carmen OrtegaSpecial effects: Luis CastroProduction Assistant: Maria AragónProduction Co-ordinator: Marisa MatoSound technicians: Eduardo Fernandez, Alfonso Pino, Jose Esquirol, José Maria, San MateoRecording studio: Exa, S.A.Laboratory: Fotofilm Madrid, S.A.Animation by: Nippon AnimationDirector: Fumio KurokawaProducer: Koichi MotohashiCharacter Design: Isamu KumataStoryboards: Eiji Okabe, Fumio Kurokawa, Hiromitsu Morita, Katsumi Endo, Ko Suzuki, Shigeo Koshi, Shigeru Omachi, Toru HagiwaraEpisode directors: Fumio Kurokawa, Eiji Okabe, Hiromitsu Morita, Toru Hagiwara, Yukio OkazakiAnimation directors: Hirokazu Ishino, Hisatoshi Motoki, Takao Kanishi, Yukio AbeMusic by: Shunsuke KikuchiTheme songs by: Izumi KobayashiTheme songs performed by: Keiko HanMusic Sub-publisher: Southern Pictures Music inc.Recorded and re-mixed at: Intersound Inc., Hollywood, USAEnglish version directed and supervised by: Tom WynerEnglish adaptations by: Tom Wyner, Byrd Ehlmann, Cynthia Lake, Ben Martin
Due to the success of the first series, BRB and TVE revisited the franchise ten years later in conjunction with Wang Film Productions in Taiwan, released a sequel series simply titled "Willy Fog 2". The series ran to 26 episodes, and consisted of two separate serialized stories that were based on the original novels.
The first was Journey to the Centre of the Earth, which played out very similarly to the first series. Again a bet was made with Sullivan – and he sent Transfer to cause havoc. This time, however, more people believed in Willy Fog, although all of them (apart from Lord Guinness) turned against him at times – when reports came back that the volcano they journeyed into was about to erupt. Romy, Tico and Rigodon went with Willy on the voyage again and were joined by Professor Lidenbrock – an expert in archeology and Hans – an Icelandic who acted as a general dogsbody. The team again made it – just in time to win the bet.
The second story was adapted from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, and was completely different from the other two. Willy was invited to help investigate strange events as several ships had been attacked by what seemed to be a sea monster. Willy, Romy, Rigodon and Tico went, although soon the ship they were on was invaded and they, alongside Ned the harpoonist and another Professor, were kidnapped by the mysterious Captain Nemo. After having adventures under the sea, they finally escaped.
As production occurred in Taiwan, the Japanese studio who made the first series, Nippon Animation, was not involved in Willy Fog 2, as is clearly evidenced in its much flatter, brighter, less-nuanced animation. The series re-used the De Angelis's opening theme, with new lyrics to reflect the change of premise, and employed the lyrical version of "Romy" as a closing theme. The series was dubbed into English by the London-based company Village Productions, Ltd, which had worked on dubs of several other contemporary BRB shows, such as Sandokan. Although the voice cast was entirely new, the group clearly drew upon the Intersound dub of the original series as a source upon which to base the character voices.
In 1995, BRB Internacional released three Willy Fog TV movies – "Around the World in 80 Days", "Journey to the Center of the Earth" and "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" – each one created by heavily editing the first series from roughly 650 minutes in total down to a truncated 75 minutes apiece. All three films were dubbed by Village Productions, who had previously dubbed the second series for the United Kingdom, and later reached the United States on DVD. Notably, the Village Productions dub for the first movie was able to secure use of Intersound's English-language version of the theme tune.
In 2004, Revelation Films released all twenty-six episodes of Around the World with Willy Fog on DVD in the UK, across five Region-0-encoded discs. Extras included character profiles, a Jules Verne biography, and bonus episodes of Arthur! and the Square Knights of the Round Table and Dogtanian and the Three Muskehounds. In 2005, all five discs were collected in a complete series box set.
Also in 2004, the first nine episodes of Willy Fog 2 were released on DVD by Direct Video Distribution Ltd. in the UK, across three volumes of three episodes. No further DVDs were released, and the series was left unfinished. This fate affected many other BRB series being released by the distributor at the time, such as Mort and Phil, The Untouchables of Elliot Mouse and Sandokan.
Willy Fog: El Musical was released in 2008 in celebration of the show's 25th anniversary in its home country of Spain. With the original cartoon soundtrack by the De Angelises, the theatrical performance featured live actors Jaume Ortonobas (Fog), Laura Toledo (Romy) and José Troncoso (Rigodon) in make-up and masks to replicate the anthropomorphic characters of the cartoon. Tico is represented as a puppet manipulated by Celia Vioque. Scripted by original series creator Claudio Biern Boyd and directed by Ricard Reguant, the musical ran twice a day in the Teatro Häagen-Dazs Calderón in Madrid from October 2008; although originally intended only to run until the end of the year, the show's success saw its run extended first until early February 2009, after which it proved so successful that it went on tour around the country until the end of the year.