Genre Adventure, Comedy
Written by Runer Jonsson
Music by Karel Svoboda
First episode date 31 January 1974
Created by Zuiyo EizoTaurus Film
Directed by Hiroshi Saito
Country of origin Japan
Final episode date 31 January 1974
Languages Japanese, German
|Characters Halvar, Urobe, Snorre, Gilby, Ulme, Gorm, Faxe, Ylva, Vicky, Chicchi|
Cast Yôko Kuri, Junpei Takiguchi, Yoneko Matsukane, Kōsei Tomita, Kōichi Kitamura
Similar Maya the Bee, Tanzalarm, Piet Piraat, Kabouter Plop, Pur+
Vicky the Viking, known as Wickie und die starken Männer in Germany and Austria and Chiisana Viking Bikke (小さなバイキング ビッケ) in Japan, is a German-Austrian-Japanese animated television series which tells the adventures of Vicky, a young Viking boy who uses his wits to help his Viking fellows. It premiered on the German TV channel ZDF on January 31, 1974 but aired in various countries.
The series' main character is Vicky, son of Halvar, chief of the Viking village of Flake. Unlike his village fellows - including most of the other boys of his age - Vicky is blessed with a sharp and imaginative mind which helps his fellow Vikings out of many tight situations, including rival Viking lord Sven the Terrible. Certain results of his intellectual approach shown in the series and the film adaptation include building a makeshift catapult to beat his father in a stone-ferrying contest, fitting their longship with kites to make it glide through the air, and using a small sawfish to cut an escape hole through a wooden door.
Script and realization
The script was developed from children's book Vicke Viking (1963) written by the Swedish author Runer Jonsson, who won the Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis (German Children’s Book Award) for it in 1965. The Japanese animation studio Zuiyo Enterprise Company (later renamed to Nippon Animation) adapted the original version (1972–1974) and developed from it an 85-minute-long movie (original title: Chiisana Baikingu Bikke) as well as the series with 78 episodes, each 25 minutes long. The series' Japanese roots are clearly visible in its styling and character design - this led to the series being a first unwitting brush with Japanese animation for those who would become anime fans later in life.
Responsible for the German dubbing was Eberhard Storeck, who spoke one of the characters (Snorre) himself. The music in German version was composed by Christian Bruhn and Karel Svoboda. The text of the title song (Hey, hey, Wickie! Hey, Wickie, hey! ...) was written by Andrea Wagner. The English dubbing was largely poor, with characters talking endlessly to fit the lip movements of the characters, not pausing for breath or using verbal punctuation. In the years that followed this became something of a standard for some voice actors who dubbed Japanese-produced series, even going on right up to the 1990s' anime boom in the West.
The series was produced for the German TV network ZDF and Austrian TV network ORF. In the United Kingdom, it was shown on ITV,also on ABC TV in Australia, and in Europe was shown on Teletoon Netherlands.
A modern television 'remake' is entitled Vic the Viking.
German director Michael "Bully" Herbig filmed a live action adaptation of the series called Wickie The Mighty Viking (aka "Wickie und die starken Männer"). It was produced by Christian Becker of Rat Pack Filmproduktion for a 2009 release. Vicky is portrayed by Jonas Hämmerle. Günther Kaufmann portrays Sven, the antagonist of the Vikings. The Vikings of Flake are portrayed by Jörg Moukkadam (Faxe), Mike Maas (Gorm), Christian Koch (Snorre), Nic Romm (Tjure), Patrick Reichel (Ulme) and Olaf Krätke (Urobe).
The movie premiered on September 9, 2009, in Munich. On its opening weekend, it grossed approximately $5,595,895. On October 3, during a show of Wetten, dass..?, Herbig was presented with the Goldene Leinwand award for the film's viewership of three million within its first 18 weeks. The film sold nearly 5 million tickets in Germany alone, for a total gross revenue of approximately $40,582,384.
Following the success of the first movie, a sequel, Wickie auf Großer Fahrt, has been released on September 29, 2011.