Donkey Kong Country (television series)

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Donkey Kong Country
Donkey Kong Country Title Screen (TV Show).PNG
General information
Developer(s) Jacques Goldstein
Philippe Percebois
Director(s) Mike Fallows
Seasons 3
Episodes 40
Production
Production company Nelvana
Medialab (season 1-2)
Hong Guang Animation (season 3)
Western International Communications
Runtime 30 minutes
Broadcast
First aired France September 4, 1996
Canada October 17, 1997
USA August 15, 1998
Japan October 1, 1999
Last aired Japan June 30, 2000
USA July 7, 2000
Canada July 7, 2000
“It's the wildest, hairiest, most fur-ocious adventure yet, as the popular Nintendo character swings into his own 3-D animated full-length feature!”
The first few lines of The Legend of the Crystal Coconut VHS description

Donkey Kong Country is a computer-animated musical television series based on the video game series of the same name. The program first debuted in France on September 4, 1996, on France 2, and then premiered in Canada on Télétoon on September 8, 1997, as a launch program. The English version made its worldwide debut in Canada on Télétoon's English counterpart Teletoon on October 17, 1997, once again as a launch program. The show then began airing in the United States on the Fox Family Channel on August 15, 1998 (occasionally airing on Fox Kids), and the original run finished on July 7, 2000. In Japan, the series began airing with a Japanese dub on TV Tokyo on October 1, 1999, and finished its run on June 30, 2000.[citation needed]

Donkey Kong Country ran for three seasons with forty episodes in total. Like the Super Mario-based television series before it, the show generally followed an episodic format. During the run, however, there were some episodes aired out of order from the original airing, such as "Bad Hair Day" being aired as the third episode in its run in the United States despite airing first in France. While the first two seasons were produced by Medialab, the third season was instead produced by Chinese company Hong Gaung and switched to a newer and sleeker style of computer animation, as well as dropping the use of title cards to introduce each episode. Also similar to the earlier Super Mario cartoons, each episode (excluding "Message in a Bottle Show") features one or two original songs based on events in the episode, performed by the cast.

Donkey Kong Country was one of the earliest television series to be entirely computer-animated, similar to the artistic style of the video games. The computer animation style of the series was met with critical acclaim in France and Japan but with mixed reception elsewhere. Despite this, the series has managed to gain a cult following.

Some elements of the series would go on to appear in later Donkey Kong video games such as Donkey Kong 64, which was released a year after the show had started airing on ABC Family (Fox Family). There was also a commercial for the Game Boy Color game Donkey Kong Country featuring Donkey Kong, Diddy Kong and Rambi fighting General Klump and Krusha over a giant Game Boy Color, in which all of the characters are depicted with retooled versions of their designs from the series' third season (besides Rambi, who does not appear in the series).

Synopsis[edit]

The show stars Donkey Kong, a gorilla-like Kong living in the jungle who happens to stumble upon a magic orb called the Crystal Coconut in the temple of Inka Dinka Doo. After finding the artifact, Donkey Kong is named the future ruler of Kongo Bongo Island. As he and his friends wait for the day when the Crystal Coconut will proclaim him the ruler of the island, they strive to keep it safe from the clutches of the villainous King K. Rool and his minions, who desire the coconut so that K. Rool may conquer the island using its power.

Cast[edit]

The Kong family in the "To the Moon Baboon" episode of the Donkey Kong Country television series.
The cast of the main Kongs. Clockwise from the top left: Funky Kong, Donkey Kong, Bluster Kong, Candy Kong, Cranky Kong, Diddy Kong, and Dixie Kong.
The Kongo Bongo Festival of Lights
Kaptain Skurvy (center), one of the main antagonists of the show, with his crew mates Green Kroc (left) and Kutlass (right)

The series features almost all of the Kongs from Donkey Kong Country and Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest, the exceptions being Swanky Kong and Wrinkly Kong. However, the show also features several original characters that do not appear in the games, such as Eddie the Mean Old Yeti, Kaptain Skurvy and his crew, and Bluster Kong.

English voice actors[edit]

Japanese voice actors[edit]

Episodes[edit]

Two conflicting season numbering schemes exist for the show: Nelvana considers the show to have three "cycles" (13x13x14),[2] and this is the numbering used for the show's release on services such as Pluto TV and Tubi. The show's official DVDs and release on iTunes,[3] however, identify two seasons, the first being made up of the 26 Medialab-produced episodes and the second being made up of the 14 Hong Guang-produced episodes. The list below follows the former scheme.

Note that the episodes are listed in production order,[4] which differs from the order of the original North American air dates.[5]

Season 1
  1. "Bad Hair Day"
  2. "Ape Foo Young"
  3. "Booty and the Beast"
  4. "Barrel, Barrel... Who's Got the Barrel"
  5. "Kong for a Day"
  6. "Raiders of the Lost Banana"
  7. "From Zero to Hero"
  8. "Buried Treasure"
  9. "Cranky's Tickle Tonic"
  10. "Get a Life, Don't Save One"
  11. "Orangutango"
  12. "Double Date Trouble"
  13. "The Curse of Kongo Bongo"
Season 2
  1. "Speed"
  2. "Klump's Lumps"
  3. "Bluster's Sale Ape-Stravaganza"
  4. "Legend of the Crystal Coconut"
  5. "Kong Fu"
  6. "I Spy With My Hairy Eye"
  7. "Bug a Boogie"
  8. "Watch the Skies"
  9. "Baby Kong Blues"
  10. "Ape-Nesia"
  11. "The Big Chill Out"
  12. "To the Moon Baboon"
  13. "A Thin Line Between Love & Ape"
Season 3
  1. "Hooray for Holly-Kongo Bongo"
  2. "The Kongo Bongo Festival of Lights"
  3. "Speak No Evil, Dude"
  4. "The Day the Island Stood Still"
  5. "Monkey Seer, Monkey Do"
  6. "Four Weddings and a Coconut"
  7. "Follow That Coconut"
  8. "Vote of Kong-Fidence"
  9. "The Big Switch-a-Roo"
  10. "Hunka Hunka Burnin' Bluster"
  11. "Best of Enemies"
  12. "It's a Wonderful Life"
  13. "Just Kidding"
  14. "Message in a Bottle Show"

Donkey Kong Planet[edit]

Main article: Donkey Kong Planet

In addition to the animated series, Donkey Kong hosted on France 2 Donkey Kong Planet (also known as La planète de Donkey Kong, DKTV, and DKTV.cool), which was a mix of children's programming and original content featuring part of the cast of the Donkey Kong Country series. The original segments featured Donkey Kong, Diddy Kong, Funky Kong, and Candy Kong performing musical numbers, parodies of contemporary movies and television shows, and comedic sketches. It debuted on September 4, 1996, the same day the Donkey Kong Country TV series premiered, and the block continued its run on the channel until September 1, 2001.

Production[edit]

“What could be more hip than turning the most popular 3-D game into a computer-animated series? Not only did "Donkey Kong" have a ready-made audience, but the lovable chimp lived in a cool place we'd all like to escape to- the jungle.”
Computer Animation: A Whole New World

Donkey Kong Country was the first full-length television series to be primarily animated using motion capture,[6] using Medialab's proprietary technology which allowed the animators to see the performance play out in real time.[7] Due to this attribute, the company prefered to use the term "Performance Animation" to refer to the animation style of the show.[8] This caused controversy when the show was rejected for an Emmy Award nomination, the reasoning being that the TV academy did not consider the then-new motion capture technique to be a form of animation.[9]

After writers finalized the characters' roles and personalities, artist Phil Mendez worked on the concept sketches, taking care to keep the characters' appearance simple and geometric to make them easy to convert into three-dimensional models.[10] The 3D modellers grouped characters with similar bodies into "families" and used the Alias/Wavefront modeling software to build the digital skeletons, using the "families" as a base to create the individual model.[11] Characters' heads were modeled in clay and then digitized.[12]

Though groundbreaking, the use of motion capture came with many challenges. As the models had to work for both live motion capture and traditional keyframe-based animation, Medialab had to optimize the models to keep the polygon count low.[13] Writer Simon Racioppa explained that due to the format's limitation, the series bible heavily discouraged new locations and characters, and characters could not be animated picking up objects (although them holding objects was possible). Animating water was also considered "next to impossible".[14] Speaking of the differences between Donkey Kong Country and ReBoot, a 3D animated series that did not employ motion capture, producer Maia Tubiana explained that making the models required "experimentation, discipline, and the ability to live with a few compromises", an example being having to shorten King K. Rool's cape to not interfere with the animation.[15]

According to a post on a fan page by Nelvana writer Erika Strobel, Medialab had originally obtained the rights to create an animated series from Nintendo. After thirteen episodes were written, Medialab asked Nelvana for assistance after firing the original writers (who, according to Strobel, had produced scripts "with racist/sexist jokes and just sooo bad for a kiddie show").[16] As storyboards had already been produced for ten of the original scripts, Nelvana decided to write new stories around these storyboards to save money.[16] The songs, however, were included at the request of Medialab; all of the show's songs, as well as the title theme, were written by Pure West Music.[16][17] Nelvana purchased the rights to the show after Medialab's license lapsed.[16]

Early ideas[edit]

Early reference sketches for production depict multiple concepts that were considered but ultimately unused in the show proper, including the Animal Friends characters Rambi, Expresso, and Winky, a more game-accurate appearance for Candy Kong and a desert-like area for Kongo Bongo Island.

Songs[edit]

Main article: List of Donkey Kong Country (television series) songs

In addition to the opening theme, most episodes in the series feature two unique songs each, performed by one or more characters to illustrate certain points in the story.

Theme song lyrics[edit]

Hoo! Hah!
Hoo, hah!
Donkey Kong!

Heeeeyyyyyy, oh! Look out down below!
Here he comes, banana slamma!
Donkey Kong!
Hoo! Hah!
Hoo, hah!
Donkey Kong!
Hoo! Hah!
Hoo, hah!
Donkey Kong!
Heeeeyyyyyy, oh! Look out down below!
Here he comes, banana slamma!
Kongo Bongo's hero!

Heeeeyyyyyy, oh! Donkey Kong, let's go, let's go!
Here he comes, banana slamma!
Hooooo, HAH!

Background music[edit]

It has been requested that this section be rewritten and expanded to include more information. Reason: include which songs each track plays in

The background music used for the songs in the show was taken from a variety of albums.

Tracks Composer(s) Albums
Guava Nectar Paul Koffman
Timothy Foy
'NLV 115 - Sunny Day Sounds Vol. 2
Madcap Monday NLV 126 - Music for Silly Moments
Edsel
Paisley Man NLV 127 - Funkytown
Marching Orders NLV 131 - Clash of the Titans Vol.2
Tiny Czar NLV 141 - Just For Laughs Vol. 4
Three Piece Suit NLV 148 - Peaceful Jazzy Feeling Vol. 2
Haunted Funhouse NLV 151 - Big Top Adventure
House Of Frights
Meditation Fire NLV 155 - Global Bazaar
Jump In NLV 165 - Techno Town
Techno Cowboy NLV 166 - Cowboy Camp
Quick Con NLV 169 - Spy vs Spy
Hover Car
Helicopter Heist
Sneakers
The Line Up
Ragtag Chase

Staff[edit]

Main article: List of Donkey Kong Country (television series) staff

Donkey Kong Country was produced by Nelvana. It was co-produced with Medialab for the first two seasons and with Hong Guang Animation for the third season. The first two seasons were animated by Medialab and the third by an uncredited CGCG Inc.[18]. The soundtrack of the series was composed by the music production company Pure West.

Gallery[edit]

For this subject's image gallery, see Gallery:Donkey Kong Country (television series).

Releases and other merchandise[edit]

The Donkey Kong Country show is available on iTunes.

Four episodes were released together in North America on a VHS cassette titled Donkey Kong Country: The Legend of the Crystal Coconut. Said episodes were edited together to make them seem like one continuous storyline. However, these episodes were not put together in the proper order; for example, a flashback shown in the third episode actually happened in the fourth episode of the tape. It was released in Canada by Seville Pictures and Nelvana themselves, while in the United States, it was released by Paramount Home Entertainment. Advertisements and the videotape's packaging neglected to mention the program the episodes originated from, with it instead marketed as a standalone film (leading to some confusion among newer viewers of certain content, such as Eddie the Mean Old Yeti's brief appearance in "Ape-Nesia").

The DVDs Donkey Kong Country Vol.1 (released in Australia) and Donkey Kong Country - Bad Hair Day (released in the United Kingdom) feature several episodes of the series. Two other Australian DVDs, Donkey Kong Country: Hooray for Holly Kongo Bongo and Donkey Kong Country: The Kongo Bongo Festival of Lights, each only feature one episode. Three years after the release of the previous DVDs, an additional DVD titled I Spy With My Hairy Eye was released in England. There have been over 30 Donkey Kong Country DVD releases. Starting in 2013, Phase 4 Films, under its Kaboom! Entertainment label, began releasing the series on DVD in North America. On May 12, 2015, the company released the first season of 26 episodes in a 3-disc set. Nelvana once had the entire series available for free streaming on its official YouTube channel until it was turned into the official Wayside channel.

The series had a large line of merchandise in Japan, including a collectible card game by Nintendo and Ahomaro Games. A subsequent release of the card game featured characters and gimmicks based on Donkey Kong 64. The television series took over the TV Tokyo Friday 6:30 PM timeslot from Gokudo, and was later replaced by Hamtaro. As with most programs in Japan, the series has received home releases through rental tapes.

The television series also received a dedicated two-part manga. The two editions were seen in the Japanese CoroCoro Comics, published by Shogakukan in 2000 and 2001 respectively.

DVDs and one VHS were also released:

References in later media[edit]

Names in other languages[edit]

Language Name Meaning
Japanese ドンキーコング
Donkī Kongu
Donkey Kong

Dutch Donkey Kong Country
-
French Donkey Kong
Donkey Kong
German Donkey Kongs Abenteuer
Donkey Kong's Adventure
Italian Donkey Kong Country
-
Korean 동키콩
Dongki Kong
Donkey Kong

Portuguese Donkey Kong Country
-
Spanish (NOA) El país de Donkey Kong
Donkey Kong's Country

Trivia[edit]

  • In the Japanese dub, the voice actors for Donkey Kong and Candy Kong, Kōichi Yamadera and Mika Kanai, were married to each other during the series's run.
  • A running gag throughout the series involves Donkey Kong (sometimes with Diddy Kong) constantly crashing into trees.
  • The villains in the show are never referred to as Kremlings, only as "lizards", "gators", and similar terms. However, enemies like Kritters and Klaptraps are still referred to by their names from the games.
  • All non-Kremling enemies from the first game (Zingers, Gnawties, Manky Kongs, etc.) are omitted and the Kremlings' military force is mostly simplified to Kritters and Klaptraps (the latter of which is considered ammunition for weapons instead of troops). Other Kremling enemies appear as individualized characters, with the exception of Rock Kroc, which does not appear at all. Additionally, none of the Animal Friends appear, though three of them were considered. The only character to neither be a Kong nor a Kremling to have a model in the series is Polly Roger, while Inka Dinka Doo is part of the scenery.
  • In multiple episodes, Donkey Kong admits to being a fan of King Kong; this is ironic considering that Universal Studios attempted to sue Nintendo for a copyright dispute based on the similarities between Donkey Kong and King Kong.
  • Donkey Kong Country is the most recent television series derived from the Super Mario franchise, not counting Donkey Kong Planet.
  • Though the series is based on the first three Donkey Kong Country games, its iTunes listing background is artwork from Donkey Kong Country Returns, which released a decade after the series ended. As such, the background shows Rambi and members of the Tiki Tak Tribe, despite them not appearing in the series.[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ https://docs.wixstatic.com/ugd/3fdfac_72b9d6c25c3940f8b3244bdea8528dd5.pdf
  2. ^ "Episodes : Donkey Kong Country" on Nelvana's official website circa 2006. Retrieved Sunday, June 26, 2021
  3. ^ a b Donkey Kong Country. iTunes. Retrieved March 24, 2024.
  4. ^ Donkey Kong Country on Amazon Video
  5. ^ http://epguides.com/DonkeyKongCountry/
  6. ^ Ron Fischer, The History and Current State of motion capture. Motion Capture Society. Retrieved October 8, 2015
  7. ^ Legrand, Fabienne (November 11, 2011). L'aventure Donkey Kong chez Medialab. YouTube. Retrieved January 25, 2016
  8. ^ Computer Animation: A Whole New World (1998, Rockport Publishers). "Medialab Donkey Kong Country". p. 88
  9. ^ Solomon, Charles (June 1, 1999). An Emmy Awards Debate: What Makes 'Donkey Kong' Run?. L.A. Times. Retrieved January 25, 2015
  10. ^ Computer Animation: A Whole New World (1998, Rockport Publishers). "Medialab Donkey Kong Country". p. 89
  11. ^ Computer Animation: A Whole New World (1998, Rockport Publishers). "Medialab Donkey Kong Country". p. 91
  12. ^ Computer Animation: A Whole New World (1998, Rockport Publishers). "Medialab Donkey Kong Country". p. 92
  13. ^ Computer Animation: A Whole New World (1998, Rockport Publishers). "Medialab Donkey Kong Country". p. 93`
  14. ^ Matt Paprocki (June 5, 2020) Inside Nintendo’s weird attempts at making movies and TV shows. Polygon. Retrieved June 7, 2020.
  15. ^ Computer Animation: A Whole New World (1998, Rockport Publishers). "Medialab Donkey Kong Country". p. 89
  16. ^ a b c d Retrojunk page for Donkey Kong Country (August 5, 2008). Erika Strobel's comment is under the username "canuckgirl1966" (Retrieved April 24, 2016)
  17. ^ Pure West Music's website (information is under the "Credits" tab). Retrieved April 24, 2016.
  18. ^ CGCG Production History. CGCG Inc.. Retrieved July 01, 2016.
  19. ^ Nintendo Life (April 25, 2018). Weird Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze Switch TV Show Easter Egg. YouTube. Retrieved April 25, 2018.

External links[edit]