Dogtanian and the Three Muskehounds is a charming Japanese-Spanish co-produced animation series that aired from 1981 in various languages. I first came across it in England in the late 80’s where it was my original introduction to the Musketeer story.
And actually… it really could have been worse! This episodic serial is remarkably close to the tone and storyline of the original novel, the only difference being that the majority of the main cast are cartoon dogs.
Milady is, of course, a cat.
Dogtanian is a marvellously accurate version of our D’Art – youthful, impetuous and prone to getting furious and attacking people at a moment’s notice. An impoverished gentleman’s son, he marches everywhere with a chip on his shoulder, whether he is taking on a village full of bullies single-handed, or chasing down a mysterious moustached villain to demand an apology for an insult. I must say, his usual antics are a lot more sympathetic if you assume he’s about 12 years old.
Though it is a bit worrying that his parents sent him off to be a Musketeer at such an obviously young age.
The encounter with Rochefort (Mr Moustache, because apparently an eyepatch or scar is inappropriate for kids tv? Tell that to Barbie and Mickey Mouse) shows off Dogtanian’s yappy dog personality, and his country innocence which leads him to lose all his money AND get a near-fatal beating.
It does, however, feature his yellow horse quite significantly, which is always something I like in Musketeer media. Unfortunately, he’s as bad at managing his horse’s exhaustion as was Park Dal Hyang in the K-drama adaptation of the Musketeers.
When he finally arrives in Paris, Dogtanian meets Juliette (i.e. Constance), a sweet-talking maid whose voice instantly raised the suspicion of both myself and Ms10.
Is that… Minmei?
[One brief Google Search later]
IT’S TOTALLY MINMEI OMG!
Hmm, come to think of it, Dogtanian sounds a bit familiar too…
DOGTANIAN IS MAX STERLING/LANCER/YELLOW DANCER.I’m actually dizzy with fannish glee at this point. Damn these voice actors for working under multiple names. I was not prepared for this.
The story ambles along at a gentle pace, extending the plot far more than most adaptations.
Episode 1 is mostly about Dogtanian’s torment at the hands of childhood bullies and (eventually) his father’s plan to send him to Paris to get him out of trouble; Episode 2 introduces the Comte de Rochefort, Milady and is set in the inn at Meung; Episode 3 finally brings Dogtanian to Paris and gives him a love interest, but mostly revolves around his need to earn money and get himself a new sword. Oh AND gives him another near-fatal beating.
This cartoon is brutal.
Dogtanian ends up soaking wet and severely damaged underneath Juliette’s window, in a scene oddly reminiscent of how Rick and Minmei first met in Robotech, only without aliens and giant mecha.
Athos is the large, jolly, incredibly strong one who can beat up multiple people. Porthos is a slender, sinister Musketeer (with an EYEPATCH!) whom Dogtanian catches in the act of threatening and stealing from innocent victims.
(Porthos/Rochefort is Roy Fokker, Aramis is Lynn Kyle/Louis Nichols and Athos is Bron. I’m also looking forward to future episodes where Dogtanian has a mouse called Pip living in his house, played by Angelo Dante. Most importantly of all, Milady is Miriya Parino which means of course I must ship Dogtanian with Milady until THE END OF TIME)
Turns out that the sneaky robber Porthos is an evil doppleganger (who actually looks nothing like the real one – the real one is cheerful and friendly does not in fact have an eyepatch).
It’s a plot, of course, to ruin the reputation of the Musketeers. But that doesn’t explain the weirdness of Athos.
I do quite like that Dogtanian ends up leading an angry mob against Porthos, in an escalation of the usual duel meet-cute. It’s also adorable that when Dogtanian gets furious, his nose turns bright red. All D’Artagnans should come with this feature.
In conclusion, all the villains (except Milady) have moustaches in this story. Moustaches are evil. The Cardinal’s moustache is particularly sinister. I do appreciate how much he looks like Peter Capaldi, though. If Capaldi was a dog.
This Musketeer Media Monday post was brought to you by the paid sponsors of Musketeer Space, all 80+ of them. You guys rule! Previous posts in this series include:
Musketeers in an Exciting Adventure With Airships (2011)
Musketeers Are All For Love (1993)
Looks Good in Leather: BBC Musketeer Edition Part I (2014)
You Can Leave Your Hat On: BBC Musketeer Edition Part II (2014)
It’s Raining Musketeers: BBC Musketeer Edition Part III (2014)
Mickey Mouse the Musketeer (2004)
Musketeers Crack Me Up Seventies Style (1973)
Musketeer in Pink (2009)
Musketeers Break My Heart Seventies Style (1974)
Musketeers in Technicolor (1948)
Musketeer on Mars (2008, 2012)
Bat’Magnan and the Mean Musketeers (2001)
Russian Musketeers Own My Soul (1979)
All the Musketeer Ladies (2015)
K-Drama Musketeers Shoot Horses, Don’t They? (2014)