Tokyo MXTV, BS11, April 5, 2014-June 27, 2015 JAP)
Developed by Tom Ruegger and Paul Rugg, two of the people responsible for the Warner Bros. Television Animation renaissance of the 90s, and Avi Arad, who was responsible for the majority of Marvel Comics’ television and film output since the 1990s, Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures saw the return of Namco’s classic character to television since the 1980s Hanna-Barbera cartoon.
|Betrayus while he was still alive.|
The computer animated series centered around an teenaged orphan Pac-Man (Erin Mathews). His parents had fought in the war against the ghosts, led by Lord Betrayus Sneakerus Spheros (Sam Vincent), who tried to conquer Pac-World. He was stripped of his corporeal form and banished to the Netherworld with the ghosts. The seal to the Netherworld was accidentally opened by Pac when he was avoiding school bully Skeebo (Matt Hill), allowing Betrayus and his ghosts access to Pac-World once again.
|The Ghost Gang: Blinky, Clyde, Inky and Pinky.|
As in the video games on which the show is based, Pac had the ability to eat ghosts and destroy their ectoplasm, leaving only their eyeballs to fly off and reconstitute their forms in a regeneration chamber. This was because he was a Yellow Pac, and one of the last—if not THE last—in all of Pac-World. The ghosts were made tastier when Pac ate berries from the Tree of Life, which also give him a variety of different powers and allowed him to withstand the hostile environment of the Netherworld. Joining him directly from the games was the Ghost Gang: crafty leader Blinky (Ian James Corlett), smart and sarcastic Inky (Lee Tockar), dim-witted-though-wise and caring Clyde (Brain Drummond), and Pinky (Ashleigh Ball), who developed a crush on Pac. Unlike in the games, they only pretend to serve Betrayus; playing dumb and foiling his plans in an effort to aid Pac in exchange for access to their bodies held in the hidden repository.
|Pac with Spiral and Cylindria.|
Pac lived at Maze Academy, a boarding school in the city of Pacopolis, with his friends Cylindria (Andrea Libman) and Spiralton (Vincent). They often aided Pac in his adventures along with Sir Circumference (Corlett), a goofy scientist who created a variety of gadgets to help fight against the ghosts and was in charge of the repository. The President of Pac-World was Stratos Spheros (Vincent), the younger brother of Betrayus. Cylindra and Pinky would often butt heads because of Pinky’s jealousy stemming from the belief that Cylindra also had a crush on Pac.
|Betrayus amidst a horde of ghosts with Dr. Buttocks and Butt-ler.|
Serving Betrayus was the mad scientist ghost Dr. A.H. Buttocks (Brian Drummond), who specialized in monster experimentation and created a variety of devices to aid in Betrayus’ schemes. He often suspected that the Ghost Gang was working with Pac, but Betrayus chose to ignore his warnings. His brother, Butt-ler (also Drummond), served as Betrayus’ servant and sometimes spy. Specter (Brendon Ryan Barrett) was a spy ghost who was stronger and smarter than the others due to never being eaten by a Pac. Master Goo (Vincent Tong) was a calm yet cocky ninja ghost who was a master of Pac-Fu and trained Betrayus’ armies.
|A mean genie.|
Aside from ghosts, other inhabitants of the Netherworld included Count Pacula (a play on Dracula, voiced by Vincent), a vampire who could only be summoned when two moons turned blue every 100 Halloweens; Madame Ghoulasha (Kathleen Barr), a witch who did favors for Betrayus in order to win his affections; Jean (Nicole Oliver), a genie used by Buttocks to trap Pac and keep the ghosts in Pac-World; The Easter Pac-Peep (Ball), a humanoid marshmallow chicken who became hostile due to Betrayus’ past pranks; Dentures of Doom (Paul Dobson), living dentures belonging to the Mummy Wizard (also Dobson) that brought him to life and gave him his powers; and Dr. Pacenstein (a play on Frankenstein, voiced by Erica Mendez), a mad scientist who was a talking brain in a glass jar with autonomous limbs that usually annoyed him. Aliens, known as Pointy Heads, also frequently set their sights on Pac-World; particularly their overlord, Apex (Colin Murdock), scientist Professor Pointybrains (Drummond), and minion Tip (Gabe Khouth).
|Pac and his friends leaving Maze Academy.|
Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures debuted on Disney XD on June 15, 2013 in the United States. It subsequently ran on Disney XD, and later Family Chrgd, in Canada beginning on March 17, 2014, and on Tokyo MX and BS11 in Japan on April 5, 2014. The series was produced by 41 Entertainment, Arad Productions and Bandai Namco Entertainment, and was animated by Sprite Animation Studios and OLM Digitial, Inc. The theme was composed by William Anderson with lyrics by Arad, and performed by Gabriel C. Brown. The rest of the series’ music was composed by Tetsuya Takahashi, Naoyuki Horiko, Shogo Ohnishi, Reiji Kitazato, Masafumi Okubo and Kuniyuki Morohashi and often took cues from the games’ sound effects. Tetsuya Ishii was the lead character designer.
The first season ran for 26 episodes. The second season was set to run for the same length but was instead cut in half by distributors to make a third season. The new third season aired in Japan first between January and April of 2015, while in the United States it didn’t begin until that May. Two specials were made: Santa Pac’s Merry Berry Day and Pac’s Scary Halloween, which were later broken up into the episodes “Happy Holidays and a Merry Berry Day” and “Santa Pac” and the two-part “Pac’s Very Scary Halloween”, respectively. The Halloween and second Christmas episodes first aired on Netflix in the United States. The series was written by Arad, Ruegger and Rugg, along with Ken Pontac, Marcy Brown, Dennis Haley, Michael Maurer, Jymn Magon, Cydne Clark, Bob Forward, Steve Granat, Glenn Leopold, Eric Shaw, Len Uhley, Mark Young, Alexandra Bland and story editor Sean Catherine Derek.
|Pinky flirts with Pac.|
Episodes of the series have been released to DVD beginning in 2013. In Australia, 12 episodes were released between the sets The Adventure Begins and Pac to the Future. In North America in 2014, The Adventure Begins was released containing only the first episode. Following that, each release contained four episodes each: Pac is Back (initially a Wal-Mart exclusive), All You Can Eat, Let the Games Begin! (exclusive to Target), Ghost Patrol! and A Berry Scary Night. Three-episode collections Indiana Pac and the Temple of Slime and Mission Impacable! were released exclusively to Redbox, with Pac to the Future going to Redbox Canada. Additional collections included Movie 4-Pac, Jurassic Pac and 8-Pac, as well as a 3-DVD collection. The series has also been made available for streaming on Amazon Prime and Netflix.
Bandai produced a line of toys to coincide with the show. They included standard figures of Pac and his friends, spinning figures, three versions of Pac with special tongue features, and plush dolls. There was also a giant Pac who could spit-up slime from his mouth, symbolizing his having just eaten some ghosts. K’Nex put out a several sets with figures to form a constructible maze playset. Video games based on the show were also published by Bandai Namco. An endless runner for mobile devices called Pac-Man Dash! was developed by M2 and released in 2013. It was available until Bandai Namco had it removed from online stores in 2017. A 3D platformer sharing the show’s name was developed by Monkey Bar Games was released for home consoles in late 2013, with a 2D platformer for the Nintendo 3DS following by Inti Creates. A sequel for the home consoles followed in October 2014. The characters from the show were also featured in the menus of the compilation game Pac-Man Museum (the games based on the show, however, were not included).