Spartakus and the Sun Beneath the Sea (Les mondes engloutis) was a wonderfully crafted animated series that aired sometime in the 80s. It told the story of a civilization that survived a great cataclysm and moved to the center of the earth. These people, the Arkadians, thrived under the power of their artificial sun, The Tehra, until one day it began to fail. In desperation, the Arkadians broke the ancient law and entered the Forbidden Archives to search for an answer. They used their special powers and created a messenger to the people above, naming her Arkana. She meets up with Matt and Rebecca, two ordinary kids from the surface world, Bic and Bac, two strange anteaters from Arkadia, and Spartakus, a mysterious warrior. Together they search the worlds of the strata for a way to save a people and possibly the world. This cartoon is quite possibly one of the greatest animated series of all time. A French cartoon, Spartakus and the Sun Beneath the Sea was very stylized in its animation and way of storytelling. Instead of bright pastel colors and deep lines, the colors were muted with mixtures of earthy tones. And the cartoon had themes of mysticism and surrealism. Yet its deep history and strong characters made the show appealing to people of all ages and tastes.
While crossing the deserts of Barkar, Spartakus recalls the incident that took away his family and forced him into slavery, his life as a gladiator, and the bitter reunion with his long-lost brother.
Matt discovers a strange mask that transports the group to another time and place. A man named Arkshag claims that he can lead them to Arkadia, but Arkana suspects it may be a trap.
Matt and Rebecca discover a parallel world that resembles their hometown, where a war has been raging for countless years. The only way to stop the fighting is to show both sides proof of Arkadia's existence.
Believing Arkana to be long-lost love, a mad scientist sends Tehrig back in time through the group's many adventures, in an attempt to bring her back to him. This episode is what's often called a "clip show", since it consists mostly of scenes from previous episodes.
The group finally reach Arkadia and try to solve the mysteries of the Tehra. Spartakus discovers that his wristguard may hold the key.
The group is forced to battle in a real-life chess match against some of their most fearsome enemies.
Matt follows a devilish trickster and his supernatural pets, a giant eagle and a teleporting snake, on a dangerous quest to find "the gold at the earth's core", thinking it may be the second auracite. Spartakus, knowing that no one has ever returned from the journey, tries to stop him.
When Spartakus plays a song taught to him by his father, a drummer mysteriously appears and leads him on a bizarre journey. If Spartakus can prove he is the rightful heir to an ancient kingdom's throne, he is promised a meeting with his long-lost mother.
Ringnar holds Tehrig prisoner, forcing his triggies to build new luxury high-rise apartments for the pirates. When Nasty Max discovers what Ringnar is up to, the two begin a power struggle for the control of Tehrig, the tower, and the pirates' loyalties.
The travelers meet Tutankhaton, who is about to become pharaoh, and are caught up in a plot by the boy's uncle and the Priests of Amon, who want to seize power and return to worship of the old gods.
When the pirates capture just about everyone on the seas, the group find themselves prisoners in the hold of the pirates' ship. Meanwhile, Bic and Bac have to deal with being forced to work as Massmedia's musicians and trying to recover Spartakus' wristguard from the pirates' casino, all while trying to avoid nasty pickpockets.
The group befriends a city of people descended from the original Arkadians. They use their shapeshifting powers to help rescue Arkana from a pirate trap.
The group returns to Mira's village, which is preparing another confrontation with the Mogokhs. The villagers are divided over a plan to buy peace with the Mogokh leader by giving him a large ransom of gold. Spartakus helps with the plan, hoping he can learn something about his father from Baatu.
A badly damaged Tehrig returns to Arkadia for repairs and soon begins thinking he's actually the pirates' ship. His friends try to bring him out of his delusional state, while recounting some of their adventures involving the pirates in "clip show" fashion.
The travelers discover the explorer Ulysses adrift at sea and help him reach the lost island of Atlantis, which only reappears once every one thousand years.
The group discovers an Aztec-like pyramid hidden deep within a mountain fortress. They meet a priest who intends to save the sun of the Civilization of the Condor by offering Arkana as a sacrifice.
The group returns to the city where Arkana was kidnapped by Thot in order to reunite it with its mother and return it home. But the pirates have built a theme park in the city, with Thot as the main attraction.
Having returned to Arkadia, Spartakus decides that the only to find the secret of the auracite is to go to Arkshag's prison camp, even if it means he can never return. Arkana tries to stop him, but Arkshag prevents her from reaching him in time. Inside the camp, Spartakus discovers the secrets of the oracle and his wristguard.