Jim Bottone: An Animated Journey Between Adventure and Personal Growth

Jim Bottone: An Animated Journey Between Adventure and Personal Growth


“Jim Bottone” is an animated series that made its debut in the United States in 1999 on Cartoon Network, and then arrived in Italy on Fox Kids and Jetix in 2001. The series is a free interpretation of the novel “The Adventures of Jim Bottone ” by Michael Ende, and although it retains the essence of the original story, it introduces new characters and settings.

Plot and Characters: First Season

The series begins with the evil dragoness, Mrs. Fang, living in the land of Dispero City. Eager to learn to laugh to counteract her own aging, she tasks the Thirteen Pirates with kidnapping children from all over the world. One of these children is Jim Bottone, who, due to a postman's mistake, ends up on the island of Speropoli. Growing up on the island, Jim becomes friends with the railway worker Luca and his locomotive Emma. But when the island becomes too small for them, an adventure begins that will take them to Mandala, where they meet Li Si, the emperor's daughter. The mission becomes that of saving Li Si and other kidnapped children, on a journey full of dangers and adventures.

Evolution: Second Season

The second season sees the rise of a new antagonist, Pi Pa Po, the treacherous minister of the Emperor of Mandala. Discovering a book that provides directions to create the Eternity Crystal, a magical object of great power, Pi Pa Po teams up with the Thirteen Pirates. Jim, Luca, Emma and a new engine named Molly, along with Li Si, embark on a new journey to stop this new threat. The season culminates in an epic battle for control of the crystal, which reveals startling truths about Jim and the Thirteen Pirates' past.

Differences with the Original Book

Despite being based on the novel by Michael Ende, the animated series introduces numerous original elements, including new characters and settings. These changes, however, do not distract from the central plot and the message of personal growth and adventure that are at the heart of the story.

Distribution and Reception

After its first broadcast in the United States, the series reached several other countries, including Germany and Italy. In Italy, the series was initially broadcast on Fox Kids and Jetix, before being revived on K2 and Frisbee.


“Jim Button” is an animated series that, while taking narrative liberties, manages to capture the essence of Michael Ende's original novel. With a compelling plot and well-developed characters, the series offers an unforgettable journey through fantastical worlds, touching on themes such as friendship, courage and personal growth.

Data Sheet

Original title Jim Button
Original language English
Country United States, Germany
Author Michael Ende (original novel)
Regia Bruno Bianchi, Jan Nonhof
Producer Bruno Bianchi, Léon G. Arcand
Film script Theo Kerp, Heribert Schulmeyer
Music Haim Saban, Shuki Levy, Udi Harpaz
Studio Saban Entertainment, Saban International Paris, CinéGroupe
Network Cartoon Network (USA), KiKA (Germany), Fox Kids (Europe), TF1 (France)
Date 1st TV August 26, 1999 - September 30, 2000
Seasons 2
Episodes 52 (complete)
Relationship 4:3
Episode duration 25 min
Italian network Fox Kids, Jetix, K2, Frisbee
1st Italian TV December 3 2001
Episodes it. 52 (complete)
Duration ep. it. 25 mins