|“||You will all serve me, you puny creatures!||„|
|~ Anansi, yelling at the Avalon World Tour|
Anansi was a powerful trickster from the animated series Gargoyles, and the main antagonist in the season 2 episode "Mark of the Panther."
He was the Child of Oberon, one of the mystical beings that act as deities and mythical spirits in various human cultures. He is largely based on the West African deity of the same name; however, unlike the Anansi of the African folktales, this depiction of the spider god was more openly antagonistic on his first encounter with the Manhattan Clan. Ironically, while the real world deity was worshiped as a god of freedom and a patron for Caribbean slaves, the Gargoyles character would force humans into servitude.
He was voiced by Star Trek actor LeVar Burton.
In the Gargoyles Universe, much like the countless other Children Of Oberon, Anansi was prone to being a trickster but was more openly cruel in his ways despite not being permitted to openly meddle in the affairs of humans.
Anansi, along with the rest of Oberon's Children, were ordered by Oberon in the past to leave the island Avalon in order to learn humility and were not to return until their king summoned them back.
Long ago, a female panther (The Panther Queen) angered a diminutive Anansi by lashing out at his web. As punishment the spider transformed her into a human female who now yearned for the return of her animal traits. She threatened to kill him, but the spider laughed at her empty threats. Anansi promised to reverse the curse if she were to built a city in the form of a spider-web for him, to which she agreed by marrying the Oba (Nigerian word for ruler) of the Houka tribe to assist her in this task. Together, they built the great city of Kara Digi and its citizens hunted for Anansi, bringing him food and as a result, the trickster grew fat and greedy. Meanwhile, The Panther Queen produced several human children, of whom she grew very fond off.
Anansi kept his promise and turned the queen back into a panther, yet she missed her human children and wanted Anansi to turn them into panthers as well so she could care for them. Anansi was not prepared to grant her request, saying that only one of her children could be transformed. Much to Anansi's displeasure, she picked her eldest son. Wishing to keep the youth in his service, Anansi tried to turn him against his mother, tricking the youth into killing his own mother while in panther form. But in the end, the youth realized the truth and agreed to become a panther as well. Anansi reluctantly turned the prince into a panther and then vented his anger upon Kara Digi, driving its people away. Unfortunately for Anansi, this action backfired on him and once the people of Kara Digi had left they could no longer hunt for him and he went hungry again. Kara Digi soon fell into ruin as sell as legend.
Mark of the Panther
In the 1990s, a local Nigerian chieftain named Fara Maku fell in love a woman named Tea Gora, but she spurned him in favor of living in the big city. Stricken with grief, Fara found Anansi and made a bargain with him; he would become a werepanther and hunt for the spider, so that he could find a way of keeping Tea Gora with him by turning her into a werepanther as well. Anansi agreed and grew so fat upon the food that Fara Maku brought him that he became clumsy and lethargic. When the werepanthers led Goliath and his companions: the gargoyles Angela and Bronx, and the humans Elisa Maza and Diane Maza (Elisa's mother, and a local griot) to the lost city of Kara Digi, they fought the great trickster, who intended to transform the rest of them into werepanthers in order to increase his food supply. Angela noticed that the spider's magic was based around spinning his web, and as such told the rest of the group to cut him down. In a final and desperate attempt to save his life the spider swore to grant them wishes, but they refused. Goliath delivered the final blow to Anansi in the form of a spear. As an immortal, Anansi did not die and simply vanished by turning into a small spider and scuttled away into the night.
In the aftermath, Fara Maku and Tea continued being werepanthers, but opted to use their powers to drive away poachers as a form of redemption for their crimes towards each other.
The Gathering: Part One
Anansi is last seen in line with the other Children of Oberon during The Gathering, the return to Avalon. It is revealed he had gained his colossal size, but Anansi did not speak in this episode.
Powers and Abilities
As a Child of Oberon, Anansi proved to be very difficult to combat on account of his various magical abilities which he usually performed by spinning a large spider-web. As a hereditary weakness, Anansi was susceptible to any form of iron as it could nullify his powers and greatly weaken him.
Shape-shifting: Anansi did not have a true physical form like most other fairies in the series, but merely appeared in the form of a spider out of preference and could appear in any other shape if he so desired. He changed shape after a bright light covered his body, as was the case when he turned from his massive form into a regular sized arachnid.
Transmogrification: the spider god could freely turn any other animal from one form into another, such as in the case of turning a panther into a human and then turning a human into a panther. He could even bestow this power onto others, such as Fara Maku and Tea, although neither of them could control the transformation and would only transform into their panther forms after being angered or frustrated, and later revert after calming-down.
- Aside from the obvious spider motiff, Anansi's purple and red colour pallet further evokes the similarity colored costume worn by Spider-Man.
- in real-world mythology Anansi is a trickster-hero who is only harmful to those who do wrong and is otherwise seen as a positive figure, in stark contrast to his depiction in Gargoyles.