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Fear is a powerful motivator.
~ Mr. Grasping
Mr. Grasping is the main antagonist of An American Tail: The Treasure of Manhattan Island, the second sequel to An American Tail. He is the loathsome leader of the factory owners.
Mr. Grasping is the leader of the robber baron Factory Owners; which consist of himself and his colleagues, Mr. Toplofty and Mr. O'Bloat. He first appears when he confronts Toni Toponi for being late to work and nearly fires him, but is convinced by Mr. Mousekewitz to let him keep his job. When he is questioned by O'Bloat, another of the factory owners, why he let Toni keep his job, he explains that it is because "fear is a powerful motivator". He is then convinced by the third factory owner named Toplofty to keep an eye of Mr. Mousekewitz, as he considered him to be a troublemaker.
Upon finding out about the Indians, Grasping tells the citizens that the Indians want to attack, stirring them up into an angry mob. After a long rampage to find the Indians, Dr. Dithering is accused of helping the Indians and brought to the butcher shop for his punishment. Before Dr. Dithering is executed, he is rescued by the friendly cat, Tiger, before Mr. Mousekewitz convinces all the mice that the Indians mean no harm and that the factory owners are the real enemy. With every mouse in Manhattan now against them, the factory owners retreat, but not before Mr. Grasping, refusing to admit defeat, orders Chief McBrusque to turn the Indian home into a burial ground.
After McBrusque is stopped, along with Scuttlebutt, the factory owners are forced to give in to the citizen's demands after Mr. Mousekewitz formed a worker's union with them, otherwise, they will go broke. However, Mr. Grasping is unperturbed by this, as he assures Toplofty and O'Bloat that they will soon regain control by claiming that "there are lots of ways to skin a cat," only to be scared off by Tiger.
Mr. Grasping is a scheming, pompous, loathsome, and acquisitive individual. He is shown to be cruel, greedy, ruthless, manipulative, and opprobrious to his workers. Like Toplofty and O'Bloat, Mr. Grasping doesn't care about Indians, and he tells their workers a fib about the Indians being enemies.
Even after his defeat, Grasping learned nothing as he planned on getting back at his workers for forming a union. Also, he shows no compassion for his co-owners beyond what you would expect from a professional. Overall. Mr. Grasping is a horrible being who only cares about money. Even if he did feel as if the Indians were a real threat, his cruel, opprobrious nature makes him untrustworthy at best; purely evil at worst.
Mr. Grasping has light brown fur, gray hair, and white eyebrows. He wears a black top hat with a purple band on his head. His suit is purple, and he has a yellow tie. He is tall and skinny, and walks with a cane.
The Factory Owners appear
Toplofty, O'Bloat, and Grasping
Grasping, O'Bloat, and Toplofty laughing
Grasping ordering McBrusque to keep the workers in line in a brutal way. This is one of the most evil acts he has done in the film.
Friends of the Working Mouse
Grasping, O'Bloat, and Toplofty singing their song
Mr. Grasping and his two colleagues are the only major antagonists in the American Tail film series who have no interaction with Fievel Mousekewitz, the main protagonist of the franchise. They are more the arch-enemies of Fievel's father and only their henchmen have met and fought Fievel.
Mr. Grasping is the overall main antagonist of the film as he is the one who ordered McBrusque to attack the Indian mice in the climax and is responsible for causing a riot to find and attack Cholena. Thus he has bigger plans than any other antagonist in the third film.
Alongside the other villains in the third movie, Mr. Grasping is the only major antagonist who is a rodent in the series, as opposed to Warren T. Rat and Cat R. Waul.
Grasping is one of the least popular villains in the American Tail film series, as many viewed him as a racist character and is not as memorable as the other villains are in the series. Despite this, Ron Perlman is praised for his performance as Grasping.
If An American Tail would have continued with more sequels, there is a 100% chance that Mr. Grasping and his colleagues could reappear and attempt to regain control.
In the fourth sequel An American Tail: Mystery Of The Night Monster, Mr. Grasping, and his colleagues did not appear physically in the movie to make way for the next villain. However, it is possible that they were mentioned at the beginning of the movie, where Papa tells the story of the rats that own a clothing factory and makes the mice that work there very hard to the fact that they had no food, no air, no water, no nothing. Nellie Brie went there undercover and exposes the entire conflict in the newspaper and the factory owners were sent to jail. It is a possible hint that Mr. Grasping and his colleagues attempt to regain control of the mice and were finally sent to jail.
Mr. Grasping is one of the evilest characters in the American Tail film series (alongside his colleagues, Chief McBrusque, and Warren T. Rat). This is due to the fact that he is viewed as a racist character with no redeemable qualities.
There is a brief error where Mr. Grasping's voice changed to Tony Jay's voice instead of Ron Perlman's voice, during the scene where Scuttlebutt shows up to the club and tells him to come inside and then asked McBrusque if he ever met Scuttlebutt. This could also be an animation error as it could have been Mr. Toplofty (who is voiced by Tony Jay) who actually said this line instead of Grasping.