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[[quoteright:330:[[Franchise/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/tnmt1_3731.jpg]]]]

A common western action cartoon format that was very popular in the 1980s and 1990s (after the success of ''Franchise/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles'' [[FountainOfExpies spawned]] a [[FollowTheLeader crop of imitators]]) and still continues to this day.

The format is more or less this: A team of heroic monsters (aliens, mutants, or magical beings) are somehow created, awakened, or arrived in the modern world. Usually a modern American city. They are honorable creatures who set out to [[TheyFightCrime fight crime]]. The average person fears them for their appearance, and they must hide from {{Muggles}} or humans. However, they befriend one or two open-minded humans, usually either children or career women. These women or children end up being the team's friends and guides to modern Earth, and are {{Secret Keeper}}s, and may also be the KidWithTheLeash. Together, they all fight supervillains and evil creatures in a CityOfAdventure.

Since these shows are usually aimed at young boys, expect TheSmurfettePrinciple to be in full swing. The heroes are usually [[LastOfHisKind The Last of Their Kind]], with no females[[note]]unless there's TheChick[[/note]]. Consequently, InterspeciesRomance will usually be explored, [[{{Shipping}} particularly by fans]], especially if the SecretKeeper is a career woman.

The SecretKeeper will often be [[BatmanInMyBasement hiding them]] in the beginning, but since the monstrous team is usually a FiveManBand or PowerTrio, they usually get their own headquarters. It's a good thing that AbandonedWarehouse/office building/ornate palace was around!

These series tend to be MerchandiseDriven.

Not to be confused with NinjaPirateZombieRobot, though the RuleOfCool often plays a role.

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!!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* The Japanese ''{{Microman}}'' anime.
* This was actually the format for ''SonicX'', with Sonic and his Furry pals as the "monsters" (albeit cute ones) and the Thorndyke family as their human allies. This was ostensibly to give the audience a human identification character -- Chris. They quickly dropped TheMasquerade though, and Sonic became an instant celebrity.
* Implied with the theme song for ''{{Samurai Pizza Cats}}'', although the actual show doesn't follow any of the trope's characteristics.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* Going way, way back, the original ComicBook/{{X-Men}} basically started off this way, minus the pet human.
* ConversationalTroping in an early-90s issue of ''GreenLantern'' set at a toy expo: "Buddy, every ten minutes I've got someone trying to sell me 'the new Turtles'. I've a warehouse full of stupid dinosaurs named after dead presidents!"
* Many other [[FurryComic anthropomorphic]] [[AnimalSuperheroes animal superhero]] comics which were "inspired" by the Turtles. They spawned [[http://www.misterkitty.org/extras/stupidcovers/stupidcomics121.html a bunch]] of "adjective, adjective, adjective, noun" anthropomorphic imitations/parodies, but those were mostly dreamed up by fans and wannabe pros looking to cash in (TMNT #1 was VERY rare and up to $2-300 in demand). This didn't stop until it crashed the comic market (the famous "black and white implosion" which was a dry run for the DorkAge market collapse).
** ''AdolescentRadioactiveBlackBeltHamsters''
** ''Preteen Dirty-Gene Kung-Fu Kangaroos''
** ''Geriatric Gangrene Jujitsu Gerbils''
** ''Cold-Blooded Chameleon Commandos''
** ''Mildly Microwaved Pre-Pubescent Kung-Fu Gophers''
** ''Dinosaurs For Hire''
** ''[[http://www.misterkitty.org/extras/stupidcovers/stupidcomics93.html Guerilla Groundhog]]''. ''Slings & Arrows Comic Guide'' says that this is one of the better ones, as it was one of the few that {{Downplayed|Trope}} the satire.
** ''[[http://www.atomicavenue.com/atomic/titledetail.aspx?TitleID=2898 Naive Inter-Dimensional Commando Koalas]]'' is also a somewhat downplayed example.
** Even MarvelComics got in on it with ''Power Pachyderms'' (parody) and ''ComicBook/BruteForce'' (played straight)
** Averted with ''Samurai Squirrel'', a two-issue fling that was serious and more story-driven
* ''Mini-Comics Included'' is a series of mini-comics based on toylines that aren't real but could easily have been; Prime-8s, about a squad of 8 intelligent, superpowered apes and monkeys, is partially based on TMNT and this trope in general. This group was a little larger than most, and had two females.
* In a back-up story of a CountDuckula comic book (Marvel), DangerMouse faces Enraged Mutant Ninja Poodles.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* Often parodied on ''Late Night With Creator/ConanOBrien'', where Conan's mock fall previews often feature programs such as ''Embryonic Rockabilly Polka-Dotted Fighter Pilots'' or ''Country Cuckoo-Clock Codpiece Zulu Warriors''.
* Non-cartoon example: ''Series/BeautyAndTheBeast''.
* The live-action show ''DarkAngel'' was similar in premise, with the exception that most of the [[CatGirl Chimera]] could at least pass for human (with the notable exception of Joshua in season 2). Nevertheless, Logan acted as a SecretKeeper for Max and the rest.
* In-show commercials in the first episode of ''RoundHouse'' gave us these parody titles: "Adolescent Deformed Tai-Kwon-Do Tortoises", "Pre-teen Genetically-altered Martial Arts Iguanas", and "Kinda Young Really Screwed Up Karate Koalas".
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Music]]
* In the wake of the craze, Music/RayStevens recorded "Teenage Mutant Kung Fu [[CluckingFunny Chickens]]", about a quartet of fighting chickens.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Radio]]
* ''How Green Was My Cactus'' occasionally had episodes featuring the "Stone Age Mutant Whinging [[AustralianPolitics Liberals]]"
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* The VideoGame/{{Battletoads}} from the videogame of the same name. Unique in that it doesn't follow many of the sub-tropes, instead taking place in a world that looks like it came from a heavy metal record cover.
* Parodied in the old adventure game ''The Big Red Adventure''. One TV showed the "Teenage Mutant Ninja [[Music/TheBeatles Beetles]]", who were four cockroaches [[http://www.mobygames.com/game/dos/big-red-adventure/screenshots/gameShotId,258412/ with the faces of the Fab Four]]!
* The Cheetahmen from ''VideoGame/{{Action 52}}''.
* ''VideoGame/{{Paper Mario}}'' features the blatantly obvious Ninjakoopa Bros.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* Master of the subverted trope that it is, the ''PerryBibleFellowship'' gives us [[http://pbfcomics.com/198/ this]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Original]]
* The anime parody ''Japanoschlampen'' by {{Coldmirror}} features the NINJAMUTANTDUCKS!
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''Franchise/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles'' is the TropeCodifier, of course -- with April O'Neil, Casey Jones, and Irma Langenstein (and later on, Carter) as the human allies.
* [[TransformersGeneration1 The original]] ''{{Transformers}}'' -- with the Witwicky family as the human allies.
** Although the Autobots never really hid from ''anyone'' in the original series. They were acknowledged by the world's leaders as early as the end of the three-part pilot.
*** In the TV show, that is. In the comic, the world remained fearful of all Transformers, regardless of faction. The Autobots had a few reliable human allies like Buster Witwicky and G.B. Blackrock, but they were few and far between.
** ''WesternAnimation/TransformersAnimated'' is more in line with this trope, featuring Sari as the kid, a smaller [[FiveManBand Five 'Bot Band]], and an abandoned Detroit car factory as their HQ. The Autobots still don't hide from anyone, though; in fact, they rather visibly help [[HeroInsurance repair the damage their fights cause]], which helps keep them in the city's good graces.
** Played straight with ''WesternAnimation/TransformersPrime''.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Gargoyles}}'' -- with Elisa Maza as their human ally. Gargoyles was one of the few shows to acknowledge that a [[{{Masquerade}} situation like this]] simply can't last forever, and slowly had the Gargoyles transition from complete secret, to urban myth, to [[TheUnmasquedWorld publicly known]]... and feared.
* ''WesternAnimation/StreetSharks'' -- with a SurferDude as their human ally. (The Sharks themselves used to be human surfers as well... it's complicated.)
** Not to mention their spinoff series, ''WesternAnimation/ExtremeDinosaurs!'' -- Just the [[TotallyRadical title]] should do.
* ''WesternAnimation/MummiesAlive'' Centuries old Mummies able to summon PoweredArmor, one of them a [[SweetPollyOliver Sweet Polly ... Cleopatra]]?... Ride around in [[{{Magitek}} weird ancient Egyptian vehicles]] and got an Egyptian version of a boomerang whilst protecting a child reincarnation of an ancient Egyptian Pharaoh from an [[EvilChancellor advisor of said Pharaoh.]]
* ''WesternAnimation/BikerMiceFromMars'' -- allied with Charley, a WrenchWench mechanic whose garage they live in. One of them has a crush on her, as she reminds him of a girl back home.
* ''ToxicCrusaders'', the kid-friendly animated SpinOff of the ''ToxicAvenger'' movies.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Dinosaucers}}'', in which good and evil teams of [[EverythingsBetterWithDinosaurs evolved dinosaurs]] engage in more-or-less comic battles on modern day Earth. The good guys have a bunch of human teenagers as their {{Secret Keeper}}s.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheMightyDucks'' cartoon, which may as well been called "Hockey-Playing Twentysomething Extraterrestrial Mallards". About a group of anthropomorphic ducks from a world surronded by puck-shaped asteroids where hockey is SeriousBusiness (...you mean they're Canadian? *[[http://www.instantrimshot.com/ rimshot]]*) fighting space dragons and posing as a regular hockey team in modern-day California. No, really.
** To be fair, they 'pose' as a hockey team by actually playing hockey in a league. But they still fight space dragons and villains-of-the-week. They're pretty much outed as aliens in the first few episodes.
* ''WesternAnimation/AquaTeenHungerForce'' spoofs this. (Or at least the title does.)
* Parodied in ''WesternAnimation/TinyToonAdventures'', in which Plucky is a fan of the "Immature Radioactive Samurai Slugs" franchise.
* The initial FiveEpisodePilot of ''WesternAnimation/{{Challenge of the GoBots}}'' was like this. Since the Gobots' cover has been completely blown by the end of that StoryArc (it's not as if Leader-1 didn't ''try'' to observe the ObstructiveCodeOfConduct at first), subsequent episodes show the Guardians interacting with Earth's people and governments completely out in the open.
* The ''WesternAnimation/{{Darkstalkers}}'' cartoon, with Felicia, Jon Talbain, Sasquatch, Rikuo, and later Hsien-Ko as the good guys, with a wizard named Harry and a butler named Klaus as human allies. Pyron, Demitri, Raptor, Anakaris, and even Morrigan were bad guys, and Bishamon, Donovan, and Hutzil showed up as neutrals.
* The 1993 series ''WesternAnimation/StoneProtectors'' attempted to market the troll doll craze to grade school boys. The heroes are an [[StylisticSuck awful]] FakeBand from NewYorkCity who are transformed into troll-like {{super hero}}es by [[MineralMacGuffin magical crystals]], then have to protect the crystals from the Saurians, reptilian bad guys who would use their powers for evil. The problem of hiding the conflict from the public is averted because the heroes are quickly transported to the MagicalLand where the crystals came from.
** There were also ''Trollz,'' produced about 10 years later, which did the same thing, but for a female audience (read: It ripped off ''WesternAnimation/WinxClub'' and ''Franchise/SailorMoon'' instead of the TMNT.)
* ''AdventuresOfTheGummiBears'' might count... only it's pseudo-medieval instead of modern day, and it averts TheSmurfettePrinciple.
%%* ''WesternAnimation/{{Road Rovers}}''.
* ''KungFuDinoPosse'', a 40-episode cartoon series that aired on Starz in 2009, is an homage to several Secret Mutant Hero Teams before it, including the Street Sharks spinoff ''ExtremeDinosaurs'' and TMNT. In modern times, a quirky science geek accidentally thaws out four anthropomorphic dinosaurs, whereupon they inflict inexplicable Kung Fu upon evil raptor villains and their army of generic mutants. The series is well aware of its own cliches and often leverages them for comic effect.
%%* ''WesternAnimation/ButtUglyMartians''
* ''[[ComicBook/BuckyOHareAndTheToadWars Bucky O'Hare]]'' was this [[TropesInSpace In Space]], with the strange twist that the anthropomorphic animals are the norm, and it's the ''human'' character that has to be kept hidden from that reality's "muggles".
* Parodied in ''WesternAnimation/TheFairlyOddparents'' movie "Channel Chasers", where one of the TV shows Timmy travels through is "Adolescent Genetically-Altered Karate Cows".
[[/folder]]
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