Anime / Halo Legends

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Halo Legends is an anime-styled series of seven short stories set in the Halo universe. What The Animatrix did for the The Matrix films and Batman: Gotham Knight did for The Dark Knight Saga, Halo Legends does for the Halo Expanded Universe. It was produced by Microsoft's internal Halo entertainment team, 343 Industries, with the animation done by six production houses, namely Bee Train, Studio Bones, Casio Entertainment, Production I.G, Studio 4C, and Toei Animation. The shorts were originally released one by one on Halo Waypoint over the course of late 2009, before getting a full DVD/Blu-ray release in early 2010.

The stories shown in this movie are:
  • The Babysitter (Studio 4C): A story about the rivalry between the Spartan-IIs and the ODSTs as they're sent to a Covenant-controlled world to assassinate a Covenant Prophet.
  • The Duel (Production I.G): Taking place long before the Human-Covenant War, this short tells the story of an Arbiter, Fal 'Chavamee, who refuses to accept the Covenant religion.
  • The Package (Casio Entertainment): A CGI-film about a SPARTAN-II raid on a Covenant fleet.
  • Origins (Studio 4C): An expansive history covering the past 100,000 years of the Halo universe, narrated by Cortana in between the events of Halo 3 and Halo 4 (which was released 2 years after the compilation was released). It is comprised of two parts.
  • Homecoming (Production I.G / Bee Train): Focuses on the tragedies caused by the SPARTAN-II program's means of recruitment, and the Spartans coming to terms with their new life.
  • Prototype (Studio Bones): The story of a Marine nicknamed "Ghost" who, despite orders to destroy an advanced prototype armor, uses the suit to buy time for the people evacuating from the planet.
  • Odd One Out (Toei Animation): A non-canon, Affectionate Parody involving a Hot-Blooded Spartan only known as SPARTAN-1337 getting stranded on an unknown dinosaur-inhabited planet.

This series features examples of:

  • Action Girl: Kelly-087, Daisy-023 and Cal-141.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job: Many examples. Dutch has blonde hair in The Babysitter, while in Halo 3: ODST, he has brown hair. Dr. Halsey has blonde hair in The Package and Homecoming, while in the books and Reach, she has black, graying hair. Fred-104 has brown hair instead of black, etc.
  • Alien Invasion: Of the "All-Out Attack" variety. The Flood do this out of instinct, the Covenant because humans are a personal affront to their religious beliefs.
  • Alien Sky: All planets the shorts take place on.
  • All Animals Are Dogs: The T-Rex in Odd One Out.
  • All There in the Manual: The shorts are an interesting mix of being the manual and referencing the manual at the same time.
  • An Axe to Grind: The Brute Chieftain and his Gravity Hammer in The Babysitter.
  • Animation Bump: It's quite obvious that The Package, Origins, and Odd One Out were the shorts that received the best animators, with The Babysitter being the best animated of the other four shorts.
  • The Anime of the Game: A rare case of this being literal for a Western franchise, which usually go with Western Animation for their animated adaptations.
  • Anime Hair: Not surprising, considering this is an anime. In the commentary track of The Babysitter, it's noted that real life Marines would pretty much all have buzz cuts and look like each other, but Anime Hair and different body types were used to visually distinguish the ones in the short. To be fair, Legends isn't the only offender; other Halo media have shown that ODSTs can and do grow full heads of hair, such as Buck from Halo 3: ODST (given that Buck is Nathan Fillion AND a Mal Expy, you don't tell him what to do).
  • Arm Cannon: The titular Prototype (Type I) and Odd One Out's Pluton (Type II.)
  • Armor-Piercing Question: The ODSTs ponder who was babysitting whom (the ODSTs or the Spartan) in The Babysitter.
  • Artistic License: The Hunters and Spartans are often shown as towering far above other characters, more so than in the original games. In particular, the Hunters in The Duel are larger than Wraiths (that said, considering that Scarab Spider Tanks can be considered humongous, slightly more mechanized Hunters, it's possible that Lekgolo worms are able to super-combine into a giant Hunter form; the comparatively smaller in-game ones are permanent colonies, while the giant ones were special multi-colony coalitions created for the purpose of eliminating the Arbiter).
  • Art Shift: Since all the stories are done by different studios, they all have varying styles, but two are of special note. The first being The Duel where the artwork is put through a filter to resemble a watercolor painting. The other one being The Package, which is an All-CGI Cartoon and thus most resembles the games.
  • Ascended Meme: Odd One Out has two: there's SPARTAN-1337, and there's Pluton getting ready to Shoop Da Whoop.
  • The Atoner: Ghost from Prototype.
  • Badass Normal: Orbital Drop Shock Troopers.
  • Battleship Raid: The entirety of The Package.
  • Beehive Barrier: Naturally, due to extensive use of Bubble Shields.
  • Big Bulky Bomb: The Elites use one in The Package.
  • BFS: Haka's sword in The Duel, unusual in a setting dominated by Laser Blades.
  • Big Damn Heroes: The Spartan-II squad in The Package is attacking a Covenant fleet in order to rescue Dr. Halsey. Another example from the same short is the ONI Prowler that rescues said Spartans when they're being pursued by Seraphs.
  • Bittersweet Ending:
    • The Package: The Spartans successfully save Halsey, but at the cost of two Spartans.
    • The Babysitter: The ODST/Spartan squad succeeds in taking out the Prophet but the Spartan dies saving one of the ODSTs.
    • Prototype: Sgt. "Ghost" sacrifices himself to save the remaining evacuees.
  • Bizarre Sexual Dimorphism: The Duel took a lot of Artistic License in order to achieve this trope; this is its depiction of a female Sangheili/Elite! Canonically, however, female Sangheili are actually physically nearly indistinguishable from males (slightly shorter with wider hips); Word of God is that the animators simply felt that making Han too "alien" would, well, alienate audiences, with Frankie O'Connor even admitting around the time of release that a canon-compliant visual depiction of her would be a lot more "alien and gross".
  • Black Dude Dies First: Both Solomon-069 from The Package and Checkman from The Babysitter are the first to die in their respective shorts.
  • Bloodier and Gorier: Prototype especially, to the point of including dismemberment.
  • Breather Episode: Odd One Out.
  • Breath Weapon: Pluton from Odd One Out has one.
  • Broad Strokes: The shorts take a number of liberties with previously established canon. This quickly became contested among the fans, though later sources managed to reconcile some of the discrepancies.
  • Call Forward: From The Package:
  • Canon Discontinuity: Unlike the rest of the shorts, Odd One Out is explicitly stated to be "out of canon" in the commentary.
  • Captain Ersatz:
  • Clone Degeneration: In Homecoming, Daisy-023 finds her own clone in what used to be her house, in a wheelchair. Also subverted, as most of the Spartans' clones had already died years before then.
  • Cloning Blues: The inferior clones of the Spartan recruits.
  • Colour Coded Characters: In episodes that feature multiple Spartans, they usually are wearing differently colored armor from each other so we can tell which one is which. This was unlike previous Halo media; Halo: The Fall of Reach explicitly noted that the Spartans all looked identical with no visual markers when in full armor, with just their trackers to tell them apart. However, later media like Halo: Reach decided it was unfair to keep the player/audience guessing every time, so they too began featuring more customization.
  • Compressed Hair:
    • How does Cal manage to fit all her hair into her helmet?
    • Daisy averts this in that she's shown with a pretty spartan (har har) bob cut that would be able to fit into her helmet.
  • Conspicuous CGI: Pops up in many of the episodes.
  • Continuity Nod: Master Chief's promise to Dr. Halsey in The Package is the same as the one he'll make to Halsey's AI clone Cortana in the games.
  • Converse with the Unconscious: Cortana to Master Chief in Origins I and II.
  • Cool Ship: The stealth carrier and Booster Frames in The Package.
  • Deadpan Snarker: The children of Odd One Out.
  • A Death in the Limelight: All but two of the shorts, including Origins (which is this for the Forerunners).
  • Deconstruction: The shorts are deconstructions of the whole Halo series, as well as things like war and The Stoic archetype. In general, it puts the emotional aspects of the characters more into focus.
  • Defector from Decadence: The Duel reveals that Arbiter Fal 'Chavamee rebelled against the Covenant, which led to the previously-esteemed rank of Arbiter becoming a position of shame for the Elites.
  • Deployable Cover: The Bubble Shield in The Package.
  • Determinator: Spartans, by their very nature. SPARTAN-1337 explicitly states this:
    SPARTAN-1337: No one else would say it, so I will: the fact that I never give up is one of my good points!
  • Distant Reaction Shot: The self-destruct flash in Prototype can be seen from outer space.
  • Downer Ending: Homecoming and The Duel; the former in particular borders on Shoot the Shaggy Dog.
  • Dual Wielding: During the large battle in The Duel, the Arbiter's Energy Sword runs out of power, so he punches two enemy Elites and grabs both their swords.
  • Dubtitle: Did they record the Japanese or the English dub first? In any case, the English release captions the English dub on both audio tracks, making watching the Japanese track rather distracting due to inconsistent scripts (wildly different, in some cases), timing that's fine for English but horribly distracting to a regular viewer of subtitled Japanese, and very noticeable Lull Destruction.
  • Dull Surprise: Evident in a lot of the voice-acting in the English dub. Especially in Homecoming, where the UNSC Marines, who are supposedly surrounded, outnumbered, outgunned, strung-out, and fighting for their lives, sound bored and uninterested.
  • Elites Are More Glamorous: While it does mostly follow characters not seen before, pretty much all the main characters are either Spartans, ODSTs, or Sangheili (who are actually referred to by humans as "Elites").
  • Empathy Doll Shot: A recurring image in Homecoming.
  • Everybody Was Kung-Fu Fighting: Odd One Out.
  • Everything's Better with Dinosaurs: The T-Rex in Odd One Out.
  • The Faceless: In keeping with the tradition of the games, we never see Master Chief's face.
  • Fanservice: The first part of The Package ends with a back shot of three Spartans (John-117, Frederic-104 and Kelly-087) crouched and bent forward ready to sprint toward a large group of Covenant soldiers. Guess whose butt we have the best view of?
  • Final Speech: A dying female marine gives one to Ghost during a series of flashbacks in Prototype.
  • Flashback: There are a great many in Homecoming and The Duel, and a few in Prototype as well.
  • Foreshadowing: The "alien" ruins on Heian in The Babysitter. When you see them, you can clearly see the elements of ancient human architecture in them. It seems the producers were lazy, right? Wrong! Both Halo: Cryptum and the Halo: Evolutions short story From the Office of Dr. William Arthur Iqbal imply that those ruins are the last remnants of the prehistoric human civilization that once rivaled the Forerunners.
  • Gatling Good: The titular Prototype comes equipped with one. Awesomely, but improbably, the Booster Frames in The Package have a deployable turret as well.
  • Ghibli Hills: The dinosaur planet from Odd One Out.
  • Go Mad from the Isolation: Origins shows that Cortana is not doing too well four years after the end of Halo 3.
  • Go Mad from the Revelation: Two of the Spartan trainees who find their Replacement Goldfish clones in Homecoming commit suicide offscreen.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: Frederic-104, being a good guy, sports several attractive facial scars.
  • Guns Akimbo: Master Chief and Kelly-087 in The Package. Also Frederic-104, for one short cut; it's particularly notable because he's dual-wielding a BFG Spartan Laser and an SMG.
  • Gunship Rescue: The last-second arrival of the stealth carrier in The Package. Also horribly subverted in Homecoming, when the gunship gets blown up because the Marines won't listen to Daisy and leave her behind.
  • The Hero Dies: Is the case for no less than half of the shorts, with Fal in The Duel, Daisy-023 in Homecoming, "Ghost" in Prototype and Cal-141 in The Babysitter all dying shortly before their respective shorts' conclusions.
  • Happily Married: The Arbiter and Han in The Duel.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Many.
  • High-Pressure Blood: Goodness, The Duel's outcome...
  • Honor Before Reason:
    • The Arbiter's conundrum in The Duel.
    • When the Master Chief runs out of bullets in The Package, Major Thel 'Lodamee (the red-armored Elite) responds by... tossing him an Energy Sword so they can duel. Though Thel does beat the Chief rather easily almost immediately after, and the latter is only spared by the Elite Supreme Commander choosing to beam Thel out.
  • Hope Spot:
    • In Homecoming, when it looks like Daisy and the Marines might just be able to escape.
    • Origins I, when you see the Forerunners teleport down and bust out the hand-held Wave Motion Guns against the Flood. Then you remember that it's the Forerunners who're fighting here.
  • Hot-Blooded: SPARTAN-1337.
  • Hot Scientist: Played fully straight with Dr. Catherine Halsey herself in The Package. You'd want to check her package out. This is especially amusing considering the fact that she's supposed to be 52 at the time, not to mention her more realistic appearance in Halo: Reach. The producers have admitted that they let her design stray from canon for a little fanservice.
    • Halsey in Homecoming is arguably more attractive than The Package version; Adaptation Dye-Job aside, it's at least justified by the fact that Homecoming Halsey is still in her early 30s.
  • Humanoid Aliens: In order of human resemblance; the Forerunners (who themselves speculate in later media that the Precursors are the reason why they and humanity look surprisingly similar), the Brutes (who are ape-bears), the Grunts (who are little monkey-looking creatures), the Jackals (who have beak/maws for bitin'), and the Elites (who have a distinctive split jaw).
  • Human Popsicle: Master Chief in Origins and Dr. Halsey in The Package.
  • Humans Are Warriors: Deconstructed in Origins. Cortana laments that humanity will never be rid of war, and that the only thing keeping us from killing each other is uniting against a common foe.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: The Covenant battalion in The Duel, outrageously so.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Throughout The Package, the Spartan-IIs practically LIVE in bullet time. Flips and spins and Guns Akimbo galore!
  • Improbable Piloting Skills: The Package features fighter jet/motorcycle hybrids weaving in and out of Covenant fire.
  • Instant Awesome, Just Add Mecha: The titular Prototype is a scaled-up MJOLNIR suit with heavy weapons and full-blown Bubble Shields. Unlike regular MJOLNIR, it's able to be used by normal humans too.
  • International Co Production: Being produced with 343 Industries and the Japanese anime studios mentioned. Even more if you count outsourced work.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Odd One Out, towards both shonen anime AND the entire Halo franchise.
  • Laser Blade: The signature weapon of the Elites.
  • Lightning Bruiser: The Spartans, the Prototype, and everyone in Odd One Out.
  • Lip Lock: The Japanese dub of "The Package", since it's CGI and was animated based on the English track.
  • Lull Destruction: There's a bit going from Japanese to English in The Babysitter. Kelly-087 also throws a Pre-Mortem One-Liner along with her grenades in the Japanese version of The Package.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: Quite prominently in The Package.
  • Made of Iron: ODSTs and Spartans, of course. But SPARTAN-1337 takes the cake.
  • Master Swordsman: Fal 'Chavamee of The Duel, who is able to take on (and destroy) an entire ARMY of Covenant soldiers. Alone.
  • Megaton Punch: Dropped left and right in Odd One Out as part of the shounen-anime-style parody.
  • Memento MacGuffin: Daisy's teddy bear keychain in Homecoming.
  • Mini-Mecha: The Prototype straddles the line between power armor and mecha. A pity that Strong Flesh, Weak Steel is in effect...
  • Mistaken Identity: In Odd One Out, the Prophet of Truth sends out Pluton to crush Master Chief. SPARTAN-1337 is clad in the same iconic colors as John-117. Oops.
  • Mood Whiplash: On the DVD, Odd One Out comes immediately after Homecoming. It makes for a rocky transition.
  • Ms. Fanservice:
    • Cortana.
    • This is also the reason that they made Dr. Halsey look rather youthful for her age (~52 by the events of The Package), according to the commentary. invoked
  • Nigh Invulnerable: In Odd One Out, Pluton takes truly insane damage and is still alive in space at the end of the short after getting blasted through a Slipspace rupture.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: In The Package, Elite Supreme Commander Luro 'Taralumee pulls Thel 'Lodamee away on a gravity lift to retrieve him while their fleet escapes into Slipspace. Unfortunately for the Covenant, Thel was just about to kill John when he got pulled away at the last minute.
  • No One Gets Left Behind:
    • The reason Ghost creatively interprets orders in Prototype.
    • This tropes results in horrific consequences in Homecoming.
  • One-Man Army: The general idea behind the SPARTAN-II program.
  • Outrun the Fireball: Done in The Package.
  • Out of Character: While Dr. Halsey is generally depicted as a cold, stoic character who the Spartans see as a motherly figure of sorts, The Package puts her in a role of a typical Action Girl and has her close to flirting with John (which adds an unfortunate bit of Incest Subtext due to the aforementioned motherly role). Not to mention that she looks far too young for her age compared with the Halsey seen in the novels and games.
  • The Password is Always "Swordfish": The password to confirm the Self-Destruct Mechanism in Prototype just happens to be the last words of the female marine who died in Ghost's arms.
  • Pistol-Whipping: Notably by the ODSTs in The Babysitter, but then, pistol whipping is one of Halo's iconic elements.
  • Powered Armor: The Spartans' MJOLNIR armor... but of course.
  • Power Levels: Pluton in Odd One Out can increase his "power level."
  • Pre Asskicking Oneliner: Frederic-104 in The Package.
    "Alright, the Great Journey ends here."
  • Proud Warrior Race: The Elites.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: Spartan-1337: "I. Am. Spartan!"
  • Quivering Eyes
  • Ramming Always Works: In Odd One Out, Mama disposes of Pluton by launching a space pod at him, pushing him through the slipspace portal.
  • Rapunzel Hair: Cal-141 in The Babysitter, who somehow manages to fit it all inside her helmet.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Ghost in Prototype.
  • Replacement Goldfish: As per series canon, children abducted by the SPARTAN-II project are quietly replaced with faulty clones that die young, so the families never look for the real ones.
  • The Reveal: When Cal-141's helmet comes off in The Babysitter...
  • Roboteching: Happens in Prototype and The Package.
  • Samus Is a Girl: The Spartan in The Babysitter is female (Cal-141 is presumably short for something like "Calliope"). Given that she never once speaks until her helmet is torn off, which itself only happens after she's been mortally wounded, the trope seems to be played more so that the bigoted ODST squad member realizes that there is an actual human underneath the armor, rather than any particular importance on femininity.
  • Scary Dogmatic Aliens: The Covenant.
  • Self-Destruct Mechanism: The Prototype has one.
  • Shoulder Cannon: The Prototype.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Odd One Out was done by Toei Animation. The 'secret weapon' of the Covenant is called Pluton. Do the math. Additionally, the art style, the dinosaurs, Pluton's Chunky Updraft, and the baseball-shaped space pod (which unfolds to become Pluton's armor) are pretty explicit references to Dragon Ball.
    • Cal-141 in The Babysitter is sent to a squad of normal human beings and is a Super Soldier badass who is believed to be male. She is an amazing shot and her gender is only discovered after being injured. She also dies. Who else could we be talking about?
    • The slip-space cannon in the downed frigate in Odd One Out resembles the Macross Gun, moreso than in canon Halo media.
    • The titular mech in Prototype bears more than a passing resemblance to a Jagd Doga. Notably, the shoulders are identical, except for the lack of funnels.
    • The Booster Frames used by the Spartan-IIs in The Package are expies of the GP03 Dendrobrium Orchis.
  • Single-Stroke Battle: The Duel ends with this.
  • Space Is Noisy: Most notably seen in The Package.
  • Space Marines: Well, obviously.
  • Sphere of Destruction: The Prototype's self-destruct.
  • The Squad: The ODSTs in The Babysitter and the Spartan-II squad in The Package.
  • Start of Darkness: Kinda sorta in The Duel, which shows exactly how the position of Arbiter became something to be handed off as a suicide gig to disgraced Elites.
  • The Stoic: Ghost in Prototype, after his previous squad was annihilated. This is misunderstood by the other troopers as being a lack of empathy.
  • Sufficiently Advanced Alien: The Forerunners.
  • Super Prototype: The Prototype in Prototype, the Spartan-IIs as a whole, and especially Pluton in Odd One Out.
  • Super Soldier: The Spartan-IIs, though the shorts have a fondness for showing how their numbers got thinned out.
  • Swiss Army Weapon: The Prototype, a veritable walking arsenal.
  • Taking the Bullet: The Babysitter, when Cal takes a Gravity Hammer to the face for O'Brien.
  • Taking You with Me: The self-destruct mechanism in Prototype generates an explosion large enough to take out any nearby enemies in a very, very large area.
  • Team Mom: A rampant AI in Odd One Out. She's even literally referred to as "Mama".
  • Time Dissonance: Being an AI, Cortana experiences time quite differently from organic creatures.
  • Tomboyish Name: Cal in The Babysitter, which serves to further set up the Samus Is a Girl reveal.
  • Unstoppable Rage: When Haka kills the Arbiter's wife in The Duel, Fal goes ballistic, tearing apart an entire battalion's worth of Covenant, and despite dying in the climactic duel with Haka he manages to kill him too nonetheless.
  • War Is Hell: It should be obvious.
  • Wave Motion Gun: The shoot-you-into-slipspace probe launcher in the crashed frigate from Odd One Out.
  • We Have Reserves: The Elite Supreme Commander in The Package. But knowing Elites, he may have sincerely believed his troops died honorably.
  • The Worf Effect: Lots of Spartans die (Daisy, Cal, Solomon, Arthur, Ralph, etc.), and not always heroically either.

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