Anime: Shinzo

Mushrambo, also known as Shinzo, is a 32-episode Shōnen series that aired on Fox Kids/Jetix in the early 2000s.

In the 22nd century, humankind was wiped from the face of the Earth by their own genetically engineered creatures called enterrans/matrixer. As man’s defeat approached, one scientist, Dr. Tatsuro, placed his daughter, Yakumo, into suspended animation with hopes that when she awoke, she could reach Shinzo/Center, where the last humans are supposed to be.

She awakens 500 years in the future (300 in Japanese) and begins her journey in search for Shinzo/Center to save the humans and bring peace between them and the enterrans. Along the way, she befriends three enterrans who vow to protect her, Mushra, Saago, and Kutall. With a price on her head and a group of villains after her, they do quite a lot of protecting.

The show tends to be more about the battles with the three enterrans each having a their own Super Mode (later with wings) and are even able to combine into the legendary Mushrambo.

The adaptions differ per country, and some are rather butchered, but all tend to follow the general travel-and-battle Shonen plot.

The series provides the following tropes:

  • Actual Pacifist: Yakumo refuses to fight anyone, even if they are attacking her personally. Given that she's the Big Bad's most wanted, this gets her into trouble at least once an episode.
  • After the End: The 22nd century, 300/500 years (depending on which version you watch) after a huge war that destroyed the humans.
  • Aliens Speaking English: In the original Japanese version Yakumo and Mushra meet Saago around the New York area. Saago speaks short phrases in English from time to time.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: The enterrans or kadrians that don’t look human or huggable. If an enemy does look human, they will undergo a transformation that makes sure you know they're evil. Unless they're female, in which case they'll only die in a degrading way.
  • All Your Powers Combined: Rusephine, the last "king" the heroes face, absorbs the remains of the others, but is then in turn absorbed by Mushrambo, the Dark King.
  • And Now You Must Marry Me: The Reptile King Ryuma (one of the seven Enterran generals) decides to do this to Yakumo to prove his superiority over her. He says something to the effect of "Anyone can kill their enemy. Only the truly powerful can '’marry’' them.”
  • Applied Phlebotinum: The cards grant enterrans new powers.
  • Artistic License – Biology: Just how does the ecosystem function if all death results in the body vaporizing, leaving no biomass at all, just a card?
  • Artistic License – Geography: 300 (500 in the English dub) years into the future, the statue of liberty is partially buried and surrounded by forest, with miles and miles of land around. At the same time, Egypt has become an ocean. Global warming apparently is only regional.
  • Bad Boss: Most villains who have servants will be seen harming/killing said servants for no apparent reason; often, they didn't even fail them.
  • Barrier Maiden: Yakumo becomes this in season 2 where her role is keeping Lanancuras in his can until her friends arrive to kill him.
  • Big Bad: Evil Mushrambo in the first season, Lanancuras in the second.
  • Blob Monster: Eilis is a liquid metal variation of this. He specifically traps the heroes by disguising himself as an entire amusement park in the second season.
  • Broken Aesop: They're trying to say that racism and such is bad and forgiveness is good, yet Enterrans outside of the three heroes are at the best depicted as greedy, sneaky and deceiving, and with one mild exception all of the villains are pure, sadistic evil. If Yakumo forgives someone, they will endanger her life shortly after. The real message becomes : forgiveness is stupid and you can totally judge people on their appearance.
  • Chained by Fashion: Lanancuras has rock armor. Turns out that's the last bit of the asteroid that restrained his power, and once it's all knocked off of him in battle, he goes from powerful to god-like.
  • Crossdressing Voices: Mushra, Hyper Mushra, Mushrambo, Black Mushrambo, Gold Mushrambo, Satan Mushrambo, and Ryuma in the Japanese version
  • Cute Kitten: Este/Sanju, Rei, and Sen are tiny little cat enterans.
  • Damsel in Distress: Yakumo, A LOT. Justified as she's an Actual Pacifist on every enteran's hit list.
  • Deader Than Dead: With difficulty and the right tech, an Enterran reduced to End Card form can be revived. Cut the card, however, and that's that.
  • Deus ex Machina: The card that turned Mushra back into a god and as is the random power-up of pink light in the final episode. It's a justified example as it was a battle involving the gods/Guardians.
  • Devour the Dragon: An oddly literal version of this comes when Ryuma transforms into Hyper Serpent Warrior Ryuma and severs Grandora's (a three headed dragon) head for the express purpose of obtaining and swallowing Grandora's card to become Grand Ryuma.
  • Distant Finale: Manga only Five years into the future, Saago and Kutaru return to a small village where Matrixer live peacefully with humans and are greeted by a girl who is the daughter of Mushra and Yakumo.
  • Earth-Shattering Kaboom: Mercury, Venus, and almost Earth during the Final Battle.
  • Elemental Powers: Fire, water, earth, time, darkness, light, web, ice and ghost.
  • The End of the World as We Know It: Prior to the series' first timeline, there was global genocide on the human race, leaving the world to the Enterrans. In the second time line, Lanancuras threatens it as well.
  • Eye Beams: Mushrambo was able to instantly incinerate a mook with black fire just by glancing in his direction. He was of course evil and brainwashed at the time but that didn't change how powerful he was so chances are he could still do it.
  • The Farmer and the Viper: This happens quite a lot; when Yakumo shows kindness towards a villain, you can bet they'll try to kill her anyway. Even regular Enterrans will betray her kindness in a second; Yakumo saves an Enterran child, but once the villagers find out she's human, they try to burn her.
  • Fusion Dance: Enterrans have the ability to transform to become stronger and they turn into "En Cards" when they die. When an Enterran eats an En Card, or absorbs one through the chest, they transform into a composite of them self and the Enterran the card they ate/absorbed came from. The protagonist Mushra does this with the other two male heroes, Saago and Kutall, to become Mushrambo. Subverted later on when it's revealed that they're actually the three split components of the Anterran leader General Mushrambo, who originally orchestrated the genocide of the human race.
  • Frilly Upgrade: A rare male example is Mushra. His most powerful form as a Galaxial god is, in fact, his regular orange armour with pink frills added.
  • Frothy Mugs of Water: In the Toon Disney version, Kutaal somehow gets drunk on apple juice.
  • Genetic Engineering Is the New Nuke: Somehow, mixing the DNA of humans with those of animals granted the some of the resulting creatures magical powers of the elements, the spirit world, and the time-space continuum.
  • Girl in a Box: Yakumo was placed in one by her father for her protection pre-series. Then she woke up 300/500 years later.
  • Golden Super Mode: Mushrambo has a golden armored form that's only second to God Mushra. Earlier in the series, a Humongous Mecha turns gold when at full power.
  • Heroic Bystander: When Mushra returns to godhood Saago and Kutal can only watch.
  • Homage:
    • Journey to the West: Like Xuanzang, Yakumo is constantly advocating sparing the lives of their enemies, and Mushra like Sun Wukong, loves to fight, wields a staff, and wears a golden headband. Kutal counterparts to Zhu Bajie, and Saago to Sha Wujing. Also, the way Hakuba transforms into a car to transport Yakumo is similar to the other show.
    • Grandora is based on King Ghidorah, arch-enemy of Godzilla. It even has Godzilla's roar. Unlike King Ghidorah, Grandora has arms and only one tail where King Ghidorah has two tails.
  • Hot-Blooded: Mushra in hise base form is quick to anger and aggression but though his power increases by transforming into Hyper Mushra and then even further into Mushrambo, his hot blood cools down a fair bit. The transformations appear to increase his maturity alongside his power level. When he becomes Celestial Mushra at the very end of the series, which is more powerful than Mushrambo his personality is the same as his regular form. It becomes Fridge Brilliance when you realize that only this transformation is natural to him; the other involved other people/power sources.
  • Human Popsicle: Yakumo is placed in Cold Sleep for 300 years (500 in the dub). The dub also expands/alters this a bit by presenting it as a suspended animation that makes her age 1 year for every 50.
  • I Have You Now, My Pretty: Ryuma gets distressing affectionate with a captured Yakumo.
  • Ill Girl: Yakumo, after the Time Skip because she's experinecing a prolonged Heroic Red Ring Of Death.
  • Jerk Ass Facade: The local Tin Man, King Niper, only pretends to be nasty to appease those above him. He's actually sympathetic to Yakumo and her guardians.
  • Kaiju: Enterrans are basically mons that populate the earth After the End. They don't get ginormous... usually. One Big Bad has as The Dragon an actual three-headed dragon named Grendora. Grendora is positively enormous, shoots ice blasts, and uses canned Godzilla roars.
  • Kick the Dog: Specifically, try to kill the kittens.
  • Killed Off for Real: Humans don't have a End Card form like enterrans and so death of any kind for them is premanent.
  • Large Ham: Ryuma. Instead of killing Yakumo as every other enterran wants to do, he chooses to marry Yakumo, complete with ice castle wedding ceremony, frilly dress, and a castle-full of subjects as onlookers.
  • Last of His Kind: Yakumo is the only human left because all the others were killed by enterrans. When the timeline is altered, the genocide never happened.
  • Let's Get Dangerous: Yakumo gives up her pacifism shtick at the end of the first season and displays Psychic Powers.
  • MacGuffin Location: Yakumo is trying to reach the eponymous Shinzo, the last human city several centuries in the future. In the original Japanese version it's called "Mushrambo", after the main character's fusion form.
  • The Man Behind the Man: Lanancuras is the cause of the wars on Entera.
  • Man Child: Very much a Justified Trope. Yakumo was in suspended animation from the time she was 4 till she was 17 so while she matured physically... mentally is a different story, as such many of her mannerisms are that of a little girl.
  • Mega Neko: Kutal is a cat that is bigger and broader than anyone else in the main cast.
  • Mental Fusion: The Enterrans turn to cards when killed and can be absorbed for power, or can do it voluntarily to give another Enterran Super Empowering, returning to normal afterward. Sago and Kutal would later on do this to give Mushra enough power to enter his (near) final form.
  • Merchandise-Driven: A defeated monster will turn into a card.
  • Merger of Souls: All Enterrans, the new inhabitants of Earth, are reduced to an Encard when defeated. The victor can then decide to keep the card, destroy it (effectively destroying that Enterran's soul) or eat or absorb it. The soul and power of the eaten Enterran are then merged with the eater's, who usually remains in control but does take over some of the physical characteristics of the other Enterran.
  • Monumental Battle: A fight in the second episode finally shatters the already-wrecked Statue of Liberty. Nobody but the viewer knows the significance of it.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Gyasa beat the shit out of the guardian trio. Saago and Kutal turned into cards and Mushra would have followed if he didn't turn into Mushrambo.
  • Older Than They Look: Mushra looks like 12 or 13, is probably 15, and can grow to look 20. Then there's the little fact that Mushra's actually a reincarnated god (Guardian in English), and is about as old as the galaxy. He still looks like a 13-year-old.
  • Ominous Latin Chanting: Not ominous, but definitely Latin when the gang meets Yakumo again in the second timeline.
  • Orcus on His Throne: Lanancuras, who technically has a good reason to sit on his throne: it's his prison. Except he never tried breaking out until AFTER the barrier maiden had discovered the power to keep him there, which is three hundred years (five hundred in the dub). And he does absolutely nothing during that time. This is the result of a second-season Retcon that revealed him as The Man Behind the Man of the original Big Bad.
  • Outdoor Bath Peeping: In the 7th episode of Shinzo, Yakumo is looked at while bathing in a lake by monster warriors who try to attack her. But Mushra shows up and fights them — and gives Yakumo a towel.
  • Plucky Girl: Both Binka and Yakumo are determinedly optimistic; the former is more rambuncious and the latter is more patient.
  • The Power of Love: Yakumo breaks Ryumma's mindcontrol on Mushrambo this way. The dub added some extra sugar too.
  • The Promised Land: The eponymous Shinzo is a Promised Land for the human lead Yukumo to find the rest of the human race, in a world populated by animal-human hybrids called Enterrans. It turns out that Shinzo doesn't exist anymore, as Mushra, Katul, and Sago go 500 years back in time to the end of the Human-Enterran War, and find out Mushrambo had destroyed it.
  • Promotion to Parent: Yakumo pretty much adopts little Binka, whose parents died. Binka refers to her as her mother figure.
  • Rule of Symbolism: Mushra, angel wings and crosses.
  • Satanic Archetype: Lanancuras, the ultimate villain of the show, was a member of the cosmic race of Celestial Guardians and given the duty to protect the Milky Way Galaxy. He was eventually corrupted by his power and turned into a Satanic figure. The other Guardians responded by sealing him inside a meteorite to protect the mortal beings from him. The lingering influence of his evil on the world caused the Human-Enterran War and he isn't released until the second season. Mushra eventually transforms back into his angelic celestial form to defeat him.
  • Sidekick Glass Ceiling: Aside from Mushra being stronger, when the three lose their powers to Lanancuras, Mushra finds out he actually still has another power and can keep going, while Saago and Kutal become useless.
  • Small Girl, Big Gun: Binka carries a grenade launcher.
  • The Smurfette Principle: Even more grating since the first half of the series takes place in areas dominated by mutants based on animals were normally the females are stronger and bigger, yet they encounter only 2 females. Unless you count the female member of the kittens that is.
  • Storybreaker Power: The Mushrambo upgrade makes the trio (Mushra, Saago, and Kutall) unstoppable when they fuse together. His first appearance is bad enough and further alterations make him even more overpowered. The villains recognize they can't beat him and so their plans involve exploiting the transformation somehow. At the end of the first season, all they can do is summon an evil Mushrambo because nothing else is up to the task.
  • Time Paradox: Rusephine for inexplicable reasons sends Mushra, Saago and Kutal back to the past, getting rid of Yakumo's guards. In the past, they destroy Mushrambo and save Yakumo's life, leading to Yakumo in the future gathering them together to the point of being sent back in time. In order for this time loop to occur, Yakumo should've been able to survive Mushrambo's visit without anyone's help.
  • Timey-Wimey Ball: What do you expect from a series where time is a power alongside spider-web and phantom energy?
  • Wake-Up Call Boss: Gyasa was the first major villain whose plan spanned 3 episodes. He turned Yakumo to stone and chucked her in an acid lake. Fighting him required the first transformation into Mushrambo to win, and even then after he went One-Winged Angel, Mushrambo was barely able to win. The guy had a touch of Implacable Man since he could shed his skin right before death and return with no damage damage even stronger than before. And he was just so creepy.
  • We Have Reserves : Makes one wonder how the Enterrans/Matrixer won the war when several generals don't even get the idea to order their troops to stand aside before attacking the enemy.
  • Winged Humanoid: A number of characters, including the Bird Enterrans and Celestial Mushra.
  • Women Are Delicate: Ill Girl Yakumo can't save a life without being shown collapsing afterward/losing consciousness/needing help herself/dying from exhaustion, the male heroes save lives looking all heroic. Similarly, female antagonists will either be absorbed by someone with only their face sticking out and get Mushra's spear shoved in said face, another died by having Mushra fall on her from high altitude, the last was killed by Yakumo (who collapsed afterward). Whereas pretty much all main male enemies died in combat with the heroes in full battle mode and got epic deaths. Also, the very same powers that make Mushra a god and boosted Saago and Kutal are apparently too much for Yakumo to handle and they end up killing her.
  • Younger Than They Look: Yakumo was placed in suspended animation at the age of 6 or 7, which for some reason made her wake up as a 16 year old; even her clothes grew along. (This was partially explained during a flashback sequence — the suspended animation was NOT intended to halt her aging completely, just slow it down drastically.)

Alternative Title(s):