Animal Face-Off was a Discovery Channel
& Animal Planet
documentary where two animals fight to the death in computer simulated battles at the end of the show. Before the actual fight, scientists test out the abilities of the animals. To avoid controversies of animal testing or the danger of trying to capture wild animals, they instead make molds of a skull of the animal and make it into a steel biting machine. There is usually at least one scientist on each side supporting an animal and, like two sports fans, they sometimes trash talk
before the fight begins. The show lasted from March to September 2004 (reruns do occur, but they're extremely
Tropes in this series:
- Achilles' Heel: In some cases, even ONE weakness means death to the loser.
- Actual Pacifist: Averted in the Polar Bear Vs. Walrus episode.
- Always a Bigger Fish: Colossal Squid Vs. Sperm Whale.
- Always Someone Better: Although the lion beats the tiger in Asia, the lion could not beat the crocodile in Africa.
- Animal Jingoism: Cases in which an herbivore or other possible prey battles a predator, such as in Polar Bear Vs. Walrus, Leopard Vs. Gorilla and perhaps Colossal Squid Vs. Sperm Whale.
- Big cats & crocodilians are often made out to be enemies, which is reflected in Lion vs. Crocodile.
- Animal Motifs: One can note some resemblances in look and attitude between some experts and their animals....is it a casual thing or not? The big cat expert acts like a young and rather perky showman; the bear trainer is a big guy with a shaggy beard and a calm yet touchy temper; the reptile scientist is a lean, unflappable man with a bit of Deadpan Snarker when arguing with his rivals; finally the primatologist is a pretty girl (remember that apes and girls are historically associated each other in media).
- Animal Reaction Shot: Many close ups are shown of the animals during the fights. And before the fights, samples are put from which shows how the animal's muscles react.
- Arbitrary Skepticism: Some of the scientists who supported the losing animal after the fight STILL argue with the winning one.
- Also, some viewers have complained about the alleged unlikeliness of Bull Shark vs. Hippopotamus, since all people know sharks live only in the sea: but in Real Life bull-sharks do swim in African rivers other than in the seas, and some interactions with hippos are documented as well.
- Attack Its Weak Point: For the most part, the neck. Though for the crocs and gators, the underbelly.
- Barrier Warrior: The beginning of Polar Bear Vs. Walrus and Lion Vs. Croc. Though later subverted by the end of the fight.
- Bears Are Bad News: With the exception of the polar bear, the bears always win.
- Beauty Equals Goodness: At the end of Leopard Vs. Gorilla, the narrator says "Beauty killed by the Beast", even though the gorilla was only defending itself from the attacking leopard. Interstingly, the Gorilla expert was a real hottie, while the leopard expert was a man (a curious example from Real Life of the trope "gorillas always are with pretty girls").
- Boom, Headshot: Bull Shark Vs. Hippo. The narration often points out that Real Life crocodilians often use this, and both the Nile & saltwater crocodile use it against their adversaries. It doesn't work in the latter's favor.
- Breakable Weapons: Although the elephant kills the rhino, a part of one of the tusks breaks off in the process. Good thing it can grow back.
- Bullet Time: The slow-motion speed when the machines bite down on a fruit/veggie/meat before the fights to show more detail on how they bite.
- Butt Monkey: Although the big cats win twice (Cougar and Asiatic lion, although in the case of the lion it was against another big cat), the big cats have the most losses (Siberian/Bengal tigers, African lion, jaguar, and leopard). That's 2 for 5.
- Cats Are Mean: All the big cats in this are very mean.
- Actually all the animals in the show are portrayed as mean as possible.
- Cats Hate Water: Lion Vs. Croc, although it's justified, as it loses.