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Thundercats 2011: Tropes0-B
Main | Tropes 0-B | Tropes C-E | Tropes F-I | Tropes J-O | Tropes P-S | Tropes T-Z

ThunderCats (2011) provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Abnormal Ammo: In "Berbils," mercenary slaver the Conquedor wields a BFG that fires giant, brightly-colored globs of adhesive goo to stop attacks, while his Cute Machine victims the Ro-Bear Berbils later retaliate by building a green slime dispensing turret gun in defense of their village.
  • Absurdly High-Stakes Game: In "The Duelist and the Drifter," when Lion-O challenges Master Swordsman the Duelist to a fight, and raises the stakes to winning the Duelist's collection of trophy blades, the Duelist insists that since Lion-O has only one sword to offer in return, the boy should agree to give up his life if he loses. Lion-O agrees to the terms.
  • Absurdly Sharp Blade: Played With in "The Duelist and the Drifter," where several swordsmen in an Adventure Town Invoke this in the local sword competition, each bragging of their blade and striking a towering, giant boulder to see how deeply it cuts (one prideful Pig Man sees his sword shatter on impact.) Only Lion-O succeeds, cleaving the boulder in two with a classic Diagonal Cut, and winning a hefty purse.
  • Adaptation Distillation:
  • Advanced Ancient Acropolis: Mumm-Ra's Futuristic Pyramid is the long-abandoned variation, with Mumm-Ra as its single Living Relic inhabitant until he begins marshalling his forces. Much more capacious than it first appears, it's inferred as the source of all his army's Offscreen Villain Dark Matter. This is due its origins as a battlestar so massive and populated it housed enough people to invade a planet.
  • Adventure Rebuff: The Drifter delivers several suspiciously ambivalent ones to Lion-O when he enters the Swordsmans' Town:
    The Drifter: "This is a Swordsmans' town, stranger, and they duel for keeps. Leave, before it's too late. Or don't, I don't care."
  • Adventure Towns: While not always towns in the strictest sense, the ThunderCats travel somewhere new every episode.
    • In "The Duelist and the Drifter" The Swordsmans' Town is the first real city Lion-O sees outside of Thundera. Even before entering, he is warned of the danger found therein, particularly for young, cocksure swordsmen like himself. Lion-O likes adventure.
    • In "Berbils," the Ro-Bear Berbil village seems a sweet Sugar Bowl, until the ThunderCats bear witness to slavers kidnapping the villagers.
    • In "Sight Beyond Sight" an elephant village is plagued with a wasp problem the ThunderCats try to solve.
    • In "Native Son" Lion-O and Tygra discover a Hidden Tiger Village with a dark secret.
  • Adventures in Comaland: In "Trials of Lion-O" the Spirit Stone forces Lion-O to undertake a Vision Quest in a Mental World to prove his worth and overcome his personal issues, so that he might earn the right to be resurrected.
  • Advice Backfire: In "Song of the Petalars" Lion-O mistakenly views Emrick's well-meant advice that It's the Journey That Counts through his Proud Warrior Race lens, assuming that he and his ThunderCats should live Like You Were Dying and rush to engage an army of Lizard pursuers. They end up needing rescue by a Deus ex Machina.
  • All There in the Manual: The Fantastic Racism of non-tailed cats against tailed cats was mentioned by the creators but has never come up in the show itself.
  • An Aesop:
    • "Omens Part One" "Sight is useless without action." It's not enough to notice wrongdoing, you must do something about it.
    • "Ramlak Rising" teaches us that revenge can turn us into jackasses that alienate all of our friends and family.
    • "Song of the Petalars": It's the Journey That Counts. Life is short, so live it to its fullest.
    • "The Duelist and the Drifter": Power alone is rigid; you must be flexible to succeed.
    • "Between Brothers": Do not confuse a preference to avoid conflict with weakness or pacifism.
  • Aesop Amnesia/Broken Aesop: In "Song of the Petalars," Emrick (questing to restore his people to their homeland) impulsively confronts a bird so large he's outmatched and Lion-O must save him. Lion-O complains of his teenaged stupidity. Later, Lion-O (questing to save his people and their homeland), in his teenaged stupidity, impulsively confronts enemy forces so large he's outmatched and a Deus ex Machina must save them. When Lion-O attempts this again in "Old Friends" Panthro quickly loses his patience.
    • In "The Pit", Pumyra is on the fence about trusting Lion-O until he nearly gives his life to save her. In "The Curse of Ratilla", Pumyra is on the fence about trusting Lion-O until he nearly gives his life to save her. In "Birth of The Blades"...well, just guess. Of course, this one may be justified, knowing what we know now.
  • Affectionate Parody: Courtesy of fellow Cartoon Network program MAD, the skit "ThunderLOLCats" combines the series premise with in-universe references to dozens of internet memes, starring Will Friedle as Lion-LOL.
  • After the End: An Ontological Mystery and Driving Question of the series first arc: How did Thunderian civilization regress so that most forms of technology are considered lost relics of a bygone age?
  • Afterlife Antechamber: In "Trials of Lion-O," after the Spirit Stone activates to force Lion-O's Adventures in Comaland, he wakes up in a metaphysical waystation where Spirit Advisor Jaga awaits to provide exposition about Lion-O's impending Vision Quest and open the gateway to his Mental World. Once Lion-O is finished there, he travels back to the antechamber for another talk with Jaga.
  • Age Cut: In "Into the Astral Plane," Tygra is bitterly glowering when a closeup on his face begins a flashback, fading into a smiling, big-eyed, gawky, Adorkable adolescent version of himself.
  • Ain't Too Proud to Beg: One stockaded Lizard prisoner sincerely begs for mercy from Lion-O, only for his compatriot to cynically spit that you Can't Argue With Cats.
  • Alien Blood: In "Ramlak Rising" the Giant Squid/Man-Eating Plant Hybrid Monster the Ramlak is shown to have a strange blue ichor dripping from the severed ends of tentacles that Lion-O slices off when it first surfaces from the Sand Sea and attacks. When Lion-O strikes a mortal blow, its revealed that the monster's blood is, appropriately enough, water.
  • Alien Invasion: In "Journey to the Tower of Omens" a massive invading army comprised of multiple Slave Races housed in a giant Battlestar are depicted invading a planet to serve as Planet Looters, combing over land and sea in search of a MacGuffin called the War Stone, by order of their commander.
  • Alien Sky: Third Earth orbits a gas giant with a great spot visible on its surface. Two moons are also visible. (Third Earth is implicitly a moon of said gas giant)
  • Alike and Antithetical Adversaries: The series begins with homogenous Catfolk heroes versus a heterogenous group of villains, but the ThunderCats meet other races over time, coming to realize that such alliances are necessary to defeat Mumm-Ra.
  • All Crimes Are Equal: Downplayed. When Lion-O attempts to shame a Powderkeg Crowd of Thunderian townspeople by announcing that stockaded Lizard scavengers "don't deserve this [harassment]," their pointman replies: "These barbarians deserve death!" And with that, an Angry Mob is born. The surprise comes when King Claudus is incredulous at Lion-O's attempt to stop them.
  • All-Encompassing Mantle: Part of the Clerics' Full Body Disguise.
  • All Myths Are True: "Technology?" Real. Mumm-Ra? Real. Book of Omens? Totally real.
  • All of Them: In "Between Brothers", when discussing the Lizard army that has surrounded the Elephants' village.
    Panthro: Bad news. The entire village is surrounded.
    Cheetara: How many troops?
    Panthro: If I had to guess, I'd say "All of them."
  • All Planets Are Earth-Like: Deconstructed with Third Earth, which, while superficially similar and suspiciously habitable, is just as often a fantasy world with many organic structures deliberately mixed-and-matched or given a Mouse World level of detail, as art director Dan Norton explains here.
  • All There in the Manual: There's the Crew Blog and the Sound Designers' Blog, and the Art Director's DeviantArt Account.
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: Thundera is besieged and falls to Mumm-Ra, Grune and the Lizards.
  • Alternate Continuity/Continuity Reboot: Of 1985's ThunderCats
  • Always Someone Better: Tygra wins and loses as much as any other member of the team, but the series makes a point of the fact that Lion-O never defeats him, regardless if it's in the real world, the Astral Plane, or his own mind.
  • Amazing Technicolor Population
    • Because Fur Is Skin for the ThunderCats. In particular, Panthro, who codes as a Bald Black Leader Guy, is pale blue-gray with black hair.
    • When "The Duelist and the Drifter" reveals that more unconventional Humanoid Aliens also populate Third Earth, pink, yellow and purple-skinned creatures appear, most notably the lavender-complected Rubber Forehead Alien the Duelist.
  • Amplifier Artifact/Mineral MacGuffin/Power Crystal: The Eye of Thundera Alias the Warstone, and also other gems that Mumm-Ra stole.
  • Amulet of Concentrated Awesome: The Eye of Thundera in the hilt of the Sword of Omens, which Mumm-Ra very much wants back, thank you. Not only the Eye of Thundera, but also three other crystals!
  • Amusing Injuries: In the 2-minute short "Snarf: Butterfly Blues," Snarf endures a variety of slapstick injuries as Lion-O's Badly Battered Babysitter.
  • Ancestral Weapon: The Sword of Omens has been passed down from the earliest days of the ThunderCats' empire.
  • Ancient Artifact: The Sword of Omens, the Claw Gauntlet, and the Book of Omens.
  • Ancient Tradition: Apart from their duties as Praetorian Guard and Church Militant, the Clerics also function as more passive keepers of Thunderian lore, and forbidden knowledge, to guard the Book Of Omens until it must be used.
  • And This Is for...: When Tygra thinks Lion-Os dead (which he is) he punches the ones who did it while saying That was for me. And that was for Lion-O
  • Androcles' Lion: In "Omens Part 1", Lion-O saves a pair of stockaded Lizard prisoners from being lynched and frees them. Later, during The Siege of Thundera, the more antagonistic of the two repays the favor by slipping Lion-O the key to his and Tygra's cell.
  • Animal Eyes: Thunderian Cats have slitted pupils, but visible sclera, while Lizards have fully yellow eyes with slits.
  • Animal Jingoism: Played for Drama. The ThunderCats hold themselves up as the Superior Species, and practice Fantastic Racism against Dogs and Lizards. It's a legacy of the Cats serving as Mumm-Ra's overseers back when he was conquering planets.
  • Animal Nemesis: "Ramlak Rising" (yet a Whole Plot Reference to Moby-Dick) gives us a peculiar Inversion. Ahab-Homage Captain Koinelius Tunar, a Fishman who sails the sand sea, has sworn vengeance on the creature who destroyed his home and took his eye and leg. His nemesis the Ramlak is a giant Planimal, a Man-Eating Plant that's hybridized with the ambulatory capabilities of a Giant Squid. Like Captain Ahab, Tunar has degenerated into prizing Revenge Before Reason, and shares Ahab's fate almost exactly, while quoting his dialogue.
  • Animal Stereotypes:
  • Animal Theme Naming/A Dog Named Dog: Prevalent amongst the Animals, with a few odd names out.
  • Anime Hair: Lots. All over the place.
  • Animesque: Though the original series' Rankin/Bass also outsourced production to Japan, the reboot's look and animation by Studio 4C are now explicitly touted as major selling points. The Snarf short "Butterfly Blues" even proudly bears the stamp "Made in Japan!"
  • Anywhere but Their Lips: In "Into the Astral Plane" Cheetara gives Lion-O a motivational peck on the cheek before he begins his risky journey.
  • Apathy Killed the Cat: Thundera at large is confident in its Medieval Stasis and magic weapons. Technology is a fairy tale, and anything for sale in the Black Market is obviously a fake.
  • Apocalypse How: Mumm-Ra causes an X-3 in the backstory in order to create the Sword of Plundarr.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Though itself a magical kingdom, most of Thundera outright dismisses technology as the stuff of fairy tales, and are skeptical of the existence of The Book of Omens and Mumm-Ra. Justified in that Thundera is depicted as fairly isolated, and their history has fallen into myth.
    • In "The Curse of Ratilla," Tygra insists that the titular curse is just superstition meant to keep the slaves in line, despite a long string of near-fatal "coincidental accidents" during his and Cheetara's search for the Sword of Plundarr. Never mind that he's seen firsthand that curses are real in "Native Son."
  • Arcadia:
    • In "Omens Part One" its present in the Epic Tracking Shot that introduces Thundera, seen to the south of the walled city.
    • In "The Duelist and the Drifter" this is the setting of the Swordmaker's home, full of rolling fields.
  • Art Shift: The 2-minute short "Snarf: Butterfly Blues," sees a shift to a bright, simplified squash-and-stretch aesthetic in keeping with its Homage to old Warner Brothers' shorts.
  • Asskicking Equals Authority: The ethos of the Cats, as a Proud Warrior Race.
    • "It was the ThunderCats who brought law and order to a world of warring Animals! And it is now the ThunderCats who are strong enough to maintain this fragile peace!"
    • Panthro only recognized Lion-O as King when he proved himself in battle.
  • Audible Sharpness:
    • The Sword of Omens
    • The Sword of Hattanzo, based on a zil-bel, as detailed here.
  • Awakening the Sleeping Giant: Played Straight and lampshaded in "Between Brothers" when the usually pacifist Elephants, previously constrained by a need to meditate on their every dilemma, decide to engage the Lizards directly:
    Wilykit: You just woke a village of sleeping giants!
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: Performed in Flashback by Grune and Panthro during a battlefield Body-Count Competition.
  • Backstory:
    • "Old Friends" delves into the past friendship between Old Soldier Panthro and Evil Former Friend Grune.
    • "Into the Astral Plane" explores the childhoods of Cheetara and Tygra, including how the former became a Cleric
    • "Native Son" reveals Tygra's origins, and how he came to be adopted by Thundera's ruling family.
    • "Survival of the Fittest" reveals Wilykit and Wilykat's past, and the reason why they are looking for El Dara.
  • Badass: They're everywhere! Panthro, Grune and Claudus especially.
  • Badass Adorable: Lucy, from the episode Recipe for Disaster. A large caterpillar, and later butterfly, used as a beast of burden by a supporting character. Cute as a bug's ear. Goes toe-to-toe with Mumm-Ra, who has taken the form of a giant, armored dinasaur, and kicks his newly-scaly ass.
  • Badass Pacifist: The Elephants
  • Bag of Holding: Tookit the thief has one called the "Forever Bag" capable of holding several warehouses worth of stolen goods in a sack that's roughly 2-3 feet tall.
    • The Forever Bag's activation phrase, "rankinbass", is a Shout-Out to the production company of the original ThunderCats series.
  • Balcony Speech: King Claudus gives one in a public arena dedicating some celebratory games to the memory of Panthro.
  • Barefoot Cartoon Animals: The entire Animal cast so far, except Leo, Panthera and the Swordmaker. Justified for Cats, who can use their foot claws to climb structures like the giant tree featured in their games. Most Cats make a point of wearing spats for fashion's sake, but there are exceptions such as Pumyra.
  • Bat Signal: In "Song of the Petalars," this appears as an empathic power of the Sword of Omens. Lion-O's By the Power of Grayskull! causes the Eye of Thundera to project his royal emblem into the sky just before Lion-O and his ThunderCats enter a battle Which brings a nearby Panthro to the rescue.
  • Battle Couple: Cheetara and Tygra. Lampshaded in "What Lies Above, Part 2." Cheetara to Tygra as they battle with Addicus and Slithe: "Is our whole relationship based on saving each others' lives?"
  • Battle Cry:
    • "Thunder... THUNDER... THUNDERCATS, HOOOOOOO!!!"
    • "For the pride!"
    • "Clerics, to the death!"
  • Bayonet Ya: The blaster rifles used by the lizard army soldiers feature a wicked-looking blade permanently mounted under the barrel.
  • Beary Friendly: The Ro-Bear Berbils, helpful, rainbow-hued robotic teddy bears who love to build and repair things.
  • Beast Fable: Surprisingly, going in this direction, in concert with the Intelligent Gerbil characterization of Third Earth's residents.
  • Beast Folk: The Cats and Mumm-Ra, the most Humanoid Aliens of Third Earth's Petting Zoo People.
  • Because Destiny Says So: Jaga quotes from the Book of Omens to explain Lion-O's destiny:
    Jaga: "For it was written that he would be born of fire, a king to lead his people to victory, against ancient spirits of evil."
  • Bedsheet Ghost: In "The Forest of Magi Oar," the Thunderkittens tease Cheetara when she reports feeling the presence of spirits by playing at being ghosts under a tent canvas. While they're stumbling under it, they knock their heads together.
  • Big Damn Heroes:
    • Downplayed in "Omens Part 1" with Cheetara's nick-of-time dispatching of a mugger headlocking Lion-O (which he finds rather awkward)
    • Deconstructed in the same episode when Lion-O and friends try to save some Lizard prisoners from abuse, only to trigger lynch mob sentiments and a brawl which Claudus has to stop.
    • Played straight in "Omens Part 2" with Claudus and Tygra saved by the Clerics, then by Lion-O, when surrounded by Walking Tanks.
    • In "Song of the Petalars." the ThunderCats are saved from a presumed Last Stand against the Lizard army by Panthro in the Thundertank
    • Played straight again in "Into the Astral Plane" when Tygra roars to the scene to save the Cats in the Thundertank, without Panthros's permission. Tygra doesn't let Lion-O forget it, either, and lampshades it himself later in the episode.
    • Subverted in "New Alliances" when Lion-O, Cheetara and Tygra try to liberate lizard soldiers from Mumm-Ra's army; instead, they get owned by the villains Addicus, Kaynar, and even Slithe.. Played straight again later in the episode when Panthro has to come bail out the trio in the Thundertank again.
    • Big moment with Lion-O in "The Trials of Lion-O part 2" where he comes back from the dead to save the Cats and sends Mumm-Ra ducking for cover.
    • In the first season finale, the heroes are up against a powered-up Mumm-ra and Pumyra when Wilykit and Wilykat come to the rescue along with everyone the ThunderCats had helped throughout the season, who had been brought along in the Forever Bag.
  • The Big Damn Kiss:
    • In "Legacy" between Leo and Panthera just as their ship is about to crash.
    • At the end of "Between Brothers" Tygra and Cheetara
    • Again in "The Curse of Ratilla" Tygra and Cheetara
  • Big Entrance:
  • Big Fancy Castle/Bright Castle: Thundera has a beauty, with its very own Sphinx, until the Lizards invade.
  • Big "NO!"/Slow No: Lion-O, when Claudus is stabbed.
  • Birth-Death Juxtaposition: The Petalars are introduced during a Rite of Passage as a new baby is born. A wizened elder welcomes him into the world with a philosophic Final Speech, then peacefully collapses and withers away.
  • Black Box: Lion-O purchases a piece of what he suspects is Lost Technology from a Friend in the Black Market, and spends quite a bit of time puzzling over it and diagramming it, but he only realizes its function when he sees a Lizard use one to blow up a wall.
  • Black Market: Lion-O apparently makes a habit of traveling through Thundera's back alleys to frequent his friend Jorma's shop in search of "certain hard-to-find collectibles". Cheetara assumes the wares are forgeries.
  • The Blade Always Lands Pointy End In:
    • In "Omens Part 2" The Sword of Omens falls this way after Claudus is stabbed by Mumm-Ra disguised as Panthro.
    • In "The Duelist and the Drifter" The Sword of Hattanzo neatly falls vertically into the turf after the Duelist knocks it skyward out of his opponent's grip.
  • Blade Reflection: The mechanism of the Sword of Omens' "sight beyond sight," in which Lion-O sees a frightening vision of Mumm-Ra.
  • Blank Book: The Book of Omens.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: Cheetara (blonde), Pumyra (brunette), and Wilykit (redhead).
  • Blood Sport: Thundera's "Games" are a Chase Fight race where kicking and punching are entirely acceptable methods of getting ahead.
  • Bloodless Carnage:
    • During The Siege of Thundera. A sky full of arrows, Claudus cutting through a wave of Lizards, even Claudus getting stabbed in the back and falling into pool of water, not one drop of blood is found.
    • Played with in "Song of the Petalars" the Cats cut and shoot through Lizard troops bloodlessly, but Tygra's shots are shown to pierce the Lizard's bodies.
    • In "Between Brothers", Panthro's arms get caught in the collapsing Astral Plane; when the smoke clears, the severed stumps are covered in glowing blue energy.
    • In "Native Son", a character is stabbed by Tygra's father, Javan, but after the knife is pulled out there isn't a drop of blood on it. Though in this case, it's possibly somewhat justified as it turns out that Tygra's clan were Dead All Along.
  • Body-Count Competition: Between Panthro and Grune during a flashback in "Old Friends."
  • Bread and Circuses: Thundera kind of sucks. Crime-ridden slums, rampant Fantastic Racism, and a Fantastic Caste System... oh man, look at the size of that Thunderdome. The games must be awesome!
  • Break His Heart to Save Him: Tygra's biological father does this in "Native Son" to drive him away from the cursed Tiger clan.
  • Building Swing: In "Omens Part One" The jungle vine variant, employed to knock another player off a giant tree and into a pool of water below, is briefly seen as the Thundera's Gladiator Games are introduced.
  • Bullet Seed: Or rather, bullet pollen. The Petalars' method of attack.
  • Bullying a Dragon: A Powderkeg Crowd with Torches and Pitchforks may have underestimated Lion-O and company's skills, but still showed bafflingly poor judgment in attacking their Crown Prince.
  • By the Power of Grayskull!:
    • "Thunder... THUNDER... THUNDERCATS, HOOOOOOO!!!"
    • "Ancient Spirits of Evil... transform this decayed form, into Mumm-Ra... THE EVERRRR-LIIIVIIIIING"
    • "Sword of Omens, give me Sight Beyond Sight"


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