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Thundercats 2011: Tropes J-O
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ThunderCats (2011) provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Jail Bake: How Lion-O and Tygra escape their cell when Locked In The Dungeon, via a key in some soup, placed by a Lizard mook whose life they had saved earlier.
  • Just a Machine: The Soul Sever considers the little insectoid robot Flicker to be nothing but a bunch of wires and circuits without a soul. Flicker's Heroic Sacrifice at the end makes the Soul Sever wonder whether it's more complicated than that.
  • King of Beasts: The royal bloodline and chain of succession belong to the Lions, something that Tygra is plainly jealous of, and Grune takes issue with.
  • The Kingdom: How the Opening Monologue generously describes Thundera... but the reality is rather different.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: Discussed by Grune, attempting to convince Claudus to surrender because he's outmanned and literally outgunned.
  • Lady and Knight: Gender Inverted, with Lion-O as the Bright Lord championed by his White Knight, Cheetara.
  • Land of One City: Thundera seems to function as a city-state
  • The Last Dance/Like You Were Dying: Discussed by Lion-O in a Rousing Speech, based on a cultural misinterpretation of his friend Emrick's Aesop, that It's the Journey That Counts.
  • Last Grasp at Life: In "Journey To The Tower of Omens" Panthro finds his friends reaching through a grating this way to escape a Drowning Pit.
  • Last-Second Word Swap: Done for dramatic effect in Episode 17. In the flashback sequence for Tygra's childhood, Lion-O had yet to be conceived when Tygra was adopted into the Thunderan royal family. As a child, the queen would call Tygra her "handsome, little prince." However, upon telling Tygra of Lion-O's upcoming birth, she uncomfortably swaps out "prince" with "darling" when she's about to address him as such again, realizing that Tygra would no longer be first in line for the throne with Lion-O as their first-born heir.
  • Last Stand: Lion-O's Rousing Speech in "Song of the Petalars" leads the ThunderCats into a terribly one-sided battle that results in their announcing It Has Been an Honor and needing rescue by a Deus ex Machina.
  • Law of Inverse Fertility: In "Native Son" a flashback reveals that the king and queen of Thundera tried to have a child for years. It got so bad that the queen worried she might be infertile. Their concerns were put to rest when baby Tygra literally flew into their lives in a balloon. So of course just when the royal couple have gotten comfortable with Tygra inheriting the throne as crown prince, the queen became pregnant. Then she died in childbirth, so little Tygra lost his mother and the throne in one night.
  • Law of Inverse Recoil: Averted for comedy in "Between Brothers", where Wilykat uses a discarded Lizard BFG on a Humongous Mecha. Three Lizards see him struggling with it and try to sneak up on him, only for the recoil to launch him backwards into them, knocking them out.
  • Leaning on the Furniture: Tygra is introduced this way, leaning casually on the arm of his throne.
  • Lecture As Exposition: During Lion-O's Rite of Passage, his father bellows a ritualized oral history of Thundera at him while taking swings with the Sword of Omens. Lion-O's stuck with a practice sword.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: Lion-O starts off following this mentality, but he eventually learns the value of thinking ahead and using stealth.
    • The "sneak up on the enemy so we can take them by surprise" plan in "Into the Astral Plane" was working perfectly, until Wilykit drew everyone's attention by jumping up and yelling at the bad guys for threatening Ahburn.
  • Leitmotif: The series has one based on the theme from the original show, along with several for characters like Lion-O, Cheetara, the Thunderkittens, Mumm-Ra and the Thundertank.
  • Lie to the Beholder: A Disguised Hostage Gambit is performed this way by Mumm-Ra while appearing as Panthro.
  • Light Is Not Good: From the instant Lion-O leaves the upper-city's bright streets and the camera drops to the slums, the viewer knows something's rotten in Thundera
  • Like Cannot Cut Like: In "The Duelist and the Drifter" Lion-O fights a duel with an interim sword crafted by the same blacksmith who made his opponent's blade. It breaks, since it took years to make the latter and an afternoon for the former.
  • Lilliputians: The tiny Petalars.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Played With. The cast wear the same outfits on consecutive days, but some get organic changes (Grune has an Evil Costume Switch, Lion-O and Tygra armor up, Wilykat and Kit steal clothes to replace beggars' rags). Walking the Earth and uniforms justify the cast's fixed outfits, but doesn't explain why younger versions wear identical clothes in Flashback.
  • Lions and Tigers and Aliens... Oh, My!: In "The Duelist and The Drifter" dozens of species of Non-Animal sentients are revealed in the crowds of the Swordsmans' Town. To Lion-O, it's an Unusually Uninteresting Sight. To the viewer, its akin to stumbling into Mos Eisley Cantina.
  • Lizard Folk/The Reptilians: Slithe and all the Lizards.
  • Lock and Key Puzzle: In a Temple of Doom, the ThunderCats are faced with this, and hundreds of hanging keys. While standing over a spike pit. Surely nothing will happen if they try the wrong key.
  • Locked In The Dungeon: Lion-O and Tygra end up in the castle dungeons during The Siege, only to encounter a Lizard they saved from an Angry Mob.
  • Lonely Funeral: Claudus' Viking Funeral has three people and a pet in attendance.
  • A Long Time Ago, in a Galaxy Far Far Away...: The setting is both this and Constructed World, thanks to Sci-Fi/Fantasy genrebending.
  • Look on My Works, Ye Mighty, and Despair!: The ultimate fate of hubristic Thundera, driven home by the sight of the castle's Sphinx decapitated, and Claudus' monument reduced to a pair of broken feet.
  • Loophole Abuse: In Lion-O's trial for his life, he had to face against Spirit!Panthro and get him out of a circle. Near the end of his time, he has a Eureka Moment when he realizes as King and Panthro his General, he can order Panthro out. It works.
  • Lost Colony: The Precursors to the all the sentient Animals of Third Earth are refugees of a command carrier crash.
  • Lost Technology: To the point that many Thunderians believe technology to be a fairy tale for cubs. Lion-O believes otherwise... and the Lizards know so, much to the woe of Thundera.
  • The Lost Woods:
    • In "Song of the Petalars" the Briar Woods is this for the Lilliputian Petalars, who have been trapped for generations after a cataclysm swept them away from their home.
    • "The Forest of Magi Oar" is a magical but hazardous place, inhabited by various discontentented, hostile Nature Spirits.
  • Love Bubbles: Well, Love Lens Flare. Lion-O sees one around Pumyra in "Recipe for Disaster."
  • Love Potion: Lion-O buys one Ponzi, a snake-oil salesman. It's taken by Tygra, making him love any and everything he sees. Including Mumm-Ra in a dinosaur body.
  • Loyal Phlebotinum: Only Lion-O appears able to utilize the Sword of Omens' "Sight Beyond Sight" Though others may take custody of the blade, it's enchanted against "being touched by the hands of evil," which appears to be a failsafe against Mumm-Ra's using it.
  • MacGuffin: The Book of Omens
  • MacGuffin Delivery Service: A very rare Inversion. Captain Tygus goes to great lengths to obtain the Warstone for his commander, only to have it snatched away by Leo and Panthera. Thanks, Tygus.
  • Macross Missile Massacre:
    • The penultimate, shocking Super Weapon Surprise dealt by the Lizards, and the literal ruination of Thundera.
    • Seen again in Episode 12, "The Forest of Magi Oar", as Lion-O, riding on top of the forest guardian Viragor, dodges explosive paper missiles tossed by Zigg.
    • The new and improved ThunderTank has this in its arsenal now.
  • Made a Slave:
    • In "Omens Part 2", the unfortunate fate of the Lizard scavengers who were caught by the Cats. Seems to be standard practice in Thundera.
    • In "Berbils", the Berbils are attacked by slavers, a routine occurance due to their peaceful nature and lack of citywide defenses.
    • In "The Curse of Ratilla," we find out that this happened to most of the survivors of the siege on Thundera, including Pumyra. The experience initially left her rather...bitter.
  • Magic Feather: Lion-O's temporary replacement sword, needed to win a duel, is not the perfect talismanic object he first assumes, but simply a vehicle for him to employ newly learned skills, as he's made to realize when the blade breaks in half while he's pressing his advantage.
  • Magic Knight: With a strong dash of Kung-Fu Wizard to boot. Jaga and his clerics combine combat with sorcery to perform super-feline feats.
  • Magic Mirror:
  • The Magic Versus Technology War: So the Cats have a magic sword with a magic stone and some magic clerics, and the Lizards have loads and loads of technological superweapons... and The Dreaded Evil Sorceror who is infamous as a foe of the Cats, and would really like his magic stone back now. These odds are looking really stacked.
    • Later on, the lines get much less clear, as the Thundercats use more and more technology to supplement their magic, and Mumm-Ra focuses more and more on his magic. For example, Tygra chooses to use a blaster, a whip, and a cloaking device frequently, Panthro has mechanical arms and is extrordinarily proud of the Thundertank, and several of Lion-O's magic devices appear to be more along the lines of Magitek than purely magical.
  • Magitek: Some of the Lost Technology fits this, especially the Book of Omens.
  • Make It Look Like an Accident: Subverted on the battlefield with Panthro, Grune seems to wait and aim a catapult at Claudus in hopes of killing him while he was fighting Lizards. It's merely a ploy to wipe them out in a One-Hit Kill and attract Claudus' attention for their valor, but serves as an Establishing Character Moment nonetheless.
  • Malevolent Architecture: "Journey to the Tower of Omens" has a video game-style Temple of Doom that Thundera's Clerics created to guard the Book of Omens so that no one else would access it. (hence the gratuitous sharp objects) Anyone else would have a hard time not getting ground into hamburger.
    • Mount Plun-Darr is definitely the case. Not only is it covered in a near-permanent thunderstorm, not only is it covered in giant red spikes, not only does it have a colossal skeleton covering a good portion of it, but the entire place is cursed so that any who try to find the treasure inside will die.
  • Man-Eating Plant: The Ramlak, as it appears based partly on a cactus flower.
  • Manly Tears:
    • In "Song of the Petalars" Lion-O sheds some while grieving a fallen Petalar.
    • In "Berbils" Panthro of all people sheds these after the Berbils fix up his Thundertank.
  • Mayfly December Friendship: The protagonists came across a group of plant people named the Petalars, which have a lifespan of a day. Lion-O in particular became friends with one petalar called Emrick who goes from a curious child to an Eager Squire to a level-headed warrior to a wise old man all in the span of said day, and while for the Petalars the Thundercats were lifelong friends who were with them in their intergenerational Exodus, for the Thundercats it was a tragically short friendship.
  • Meaningful Funeral:
    • During Claudus' Viking Funeral, Wilykit unwittingly provides accompaniment on flute somewhere in Thundera's ruins, while Lion-O carves the royal emblem at the base of his father's destroyed monument and eulogizes him with "Rest now to rise again, father." Tygra adds "May your next life show you peace."
    • Petalars may have time to deliver a Final Speech, while their people encircle them and form an Ethereal Choir.
  • Medicine Show: "Recipe for Disaster"
  • Medieval Stasis: Thundera, which has magical swords and clerics, but really hasn't put much thought into moving beyond your standard ancient siege engines. This comes back to bite them hard during the siege in the opening two-parter.
  • Merciful Minion: When Locked In The Dungeon, Tygra and Lion-O see that a Lizard they saved from a lynching is serving them soup. Lion-O rants about his betrayal, while the Lizard, head low, mumbles that he's cooked a "special" meal
  • Mid-Season Twist: Episode 7, "Legacy" is when we learn the history of the ThunderCats, the exact nature of their historical conflict with Mumm-Ra, and the game changes. They don't just need the Sword and Book of Omens, now they need to unite the Animals and find three other mystical stones.
  • Mid-Season Upgrade: Everyone seems to get one.
    • Cheetara gets a magic extendy-rod
    • Lion-O gets a new Magic Rock
    • Kit and Kat get hover boards and a Bag of Holding.
    • Panthro gets robot arms
    • The Thundertank gets twice as big and even more firepower.
      • And again after it gets converted into the Feliner.
    • Tygra gets a new whip
  • Might Makes Right: What many characters, good and bad, seem to believe, including most of Thundera, save for Lion-O who opposes this ideology. The series tries to deconstruct this by showing how this sort of philosophy ultimately creates long lasting grudges and causes more problems than solves them. Thundera is destroyed primarily because of this, and its up to Lion-O to change things. This is, of course, Mumm-Ra's way of thinking.
  • Mirror Monster: Lion-O's vision in the Blade Reflection of the Sword of Omens takes this form, as he sees a sudden, frightening image of Mumm-Ra's red eyes and fanged face.
  • Mirror Scare: Inverted. Silhouettes playing across the reflective surface of a geode are meant to startle the viewer after Snarf finishes pulling faces at himself and wanders off.
  • Missile Lock On: Lizards place beeping devices on pillars and Claudus' monument. They're remote homing beacons.
  • The Missing Faction: With Thundera's ruination, the Cats are no longer major political players, with Lion-O's tiny group of ThunderCats more immediately concerned with Mumm-Ra's defeat.
  • Mix-and-Match Critters:
    • Thunderian... "horses" are blue horse-shaped-and-maned cats with bird-like heads and vocalizations.
    • Hybrid Monster the Ramlak appears to be a cross between a sea anemone and a cactus flower that behaves like a Giant Squid.
  • Moby Schtick: Used in a Whole Plot Reference episode, recycled in a desert.
  • The Mole: Pumyra
  • Moment Killer: In "Song of the Petalars" Lion-O and Cheetara sit at a small fire, and she takes his hand to comfort him in his pessimistic depression. Snarf picks that exact moment to fly into Lion-O's lap, who informs him that this had better be very important! Later in the same episode, the ThunderCats freak out the Petalars in the middle of a community Rite of Passage ceremony.
  • Monumental Damage: The Siege of Thundera leaves Claudus' monument as a pair of feet, and the great Sphinx's head lying smashed by its body.
  • Mood Whiplash: At the end of "Between Brothers", Panthro loses both his hands for throwing Grune in the collapsing Astral Plane. Then the scene shifts to a party and Panthro yelling at Snarf for being a nursemaid. Would it hurt to be a slight bit serious?
  • Mooks: The generic Lizards of Slithe's Evil Army.
    • Which causes friction later on. The Lizards are fighting for better living and for revenge against the Cats for years of oppression, but surprising numbers of them simply desert and return home to their families in part because Lion-O's group beats them, but also because Mumm-Ra treats them like mooks. When General Slythe brings this up, Mumm-Ra states flat-out that the lizards are mooks, and that they need stricter control to prevent rebellions.
  • Motivational Kiss: In "Into the Astral Plane," before Lion-O begins his journey, Cheetara gives him a peck on the cheek for luck. Tygra is noticeably upset.
  • Motive Rant/Screw You, Elves!: A stockaded Lizard prisoner bristles while giving Lion-O a Freudian Excuse for scavenging the Cats' crops: They have little land and resources of their own, thanks to the Cats' expansionism and strongarming. They scrape by while Thunderians throw lavish feasts.
  • Mounted Combat: Depicted with Thunderian troops, mounted on peculiar beasts.
  • Mugging the Monster: In the slums, some Alley Cats pick exactly the wrong Prince Incognito to mug.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • The ancient history of the ThunderCats as related by King Claudus roughly mirrors the plot of the original series. The Lizard's weaponized giant robots evoke those of the original.
    • In "Song of the Petalars," a Lizard notes "you can't fight what you can't see," quoting the original's Ninja verbatim.
    • In "Old Friends", Panthro tells Lion-O, "You're standing on my samoflange." Shortly thereafter, Tygra asks, "What's a samoflange?" referring to the infamous outtakes reel from the original series, which includes a similar (but considerably more profane) exchange.
    • In "Old Friends," after he proves his mettle, Lion-O asks Panthro if he can drive the Thundertank, only for Panthro to reply with, "Not a chance." Lion-O wasn't allowed to drive it in the original series either.
    • In "Journey To the Tower of Omens," Tygus' ship is a redesigned Feliner from the original series.
    • In "Berbils," Conquedor shows off a pale blue sabre-toothed cat from Hook Mountain that he captured for the slave auction. This is Snowmeow, the companion and battle steed of Snowman of Hook Mountain from the original series.
    • In "Berbils", Lion-O completely messes up trying to say "berbil" the same way he did in the original series.
    • In "The Trials of Lion-O" near-death Lion-O faces against images of the ThunderCats to prove his worthiness much like he had to in the original series' Anointment Arc.
    • Mount Plun-Darr is very reminiscent of Castle Plun-Darr from the original series, tall and menacing with a giant winged creature.
    • In "The Forever Bag", the password to enter the bag is "Rankin-Bass!" Rankin-Bass is the animation studio that distributed the original series from 1985.
    • In "Recipe for Disaster," Ponzi is a Wolo, one of the friendly races of natives on Third Earth in the original series. Also, Tygra's behavior after drinking the love potion is reminiscent of his 80's counterpart's reputation for falling victim to various mind-altering substances.
  • Named Weapons:
    • The Sword of Omens, as well as the Sword of Plun-Darr.
    • "The Duelist and the Drifter" has many swordsmen who brag about the names and histories of their swords, the most relevant being the Duelist's current best blade, the Sword of Hattanzo.
    • Ratar-O wields the Rat Eye Daggers, though they aren't named within the show.
  • Nameless Narrative: In-story, The Drifter tells Lion-O a tale of the Duelist's best sword, giving the characters in it no names, but only descriptors. "The Duelist and the Drifter" is itself an homage to these types of narratives in the Western genre, with its careful avoidance and obscurance of proper names for people, places and things.
  • Needle in a Stack of Needles: One room in a Temple of Doom has a doorway with a Booby Trapped Lock and Key Puzzle, and hundreds of hanging keys to choose from.
  • Never Bring A Knife To A Fistfight: ...because Lion-O and Snarf can knock muggers flat with the power of fists and annoyance.
  • Never Say "Die": Averted to the point where one starts to suspect overcompensation.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Lion-O tends to do this. A LOT. Most notably in episode ten.
  • Night-Vision Goggles: Sported by some of the Lizard Nocturnal Mooks.
  • No, I Am Behind You: A trick dodge the Drifter illustrates on Lion-O, which Lion-O later employs on the Duelist.
  • No Ontological Inertia: In "Journey To The Tower of Omens" a tower crumbles and collapses when Captain Tygus steals its power source, the Warstone, alias the Eye of Thundera.
  • No Theme Tune/Theme Music Withholding: The ten-second Theme Tune and Title-Only Opening was omitted from the hour-long premiere of "Omens" parts 1 and 2, debuting with "Ramlak Rising."
  • Not Now, Kiddo: Inverted. Rather than dismissing Lion-O, Jaga is attempting to indulge him, allowing Lion-O to get back to a party and cheer himself up. Problem is, unbeknownst to either of them, Lion-O's information is very time-sensitive.
  • Not So Different:
    • Inverted In "Legacy," though Leo's Commander notes the other Animals "...hate you, as much as they do me," Leo is actively working to change that, right under his nose.
    • In "The Duelist and the Drifter" Lion-O learns that the former wielder of the Duelist's sword was just as Hot-Blooded as him, not as a compliment, but a warning.
    • Lion-O acknowledges that taking the Tech Stone of the Avistians thus causing the destruction of the city would make him very similar to Mumm-Ra and so chooses to avert this problem.
  • Not What It Looks Like: Cheetara is using a Hands-On Approach to help Lion-O induce "Sight Beyond Sight" with the Sword of Omens, and Wilykit mocks Lion-O, making kissy noises.
  • Nothing Is the Same Anymore:
    • First in the series is the Fall of Thundera where the life Lion-O and the heroes knew was destroyed.
    • In "Birth of the Blades" Mumm-Ra gets the Sword of Plun-Darr. Lion-O tells the other Cats the war has shifted against their favor now.
  • Now or Never Kiss: In "The Curse of Ratilla" between Tygra and Cheetara facing death in the caves of Mount Plun-Darr
  • Nuns Are Spooky: The Clerics are The Voiceless, introduced with Con Lang Ominous Latin Chanting. During the siege, they are likewise silent and efficient.
  • Offhand Backhand: Tygra to one of the slave buyers in Berbils.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: "Old Friends" shows Panthro and Grune being chased by a giant monster. Cut to them eating heartily as a giant piece of meat cooks on a spit, and its severed head sits nearby.
  • Offscreen Villain Dark Matter: Where do they get all those wonderful toys?
    • It looks like all the high-tech lizard toys came from Mumm-Ra's pyramid, once he was released. Panthro also presumably found the Thundertank in the depths of the pyramid, but where he got his knowledge of engineering and mechanics is anyone's guess.
  • Oh Crap:
    • In "Omens Part 2," there are several consecutive examples. Grune gets one when Claudus reminds him of Jaga's clerics. and again when Claudus goes after him in order to get to his friend Panthro It wasn't worth it.
    • There's also the Cats' en masse Oh Crap when the Lizards launch missiles at Thundera The Cats don't even think these things exist! The real life equivalent would be someone launching a fireball from their hands. which Mumm-Ra promptly does. And speaking of
    • The moment Jaga sees Mumm-Ra. The Cool Old Guy is visibly trembling and sweating.
      Jaga: The day I have always feared has finally arrived.
    • Lion-O when he sees Pumyra give Mumm-Ra the Tech Stone, then kiss his hand while calling him "master".
  • Ominous Latin Chanting: A pseudolatin Con Lang, during Lion-O's Rite of Passage and Mumm-Ra's reveals
  • Once per Episode: Lion-O has to find himself in a sticky situation and mutter "Whiskers" every episode, often directly before a commercial break.
    • In "Trials of Lion-O Part 2," with Lion-O temporarily dead, Tygra says it instead.
  • One-Hit Kill:
    • In "Omens Part 2" Mumm-Ra pulls off an impressive one with a Kamehame Hadouken, devastating the Clerics.
    • In "Old Friends" Grune and Panthro fast-track themselves to Captaincy by using a catapult to kill Lizards massing on Claudus.
  • One-Woman Wail: Marks when Lion-O notices a Petalar dying as they travel through the Briar Woods.
  • Only the Chosen May Wield: The Eye of Thundera, the stone in the sword judges the worth of the candidate in a Rite of Passage meant to test if a candidate can see visions within it. The Sword of Omens is itself generally enchanted against "being touched by the hands of evil," much to Mumm-Ra's consternation.
  • The Only Way They Will Learn: The Drifter keeps telling and showing Lion-O what he ought to do about or against the Duelist (as much as an eccentric trickster is able), but when it doesn't sink in, he relents and helps Lion-O by facilitating a rematch.
  • Opening Monologue: One begins the series. Narrated by Jaga over an Epic Tracking Shot of Thundera, it describes a Golden Age, when Thundera's empire was at its height, but ultimately doomed. It's also full of Half Truths.
  • Orchestral Version: The classic theme tune now gets as much sweeping grandiosity as can be crammed into ten seconds. Which is a lot, surprisingly.
  • The Order: In addition to being a Church Militant Praetorian Guard, the Clerics are also members of an Ancient Tradition that receives the mysteries surrounding the Book of Omens.
  • Out of Focus: Panthro received a spotlight episode with "Old Friends" but other supporting ThunderCats have yet to get A Day in the Limelight.
    • Cheetara (and to a lesser degree Tygra) gets one in "Into the Astral Plane". Tygra has some more focus relating to his sibling rivalry in the following episode.
    • Tygra gets more focus in "Native Son," where we finally learn of his birth clan, and how he came to be adopted by Claudius.
    • In "Survival of the Fittest," we learn about the Thunderkittens' past before they became street urchins.
  • Outgrown Such Silly Superstitions: Most of Thundera's opinion about technology, which is fundamentally an aspect of their religion. It's dismissed as fairytales for cubs, and Lion-O is seen as immature and crazy for pursuing it. Then the Lizards invade.

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