An animated cartoon series loosely based on Conan the Barbarian (hence the title), but so very much Lighter and Softer then the original it should be considered more a generic fantasy series that merely borrows inspiration from Conan. The cartoon run from September, 1992 to November, 1993, a total of 65 episodes.Thousands of years ago, the demon-god Set ruled the earth as an immortal tyrant, served by legions of monstrous reptilian humanoids called "Serpentmen". However, a mighty warrior-wizard named Vathalos led the other White Wizards of the world in a rebellion against the demon-god and sealed him and most of his minions away in the Abyss. Unfortunately, some of Set's minions, human and Serpentman alike, escaped the purge and slunk into the shadows to prepare for the day when they could release Set and reclaim the world.None of this is of any concern to Conan, who is a mere youth apprenticed to his father, a blacksmith, in a peaceful mountain village in Cimmeria. One day, a strange celestial event results in a great shower of shooting stars; while they hit all over the world, several of them land at Conan's mountain, whereupon Conan's father forges the "starmetal" they contain into weapons and makes a profitable business selling them, saving one piece, a mighty broadsword, for Conan. This sword is concealed in a stone sarcophagus, and Conan is told that he will be ready to wield it on the day that he can remove it from its resting place.Unbeknownst to the Cimmerians, Wrath-amon, the High Wizard-Priest of Stygia and Lord of All Serpentmen, has been told by Set that starmetal holds the key to undoing the spell that keeps the demon-god sealed away, and he immediately sets to gathering the substance for his master. Several years after the starmetal shower, Conan's village is attacked by Wrath-amon's minions, led by the dark wizard himself. Conan runs to retrieve his sword, and finally manages to free it, but returns too late to help, forced to watch as his father, mother and grandfather are transformed into stone statues by Wrath-amon's evil magic. He vows to never rest until his family are restored, and while leaving the mountain, he stumbles across the tomb of the sage Epimitrias, still haunted by the ghost of this ancient wizard. The benevolent spirit tells Conan the reasons behind Wrath-amon's attack, and gives him a companion in the form of a fledgling phoenix named Needle.And thus the journey begins... As Conan proceeds to wander the earth and battle Wrath-amon's evil, he makes numberous other allies, including the Vanirman Snagg, the shuriken-tossing acrobat Jezmine, the warrior-wizard prince of the Wasai Zula, the wind-magician Greywolf, and the winged whip-wielding warrior Falkenar.Later the show was given a "sort of" sequel in Conan and the Young Warriors, where Conan acted as a mentor to a group of three chosen ones who are destined to rule over the realm of Hyboria.The series is currently airing on The Hub.
Bad Ass: Pretty much all of the main characters, really. Conan in particular does everything from suplexing a bear to punching a shark in the face.
Bad Future: One of the late episodes has Conan get pulled into one resulting from him dying in the ambush he was just subjected to. Set has escaped and conquered the world, Falkenar has been killed, Snagg's eye has been gouged out, Zula's hand has been cut off, Jezmine has been transformed into a Serpentwoman, Needle has been frozen into crystal, and Greywolf's siblings have been vaporised. In the course of preparing an antidote to dose Conan with so they can send him back, Snagg is eaten by Set, Jezmine changes into a serpent-beast to hold off Set and is killed and Zula and Greywolf are killed sending Conan back to his own time.
It's also loosely implied that Jezmine has become a concubine of Set, during the aforementioned scene; "You'll never touch me again!"
Baleful Polymorph: Greywolf's brother, Misha, and his sister, Sasha, are transformed into wolf-monsters. Greywolf manages to restore their human minds, but is unable to do more in the process than turn them into ordinary wolves. Restoring them to human form becomes his driving motivation for the series.
Barbarian Hero: Conan, Zula, and Snagg are all different versions of this; Conan is the standard "brawny loincloth-wearing white guy" type, Zula is the "Darkest Africa savage" type (if only in look), and Snagg is the "Horny Vikings" type.
Barbarian Longhair: As everyone in-universe is constantly reminding us, Conan is "a big dumb barbarian". He also has thick and untamed shoulder-length hair.
The Beastmaster: Zula, technically, with his ability to request aid from animals. Falkaner, with his loyal falcon Stormclaw, and technically Greywolf, with his lupine siblings, play it much straighter.
Big "NO!": When Set fails to devour an escaping Conan in episode "Into The Abyss" and again in "Serpent Coils the Earth" when the dimensional rift to the Abyss is closed, losing half his army.
Bizarre Sexual Dimorphism: The frost giants, much like in the original Conan story, have large but fairly human-looking womenfolk and far bigger and more monstrous menfolk.
Black Magic: Wrath-amon throws this around like it's going out of style. But there's plenty more of it that pops up.
Bloodless Carnage: Though this series actually has the characters hit their enemies, all they do is change them into Serpentmen (if their enemies are disguised) or cause them to disintegrate and be sucked out of their clothes into the Abyss (if their true form has been revealed). This is actually worked into the story in the ending arc. With Set on Earth, disintegrating the Serpentmen only sends them a few miles away, where they rush right back to the fight, giving Set an inexhaustible army.
Whether or not watching people being sucked into what is basically hell is, in fact, less entertaining than watching the heroes simply hacking them up, is arguable.
Averted sometimes, especially when dealing with non-human monsters.
Bragging Theme Tune: "Conan, the Adventurer, Conan, warrior without fear, he's more powerful than any man, his legend spreads across the land and sea..."
Butt Monkey: Dreggs is laughably incompetent and routinely humiliated. This is exaggerated for comedic effect in Dreggs-Amon the Great, when even ruling Stygia can't get him out of being the butt of every joke.
Continuity Nod: The show actually had a fairly decent continuity and several episodes referenced past ones.
Episode 16 has Jezmine and Conan note that this scenario is much like a previous one, referring to their near-disastrous adventure after the Star of Transmutation. The Evil Sorcerer even turns out to be the same one from that episode, and references it himself.
In episode 31, a callback is made to Conan slaying the Medusa in episode 6.
Ram-amon absently refers back to his first meeting with a time-traveling Conan in episode 24 when they meet him again in episode 60.
Cool Old Guy: Conan's grandfather, Conn, was a pretty impressive adventurer himself in his younger days, and even in the present day thinks nothing of stealing the jewelery of a legendarily possessive and powerful lich-queen in order to trick her into destroying an enemy of his.
Does Not Like Shoes: In "The Treachery of Emperors", Conan recuses a princess whose father promised to make him king of the western province. Save for one short scene, the princess is barefoot throughout the episode.
The Dog Is An Alien: While not an alien, Needle, a baby phoenix, would occasionally pretend to be a parrot to avoid drawing attention.
Elemental Embodiment: In one late episode, a renegade Zanthis wizard is transformed by Mesmira into an elemental humanoid, capable of switching between a hulking earth form, a winged fire form, a tornado-like air form, and water form.
Elemental Powers: The White Wizards of Zanthus study magic that gives them control over each of the four elements. A Zanthus wizard is also allowed to only study one particular element — trying to wield power over multiple elements results in exile.
Enemy Mine: Conan teamed up with Ram-Amon against Wrath-Amon, not once but twice in the series. It naturally ended with Ram-Amon's betrayal in both accounts.
Fight Unscene: Happened regularly. Someone would swing a weapon, and things would suddenly zoom into just the weapons as they clanged against each other, and then it would zoom back out again. This would also sometimes happen when the serpentmen would get struck by starmetal — the scene would zoom in on either them or their torsos while they got zapped back to the Abyss, then zoom back out again.
Heel-Face Turn: Astavis, a Serpentman with a human wife, falls in love with her and tries his hardest to keep her safe, even personally renouncing Set. When he is banished to the Abyss, his wife is accidentally pulled with him and he fights as hard as he can to keep her safe. When he finally returns to the world as part of Set's army, he deserts at the first chance he gets.
Heroic Sacrifice: The Kari Dragon sacrifices himself to save the heroes from a recently unleashed Set.
Hot Witch: Mesmira, who is frequently making use of mind-controlling and mind-altering spells to get what she can't get through simple flirting.
Humanity Ensues: Played straight with Skulkar in the episode "Bones of Damballa".
Identical Grandfather: In the episode "The Amulet of Vathalos", a man tells Conan a story about Conan's grandfather. During the flashback, Conan's grandfather looks like an older, less muscular version of him.
His creations/minions the Serpent Men also seem to share his immortality, in that while they may be overwhelmed or incapacitated, they can never die, merely be banished to the Abyss.
Karma Houdini: Ram-Amon, original wielder of the Black Ring and creator of Wrath-Amon, escapes unscathed in the final episode. Ditto Mesmira. Presumably, this was a Sequel Hook for future episodes, had there been any.
Liquid Assets: Conan and Greywolf have their youth stolen and turned into a "youth perfume" in episode 23 by an evil old sorcerer. They manage to get it back from the villain.
Luckily My Shield Will Protect Me: Conan's dislike using a shield, but he reluctantly carries it because it serves as Needle's resting place. It's also able to resist many attacks.
Mythology Gag: This show has dozens of references to the novels, from major ones like Conan and his tribe being descendants of Atlantis to minor ones like the usage of character-names and place-names from the novels.
Conan and Snagg often bicker due to being a Cimmerian and a Vanirman; the Vanir are frequently enemies of the Cimmerians in the novels, though this hasn't stopped peace between them and Conan, indeed, befriended a Vanirman at one point in his travels.
A literal Mythology Gag is at the ending of episode 11, where the countess tells her son that as count, he should only bow to the King of Aquilonia, who Conan, as he cheerfully admits, is most certainly not. Fans of the novels will remember that Conan's tales eventually ended with him becoming King of Aquilonia.
The mystical Black and Purple Lotuses are reoccuring items in the series. Both are potent mystical plants/drugs from the original literature.
Needle being a phoenix on a shield might be a reference to The Phoenix on the Sword, one of the very first Conan stories.
The general look of Dreggs and the other nagas might be considered to be based on the "Man-serpents" from certain Conan stories, first appearing in The God in the Bowl.
Zula's patron god, Jhebbal-Sag the Master of Beasts, is lifted from Beyond the Black River, though here he is a good-guy, whereas in the novel he was a demon/old gold who was empowering the Pictish shaman.
The third episode is pretty much the same basic plot as The Tower of the Elephant, with Conan raiding a wizard's tower to steal a highly valuable gem.
The fight he has with an ape-beast in the same episode could be seen as a Shout-Out to Rogues in the House, which revolved around Conan having to deal with a monstrous man-ape that had taken over the house of its sorcerer ex-master. Especially because the ape-beast has the same name — Thak — as the man-ape from the story.
Episode four involves the "Cannibals of Darfar", a degenerate race who first appeared in Man Eaters of Zamboula.
An Evil Sorcerernamed the Master of the Black Circle is the antagonist of episode 23.
Never Say "Die": Turned to living stone? Banishing to another dimension? Definitely not as bloody as the classic stories.
Name's the Same: "Conan the Adventurer" was originally the name of a series of short stories published in the 1960s. It was later used as the name of a separate live-action TV series adaptation of Conan. Marvel Comics also put out an ongoing with the same name.
Precision-Guided Boomerang: Zula's bolas (later forged into a boomerang) and Jezmine's shurikens. They were coated with a magic ointment that make them return to the thrower when yelled "Return!"
Raise Him Right This Time: While fleeing the heroes, the old sorcerer mentioned in Liquid Assets accidentally knocks over some of his bottles, dousing himself in his perfume and regresses into a baby. Greywolf takes the baby when they leave his tower, stating that he now has a second chance and they should find someone to adopt him.
Reptiles Are Abhorrent: Set is a demon-god that appears as a giant cobra, the Serpentmen are Set's main allies, Wrath-amon is a humanoid monster created from a carnivorous lizard... and that's not even getting into all of the other reptilian monsters that show up.
Took a Level in Badass: Subverted. Dregg decided to try for this when he stole the Black Ring while Wrath-amon was briefly transformed back into the lizard he once was. His attempts at spells tended to backfire - for example, when he tried to make a crevice appear under Windfang, Windfang just caught himself with his wings, and then Dregg fell into it. Wrath-amon's troops wouldn't obey him, Dregg didn't know how to use any of Wrath-amon's other artifacts and made a mess, and he finally pissed Sett off so badly that Sett wouldn't recharge the Black Ring for him.
Ultimate Job Security: Failures, incompetence and even betrayal wouldn't stop Dregg from being Wrath-Amon's lackey.
What Happened to the Mouse?: Greywolf's subplot is the only one completely unresolved at the end of the series. The best he can accomplish is turning his brother and sister into reverse werewolves (human during a full moon, wolves otherwise).
Whip It Good: Falkenar's weapon with starmetal at the end of the whip.
Who Dares?: Set is outraged when the black ring is destroyed, momentarily disrupting his powers.
Wouldn't Hit a Girl: Conan considers hitting women against his code of honor, to the point that he allowed himself to be recaptured by the Amazons rather than fight his way out of their camp. As Needle put it, "Big dumb barbarian need better code".