Western Animation / Dragon Hunters

Meet the cast: Hector, Gwizdo, and Lian-Chu

A short (two seasons in France, one and a half in The United States) 2004 French cartoon series that became a CGI film in 2008.

The story is set in a World in the Sky, originally intended to be our own, millennia into the future, but later Ret-Conned as being a different universe entirely (with a mythological (?) dragon having caused the literal Big Bang). There's a lot of dragons around, ranging from minor nuisances to sources of mortal danger, and the two protagonists Gwizdo and Lian-Chu are constantly searching for lucrative dragon-slaying jobs. It can be considered a Weird Thing from France, though it is notable in that they had gotten The Cure to do the theme song.

The series was shown on Cartoon Network on the weekends, but, as with a lot of their foreign-produced and acquired programming, received little to no promotion. This ensured that the series wouldn't last on the U.S airwaves. At the least, the movie was dubbed and released in the U.S.

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     Tropes the TV show provides examples of 

  • Action Girl: Zoe/Zoria.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Episodes are generally centered on Gwizdo and Lian-Chu, but occasionally Zaza, Hector and Zoria are the protagonists.
  • Aerith and Bob: Inverted. In a world that has outlandish names like Gwizdo or Zoria and multiple cultures (mainly influenced by East Asian countries like China and Japan), Zaza's father's name is Roger.
  • All Animals Are Dogs: Hector, the little blue dragon, often acts like a dog (he growls, sometimes barks, and cocks his leg to pee), but gets angry if someone mistakes him for one. He also wears a dog collar.
  • And I Must Scream: In "Don't Look Now", Gwizdo and Lian-Chu return to the inn to find everybody petrified by a Petrovile dragon. Hector also gets petrified later in the episode.
  • Beleaguered Assistant: Hector ends up doing the majority of the grunt work for Gwizdo and Lian-Chu: carrying heavy loads of equipment and supplies, pedalling the St. George, sharpening weapons, and even (at one point) doing Gwizdo's laundry. While Lian-Chu seems appreciative of Hector's efforts and treats him with respect as a part of the team, Gwizdo often adds insult to injury by loading on the verbal abuse. Hector responds to Gwizdo by grumbling about the situation.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Lian-Chu is one of the kindest souls in this universe, but you don't want to make him angry.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Subverted when, in "By the Book", Gwizdo is up to his chin in quicksand and Lian-Chu and Hector swoop in to save him... and are promptly caught in the net other hunters set up to catch a dragon (with Gwizdo as bait). Gwizdo has sunk completely by the time Lian-Chu does manage to drag him out.
  • Big Guy, Little Guy: Gwizdo is a skinny runt, and Lian-Chu is very tall.
  • Catch-Phrase: Gwizdo has a collection of these ("Just sign here, here, and here." "Boyoboyoboyoboy!" "Run for your liiiiiiives!"), and Lian-Chu even gets in on the action once in a while ("It won't work, Gwizdo").
  • Call-Back: The Movie was out between Season 1 and 2. Season 2 episode "The Master of the Dragon" has Jennyline deliver exposition: Zoria's real name is Zoé, she's the little girl from The Movie, and Jeannyline adopted her.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Lian-Chu's knitting comes up in several episodes. He even enters a knitting tournament at some point.
  • Cool Big Sis: Zoria to Zaza, who wants to follow in her footsteps.
  • Death World: With all the Dragons around,and the constant Danger of falling from an Island you may very well call it one.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Gwizdo; Hector also counts.
  • Death by Irony: Narrowly averted. Gwizdo nearly died in the Fountain of Youth. Hilariously, they rescued him right around potty-training age. He got better by the next episode, though.
  • Disability Immunity: In "Don't Look Now", the only person in the inn whom the Petrovile has not petrified is Noble Kao, whose eyesight is so bad he regularly mistakes Gwizdo for a little girl and talks to a coat and hat on a hanger.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: After the main characters killed a dragon made out of fire, it exploded and covered a nearby village in a thin layer of ash. The people there apparently thought that was a good reason to try to kill them.
  • Fat and Proud: Jennyline again. After going on a hunt with the guys, she tells them that she's never doing that again because it's "bad for her waistline": she lost 20 pounds (not that she looks any different).
  • Fluffy the Terrible: The eponymous Sweetypie from "The Sweetypie Clause", an enormous dragon with the mentality of a three-month puppy.
  • Foreshadowing: Gwizdo does this near the beginning of the episode "Isle of Mist" after seeing how old all of the Brotherhood members are.
    Gwizdo: Looks like rutabagas aren't quite the Elixir of Life.
  • Fountain of Youth: This is the real reason why the Brotherhood of the Dogdalites values the Island of Mist so much.
  • Gentle Giant: Lian-Chu.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Occasionally, since the French radar is generally more relaxed than its American counterpart. Particular mention goes to Gwizdo's Male Gaze on Dream!Jennyline, though.
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!: An example from "The Family Fortune" springs to mind: "I am your son. I swear to gosh I am."
    • Though, notably, Gwizdo says "hell" repeatedly in the episode "It's a Dragon's Life".
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Gwizdo and Lian-Chu. They've been best friends almost as long as they can remember (both were orphaned as kids and grew up together at the same orphanage). Lian-Chu is the only one who can make Gwizdo's conscience work, and without Gwizdo, Lian-Chu would always fight dragons for free and would probably have starved long ago.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Quite a few episode titles are plays on well-known catchphrases or allusions to other works ("Desperately Seeking Zoria", "Little Rumble on the Prairie", "A Fistful of Veggies"/"For a Few Veggies More", etc.)
  • Koan: Lian-Chu always has one handy. Sometimes lampshaded by Gwizdo.
  • Lotus-Eater Machine: in the episode "The Stuff of Dreams", Gwizdo breathes in spores from a dragon and falls into a coma; in his dream, he becomes a hero, everybody respects him, and Jennyline is a stunning red-haired beauty he falls in love with.
  • Lovable Coward: Gwizdo. Borders sometimes on Dirty Coward when the Jerk side of his Jerk with a Heart of Gold personality gains the advantage.
  • Lovable Rogue: Gwizdo again.
  • Monster of the Week: Each episode features a battle against a different "dragon"; by the end of the episode, the creature has been vanquished, proved harmless or freed.
  • Mr. Vice Guy: Gwizdo usually haggles with desperate villagers over the price of the Hunters' services or actually tries to swindle them. However, his schemes either go wrong or his good nature prevails, effectively preventing the team from getting rich and settling down.
    • Crosses with Fatal Flaw in that he's also a coward, although most of the time he's the lovable rather than the dirty sort. Played for Drama in "Dragontagious", in which a dragon has knocked Lian-Chu's sword out of his hand and Lian-Chu is fighting for his life. Gwizdo is too terrified to even move (let alone give his friend his sword); he remains flat on the ground, hands on his ears, and cries.
  • Never Learned to Read: It makes sense for the setting and isn't really harped upon one way or the other, but few people actually know how to read in this society except those that can afford the schooling or have jobs that require it. For the most part being able to read or write isn't needed in order to function on a daily basis in this world. In fact most people that sign the contracts are literally just scratching an 'X' on the line because they can't write their own names.
    • This is also why Gwizdo is invaluable as a teammate despite being basically useless in battle. On the rare occasions he isn't there to do it finding someone that can read for them is a mini-quest in and of itself.
    • It's also the only reason the guys were even included in the episode "Treasure Rock". Zoria had to swing by the Inn to pick up the guys for the adventure because she needed someone that would willingly read a book for her (though he did try to charge her by the page). Lian-Chu was just a bonus for that one; Zoria specifically went there to pick up Gwizdo.
  • Never Say "Die": averted. The Real Song Theme Tune by The Cure says it as much as it can, for one.
  • Non-Action Guy: Gwizdo.
  • Off with His Head!: In "Ghost Hunters", Gwizdo brings Jennyline the head of a dragon Lian-Chu has just killed as a trophy. The inn in promptly haunted by a headless ghost dragon in search of his missing head.
  • Oh, Crap!: In the show's intro, Gwizdo, Lian-Chu, and Hector get this expression once they realize that they're standing in a large dragon's mouth.
  • Only in It for the Money: Most of the time.
  • Only Six Faces: Mostly averted, although some of the villagers are clearly the same from one episode to another.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: Oh yes. Gwizdo and Lian-Chu go after a number of different kinds of dragons over the course of the series, and no two are alike. With all the variety, it seems most likely that any creature that is threatening enough to make a village hire hunters to get rid of it is labeled a "dragon" for simplicity's sake.
  • Plucky Girl: Zaza.
  • Reality Ensues: In "Don't Look Now", Gwizdo and Lian-Chu have been paid in food, which they bring back to the inn, but they find it's been attacked by a dragon and everybody is petrified. When they come back with the cure, it's been a couple of days, the food has gone bad, and Jennyline adamantly refuses that the rent be paid in stinky, rotten food.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: Lian-Chu is a very skilled swordfighter, a badass, something of a Genius Bruiser and a generally big muscular giant of a guy. He's also very fond of knitting.
  • Samus Is a Girl: Zoria.
  • Shorter Means Smarter: Occasionally subverted, as Gwizdo clearly is the most skilled when it comes to getting jobs (and money - Lian-Chu and Hector usually don't really make a lot when he's not around), but Lian-Chu is often more sensible than Gwizdo.
  • Shout-Out: The flying machine that Gwizdo, Lian-Chu, and Hector use to travel from place to place is called the St. George. Given the subject of the series, this a likely reference to the dragon-killing Catholic saint of the same name.
  • Status Quo Is God: Sometimes the two hunters get to fly home with the reward money, but by the start of the next episode, they are invariably flat broke.
    • Deconstructed in the episode "Hell around Town". After the duo makes enough money to settle down in the city, Gwizdo looses all the money he earned in a scam. Faced with huge debts, they are forced to flee and by the end of the episode they are again doing chores.
  • Those Magnificent Flying Machines: The St. George.
  • Those Two Guys: The Forrestall brothers.
  • The Dung Ages: Given the time period implied there is no such thing as indoor plumbing (they use chamber pots)or refrigeration or anything close to modern hygiene standards for the general public; only the wealthy. The characters notably don't bathe often, and Gwizdo once handed Hector his laundry and said it should be done 'once a year' at least.
  • The Unintelligible: Hector.
  • Tickle Torture: Happens in the episode Desperately Seeking Zoria.
  • Unit Confusion: Apparently there was a decree 30 years ago that changed all units of measurement throughout the kingdom(s). Gwizdo and Lian-Chu once agreed to a contract for a dragon that was stated as being five feet high only to discover that the isolated people hadnít heard of that decree; thus the dragon was far larger than either of them expected it to be since they had been referring to the old feet and not the new feet.
  • Weasel Mascot: Hector. Also The Unintelligible and a Deadpan Snarker.
  • World in the Sky: The setting of the series.
  • You Are Not Alone: Gwizdo, of all people, says this in essence to Lian-Chu after his long-lost uncle turned out to be a Jerkass who deliberately let a dragon destroy Lian-Chu's village and his family because he was jealous.
    Gwizdo (when they're back at the inn with Zaza and Jennylin): "You see, big guy? Your family's right here."

     Tropes the movie provides examples of 
  • Adaptational Ugliness: In the animated series, Gwidzo is presented as charismatic and moderately attractive. The film portrays him as grimy and unpleasant, even having him describe himself as "mean and ugly" during a breakdown.
  • Animalistic Abomination: The World Gobbler, which causes great destruction every time it wakes up.
  • Attack Its Weak Point: Lian-Chu destroys the World Gobbler by throwing his needles at the beast's eyes.
  • Big Bad: The World Gobbler
  • Catch-Phrase: Zoe finds Gwizdo and Lian-Chu's adventures to be consistently "Unreal!"
  • Dracolich: The World Gobbler, again.
  • Hard Cut: Several examples, but the most obvious is Zoe's Curse Cut Short (at least in original French) at the end of the film. Gwizdo, Lian-Chu, and Zoe are singing, and the camera pans toward Zoe. When Zoe's face almost fills the screen, the film immediately cuts to the end credits before she can finish the verse on what is presumarbly a very rude word.
  • Mood Whiplash:
    • One occurs when Gwizdo, Lian-Chu, and Zoe crash-land on the surface at the End of the World, and Zoe fakes a Disney Death to find out if Gwizdo really cared for her.
    • Then there's the ending: Lian-chu defeats the villain of the film, the World-Gobbler, while Gwizdo, Hector, and Zoe are terrified and trying to save their lives. The World-Gobbler explodes, Fade to White... And then there's floating bunnies everywhere, and Gwizdo, Lian-Chu, and Zoe planning their dream farm, all the while with bright green planetoids straight out of Super Mario Galaxy float around.
  • The Movie: And it is The Prequel, too.
  • One to Million to One: The "Red Swarm". Constituted of many small red flying creatures (looking like a cross of toad and bat), it can assemble into a large, fire-breathing dragon/ogre. Once, the dragon reconstitutes while the swarm is separated in several places; its head ends up stuck inside a barn, the body outside and one leg farther away, but still mobile and aware of its other body parts.
  • This Is No Time for Knitting: At the beginning of The Movie, Gwizdo berates Lian-Chu for knitting. Later, Zoe (thinking the needles she found were Gwizdo's) points out that it's not very knight-like to knit, yet in the end, Lian-Chu uses the knitting needles to blind and destroy the world-eating monster they were after.

     Tropes both the TV show and the movie provide examples of 

  • Meaningful Name:
    • Tubalard, who (you can probably tell from the name) is a bit portly.
    • There's also Sir Lensflair, whose extremely shiny armor causes lens flares in the camera.
  • Scenery Porn: There's plenty of that in the TV show, but the movie has incredible amounts of it, especially at the End of the World.