Adventurer ArchaeologistJackie Chan considers himself a normal, boring guy who lives with his Uncle at an antique shop and is frequently sent on expeditions for the local university. This changes in the first episode where Jackie retrieved a magic talisman that holds unique and special powers. After being attacked by minions of The Dark Hand criminal organization, Jackie is contacted by a government organization called "Section 13," led by his old friend Captain Black. Section 13 is an extension of INTERPOL dedicated to dealing with hyper-criminal elements that the normal authorities are no match for.Section 13 ends up backing Jackie and the quirky "Uncle" for their knowledge on ancient artifacts and magic. They are trying to stay one step ahead of the Dark Hand, who are looking to take Jackie's talisman and unite it with others to complete a set that will awaken an ancient demon named Shendu from centuries of imprisonment within a statue (Shendu promised them one-of-a-kind treasures).Add Jackie's niece Jade, newly arrived from China, to join him in his adventures. She will stick her nose in anything and everything, and neither Jackie nor Uncle can stop her.As the series progressed, eventually it fell into a routine each season with a Big Badsearching for a set of magical artifacts. They are, of course, scattered across the world. There were, however, standalone episodes scattered about. Typically Shendu or forces related to Shendu ends up as the primary Myth Arc. They do find additional allies in the luchador El Toro and the cat burglar Viper. The typical episode involves the characters trying to locate the magical artifact and figuring out either its unique power or how to neutralize it to prevent harm.Jackie Chan Adventures is debatably Chan's most successful American effort: it ran five seasons, albeit with Chan Not Quite Starring in the title role, with equal parts comedy and action, the entire show was very much like an animated Jackie Chan film. He also didn't have to share the spotlight with an English speaking actor like Chris Tucker or Owen Wilson, though a little girl managed to fill that role this time around.The last season is available on Hulu, and the entire series is available on YouTube and Netflix. Also has a recap page.
This show provides examples of:
Abusive Parents: Downplayed. Uncle treats Jackie rather poorly and shows little to no concern for all his nephew goes through, but this apparently only started after Jackie's childhood. He also slaps him a lot, which is the way a martial arts master would correct his students.
Adventurer Archaeologist: Sometimes averted when Jackie behaves like a real archaeologist. He relishes these rare opportunities.
Adventure Rebuff: This is how Jade usually gets involved in each plot. This happens at least once EVERY episode and Jackie gives up telling Jade to stay out of trouble. ("Jade what are you doing...why do I bother to ask?") Not that she gets involved every time, of course; on one or two occasions she stayed behind... when the danger was far too great.
Affably Evil: Tarakudo is better liked by the human minions than the other Big Bads, as well as one of the more intelligent ones. Some might see him as Faux Affably Evil since he's essentially conducting a Xanatos Gambit where, even if his minions fail to collect any of the masks, once the heroes end up with all nine masks and store them in the same location, the demons are unleashed anyway. However, for all of Tarakudo's capacity for cruelty, his affable demeanour comes across as genuine. He's under no obligation to be a Benevolent Boss to the Dark Hand, yet he actively encourages his men to seek them out. He also takes their failures on the chin, whereas Shen-Du or Dao Long Wong would blow their top off and often torture them. So whilst he is most certainly evil, his geniality isn't necessarily a facade, or at least he doesn't show it.
During the Christmas episode, it is revealed that the Tooth Fairy doesn't exist, even though Santa Claus does.
It's zigzagged whether the Loch Ness Monster exists. Jade is briefly mistaken for it in the dark while in Scotland, and later she summons it in a dream.
Alternate History: The show seemingly takes place in one where a demon sorcerer ruled twelfth-century China, dragons were once plentiful fauna of the east Asian steppes, and magical artifacts are a commonplace and well-documented part of everyday life. Of course, this makes Captain Black's superiors seem even more like Flat Earth Atheists for refusing to believe in demons.
Ambiguously Brown: By and the large the show is VERY multi-cultural, with characters who are clearly Asian, Caucasian and Hispanic commonplace. That makes Viper's brown skin and Ratso's pale green skin stand out a little more.
Amusing Injuries: Everyone gets a healthy dose of these, much to their chagrin, except Jade and Uncle. And even then, there's a few moments where they gets these as well.
Taken Up to Eleven with the Dark Chi Enforcers. Their injuries are already played for laughs normally, but when Daolon Wong turned them into immortal warriors they would just poof away after taking mortal injuries, which allowed the writers to ramp up their already pronounced habit of getting into painful situations by putting them through humorous incidents that would normally be fatal.
Anachronic Order: Season Two had several episodes that were set during a time period in the first season (no flashback or anything), sometimes even explaining how certain events ended up that way. In particular, a first season episode opened with Jackie trying to get the snake talisman from a museum. A second season episode set right before it showed he originally found it in a cave in South America and lost it to another archaeologist, who donated it to the museum. Jackie even ends the episode talking about how much easier it is to just walk to the museum.
Repeats of the series have placed these episodes in their correct place corresponding to where they fit with the Season 1 plot with Season 2 beginning with the start of the demon portal arc.
And Knowing Is Half the Battle: Well, if you want to know things about Jackie Chan, anyway, the real life version of which would answer kids' questions they had sent in, read by Stacie Chan, Jade's voice actress (and Jackie's real life niece).
An Ice Person: The Lotus Temple Guardian has ice-rays, and may be some kind of abominable snowman.
Animation Bump: The fourth season noticeably has smoother character movements in comparison to the second and third seasons, more on par with the first season. There is longer stretches of more distinctive martial arts combat rather than more general actions and Speed Lines.
Anime Hair: Uncle, Jackie, Jade, depending on how the episode's art is.
Also used a couple of times in the torture sense (such as by the Monkey King).
Tarakudo with onions.
Applied Mathematics: Jade references combining the Rooster Talisman and the Rabbit Talisman to fly by saying "levitation + speed = flight".
Art Evolution: In particular, there's an Art Shift (including visual reactions) in episode 9, season 1, and the Chupacabra episode (the writing seems different for that one too).
A more permanent one appears in episode 5 of season 4, and stays for another few episodes.
Artistic License - Biology: When Jackie is turned into a kangaroo, 'he' has a pouch. Unless Jade was thinking of the pouches and turned him female by accident.
And then in the episode where Jade is infused with the powers of all the talismans, she briefly turns herself into a lion with a mane.
Artistic License - Physics: Much of "Shanghai Moon," the second season episode featuring Tso Lan the Moon Demon, falls under this, as the episode takes place in outer space. Particularly creative uses include:
The entire Dark Hand, Jackie, Tohru, and Jade—a small child—acclimating to being in space instantaneously, with no physical detriments (or even mild motion sickness). This one is lampshaded by Ratso, who asks "Don't we need, uh, astronaut training?" before the mission begins.
Jackie holding onto the outside of a rocket ship as it breaks the atmosphere, then managing to climb up the huge structure to the shuttle inside. The shuttle is shown to be in space (or very near the top of Earth's atmosphere, where there virtually is no atmosphere), but Jackie only grows temporarily short of breath before entering it.
Jackie removing his air hose on the moon to release the lotus pod needed to banish Tso Lan, then quickly replacing it.
Aside Glance: Jackie, after Jade finds a talisman in a matter of seconds.
Atlantis: Shows up for all of five seconds - Bai Tza used to rule it, but now it's just an uninhabited ruin.
Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: First, when Jade's grow-up spell causes her to grow "up" literally. Then, whenever the good guys had to face off with Po Kong, the Mountain Demon. Later, when Tohru was infused with the chi of said demon, causing him to go on a massive eating binge. Lastly, the massive shadow-eating shadow khan, who had eaten hundreds of shadows and grown far bigger than its miniscule siblings.
Bad Boss: All of the big bads treat The Dark Hand rather poorly.
Shendu breathed fire on Tohru who was covered in oil. Good thing he dodged.
In turn Shendu suffers this from his siblings for escaping the demon netherworld and spent his time ruling Asia rather than release them.
Daolong Wong is a major one considering he transformed Finn, Ratso, and Chow into his new Dark Chi Warriors against their will and punishes them either verbally or inflicting them with painful dark magic while addressing them with the names of his old warriors.
Finn: I'm Finn, he's Ratso, and that's Chow. Would it kill you to learn our names?
Chow: At least Valmont bothered to remember our names!
Like father like son, is the perfect way to describe Drago or as Chow and Finn but put it:
Chow: This kid is worse than his old man!
Ratso: But he looks so peaceful.
Finn: So are cobras, right before they strike.
Not even Tarakudo was immune to this trope despite being the most lenient of the big bads as he trapped Chow and Ratso in halloween decorations for losing yet another Oni mask to Jackie and stripping Chow of his shadow and having Hak Foo's Shadowkhan eat Chow's shadow putting him in a deep slumber.
Non-villainous example: Wesley Rank, a self-proclaimed archaeologist, treats his cameraman, Deino Stephenson, pretty shabbily, and doesn't even know his name.
Badass Boast: Hak Foo on why he does not need the talismans:
"The Horse for Healing? I am not easily injured. The Rooster for Levitation? I already fly. The Dog for Immortality? There is not a man alive who can vanquish me!"
Season 2, Episode 2 has Jackie and Captain Black facing down a army of Shadowkahn. Black's comment? "I'll take the guy in the ninja suit."
When he first appears, Hak Foo introduces himself to Jackie, as "the last man you'll ever lay eyes upon."
Shendu gives one when Jade first meets him in Project A, for Astral.
Jade: Whoa! What are you? Shendu: Everything you will grow to fear!
And later, when he finally shows himself to Jackie.
Shendu: "I am the keeper of the talismans. I am the apocalypse of which legend speaks. And I am, for once and for all, YOUR EXECUTIONER!'"
Badass Normal: Jackie proves effective against regular people and is even able to fight competently against superhuman demons, often without assistance from the show's power-granting Plot Coupons. Then again, he is Jackie Chan.
Captain Black is another example - when split in two by the Tiger Talisman, he was revealed to have no "weak", pacifist, or sickeningly good side. The two halves of Captain Black are Badass and ... Badass.
Badass Grandpa: Uncle is not someone anyone or any demon would want to mess with. Not only is he the group's wizard, but he's the one who taught Jackie martial arts.
"Who else wants a piece of Uncle?"
Badass Teacher: Miss Hartman, Jade's elementary school teacher, gets an episode in the fifth season where she easily qualifies. She kicks things off by tackling Drago to get him away from Jade; sure, she was infused with the chi of the Sky Demon at the time, but she clearly wasn't aware of that until after the fact. She then proceeds to spend the rest of the episode beating down everything hostile in sight protecting Jade with only a few moments getting help from other characters; Demon chi or no, for a middle-aged woman with no known combat experience outside of "dealing with unruly students", that was pretty impressive.
Season two proves him correct: destroying Shendu puts him into a position where he could release his seven siblings from their cans. If he was simply sealed away again, he couldn't do this and the balance would be preserved. (And it's implied the void in the ranks of darkness caused by his demise made their release a lot easier)
The trouble with Daolon Wong had nothing to do with Shendu until he brought Shendu Back. (Unless you realize that the dark chi wizard was likely trying to take advantage of the void to spread evil)(Looking at his entry on the character page explains this a bit better).
Season 4 had a bigger threat than Shen-Du; Tarakudo, whose goal was to Take Over the World but he showed up after Shen-Du was finally sealed away again. (He and his forces had been sealed away, but were accidentally released)
Drago enhanced with all the demon powers in the last episode proves to be more than a match for a baseline Shendu, but when Shendu has his talisman powers back he proves to be more than a match.
Bavarian Fire Drill: Jade excels at this, particularly in the Hollywood episode. That one was also rife with "How do you do that?!"
Berserk Button: The Dragon Talisman episode revolves around this trope.
Particularly the Berserk Button of Jackie, Jade, and Valmont with each one related to each other.
Don't mess with El Toro's mask.
And I am *NOT* a shrimp!
Big Bad: The Demon Sorcerer of Fire, Shendu. A powerful demonic dragon that was turned into a statue centuries ago. Despite spending most of the series either in a can or "dead"; from start to finish he is the most dangerous opponent the J-team ever faces. There's also Valmont, the Diabolical Mastermind of the Dark Hand.
Others take a role as Big Bad for their individual season: Dark Chi wizard Daolon Wong, King of the Shadowkhan Tarakudo, and Shendu's son Drago.
Big "NO!": Shendu and his family are the biggest offenders. Lampshaded by Jade when they banish the Earth Demon.
"Here comes my favorite part." [mouths along with him] "NOOOO!"
Big Screwed-Up Family: The Demon Sorcerers, along with Shendu's son Drago. Shendu berates Drago for "messing with his father's world," while Drago complains how Shendu never payed attention to him because he was too busy fighting wizards.
Bond, James Bond: Jackie introduces himself to Origami this way. Origami spends the rest of the episode calling him "Chan Jackie Chan".
Book Ends: Of a sort; the first episode has Jackie fighting the Dark Hand enforcers, who have high-tech weapons, in a playground; the third season has him fighting the Dark Chi treated enforcers, who have new magical weapons and powers, ...in a playground.
Even better, the first episode of the fifth season has Jackie along with an extremely gassy Jade fighting the Dark Hand enforcers, this time with fire powers from Drago...in a playground.
Brainwashed and Crazy: Happens to every main character except Viper at least once, some more than once, generally due to some kind of Demonic Possession or dark chi curse. In addition, Tarakudo and his minions do this naturally - any hero who puts on one of the masks (or wears their symbol) will become this eventually.
Brick Joke: In the monkey talisman episode, Jade yells (in monkey) for help. Several of the nearby pack rush to her aid...including a giraffe, who was a monkey that she changed with the talisman.
In an early episode, Jackie quips that Tohru would enjoy working at Section 13 because every Thursday is Donut Day. When Tohru does pull his Heel-Face Turn, Captain Black asks why he would help them. Tohru answers, "I've been told Section 13 serves donuts on Thursdays."
British Royal Guards: Jade once tries to attract a Royal Guard's attention (being the nearest authority figure) to report the Magisters' attack, but fails.
Broken Masquerade: On a minimum level. The first season Captain Black was The Scully who refused that there was any supernatural things going on. When Shendu is awakened Black got to see him in full view and immediately changed his story. Played for laughs in the second season where he starts believing anything and everything was demon and magic related, and when his supervisors won't believe him he is sent to all manner of psychologists.
Captain Black: (being shown a Rorschach ink blot test) Demon. I see a demon. Therapist: [Shows another ink blot] And this one? Captain Black: Socks. Worn by a really big demon.
The Grand Finale ends up with a massive royal rumble where San Francisco is well trashed, Black makes an offhand remark about getting the town evacuated because of a meteor shower threat but it's implied they really can't claim Plausible Deniability on this.
Brought Down to Badass: In the fourth season finale, Uncle uses a spell to revert Tarakudo back to his original form, which removes all his powers and has to rely solely on martial arts. Still, he managed to give Jackie, Viper and El Toro a brutal beatdown.
When Jackie first gets into Section 13, it's by the hidden phonebox. Black pops up a moment later;
Captain Black: Tried to warn you. Jackie: How did you get down here? Captain Black: The stairs.
Then, in the same episode, Jade manages to sneak into Section 13 to 'save' Jackie.
Captain Black: Young lady, how did you get in here? Jade: The stairs.
Call Forward: During a flashback episode, Jackie mentions the difficulty he's had finding the Snake Talisman. "You'd think it was invisible."
One shows up quite early in the first season
Trainee Goon: Why don't we just let Chan come out of there with the (ox) talisman, and just take it from him when he climbs out? Finn: Listen, New guy, we don't know what powers this ox talisman might have. Chan might come out of there 50 ft tall with laser eyes.
Calling the Old Man Out: Jackie's dark side in "Viva Las Jackies" insults Uncle, who is yelling for not having eel saliva, by saying to pull his tongue out of his mouth and wring out his spit, which Uncle, upon hearing that, says "You call Uncle an eel!"
Calling Your Attacks: Villain Hak Foo parodies this. He calls most of his attacks, but sometimes he just describes things he's doing. For example when he finds out that his shadowkhan tribe is borderline useless in their original form, he expresses his rage: "Angry Demon compensates for inferior ninja army!"
When he went One-Winged Angel, his called attacks also got an upgrade. "Tornado Decimates Trailer Park" and "Meteor Brings Mass Extinction" indeed.
When he fought Jackie in space suits, the zero gravity slowed down their moves. "TIGER PROWLS... through pudding?" He then changes their name to, "Sloth kick...turtle fist."
"Flying Monkey Snatches Magic Box!" As it turns out, he wasn't calling an attack. That actually happened.
Can Only Move the Eyes: Uncle and Daolon Wong each try to magically paralyze the other in "Little Valmont, Big Jade". They both end up frozen stiff...while Giant-Jade is fighting Wong's giant ogre right above them.
Card-Carrying Villain: Many of the magic using villains have shades of this but none more than Daolon Wong, whose stated aim in life is to spread as much evil as he can so the forces of darkness can rule all (too bad for him the actual forces of darkness are much more selfish than he is and don't care about that).
Carrying the Antidote: After magically poisoning Jackie, Valmont mocks him for thinking he'd be stupid enough to do this (the Enforcers bring a vial to prove it'll work when Jade arranges a trade later).
Cat Girl: Jade becomes one briefly in the episode "Enter the Cat" because of the effects of a cat statue. Valmont also becomes a Cat-Guy.
His trademark magic incantation "Yu Mo Gwai Gui Fai Di Zao" which translates as "Evil demons and malevolent spirits, be gone!" in Cantonese. It doesn't matter what the spell is for, these are the words used.
"I am not a secret agent, I am an archaeologist / researcher."
Captain Black: Whoa, nelly!
Uncle also has "Ayah!" as an exasperated sigh.
Tohru's Mom often refers to Uncle as "billy goat".
Super Moose has "Da da da da da da Antler Action!" and "Evil on the loose, you do not want to mess with Super Moose!"
Jade: Go Jackie.
Celebrity Paradox: The episode "And He Does His Own Stunts" has Jackie and company going to Hollywood. Of course, the actor Jackie Chan doesn't exist and this is confirmed by people asking "Who's Jackie Chan?" Furthermore, once Jackie is found by a studio and Hilarity Ensues, a hot-shot director claims that there will never be a Jackie Chan in Hollywood.
Character Development: Tohru clearly exhibits this throughout the seasons. When we first meet him, he is The Brute under Valmont and has it out to eliminate Jackie and his family whenever they meet, not to mention he is willing to cut open the stomach of his future best friend. Then, following his Heel-Face Turn he becomes the apprentice for Uncle, the Big Guy and loyal friend to Jackie and a best friend to Jade. And through the following seasons he slowly becomes more powerful in his knowledge of chi magic before becoming a full-fledged Chi Wizard in the Grand Finale.
Chekhov's Boomerang: The talismans are used repeatedly even after their story arc concludes. Considering their powers and lack of adverse effects, they are very useful as a last resort. They are also justifiably locked up otherwise, since them getting stolen would be bad.
Jade took the imprint of a figure on Shendu's magic tome as a temporary tattoo, which gave her control of the Shadowkhan and drove her power-mad. Later Daolon Wong took control of the Shadowkhan seemingly by using the same symbol. In the fourth season it is revealed that the symbol is of Tarakudo, King of the Shadowkhan and the Big Bad for that season.
Chekhov's Gun: Uncle's signature blowfish has an important use. The ingredient to help remove the eighth Oni mask is fish, and it was fortunate that Jade and Jackie brought it along with them.
Chinese Vampire: It has the traditional weaknesses, but can grow stronger and overcome them by absorbing the chi of its victims. Most of that episode's comedy comes from Jackie's disbelief at all the seemingly arbitrary rules for fighting it.
Jade (with Uncle's chi): We must collect a toadstool from a graveyard, place it inside the vampire's left sock, and throw the sock into a river [to depower it]. Jackie:: ....you're making this up.
The Chosen Zero: A group of Warrior Monks discover that Tohru is the Avatar-esque reincarnation that they have been waiting for, and have this reaction when he fails to meet any of their expectations. By the end of the episode, it turns out that Tohru isn't the reincarnation at all. Jade might be.
Given how Jade is, she'd probably elicit that reaction too.
Shendu (after intercepting the power of the Dragon Talisman after promising it to Dao Lon Wong): I may be a noble Dragon, but I am also a Demon Sorcerer. We're not known for keeping promises.
Chupacabra: One episode has one, and El Toro gets turned into one werewolf-style.
Cliff Stack: Third episode, with at least three Dark Hand-ers colliding with a wrestler; also in an early season 3 episode.
Clip Show: Played with in 'Déjà Vu' where Jackie is forced by the 'Déjà-Vu Stone' to relive moments from his past. While many scenes did consist of clips, many of them are also re-animated to where things did not turn out the way it originally did.
Convection Schmonvection: Partially averted. In the episode introducing the dragon talisman, Jackie entered a small volcanic cave. Jackie was seen visibly sweating from the steam and later suffered minor burns and Clothing Damage after being too close to hot magma.
Conservation of Ninjutsu: For the sake of variety, the Shadowkhan would sometimes appear in small groups, and other times as a massive horde numbering in the hundreds, but the latter never seemed any more difficult to defeat than the former.
Contagious Cassandra Truth: At the end of the first season (after spending the entire series thus far reprimanding Jackie whenever he brings up magic) Captain Black finally witnesses magic first hand. In the next season he tries to report this to his superiors and they decide that he's gone crazy.
Continuity Drift: in the season 2 episode Through the Rabbit Hole, it is stated Uncle did not start his study of magic untill somewhere in the late 1970's or possibly early 1980's (and thus has no knowledge about magic when Jade travels back in time to the 1970's and meets him there). Yet, in the season 3 episode A Night At The Opera it is stated Uncle has been familiar with magic since his youth; studying theatre magic at school as a child before becomming interested in Chi magic and abandon his study for opera star to continue on that path.
Continuity Nod: When Jade is demonstrating her Talisman Powers, she takes her monkey-form from "The Jade Monkey"
In one episode during the second season, Finn quits the Dark Hand to go solo, after having a dream where Jackie beats him up during a concert. Later, Chow & Ratso are fired when they asked Valmont for a raise in lieu of Finn leaving, and all of them decide to work together. In the premiere of the third season, Valmont meets with them to convince them to help steal the talismans, with Finn reminding him that they're "freelancers now."
The show's really good with continuity. A lot of season 2's filler episodes go back and explain what happened in and between the first season more in depth.
Conspicuous CGI: The MacGuffins, some more obvious then others (like the Panku box or the talismans when in the Shendu statue).
Still, the use of CGI is much smoother than in most other shows.
Likewise, Jade sees Jackie is this, just see her face expressions during the first episode when she starts realizing who her uncle is.
Couch Gag: The opening sequence will change only slightly each season. It usually will feature the MacGuffin(s) of the season, the Big Bad and the final enemy he knocks out at the end. As a side effect it is an effective visual shorthand to tell you which season you're watching.
Crippling Overspecialization: Nodded towards in "Enter the J-Team." El Toro lost his match because he was used to a roped ring (trying to use non-existent ropes as leverage) while Viper was forced to wear a training gi in her match when she is accustomed to a Spy Catsuit (which, in fact, is why gi's are used in the first place because they are harder to move in).
Dangerously Genre Savvy: After he gets the willies, Tarakudo goes to spy on his enemies and when he finds out they know something that can help them stop him, he tries to eliminate the heroes on his own which he is perfectly capable of doing. He also often has enough sense to set his moronic minions back on the right track and see through the tricks they fall for easily - in many ways he is by far the wisest and most sensible villain the Chans run into, which is decidedly not a good thing for the world.
Shendu showed this when he refrained (twice) from revealing his name to Jackie and the others. If it weren't for Tohru's Heel-Face Turn the heroes would never have known who he was or how to stop him.
The other Demon Sorcerers are capable of this. Both Tchang Tzu and Xiao Fung realize, with prodding from Shendu, that Jackie shouldn't be their target: it's Uncle that needs to be taken care of, as he's the one sealing them away with chi spells. Bai Tza, too, immediately determines that the best course of action when dealing with the Chans is fleeing, not fighting; she even lampshades this when she declares, "I will not repeat the mistakes of the others!"
Possibly lampshaded; in the series finale, Valmont shows up as a bus driver.
Deus ex Machina: Doubly subverted in 'Re-enter the Dragon' when Uncle has everyone spend much of the episode research a spell that can defeat Shendu, and then he discovers a spell that can defeat Daolon Wong, and then he uses that to have Daolon Wong tell him a spell that can defeat Shendu (which he then uses to end the episode)
Didn't Think This Through: When Jade was 50+ feet tall, normal sized Finn, Ratso, and Chow (as Daolon Wong's henchmen) charge straight at her intending to take her down. She just stomps them into smoke. Lampshaded by Valmont who was watching and wondered why he wanted them back.
Diminishing Villain Threat: Valmont too. From the credible threat he was in Season 1 until after Shendu left his body at the end of Season 2, it's hard to believe how far down he's fallen when we see him again in Season 4.
Double Take: In "Queen of the Shadowkhan", Jade takes some time to realize that the bathroom is full of Shadowkhan, complete with a Spit Take of mouth wash when she does.
The Dragon: Sumo man Tohru, until he turns good. He doesn't really get weaker, though, he just rarely solves his problems with violence and gains control of his temper. Hak Foo takes over after that.
And in the final season, Strikemaster Ice is the Dragon to Drago (ironic in that Drago is literally a dragon).
Drago himself was sort-of this in his debut episode to Shen-Du, insofar as he is working to free his Bigger Bad father Shen-Du, who is even more of a literal dragon (Drago is more like a dragon-man). Shen-Du himself was forced into this role in Season 2 by his demon brethern, serving as The Heavy trying to free them.
Easily Forgiven: Tohru is a bad guy until his defection at the end of season 1, but escapes criminal charges. What makes it a hell of a lot more plausible than most cartoons is that he teamed up with a family who are best buddies with the leader of a high-tech and powerful secret government organization. This is the government we're talking about. And even then, it is said he is on parole while living with the Chans and when criminal activity happens near the store, police look at him first.
Later episodes also show that Tohru is a suspect when a crime is committed near Uncle's shop. Captain Black even said Tohru was basically on parole at Uncle's shop.
Also, in the Grand Finale, Strike Master Ice and his posse betray Drago to try and steal the demon sorcerer powers for themselves, but fail and are imprisoned in concrete as a result. Despite this, later in the episode, Drago frees them and gives them each a chi power to uses to destroy Section 13.
Easter Egg: The dragon talisman may appear in the background during an episode when it's not in use.
Eccentric Mentor: The Deadpan Monk from the Lotus Temple episode: constantly meditating, and speaking in proverbs ("Ancient wisdom"). He's a villainous version of it
Establishing Character Moment: The three main characters of the series all had this in the first episode, The Dark Hand. First, Jackie in the very first scene is shown jumping up and down and using Improvised Weapons to dodge flying arrows in a Bavarian castle. Then, Uncle appears to us first as a sweet and caring old guy before going straight to his trademark Dope Slap while telling Jackie “One More Thing.” Then, Jade is introduced to us by breaking into underground military instillation of one of the elite police organizations in the world and hijacking one of their mopeds in her first of many attempts to “help” Jackie.
Even Evil Has Standards: In an early Season 1 episode Tohru, while clearly disgusted by Carl Nevore's plans, does nothing to stop him from eating the turtle.
Lampshaded when Jade's parents call him Uncle. "I think he's... everyone's uncle". Which makes sense given this is an Asian family. It's fairly common to 'adopt' older family friends as one's 'uncle' or 'auntie'.
Evil Counterpart: Daolon Wong to Uncle - which is lampshaded many times (Jade's even once calls him the "Anti-Uncle") - and Hak Foo to Tohru after the first season. Even in Hak Foo's first appearance, where Tohru is still a villain, he is presented as a much more brutal rival to him. In one episode, a criminal mastermind hires an entire team of evil counterparts to the J-Team.
Daolon Wong: "It would appear you are the appropriate yin to my yang, good wizard."
Evil Is Dumb: Tohru, and was used, subverted, and spoofed in an episode about Finn, Ratso and Chow, who turn out to be just as bad at being good as they are at being bad.
Overall averted. Tohru was far from an incompetent bad guy. Part of the reason he is the most dangerous enemy in the first season is because he is smart but usually solves problems in a blunt way. Some people running away from you down the stairs of a 50-story building? Casually stroll to the elevator. Chasing some people through a warehouse? Chuck a box at the door so they can't keep running. Etc.
Shendu: Escape statue form by reclaiming his talismans.
Valmont: Use Shendu and other magic resources to get richer than he was already.
Demon Sorcerers: Escape the dimension they've been banished to so they can rule the world again.
Daolon Wong: Obtain the talisman powers so he can spread dark chi over the Earth.
Tarakudo: Awaken the oni masks so that he can bathe the world in darkness... and also eat brains.
Drago: Originally, to resurrect his father, Shendu, and rule the world together. Later, to gain the powers of the demon sorcerers so that he can rule the world himself.
Exact Words: When Jade accidentally uses a spell to make Uncle go into a deep sleep, she has to go inside his mind to figure out the spell to seal the Earth Demon back. Uncle replies that she needs a flower and the hair of 'you'... Jade thinks he was talking about pulling hairs out of her head, and not a hair of a ewe aka wool.
Jade also uses this as an excuse to follow Jackie in one episode after being told once again to "stay with Uncle."
Jade: "Didn't say which uncle."
Shendu tries to pull this off in "The New Atlantis." When he first promises to release his demonic siblings, they cast a spell that keeps him trapped in the first body he possesses until he sets them all free. Bai Tza, the Water Demon, is the last Demon Sorcerer to be saved, and as soon as her portal is opened, Shendu demands that she release him from Valmont's body. Bai Tza refuses, and Shendu points out that he technically kept his word by releasing all of his brothers and sisters—they never said anything about their having to stay free to reverse the spell.
Exotic Entree: In the episode where the cast finds the rabbit talisman.
Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: In the episode where Valmont's gang goes to Pamplona, they have a hard time remembering what the town is famous for. Ratso finally remembers, just as he hears an ominous rumbling sound from around a corner.
Ratso: Oh! Now I remember what Pamplona's famous for! (a charging herd of very pissed-off bulls comes into view, heading straight for him) Ratso: ...The Running of the Bulls...
Feud Episode: Uncle and Tohru once went through this during a Season 4 episode, hindering their efforts in reclaiming the mask of Tarakudo's second-in-command.
Flat Joy: Uncle insufferably asks the Section 13 agents what did they learn after seeing Jackie defeat Shendu by taking out the Rat Talisman. They reply 'magic must defeat magic' with this tone.
Filler: Many episodes, though it is spaced out evenly with the Myth Arc.
In many cases, filler ended up as foreshadowing. The Big Bads from seasons three, four, and five all originated from filler episodes in previous seasons, and various spells and artifacts first used in filler suddenly became important later. Unless the writers were really thinking several seasons ahead, it's doubtful that these characters and items were really Chekhov's Guns in disguise.
Which shows that Valmont's Genre Savvy with the situation, as Jackie attacks him in an attempt to get the antidote.
Jackie: Where's the antidote!? Valmont: You think I'd be foolish enough to bring it with me?
Foil: Hak Foo to Tohru. Hak Foo is fast, brash, and clever but not intelligent, and relies on martial arts. Tohru is slower, intelligent and quick-witted, more thoughtful and uses strength and intuition to fight.
Foreshadowing: The various Big Bads of later seasons had one spotlight episode in a prior season that establishes them as being slightly more than a filler villain. In Tarakudo's case, it was fairly stealthy as his image was on a book of spells (and when drawn on Jade allowed her to control the shadowkhan) in a single second season episode, with him only showing up in the fourth season.
There's others, too. At least twice before she turns herself into a monkey, Jackie accuses Jade of acting like a baboon.
Lo Pei referring to Shendu as "The Ultimate Darkness". Then again, the viewers already knew of Shendu and it was just so the heroes wouldn't know his name before Tohru told them.
Daolon Wong was villain of the week in three season two episodes, during which time he was established as Uncle's Arch-Enemy and was shown to have a desire for the talismans. I doubt anyone was surprised when he became Big Bad of season three.
Friend to All Living Things: Jade and the Chans in general. Jade's liking and friendliness towards animals is quite helpful in the third season. She doesn't think rats are cute ("Cuuute" being one of her stock phrases) but isn't about to let Daolon get his hands on it.
Friendship Trinket: In one episode, Jade acquires two half-yin-yang necklaces and intends to give one to her new friend Seymour. When Seymour turns out to really be the Sky Demon instead of a child and kidnaps Uncle, Jade finds out she can combine her half with the Tiger Talisman (which contains the power of spiritual balance) to track the demon and Uncle. She later regains the necklace half and gives it to Tohru instead.
Frothy Mugs of Water: Showdown in the Old West features Jackie's Identical Grandfather(a sheriff in the Old West) going down to the local saloon for "a nice cold glass of ginger ale". This is Justified Trope: Ginger ale in the 19th Century wasn't the light and sparkly drink we know today. It was strong and was used as a tonic for various illnesses due to ginger's many "medicinal" properties (some of which have even been confirmed by modern science).
Jackie was sent to live with Uncle years before Jade was sent to live with him. Played with in the Old West episode, where Jade assumes that the sheriff's niece was her counterpart, only for Jackie to mention she's described differently. Jade dismisses it as a typo, and a dust cloud hides her replacement with Past! Jade.
From "Through the Rabbit Hole" we see that young Jackie's mannerisms are similar to Jade. He even goes against Jade's wishes to Wait Here when the Dark Hand kidnap Uncle, meaning that Jackie Chan was the first to "pull a Jade" on Jade herself, years before she was ever born.
Genius Bruiser: Tohru by the end of the series (if not earlier), both of Farmer MacDonald's sons, and occasionally Ratso (he used to study theoretical physics).
In "Enter the Cat" Jackie realizes the artifact is too dangerous and destroys it.
In "The Curse of El Chupacabra" the old man on the mountain who grows capsicum refuses to give it to anyone ... unless they mention being cursed by a chpacabra.
In the series finale, Uncle summons a fully empowered Shendu to fight Drago, who has been empowered by the essences of the Demon Lords.
Good Cop/Bad Cop: The Ikazuki episode in season four. First, Jade and Jackie trying to get Ikazuki to give them information on Tarakudo, then Finn and Ikazuki trying to persuade Tohru to give them the removal spell.
Finn: Tohru, T-Man, buddy! Look, uh, maybe you haven't noticed, but I kinda have a face on my sittin' place, so I was wondering if you could be a pal and - Ikazuki: The potion! Or I shall feast upon your brains! Ratso (elbowing Chow): Ooo, the old good-cop-bad-cop..!
Good Is Impotent: Subverted. While Jackie's yin is far more pacifistic, it's still a competent fighter because "it's not nice to drop kick little girls". Also, as noted above, Captain Black has no 'passive' side. They're both active and badass.
Good Is Not Nice: Lo Pei is not too worried about collateral damage, and tends to blast first, ask questions never.
Hijacked by Ganon: Season 3. Daolon Wong, searching for the talisman powers, revives Shendu to get the power of the dragon talisman. Shendu immediately Curb Stomps Daolon and takes over for the finale.
How Many Fingers?: In the first episode. "Look, fishies!" Jade tries it in season 3 after Jackie's been bitten by a cobra. "What's a Jackie?"
Humiliation Conga: Several of the villains get this over the course of the series. Daolon Wong in particular gets these in nearly every single appearance. There was once a single episode where in attempting to time travel to the past to stop Jackie he ended being teleported to all his most humiliating defeats... and getting injured by being in the middle of situations he was never in in the first place.
Hurricane Of Aphorisms: The monk who guides the Chans in "The Lotus Temple" was fond of these, always preceding with the phrase "ancient wisdom!" When he reveals himself to be Evil All A Long, he even picks proverbs that are appropriately intimidating. At the end of the episode Jackie gets into the act by making one up on the spot about Jade's homework.
Identical Grandson: Almost every main character gets an identical ancestor in Showdown in the Old West, although the only one we know was identical is past-Jackie (most of it is being pictured by the present-day characters). This is almost certainly due to the modern day characters imagining their ancestors as being just like themselves. The only character whose physical appearance is actually described is Jade's counterpart, and she's outright stated to be nothing like Jade, being 15 years old and much taller. She insists that "It was a typo!"
Idiot Ball: Happens to Jackie and Jade the most. Jackie tends to attack problems with an almost reckless lack of planning which tends to come back to bite him in the ass. Jade however tends to plan ahead more and is generally the only character who bothers to grab the talismans or some other useful item before running off to fight the enemy. Still, that doesn't stop her from screwing up a lot. To emphasize the importance of using the Idiot Ball, consider that Jade's actions in the Season 1 finale lead directly to Season 2, Jackie's actions in the Season 3 premier lead to Season 3 itself, and both Jackie and Future! Jade help to institute Season 5 via keeping Drago after J2. In the same vein, Daloan Wong's actions in the Season 4 premier lead to Season 4 itself happening. Using the Idiot Ball continues the show.
The Igor: One appears in the cat statue episode, although only in voice.
Haggis from the episode with the living gloves qualifies.
I'm a Humanitarian: With the monkey talisman, Tohru suggests they turn Jackie into an edible animal.
The only reason Carl Nivore doesn't eat children is because they aren't endangered.
Immortality Hurts: Said verbatim by Finn when he slammed at sixty miles per hour into a wall while holding the immortality Talisman. Also of note is that he had just traded the Healing talisman to one of his teammates because he thought having Healing and Immortality was redundant— not realizing that the Immortality talisman doesn't include healing.
Immortality Inducer: The Dog talisman, which provides Nigh-Invulnerability and restores youthful energy. The Horse talisman is a close second thanks to its power of Healing - as long as the owner isn't simply killed outright they can recover from any injury, poison, or disease instantly.
Improvised Weapon: It's Jackie Chan, so it's required. Weapons have included furniture, a horse saddle, windshield wipers, Jackie's own shirt...
Insistent Terminology: In one episode an octopus statue is the MacGuffin of the day, whenever anyone tries to call it a fish, they are always told that it is a multipod...then subverted at the end.
Boss: Put the fish on the table!
Lackey: Uh, boss? Technically, the octopus is a member of the multipod family and... [notices the boss is giving him a Death Glare] put the fish on the table!
Incredibly Lame Pun: Several; during the Kyoto Octopus heist, one mook grabs a small tree, hoists it over his head (presumably to use as a weapon) and jumps, yelling "Banzai!" Another favorite is when Jackie warns the mooks to be careful because they are at risk of damaging a Babylonian Urn. "What's a Babylonian urn?" "Probably more than we do!"
Instant Expert: Frequently averted for comic relief, especially if it's the bad guy that fails by his own superpower.
Finn refers to Valmont as Big-V (or Little-V in one case) and Tohru as Big-T or T-Man. Following this, Jade also refers to Tohru as Big-T, or just T.
Interchangeable Asian Cultures: Given the characters this trope is well averted, especially in the fourth season where it dealt with Uncle's unfamiliarity with Japanese lore, language and magic due to being a Chinese chi master. Somewhat amusing, given that his voice actor is Japanese.
Jail Bake: Subverted when the Dark Hand get themselves sent to prison to find Xiao Fung's portal: it's the Warden's birthday cake, and ruining it gets Valmont sent to solitary. The box was in the package beneath the cake.
Just a Stupid Accent: Chinese characters rarely speak any Chinese language, even during the episodes set in China. Even more jarringly, the two characters who had been in America for a large portion of their lives - Uncle and Jackie - still had accents, while the one character who supposedly just came over from China - Jade - has a very American accent.
This may be justified, albeit weakly, by the fact that Jade is from Hong Kong, where many people have what sounds like an American accent - except her parents don't really have much in the way of accents either.
In one episode, Uncle even does research with a Japanese to Chinese dictionary.
Lampshaded in the Three Wise Monkeys-based episode, where Uncle can't read a speechless Jackie's lips because Jackie's accent's too thick.
Kick the Dog: Daolon Wong attempts this, in a literal sense. It fails; the dog in question is immortal.
Tarakudo also does this in Scruffy's second episode, though he was aiming for Jade.
Leaking Can of Evil: Shendu begins the series sealed into the form of a stone statue after having the talismans which control his power removed from his body. While in this form he retains the ability to speak and apparently to breathe fire.
Leitmotif: Many. Though Jackie does not seem to have one, Jade does, and many secondary characters have a motif as well: The Enforcers, Shendu, the Monkey King, Daolon Wong...
Limited Wardrobe: Although it changes depending on scenario; El Toro wears a nice suit outside of the ring, Jackie and Jade both have archeologist outfits, etc.
Literal Metaphor: Jade once used the Snake Talisman to sneak in during one of Jackie's missions. After he's complimented for defeating some bad guys "alone", she complained by asking if she was invisible. Duh, as she said once she realized she was indeed invisible because of the talisman's power.
A age-regressed Valmont did it too with the Chans.
Living Forever Is Awesome: Uncle reads from a scroll explaining why the Immortality Talisman is the Dog Talisman; dogs are man's best friend. Not only does the user gain eternal life, but all the strength and stamina of youth. When Uncle used it, he retained all his skill but regained his vigor. He could even eat cheese again because it wouldn't gum up his..."none of your business."
Living Toys: Gnomekop (once) and Super Moose (repeatedly) thanks to the Rat Talisman
Look Behind You: During a truck-top fight, Jackie warns Finn of an oncoming tunnel. Finn scoffs at the 'trick' and slams into the cliff wall (turns out immortality and healing aren't so redundant.)
Loophole Abuse: Jade loves to do this when it comes to following Jackie around, often using Jackie's Exact Words against him. For instance, she is once told by Jackie to stay with Uncle (the character) without thinking that he is also her uncle. Since he never specified which uncle to stay with, she stays with Jackie.
The talisman's themselves tended to be fairly consistent, with a few inconsistencies. The Healing Factor Horse talisman originally required you to say "achoo" to activate, the dragon talisman initially imbedded itself into Valmonts palm to be used and the Enemy Without Tiger Talisman is prone to all sorts of quirky side-effects besides its supposed "spiritual balance" primary power.
An aversion is when Jade grew freakishly huge muscles from using the Ox Talisman, when this never happened before or again.
Magic Versus Science: Science has its uses in its own field, but is ultimately incapable of doing anything significant against the magical villains the cast runs into. As Uncle is wont to point out, "MAGIC MUST DEFEAT MAGIC!"
McNinja: Subverted. In the first few seasons, the Shadowkhan were ninja (Japanese) working for the demon Shendu (Chinese). This was later explained and used as the arc for an entire season when it was revealed Shendu had taken control of them from a Japanese Oni imprisoned in a mask.
Also the ending bit, where he did a live question-answer session.
Mentor: Uncle...specifically, Mr. Exposition. As the series progresses, he becomes the Witch Doctor; his knowledge in magic increases exponentially, possibily becoming one of the strongest mortal mages on the planet. "One must keep up with forces of evil!"
Tohru in later seasons assumes the role of Mr. Exposition, especially when dealing with Japanese mythology, along with being a Witch Doctor-in-Training.
Monster of the Week: Most notable in the later seasons, with, Shendu's sibling demons, then the Oni masks and their unique Shadowkhan. Subverted in the last season; Drago is the monster every week.
Mook Carryover: The Enforcers (Finn, Ratso and Chow) who were always brought in by the current season's big bad. Also Valmont (when possessed by Shendu), the Shadow Khan, and finally Strikemaster Ice, DJ Fist and MC Cobra. Drago averts this trope temporarily by firing the Enforcers after one episode.
My God, What Have I Done?: Jackie yells this when he ended destroying the talismans, setting their powers on the animals around the world.
Never My Fault: Tohru's mother blamed Uncle when she turned invisible even though she walked into his hotel room, went through his bag, removed the noble snake's egg, dipped it into her teapot (which caused the invisibility) out of her own free will.
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Quite a number of times, often by Jade. Jackie has his own moments, such as when his attempt to destroy the talismans at the beginning of the third season only ended up scattering their powers across the world.
No One Could Survive That: In the fifth episode, mind you this show went on for 5 seasons, Jackie is escaping with the Sheep Talisman aboard a train. Pursued by Shadowkhan and Valmont's goons, and after rescuing the driver from certain death after the bridge ahead of the train is destroyed, and the train quickly dives off of the blown-up railway... and without having any Talisman powers, Jackie single-handedly runs across 5 or 6 train cars from the leading train all the way to the end, just narrowly vaulting back to safety while Valmont's goons look on. Ratso flat-out states it:
"No way he's human."
No MacGuffin, No Winner: At the start of season three, Jackie destroys the Talismans so that neither the Dark Hand nor Daolon Wong can get their hands on them. This backfires when the powers within simply seek out new hosts.
Not Allowed to Grow Up: Strangely applied; the internal timeframe may not perfectly match the season production but it's made rather clear that several years do pass over the whole series. Jade never gets taller and remains in the same elementary school class with the same teacher. One episode highlights it where Jade complaining that she hasn't grown at all since she came to live with Jackie and Uncle. Stranger still, Time Travel episodes show Jade as an adult.
Not Quite Dead: Shendu after being killed in the end of season 1, was a ghost in season 2, revived in season 3, and only to get sealed.
Not Quite Starring: Voice actor James Sie as Jackie Chan, with the real Jackie Chan appearing in the title sequence and a live action segment after each episode. He said in an interview his schedule doesn't allow for the frequent recording sessions, but he has tried to do all the grunts and other things his character does, which is much simpler.
Offscreen Teleportation: Jade's ability to turn up behind Jackie is sometimes explained, sometimes lampshaded. In the first episode, there was a gag where taking the stairs to Section 13 was faster than the ridiculously hyper-powered elevator.
Oddly Small Organization: The Dark Hand, at least by the second half of the first season. It's later justified because the Shendu escapade and demon portal stuff drained their resources. Early on, it was a lot bigger with a few hired guns besides the regular enforcers. Most of the local mooks got scared off by the supernatural goings-on, and by the end of season 2, all of them are gone save for Finn, Ratso and Chow. Still, it's never really explained where their infrastructure went.
Drago and co. about halfway into the Spectacu-Larry episode. Watch their faces as he attacks.
Valmont saying, "Blast!" in any situation going wrong like in season 1 episode 7, "Bullies", when he realizes Jackie took advantage of his anger to blast the boat open with the dragon talisman.
Daolon Wong and Uncle share Oh Crap looks when both are frozen, from using stone magic on each other, as a giant Jade and equally giant ogre fight each other around them.
Oireland: The St Patrick's Day episode involves Jade convincing a bunch of locals that she's a leprachaun simply by dressing up as one. Then again, the locals were right about the curse on the emerald...
Once a Season: About 2/3rds of the way through a season they would have the group lose one of the talismans etc. to the bad guys, reinforcing that they are still human. As well, the final episode usually had the pieces being united to demonstrate their power and why they didn't want them together in the first place.
Only One Name: Plenty. Valmont, his three main henchmen, Tohru, Paco...the list goes on.
It's probably easier to list those who do have more than one name: Jackie, Jade, El Toro, Captain Augustus Black (yes he has a first name, it's only said once)
Papa Wolf: Tohru, towards Jade. (speaking to Valmont) "If any harm comes to her, I will turn you inside out."
Any male protagonist would qualify even Finn, Ratso, and Chow during their short-lived Heel-Face Turn as Jade wanted to fight the Ice Crew only for Ratso and Chow to restrain and remind her that Jackie wouldn't allow such behavior. And there's Hak Foo in the Grand Finale, as Uncle and Tohru cast a spell to send Shendu and Drago to the Netherworld, Jackie grabs Jade to prevent her from being sucked in and hands her over to Hak Foo who holds on to her until the spell is cast.
Paper-Thin Disguise: Finn uses one to try and get a book from Uncle's shop. As he comments to his fellows, "I can't believe he fell for that!" In that episode, Jackie and Tohru disguise themselves as Shadowkhan ninjas. It's sort of ok for Jackie, but Tohru is much, much bigger than the other ninjas.
Personality Swap: An encounter with a chi vampire forces drains Uncle's chi into Jade. Importantly, it only switches their personalities. Although Jade gets Uncle's inquisitive nature and focus, she doesn't acquire his knowledge, so she still has to research how to solve the problem on her own. After getting Jade's chi Tohru is still a hulking powerhouse but now is a lot more talkative and using teenage slang.
Plot Coupon: Talismans, portals, animals, masks, relics. In that order.
Politically Correct History: Showdown in the Old West is a mild case. Though Jackie's Identical Grandfather is portrayed as a 19th century Chinese Laborer, the writers apparently felt that acknowledging 19th century race relations would bring down the mood of a lighthearted Cowboy Episode. Hence, the significance of a Chinese immigrant being appointed sheriff in a Western frontier town is never discussed. Granted, there is a fairly dramatic moment in which Jackie's grandfather starts a fight when he's refused service in a saloon, but it's stated that this is because he's a railroad worker, not because he's Chinese.
Portal Slam: In Season 2 with Shendu being dead, his portal is "vacant" of an occupant, so any of his siblings could use it to escape. Jade, being trapped in the Demon World, gets through, closing it, and Hsi Wu slams into the rock behind the portal.
Pre Ass Kicking One Liner: Jade loves these. The Enforcers like to use these as well, even though in the end it is usually their behinds that get kicked in the end.
Pre-Mortem One-Liner / Bond One-Liner: Many of the villains are fond of these, especially Drago (the series as a whole loves the "villain is about to kill heroes, villain makes one liner, fade to commercial" bit), but luckily they never succeed in killing their enemies after making their quips. Occasionally, they might use a Bond One-Liner when they think they've killed someone.
Punny Name: When Lo Pei is introduced, one of the Enforcers makes a wisecrack that goes something like "You want Lo Pei, try looking at my salary."
There is a minor villain in season one who eats exotic animal species. His name? Carl Nivore.
Put on a Bus: Valmont gets this treament worse than anyone, even writers seem to Lampshade it at the end of the series. Valmont is last shown in the series working as a bus driver. By season 5, everyone was a put on a bus except for Jackie, Jade, Uncle, Tohru, Captain Black, Drago, and the Ice Crew. Finn, Ratso, and Chow only had 2 episodes as antagonists and returned in the last episode reformed. This also happens to Hak Foo who was never seen again until the last episode after the eighth oni mask was found. This also happens to El Toro, Paco, Viper, and Super Moose, they only had a cameo at Jade's birthday party and returned in the last episode to fight Drago.
In the fifth season they are replaced by the significantly more competent Strike Master Ice and his group, although they prove to be more troublesome for Drago.
Reality-Writing Book: One of these appears in a later episode, when it's rewritten by Shendu. Luckily Jade is left unaffected since she manages to tear out the page that relates to her, leaving her unaltered, though not before she turns everyone involved in the fight into Ninja Pirate Zombie Robots, like turning Viper into a super-soldier cyborg mech.
Reckless Sidekick: Jade. Always. Just look in those big brown eyes and you'll see her unyielding desire to follow Jackie into adventure. To her credit, she does prove useful most of the time and almost never The Load.
Recruiting the Criminal: Viper in general. After her interactions with Jade and Jackie she goes legitimate and is later a consultant for a security company.
Redshirt Army: The Section 13 forces. Normally at least once a season, their base is completely trashed. Once, while fighting the Dark Hand out in the open, they got their butts whooped, most of their vehicles blown up, and a number of them turned into rats.
Red Eyes, Take Warning: A common power of any evil monster or demon sorcerer, if you see the red eyes you best Take Warning.
Resist The Beast: Xu Lin, the cursed guardian of "The Lotus Temple," does this several times, as she is cursed to turn into a monstrous beast whenever someone intrudes in the temple, but she doesn't want to hurt any one. The heroes manage to find the loophole, and at one point she manages to resist the transformation enough to guide herself into going after the Big Bad.
Retired Badass: Several episodes show that Uncle is pretty skilled himself, though his age doesn't allow him too much action. When he's using the Dog Talisman, however, he can make Hak Foo look like an amateur.
Rewriting Reality: Anyone who gets their hands on the Book of Ages, which contains all of history. When Shendu uses it to erase his family's previous defeats, Jade gives herself Ripple-Effect-Proof Memory by tearing out a page referring to her (oddly, the demons also remember the original timeline).
Shendu probably included an anti-amnesia clause in the changes he made to the book.
Rimshot: Jade: "Tch. Like Jackie has a dark side." Jackie: "Yes, I do. Her name is Jade." Jade: "Ba-dum bum, tshhh!"
Rip Van Tinkle: "The Demon Behind" ends with Finn rushing to a restroom now that he's free. He wasn't unconscious, but he did have a sentient Japanese mask fused to his rear end that was controlling his body the whole episode.
The Rival: Hak Foo can fill in this role at times for both Jackie and Tohru, as he is skilled enough (and just flat out crazy enough) to challenge Jackie's martial arts and he is physically powerful enough to also challenge Tohru's strength.
Saving Christmas: Daolon Wong lays siege to the North Pole, hoping to steal Santa's good chi. Tohru was to fill in for Santa while the rest of the team fight Wong.
Say My Name: Shendu has an epic one at the end of the third season finale.
Screw the Money, I Have Rules!: In "The Mother of All Battles", Tohru is approached by a Japanese crime syndicate who plan on stealing a priceless octopus statue and tell him he'll have a life of luxury if they help him succeed. Tohru joins them at first, but it turns out he was just pretending in order to warn Jackie who was asked to be a security guard.
Sdrawkcab Name: In one episode, the rat talisman brings Jade's beloved Gnomekop toy to life. Remember that the G is silent.
Sealed Cast in a Multipack: And in the third season, the powers of the Talismans were released when they were destroyed, and went into new hosts: random members of their respective species. They were collected and kept in The Vault in cages.
Justified in that killing Shendu in the first season caused all the trouble that followed. Sealing him in the final season ended it all.
Sealed Evil in a Duel: The series ends with Drago (using the powers of all eight demon sorcerers) and his father Shendu (using all twelve of his talismans) being sealed within another realm to duel for all eternity.
Sealed Evil In A Six Pack: The Demon Sorcerer Shendu was defeated the first time by wizards taking pieces of his powers, including the power to move, and placing them in 12 stones, each decorated with the image of one of the animals of the Chinese Zodiac. This is where the Talismans came from. Holding one gives you that power.
Second Person Attack: The title sequence involves Jackie punching the main villain of the season through the foe's POV and then shaking his hand in pain as he transforms into his live-action self.
Many episodes reimagine famous fight scenes from Jackie Chan's previous films. One episode had Jackie bitten by a snake, where the venom slowly made him loose his balance as well as very thirsty. So he has a loopy fight while grabbing and drinking any water he could find, an obvious joke towards Drunken Master.
Daolon Wong, ancient evil Chinese sorceror protected and served by three mystical warriors and is played by James Hong. Sounds familiar?
The Ox talisman episode involves the baddies pulling off El Toro Fuente's mask with a Flying Guillotine.
Speaking of "Enter the J-Team", Jade's dream sequence during the beginning is a shout out to The Matrix.
The phone booth-elevator used to access to Section 13 brings Get Smart to mind.
When Paco wears an Oni Mask on the Halloween episode, he is confronted by Tarakudo. He immediately assumes him to be The Great Pumpkin.
At one point, criminal mastermind Chang (himself a reference to the villain of Enter The Dragon) hires an entire team of J-Team counterparts. Jackie's counterpart is a kung fu fighter named "Little Tommy Chung," a reference to the song "Everybody Was Kung Fu Fighting."
Shown Their Work: While a lot of the cultures they visit are made up and the characters generally do things that are physically impossible, the producers do show a conscious effort to accurately portray a lot of the locations and some more specific facts about them.
Shut Up, Hannibal!: Pulled off on many occasions but it is most sweet with Jade after Shendu's first major defeat.
Shendu: "I will have my revenge, even if it takes another nine hundred years!" Jade: "Tch. No Rat means you're just a statue. And no dog means, (as the Dragon Talisman in her hand glows)you're not immortal.
The Slow Path: How the Enforcers get back home after being stranded in the past at the end of "Through The Rabbit Hole.
Snowlems: Daolon Wong uses them while attacking Santa's workshop
So Last Season: Lightly applied, Uncle mentioned that the Talisman powers are helpful (and certainly nice for a surprise) but are simply not the most powerful magic in the series.
Season Four had different villians than the other seasons, of Japanese heritage. Therefore, Uncle couldn't use Chinese methods of dealing with them and had to call upon Tohru's knowledge of Japanese culture a lot more.
Something Only They Would Say: Played with during Attack of the J-Clones. Neither Jackie nor his clone know when Captain Black's birthday is, to his dismay, but Jade figures it out by asking them to take her to Moose World: the real one refuses, since she has homework. Paco's clone gives himself away by pronouncing her name properly. For non-Spanish speakers, "j" is usually pronounced with "y" or "h" sounds - hence, "Yade" from El Toro and the real Paco.
Space Suits Are Scuba Gear: To facilitate a dramatic "where's the talisman" moment before Jackie removes the hose when it's discovered drifting around inside his suit.
Spit Take: Finn, upon Tarakudo appearing in his coffee.
Spoiler Opening: The intro for season 2 showed Shendu possessing Valmont and Hak Foo's return.
Season 3 shows Finn, Ratso, and Chow transforming into Daolong Wong's Dark Chi warriors, and season 4 depicts the Sumo Shadowkhan at the end.
Season 5's intro doesn't feature the Enforcers and, while Drago becoming the major antagonist was probably expected by the time the intro first started, his featured henchmen wouldn't appear before his third episode.
Stairs Are Faster: For getting into Section 13, the stairs are a quicker way inside than the phone-booth elevator as demonstrated by Captain Black and Jade. Later averted by Tohru in a different building, who quietly rides an elevator while Uncle and Jade wear themselves out running down stairs.
Enemy Without: A side effect of the Tiger Talisman, it's base power is was explained as the binding principle that unified all the other Talismans to Shendu. Apparently when the Tiger Talisman splits itself it splits the user in half; one side is sickeningly good while the other is a big jerkass, assumedly even more so if the original character is a jerkass. The process is undone if the talisman is reunited. It can be assumed it helps balance other magic interacting with the individual, via some creative use when Captain Black is possessed by an Oni-Mask and split by the talisman the good side of Captain Black was more or less Captain Black because the demon acted as the evil side.
Jade also MacGyvers an interesting side-effect from the Talisman when she attaches it to her half of a yin-yang necklace. It leads her straight to Hsi Wu, who's wearing the other half.
Eye Beams: The Pig Talisman in a nutshell. Noted at one point that an attack that temporarily blinds you is hard to aim.
Also not a great weapon of choice to someone who wears glasses and is Blind Without 'Em.
Invisibility: The Snake Talisman gives you full invisibility, but only works on characters. When applied to inanimate objects, only said object becomes invisible (such as when Ratso tried to make their truck invisible, ending up with the Dark Hand floating through air).
Playing with Fire: The Dragon Talisman is presumably the source of much (if not all) of Shendu's firepower. Using it obviously invokes this trope.
Spirit World: The Sheep Talisman allows your spirit to leave your body and enter this realm, but you cannot make any sort of contact with the waking physical world until you go back into your body (or, failing that, the body of another person who's used astral projection). You can enter a sleeping person's dream, but good luck convincing them that you're real.
Strange Minds Think Alike: In "The Amazing T-Girl" when the power of the talismans was stripped from them, Captain Black, not knowing this, tried to show off the Snake Talisman to his superiors and sneaks around them not realizing he is visible. Later, when Daolong Wong takes the still powerless Snake Talisman and does almost exactly what Black did to his own minions.
Superstition Episode: In the episode "Tough Luck", the Chan family receives a cursed Irish emerald that gives the owner bad luck. The only way to nullify the curse is to return the emerald to its tomb in Ireland, or for someone to receive it willingly. Having it stolen, however, leaves the curse with you.
Suspect Is Hatless: when Black described Shendu to Uncle, he says that he had "Red eyes, pointy teeth and sharp claws". Uncle says that that description fits plenty of demons.
Temporarily A Villain: Jade in "Queen of the Shadowkhan", Uncle in "Chi of the Vampire", Tohru in "Tohru Who?", Scruffy in "The Amazing T-Troop", Captain Black in "Black Magic", and Paco in "Fright Fight Night".
The Smart Guy: Uncle fulfills this role with his knowledge in magic and occult research. He also fills a mentor role to some degree.
The Sixth Ranger: Tohru, briefly. He quickly became an endearing Gentle Giant who always remained with Jackie and Uncle, unlike El Toro and Viper.
Team Rocket Wins: At the start of the second season, the Dark Hand has all twelve talismans, and they use them to run a robbery that can't be beaten by all of Section 13, including Jackie and Jade. Not until the end of the next episode do the good guys turn the tables, and even then, it takes a few additional protagonists to do it.
The Teaser: Usually ending with a close-up of a shocked expression on one of the characters (often Jackie).
This Looks Like a Job for Aquaman: The sheep talisman, which grants the power of astral projection to the user, rarely comes in handy in the series. More often, it is used in a fight either accidentally, or by someone forgetting what its power is, which leads to their physical body being vulnerable.
Telephone Teleport: Variation in one episode when Uncle casts a spell over his landline to Jade's cell phone. Which Jackie promptly lampshades, wondering how Uncle can do that when, earlier in the episode, Jackie sent him a fax and Uncle thought the fax machine was possessed when it began printing on its own.
Terrible Interviewees Montage: When Finn left the Dark Hand to create his own criminal group, the applicants who showed up before Ratso and Chow did were a disappointment.
When Drago was hiring replacements for the Endorcers, the rejects (other than Valmont) disappointed him in a similar fashion.
Tertiary Sexual Characteristics: The monstrous Lotus Temple Guardian has cute little bows on it's whiskers, the same that Xu Lin wears in her hair when not transformed. This is the only sign that the abominable snowman-esque monster is actually a girl.
Totally Radical: Avoided for the most part, which only makes the examples that stick even more poignant. In the episode Queen of the Shadowkhan, Jade says that's she's going to get "the gnarliest tattoo in the history of gnarl!"
Strike Master Ice and his team are very obviously into skater slang ("Relax, dawg."), but it is done so completely and mostly ignored by the rest of the cast that it comes off as character flavoring instead of trying to be hip.
Tohru likes grape soda and cookies. He buys out the Buttercup Scouts, even.
Tragic Monster: One episode features an ancient temple hiding great magical secrets, guarded by a hulking Yeti-like monster that viciously hunts down any intruders. As it turns out, this monster is a little girl who wandered into the temple one night years ago, and was cursed to become it's guardian whenever anyone sets foot inside it's walls. Jade, of course, makes friends with her, and they both try to find a way to stop her transformations, though the girl is more concerned with getting everyone out so she doesn't lose control and hurt anyone.
Treasure Chest Cavity: Jackie unknowingly had the map to a treasure inserted inside one of his dental fillings by a crooked orthodontist.
Two Halves Make A Plot: In one episode Jade took a liking to a boy named Seymour, even giving him a half necklace pendant while she wore the other half. Unfortunately, Seymour turned out to be the sky demon Hsi Wu, who was befriending her to regain another half left behind: his own tail, accidentally severed and kept in Uncle's shop.
Ratso: Too bad about the lost treasure of... y'know, whatcha call it. Finn: Uh, will this affect our bonuses? Ratso: You get a bonus? Valmont: Shut it!
Under The Mistletoe: Can't have a Christmas episode without it. What makes it interesting is that it's Uncle and Daolon Wong and is used as a distraction in a fight.
Uncle: *looks up* "Mistletoooe!" Daolon: *looks up in terror* "YAAAAAH!" *gets blasted*
Jackie and Viper have an almost moment under it at the end.
Unscrupulous Hero: GnomeKop when he's brought to life by the Rat talisman. Despite supposedly being a superhero, he only cares about defeating Turbo Troll, and has no respect for the life of "giants" - that is to say humans - to the extent that he even tried to use his belt blaster, a weapon capable of melting metal, against little girl Jade.
Vampire Invitation: When Hsi Wu loses his tail, Uncle charms the shop so he can't get inside and retrieve it without an invitation. Hsi Wu gets around this by shapeshifting into a kid and befriending Jade at school (unwittingly launching a thousand fanfics).
Jade and Xu Lin use this to get around part of the Lotus Temple's curse; Jade can't be an 'intruder' if she's invited.
Verbal Tic: Uncle's "One more thing." One episode had him listing off ingredients he needed and he prefaced each one with his verbal tic.
Jade and her "Tch!"
Villain Decay: Valmont suffers terribly. He starts out in season one as a genuine threat and an actual badass, able to take on Jackie one-on-one and win. As the series progressed he became less and less competent and more and more bumbling as terrible and humiliating things keep happening to him. He becomes a punching bag for every character in the series, hero and villain, and endures such a Humiliation Conga that he almost enters woobie territory.
Averted, however, when Jade is filled with Uncle's Chi (and thus, his personality). Jade's voice actress basically just does an Uncle impersonation. Later in the same episode Tohru gets filled with Jade's Chi and uses the same technique.
The Voiceless: Daolong Wong's Dark Chi Warriors and the Shadowkhan
Waxing Lyrical: When the thunder demon Tchang Zu is revived and discovers that his former realm is now part of Hollywood, with his former palace now a parking garage:
Tsang Zu: My palace! These humans have paved my paradise and constructed a... Ratso: Uh, parking lot?
What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?: At one point the Dark Hand had all the talismans and used their powers for themselves. Of the twelve that includes Flight, Eye Beams, and Super Speed, Finn ended up with Astral Projection, Motion to the Motionless and Spiritual Balance. It got better when Hak Foo, disdaining the talismans he had (some of the better ones), tossed them to Finn. Lampshaded, as Finn later traded the Horse Talisman (healing) for the Pig Talisman (laser eyes). "Immortality and healing? That's redundant!" Not much later, he's plowed into the roof of a tunnel. He naturally survives, but realizes: "Immortality...hurts."
The Sheep Talisman is most often subject to this. The Tiger talisman may be effectively useless, but use of the Sheep causes you to drop into a coma in the middle of a fight. However any general in Ancient China would kill for a means to communicate long distances without using a relay of heralds. Being in an era that still had magic would make the dreams messages more believable. One more thing. Traveling the astral plane would be invaluable to any magician, but that would be as interesting as off camera magical research.
Similarly, during one of these fights, Hak Foo activates the Tiger Talisman (without splitting it) and boasts that with the Power of Balance, he cannot be knocked down. Tohru body checks him to the floor and takes the talisman. "Spiritual balance, Hak Fool."
On the flipside, Motion to the Motionless is pretty epic, though you have to be careful who you use it on. You might end up with a Physical God that wants to kill you, a Noble Warrior from ages past or a small army of killer flying moose.
Ratso: What's a Babylonian urn? Finn: Probably more than we do!
Again with Finn:
Shendu: "The statue...of Lo Pei..!"
Finn: "Heh, you wanna see Lo Pei, you ought to check out my salary."
Where It All Began: Or rather when. In the Season 4 episode, Deja Vu, Jackie is flung into his past until he can find the Deja Vu Stone. The first place he ends up is the Windmill where he found the Dog Talisman. After going through many different moments (episodes), he ends up finding it in the same place as the Pig Talisman, which was in the same episode as the Dog Talisman where Jackie's misadventure started.
Whole Plot Reference: A lot of episodes (especially the stand-alones from Season 2) referenced famous movies or the Mythos thereof.
Enter the Cat is one that's hard to spot, what with the magic cat scratch and all, but a significant portion of the episode involves dealing with a rich, overweight art collector and his tiny, timid underling: The Maltese Falcon.
There's a James Bond episode, which gets spoofed instead of being a straight reference; Jackie ends up inadvertently knocking out Agent Tag, the James Bond analog, which leaves him to do the man's job for him. Tag takes all the credit, and Jackie's happy to let him have it.
Would Hurt a Child: The Dark Hand (especially early on) and other villains have no problem trying to kill Jade and Paco. In the second episode Tohru nearly cuts Jade in half with a scimitar to get the rooster talisman.
Averted, however, with the cheerleaders. Cheerleaders joining Uncle's chant gave him a serious power boost.
The Worf Effect: Tohru gets this occasionally - it's always a sign that someone is particularly strong when they can toss him around like a ragdoll. Shendu does this to him twice, first when he initially regains his demon form, and again to show that he's powerful even while possessing Valmont.
Xanatos Gambit: As the Chan clan found out, it doesn't matter to Tarakudo whether he gets all the masks or they do. The end result is the same. They would if Tohru hadn't noticed one piece of the exposition mural was flipped over.
You Can't Thwart Stage One: The heroes are never able to stop that season's Arc Villain from accomplishing their main goal, and generally have to band together and come up with a new plan to fight them at their new, full strength. Used most constantly in the second season, where despite our heroes' stated goal of stopping Shendu from freeing his brethren, they never succeed (only ever delaying him) and always have to find a way to banish the demon again after they escape from their prison.
You Have GOT To Be Kidding Me: A standard phrase for Jackie whenever something truly zany starts up, especially in the first season. Two other notable usages are when a demon portal is located inside a prison, so Valmont and crew must be locked up there to get to it and when Jade is in the demon prison, Shendu's portal opens up at the gate of her favorite theme park in Hong Kong.