Adaptational Attractiveness: While rather tame compared to other female characters like that in the show, Roll had a body of a fairly curvy young woman rather than the little girl she normally is in the franchise.
Roll shows us how dangerous kitchen utensils are, and occasionally wields things like axes and buzzsaws.
Adaptational Heroism: A Metool, an enemy from the games, was in the first episode as Roll's partner. There was also a heroic Pipi enemy in the episode "Ice Age."
Adaptational Villainy: Proto Man has a Heel-Face Turn and becomes a frequent ally to Mega Man in the games, if still aloof at times. In the series, he is a straight up villain with no redeeming qualities and an obsession with defeating Mega Man himself.
Adapted Out: Some Robot Masters never made an appearance in the cartoon.
Artistic Age: Mega Man looks 21 and (for the most part) acts like it, but a good deal of promotional material gives the impression that he's only 15 or so...and all of that despite the fact he's a robot who was built, at most, a handful years before the series starts.
Ascended Extra: Dark Man, the robot posing as Proto Man in 5, gets two major parts in two episodes, a pretty cool voice, an awesome power, and he's even competent to boot!
Ascended Fanboy: The Karate Bot from "Campus Commandos" admires Mega Man and wants to be a fighter like him. Despite hindering Mega at times, he manages to take down Cutman.
Annie from "Future Shock" is a human, female example.
Auction of Evil: "The Incredible Shrinking Mega Man" had Dr. Wily shrink entire American cities - specifically, New York, Washington, and Chicago - and then encase them in glass before auctioning them off to the highest bidder. One scene of the Robot Masters driving around in their van also had Guts Man mention that Pittsburgh, Cleveland, and Los Angeles were next on the list.
Ax-Crazy: Both Protoman and Wily show signs of this.
Back to School: Roll attends Light's robot college; Mega's there too, but just to keep an eye on things if Wily's around.
Bad Bad Acting: Seen on two separate occasions when Mega and Roll try to fool Wily. (You can also tell which of Roll's voice actresses voices her by this—Robyn Ross doesn't do this, while Kathleen Barr does.)
Bad Future: The one in "Future Shock", in which Wily has nearly taken over the entire world in the span of thirty or so years.
In a sense, X's appearance implies that the future of the Mega Man X and Mega Man Zero games still comes to pass, meaning the world is in for quite a bit of fighting until things settle down for a bit with Mega Man ZX.
Badass: Pharaoh Man had a great design compared to many robot masters in the series, was competent, had a deep voice, no puns and punched Megaman in the face after having his weapon stolen.
Blow You Away: Air Man did this, as did Roll's various Utility Arm fans.
Bond Villain Stupidity: Dr. Wily's had his moments. One that comes to mind was in "20,000 Leaks Under the Sea". After pulling off a clever plan, he managed to trap our heroes in a fake laboratory building that was in fact an enormous robot which then took them underwater. We later find out that he had a self-destruct for the building that he could've just used right at the start and kill them all before they even realized anything was wrong. Instead, he trapped them in an Agony Beam while gloating about his plan, eventually leaving them to their fate, enabling them to make their escape. Not only that, but he apparently left some tools behind that Dr. Light was able to use to help them escape.
The Chessmaster: Wily took this role in "The Big Shake" thanks to a microtransmitter; Dr. Light noted how he was always one step ahead of them.
It could be said he took this role in "Mega X", coming up with the plan to flood the plasma plant and have the Mavericks do the work, and getting to use the lightanium rods before Vile and Spark Mandrill tried to bring them to the future.
Co-Dragons: When Tar of the Lion Men took over, Wily and Light briefly became his dragons.
Concept Art: Among other things, Protoman had a belt, Roll's shirt and pants were red and white, and Rush's muzzle was white.
Conqueror From The Future: Vile and Spark Mandrill, though they weren't around to stay, instead intending to obtain a valuable resource from the past and take it back to Sigma. Destroying that era's protectors was just a bonus.
Combat Pragmatist: Proto has a moment of this near the end of "Terror of the Seven Seas"; he and Mega engage in what's supposed to be a straight fistfight. Once it's apparent that he's going to lose, he changes his mind about not using his arm cannon and shoots Mega. All this earns him is a running punch to the head.
In "Robo-Spider", he attacks from below, uses Gutsman as a shield, and damages Mega's blaster while he's off-guard.
In "Campus Commandos", he shoots Mega's Arm Cannon while he was distracted, breaking it for about half the episode.
Continuity Nod: During an Enemy Mine situation, Wily comments on how nice it is that he and Dr. Light are working together again. This happened in both the games' backstory and the first episode of the show.
Mega fails to break open the bathroom door in "Electric Nightmare" and the gigantic Robo-Spider in "Robo-Spider". Both are explicitly stated to be constructed out of titanium.
Cool Old Guy: Played straight with Dr. Light, but averted with Dr. Wily.
Cool Shades: Protoman wears these. They're also the preferred method of stopping Bright Man's attacks.
Creepy Monotone: Protoman engages in this in "Curse of the Lion Men" when Tar reprograms him and the other robots.
Cultural Translation: Generally what people tend to think about this series. As this show was mostly a western production, the character designers would go with the style what was the it thing in other western cartoons of its time: muscles. This had the side effect of making Mega Man/Rock and his "sister" Roll look more like teenagers, as opposed to their child-esque appearances in the games. Other than that, most of the characters resembled their video game counterparts, only on 'roids, with the exception being a completely redesigned Roll.
The action was also firmly grounded in the United States (most of the time), with one episode featuring Mega Man taking a plasma shot from Proto Man to protect the statue of President Lincoln.
In another episode, Wily proclaims that New York City is his, presumably talking about "the city" that most episodes take place in.
Cursed with Awesome: The Lion Men's curse nearly led to them taking over the world with the ability to change others into lions.
Cut Lex Luthor a Check: It's mentioned sometimes that Wily (and Sigma, in the Mega Man X crossover episode) needs funding to continue his evil schemes. So naturally he sends the robots out to steal stuff.
Damsel out of Distress: Roll gets captured a couple times, but escapes on her own more than once. When unable to escape, she usually manages to make trouble for her captors—and she's an Action Girl in combat.
Dangerously Genre Savvy: In "The Big Shake", Wily discovered Light and Mega Man were working on a device to stop his earthquake machine. His response was to direct a maximum-powered earthquake directly at Light's lab in an attempt to kill them all, or at the very least wreck the machine.
In "Campus Commandos", Protoman shot Mega's Arm Cannon while he was distracted, breaking it for about half the episode.
In "Future Shock", Wily is aware that if Mega Man makes it to the time machine, his conquest of the future will end. So he orders Protoman to rig it to explode.
Pharaoh Man doesn't stand around when he's getting his power taken, while Mega Man's doing what he does best, and after he spouts his catchphrase, Pharaoh Man punches him.
A couple of Wily's death traps were fairly genre-savvy; the robots have attempted to kill Mega while he's weakened or unconscious, and in "Brain Bots" Mega Man was handcuffed to the floor as a spiked ceiling descended on him.
This occurrence in "Robo-Spider":
Wily: I've got to turn up the power...Wait, what am I worrying about? There's no way Mega Man can stop my Robo-Spider!
Wily: I'm not taking any chances. *turns up power*
Upon discovering Dr. Light made an antidote to his retrograde virus in "Robosaur Park", Wily immediately decides to destroy it. After Mega intervenes and they play keep-away with the antidote, it ends up back in Wily's hands. Wily then hops in the Skullker to fly away from the heroes, and destroy the antidote someplace where they can't interfere.
Tar of the Lion Men avoided an Evil vs. Evil scenario by frisking Wily for his reprogramming device and brainwashing the Robot Masters, Roll, and Protoman with it.
Dark Action Girl: Doris the maid, a cosmetics robot, and a brainwashed Evelyn Ray have all fought Mega Man and Roll at points. The park attendent from Fun World was also evil, but she didn't fight.
Daydream Surprise: "Electric Nightmare" opens with Wily attacking a power plant, Mega Man coming to stop him, and Wily seemingly destroying Mega. It turns out that this is just a "game" Wily and his bots are playing to prepare for the real attack.
While some got their own episodes, many of the Robot Masters were little more than cannon fodder throughout the show.
Designated Girl Fight: "Electric Nightmare" had Roll attacked by a female cosmetics robot who gave her a bad facial. Mega Man gave the robot an equally bad facial with a tube of makeup, and offered to fight her, but Roll insisted she handle it.
Disability Superpower: Mary's reading of Dr. Light's lips told Roll and Rush where Wily's base was. And made sense of Rush's yammering for her to tell Roll that Mega Man was hurt and at the bottom of the sea.
Disproportionate Retribution: In "Electric Nightmare", Roll was attacked by a female cosmetics robot that strapped her to a chair and gave her a bad facial. Mega Man's response was to throw a tube of makeup at the robot, giving her an equally bad facial. Roll's response when freed was to cut her in half, then vacuum her face off.
May not be so disproportionate; see Fridge Horror.
Does This Remind You of Anything?: So this cosmetics bot is under Dr. Wily's control, and straps Roll to a chair. Roll tells the robot to let her go, but Wily gives her a creepy look and goes "Not before I give you the beauty treatment!" Then the robot produces an oversized powderpuff from her chest area (really) and tries to smush it in Roll's face. Roll acts like this is the worst thing in the world that could happen to her.
And let's not forget the final fight scene in "Bro Bots".
Door Judo: Mega Man pulls this off in "Terror of the Seven Seas" with a pursuing Guts Man. While running down a hallway, he sets it up by closing several doors in Guts Man's face before opening the final door that leads to a maintenance shaft.
Dramatic Irony: Protoman and Wily reveal the former's faking being good about three minutes into "Bro Bots", but Mega and company don't find out until much later.
Drill Tank: Dr. Wily used one to help create earthquakes in the episode "The Big Shake".
Dumb Muscle: Guts Man, who is so incompetent in battle against Mega Man that one of the few times he is able to actually hit Mega could be considered an accomplishment.
Early-Installment Weirdness: The pilot has Doc the Metool as Roll's helper, who was never seen again, and Protoman copying Gutsman's power, neither of which happened again. It also has the ambiguity surrounding the prototype robot who may or may not have become Protoman. Also for one short scene, Protoman's plasma is red as he melts the wall of Light's lab.
Dr. Wily: You remember, I built you, Protoman! And you will obey me...
Protoman: You're right, Dr. Wily. I'll obey you—when I want to.
Even Evil Has Standards: Quick Man, Shadow Man and Dark Man are shocked when Wily intends to pull the moon out of orbit, resulting in major natural disasters. Too bad they're programmed to do his bidding regardless.
Evil Laugh: Although this is a general trait of practically every version of Dr. Wily, the laugh possessed by this incarnation is notably awesome thanks to the vocal talents of Scott McNeil.
Evil Plan: Wily has one an episode, though the big one is destroying Megaman.
Evil vs. Evil: Tar avoids this scenario in "Curse of the Lion Men" by brainwashing Wily's robots.
Expy: The cop bots in "Future Shock" seem to be based off of Sniper Joes, and a different kind seem based off of Dark Man.
Rush is obviously based off of Scooby-Doo in this incarnation.
Actually, according to this article, Rush was supposed to be as different from him as possible, but he still wound up that way.
Eye Beams: The Lion Men used these to turn humans into lions.
Eye Catch: In the syndicated run before and after commercial breaks, with one of the characters announcing something to the effect of "Mega Man will be right back after these messages" or "And now back to Mega Man!" Images used during these bumps include Mega Man in a dynamic action pose, Roll throwing a mean karate kick, and Roll giving Rush a Battery Biscuit while Mega watches in amusement.
Fake-Out Opening: In the beginning of the episode "Electric Nightmare", Mega Man is battling Wily's robots and winning. Then electrical cables get wrapped around him and fry him. Mega Man dead. Or not; in an interesting variation of the trope, it was Wily doing a runthrough of his latest scheme with action figures.
Family-Unfriendly Violence: Since the characters were mostly robots, the writers/animators could get away with dismembering or otherwise mutilating them.
In "Crime of the Century", Protoman fires into a room of humans, who don't move or get up afterward.
Fandom Specific Plot: Plots with Ruby-Spears Bass or Protoman leaving Wily for another reason are fairly common, as are stories where Wily treats Proto terribly.
Fauxshadowing: In "Master of Disaster", the professor comments how in the legend, Lotos was banished by tricking the rajah into wishing he'd never found the golden chest. Mega apparently plans to try the same thing on Wily, but ends up just defeating Lotos.
Finagle's Law: "Bot Transfer" is a Murphy's Law episode for both sides; everything goes wrong for both Wily and Mega Man.
The pilot episode plays with this a bit. During the flashback, Wily appears to be bitter that Dr. Light seemed to be blaming him for the failure of of their robot prototype and felt that he simply wanted to take all of the credit for their work. Later we see him constructing Protoman while spouting off a Humans Are FlawedMotive Rant complete with Freudian Excuse. All of this is dropped after this episode, however, and is never brought up again in the series. A later episode even shows that Wily had double-crossed Light as far back as when they were in college, so indeed For the Evulz seems to be the more likely motive here.
In "Bot Transfer" he goes out of his way to antagonize Mega Man when he could just steal the money he wants from banks while Mega Man's in Geneva.
Freudian Excuse: Subverted. In "The Beginning", Wily mentions having a hard childhood, not even having toys like the other kids—then goes right on to working on Protoman, expounding on a different subject. The show never brings it up again, implying that Wily's bid to take over the world is simply For the Evulz.
Proto Man: (in response to a lame pun on electricity) Yeah. Whatever turns you on, Doc.
In "Robosaur Park", Mega Man and Roll are de-evolving into cavebots. Dr. Light opens them up to see if there's anything he can do to fix them. The panel he opens on Roll? Her breasts. And it's not hollow inside.
Roll calls Wily something over the sound of a drill in the first episode. People have heard "Dr. Dickhead", "Deadhead," "Denthead," "Dinghead," and "Diskhead," with no official version given.
Dr. Petto from Mega-Pinocchio is a reference to Gepetto, but almost everybody pronounce his name as Dr. Pedo. The only one who gets his name right is Dr. Wily, but his German accent makes us think that he meant 'd' instead of 't'.
The cosmetics robot from "Electric Nightmare" used a hairdryer and oversized razor as weapons, as well as an oversized powderpuff.
In the same episode, Mega Man even manages to break the spy-bot into parts by twirling a broom.
In Harm's Way: Protoman isn't happy unless he's destroying things or fighting Megaman.
Incredible Shrinking Man: The episode imaginatively named "The Incredible Shrinking Mega Man." In it, Wily's world domination scheme of the week involves using jewel-powered shrinking rays to shrink cities (Hyperstone Heist, anyone?). As you would expect by looking at the title, Mega Man is a victim of the shrinking ray.
Informed Attribute: Brain Bot is supposedly a genius robot but makes several stupid decisions. He tries to modify an aircraft in the middle of a flight, nearly causing a crash. When captured by Wily, he gives his captors advice on how to make his bonds more effective. Finally, he fires a homing missile and causes it to lock on to himself.
In "Mega-Pinocchio", Roll spends the entirety of the episode wanting to fight Wily's bots. Instead she had to fight a mental battle against her own brother.
It's All About Me: Tar, leader of the Lion Men, insists on being the only one to rule the world.
Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: Played with in at least one episode. Mega Man interrogates Dr. Wily and holds his arm cannon up to the doctor's face, saying that it should help to jog his memory.
Just a Machine: Wily seems to hold this view of robots, except for Protoman.
At the beginning of "Ice Age", the kids that Mega Man is tasked with supervising say that he can't help them, since all of his actions are pre-programmed (except they're not).
Just a Stupid Accent: This incarnation of Dr. Wily has what sounds like a German accent, although it's never elaborated on where he's from.
Doris the robo-maid seemed to have a Russian accent.
Karma Houdini: In "Bad Day At Peril Park", the corrupt park attendant is never found out as working for Wily, and she isn't defeated or punished.
Kick the Dog: Wily yelling at his own robots. Among other things, he's called them "nothing but heaps of useless chips!" And Protoman was one of the 'bots he was yelling at.
In "Mega-Pinocchio", his plan was to con Mega into believing he was human so he could plant a chip in him, controlling his mind. However, rather than act on it right away, he spent time toying with Mega Man's mind and giving him existential crises before exerting full control.
Iceman does this literally in "Ice Age", kicking Rush and breaking him into pieces.
Gutsman also kicks Rush away from him in "Bad Day at Peril Park" when he kidnaps Bobby.
In "Robo-Spider," Dr. Wily's Robo-Spider kicks both Mega Man and Rush into a building.
Rush went to pieces again in "Mega X". Mega, Roll and Rush head out to confront "two weird bots" - and run straight into a blast from Vile's shoulder cannon. Mega and Roll are perfectly fine, Rush is in many pieces and inoperative.
Kill Sat: In "The Mega Man on the Moon," Wily hijacks a moon laser, points it at Earth, and starts making demands.
Knight Templar: X. He shows little, if any regard to the collateral damage he causes while fighting Vile and Spark Mandrill, and he outright states that he doesn't care if he brings Vile back dead or alive.
Literally Shattered Lives: Wily threatens Light with this in "The Beginning", saying that if he tried anything, Iceman would freeze him and Cutman would slice him up. They demonstrated with a chemistry table.
The Long List: Roll used a lot of Utility Arm attachments over the show's run. note She's used a vacuum, a blender, a reverse vacuum, a lengthened vacuum, several fans, an ice-shooting fan, a garbage disposal, three different circular saws, a hockey stick, an ice pick, a microwave, a hair dryer, a net, a nail file, a small pair of scissors, a corkscrew, polisher, a ball-shooting cannon like in amusement parks, a toaster gun, a frying pan, a faucet, a lightbulb, a mop, a cake mixer, a plunger, a plumber's snake, an axe (yes, really), a spatula, and a baking sensor that detects earthquakes.
Losing Your Head: At the beginning of "The Incredible Shrinking Mega Man", Mega says "don't lose your head" to a disassembled Roll.
MacGuffin: The black pearl from "Crime of the Century."
Merchandise-Driven: This series had a respectable amount of merchandising for a syndicated children's cartoon, such as a soundtrack album (featuring songs that were crammed into the end credits, but none of the score) and a potential deal with Marvel to adapt the cartoon into a comic (which fell through), but at the center of the merch was the toyline from Bandai. As a nod to his mimicry ability, the Mega Man figure's Mega Buster could be switched with other weapons. Bandai apparently had some creative input on the series, such as by having the producers introduce a vehicle for Mega (the Land Blazer) so they could make a toy out of it. But with sales below expectations, Bandai got fussy with Capcom, and as a result, Capcom canceled both the toyline and the series. Of the action figures, the Bomb Man figure is the rarest as it was pulled out of stores shortly after the Oklahoma City bombing. Due to its rarity, you can expect it to be very expensive if you find it anywhere.
Military Mashup Machine: Dr. Wily's initial goal in "Terror of the Seven Seas" was to steal enough ships, so that he could assemble them into one of these.
Mind-Control Device: Wily has a handheld reprogrammer that can also turn off robots. This gets a Call Back in a later episode when Tar of the Lion Men uses it to reprogram Protoman, Roll, and the rest of Wily's robots to serve him.
Mind Control Music: Used by Wily in "Cold Steel", the titular band being made up of Gemini Man, Gyro Man, and Spark Man.
Mind Screw: The ending of "Night of the Living Monster Bots" implies that the entire episode was one of Evelyn's movies.
There's also the possibility that the heroes recovered the battle footage Wily intended to release as a movie, and they released it instead.
Mister Muffykins: Ms. Lapierre, a criminal affiliated with Wily, had a poodle named Fluffy.
A robo-poodle named Lady Silicon appeared briefly in "Bad Day At Peril Park". Rush tried to impress her.
The Mole: Doris the maid in "Electric Nightmare," Otto Raptor in "Robosaur Park," Top Man in "Campus Commandos," and Protoman in "Bro Bots".
Mondegreen: Roll's lines when yelling at Wily in the first episode and a cosmetic robot in the second episodes are hard to make out as they're over the sound of a drill/oversized powder puff. The latter line is commonly misheard as "Go powder your own snatch," when she said "snout", and the former has no apparent correct version.
Mood Whiplash: "Mega-Pinocchio", odd premise aside, was one of the most serious episodes of the show, involving Wily besmirching Dr. Light's name, Mega Man having existential crises, and an attack on the White House. It ends with Rush doing something silly.
"Bro Bots" likewise, though it could be argued that it was to cheer Mega (and the audience) up.
Moon Drop: One of Wily's ingenious schemes involved using a contraption to pull the moon out of orbit and ram it into Earth, which would apparently make the rest of the Earth's citizens get down on their knees and beg Wily to fix the planet following the devastation.
Not quite. Wily's plan wasn't to crash the Moon into the Earth, it was to bring the Moon close enough to the Earth that the resulting gravitational shift would send the Earth's climate into chaos. The human race would still be wiped out, save for maybe a few survivors — who, Wily hoped, would submit to his power after that.
More Dakka: In "Terror of the Seven Seas", Wily uses every gun, missile launcher, and laser-shooting satellite dish on several battleships to try and destroy Mega. They all miss.
Motor Mouth: Quick Man, who also sounds a little like a stereotypical 50's movie mobster.
Multiarmed Multitasking: Dolores the robo-nanny can feed babies and change diapers at the same time, as she has multiple arms.
No Waterproofing in the Future: In the games, Mega Man sank in water (except for 8, where he could swim for some reason), but had no problem staying under, being a robot. In the series, Mega Man experiences rapid loss of energy when underwater.
Bonus ouch points: It's mostly limited to him.
Not-So-Harmless Villain: Bright Man had a rare moment of competence when he decided to first blind Mega Man, then run him over with a tank.
Obviously Evil: Wily, in both the present day and his college-aged self.
Almost everyone in "Curse of the Lion Men" was this.
Offscreen Villain Dark Matter: Played with. A number of episodes revolve around Wily attempting to acquire money to finance his plans or stealing technology or resources, but he still has the resources to build his usual Wily Machine style mechs.
Vile and Spark Mandrill also avert this in their appearance, as they came back to steal Lightanium rods for Sigma, which are worth a ton in the future.
In a meta example, nobody but Mega Man could defeat Protoman—when Roll encountered him, she was always defeated.
Protoman seems to have gone back and forth on this, ultimately straying from this over time. In the first season he would often directly disobey Wily playing this trope straight. By the second season he didn't do this as often, and was more willing to go along with Wily's plots, whether Mega Man dies by his hand or not.
Only Sane Man: In a way, Protoman was the most sane out of Wily's robots; he was a Blood Knight, but even he demonstrates better decision-making than the Big Bad.
Dr. Light is this in general; he's also the only character to not make puns.
Our Vampires Are Different: Dracubot in "Night of the Living Monster Bots" can hypnotize people into turning into vampire robots, turn into a bat, and shoot lightning from his fangs. While hypnotized, Evelyn Ray could do the same.
Our Werewolves Are Different: Wolfbot only transforms under a full moon and is a butler otherwise, and can shoot his claws to turn people into werewolves.
Pet the Dog: The episode "Bro Bots." In it, Protoman fakes going straight to implant an inhibitor chip into Mega to keep him from stopping Wily's scheme of the week. Even though he was faking it, he is genuinely surprised when Mega says that he "always wanted a real brother relationship" with him.
In "Brain Bots", he compliments Mega's shooting skills even as Wily's vehicle goes down.
Pinocchio Syndrome: The plot of "Mega-Pinocchio," where an eccentric scientist named Dr. Petto offers to turn Mega into a human, which Mega for some reason wants to become. Unsurprisingly, Petto is actually a robot created by Wily, and instead of turning Mega human, he instead implants a mind-controlling device to make Mega do his bidding.
Play-Along Prisoner: In "Future Shock", Mega Man decides that the best way to get into prison to rescue Roll and Dr. Light is to get himself arrested. He promptly does so, and soon breaks out to free them.
Plot-Driven Breakdown: Quite a few episodes have these. In "Bro Bots", to name one example, Proto Man implants a chip into Mega Man that causes him to suffer these.
In "Campus Commandos", Protoman shot Mega's arm cannon, leaving it broken for about half the episode.
If the episode takes place near or in water, expect Mega Man to suddenly run out of power at a critical moment.
Political Correctness Gone Mad: Certain broadcasts of the series would edit out instances of "'bot" being used in place of "butt" (ie "'bot-heads", "kick some 'bot", etc.), replacing them with silence instead.
Power Copy: Happens regularly, though Protoman did it only once in the pilot. Also it is different from the video game version in that Mega Man doesn't have to defeat a Robot Master to duplicate their powers. All that is required is for Mega to concentrate for a few seconds while touching a Robot Master. This cartoon-exclusive loophole was played with in an episode where after Mega copies Pharaoh Man's powers and spouts his catchphrase, Pharaoh knocks him away with a punch to the face.
He was also able to analyze the schematics of Wily's giant robot spider, an Agony Beam, and a bomb.
Pragmatic Adaptation: While the show has its fair share of detractors, it's often considered to be one of the better Video Game based animated shows around. At least when it came to the 390's animated shows based off of Capcom Video games, the Mega Man series is usually considered to be the best one of the 3 here.
There was also the decision to change Proto Man from Mega Man's Aloof Big Brother Mysterious Ally to his Worthy Opponent on Wily's side. Given that Dark Man, Proto's impersonator from the fifth game, shows up in the series, it's more likely this was a conscious decision in order to give Mega Man an appropriate rival (Bass from the seventh game didn't exist yet).
Red Shirt Reporter: Newswoman Bree Ricotta, on the scene of Wily's attacks in three separate episodes.
Reset Button: In "Future Shock", the reason the future turned out badly is because Mega Man wasn't around to stop Dr. Wily in the past. Both he and Wily are aware that if he makes it to the time machine, Wily's conquest of the future will end. Sure enough, Mega Man makes it and the Bad Future is erased.
Robot Maid: One was featured in "Electric Nightmare", with a Meido uniform even. At one point, she rips off her uniform to reveal herself as a Ninja Maid. Not to mention Roll was originally designed for household chores.
Self-Parody: Keiji Inafune, the most famous person associated with Mega Man, helped make some of the episodes, possibly evoking this Trope.
Self Restraint: One episode had Mega Man get arrested by humans who, thanks to Wily, thought he was behind the evil scheme of the week. As he didn't want to harm the humans he let himself be handcuffed. Soon after his name was cleared, he snapped the cuffs like they were nothing.
In "Mega Dreams", Roll walks out of a theater advertising The Last Dragon, which is an actual movie. She even comments how she loves kung-fu movies, which it is.
The revival of the classic series have their own shout-outs to the animated series:
9 references the plot of "Mega Pinocchio", with Wily reprogramming Dr. Light's robots in an effort to tarnish his name. Also, the design of Fakeman was clearly influenced by the police-bots that are common in the series.
10 makes a clear reference to "Robosaur Park". Specifically, Mega Man and Roll are both infected with The Virus, Roll is offered the (experimental) vaccine first, but she declines, saying that Mega Man is the only one who can stop Wily, so he should take it instead.
Probably a coincidence, but Command Mission's plot involving supra force metal is quite similar to the episode "Showdown at Red Gulch".
Shown Their Work: While the show isn't accurate by today's standards, Ruby Spears included several Robot Masters from the games with designs mostly unscathed. While there are exceptions (Air Man, Roll), overall the looks are usually accurate.
Look at 00:09 in this video, specifically Annie's hand. She's clearly doing the Mega Man hand thing. Ruby-Spears clearly paid great attention to the artwork, at the very least.
Dr. Wily does the hand thing in "The Strange Island of Dr. Wily" when commanding the giant Stone Bots.
The Battontons? Yeah, that's their original Japanese names.
Before he became Mega Man, his name was Rock.
Mega Man uses a holographic projector in "The Day the Moon Fell" that looks similar to the Wily alien holographic projector in Mega Man 2.
The writers watched the subbed Mega Man Upon A Star OVAs to get a feel for Wily's vocal characterizations, citing that in the raw footage Wily spoke Japanese with a German accent.
In "Mega Dreams", Roll walks out of a theater advertising The Last Dragon, which is an actual movie. She even comments on how she loves kung-fu movies, which it is.
Sinister Shades: Protoman wears these. A couple times, Mega Man is reflected in them when Proto's about to take him by surprise.
Stay in the Kitchen: Despite Roll being a more than capable fighter, Mega insists on her staying at Dr. Light's lab. To be fair, this only happens in early episodes, and she still goes out to fight in spite of it.
Stock Footage: Mega Man's Power Copying sequence, which begins with a close-up of Mega's face while a wire frame of the ability's chip appears for a few seconds, and ends with Mega feeling rather satisfied as he looks at his Arm Cannon.
There's another bit of stock footage where Mega Man jumps back and fires a weapon. If you see Speed Stripes instead of a proper background behind Mega Man as he looks at his Arm Cannon during his Power Copying sequence, you'll know this particular one is about to occur.
Pharaoh Man, Shadow Man, and Crystal Man, for the baddies' side.
Stop Helping Me!: In-universe. Brain Bot's "help" ranges from merely annoying (trying to give Rush wheels, elaborately stating the obvious) to life-threatening (trying to adjust a jet's gyro-stabilizer in mid flight so that it could operate at peak efficiency). About the third time he tries to "help", Mega Man briefly snaps and yells at him to not touch anything.
Story Breaker Power: The games will limit you to one power at a time, but "Cold Steel" shows, near the end, that Mega Man can stack his abilities and use two at the same time.
Stuff Blowing Up: The intro features a swarm of Killer Bullets flying into skyscrapers and blowing them up. This scene was edited out of post 9/11 broadcasts of the series because people thought it would be in bad taste, but it can be found on the DVD-sets.
Tastes Like Diabetes: In-universe. Roll has this reaction to a park attendant's overly sugary demeanor and voice.
Roll: Talk about sweet. I could throw up!
Team Rocket Wins: While his primary goal wasn't achieved, Wily made off with the money from robbing the citizens in "Crime of the Century" and the money from selling a shrunken Washington D.C. in "The Incredible Shrinking Mega Man". If you want to get technical, he also got all the money from selling Fun World tickets.
This Is Reality: Said when Mega Man is angered at some delinquent kids who were just standing around as Wily attacked.
Mega: This isn't some video game!
Those Two Bad Guys: Gutsman and Cutman are rarely seen apart. Bombman and Elecman frequently team up, as well.
Too Dumb to Live: Mega Man leaping in front of a shot meant for... a statue of President Lincoln. Then again, the repercussions of just standing there and not trying to neutralize the shot somehow wouldn't be pleasant.
Otto Raptor from "Robosaur Park" believes mankind should've gone extinct, not the dinosaurs. Otto's a human. And dinosaurs went extinct 61 millions years before the first ancestor of humans even appeared.
Presumably, he meant that the dinos should've stayed around long enough to pick off the humans. That bit of idiocy does fit him, however.
Tina McIntyre stowed away on a space shuttle to see her astronaut dad. While that was silly at best, she crosses into this when seeing her father threatened by Wily and the Robot Masters for a password...and she runs out and is promptly held hostage.
What really brings this scene into Idiot Ball territory was the fact that Mega Man was winning against Wily's robots when she ran out and became a hostage.
Evelyn Ray, who had no idea Dr. Wily was bad news until she was hypnotized. She even met with him willingly, despite him trying to take over the world about 17 times by then.
Frankenbot was so dumb he blew himself up with his own turret, despite there being only one that Mega fixed to point straight down.
Too Powerful to Live: Vile and Spark Mandrill, who having come back from the future are presented as being invincible against everything but X, who also fits the trope.
Took a Level in Badass: Top Man went from being an easy boss with an oft-mocked acquired weapon to a smooth-talking womanizer capable of defeating Mega Man unaided.
Pharaoh Man somehow became even more awesome, punching out Mega Man after his power had been copied.
Ice Man defeated Mega Man about 3 times in one episode. And broke Rush. Then again, in the games he could kill you in 3 hits.
Metal Man was always awesome, but in the cartoon he had a spectacularly hardcore moment. After pinning Mega Man under a metal pipe, he tried to saw his head off.
Woodman's Leaf Shield became somewhat practical by being an actual shield. He used it to defend Protoman from attack, and was one of the few Robot Masters to threaten Dr. Light.
Roll got captured a lot earlier in the series, but in "Terror of the Seven Seas", she infiltrated Dr. Wily's Ship of Doom, defeated Cutman, outsmarted and escaped from Elecman and Bomb Man, transferring the ship's blueprint to Megaman and got away safely. You go, girl!
Totally Radical: Usually averted; when the trope did happen, Roll was the usual offender. Ring Man engaged in this, too, though he may have been a parody of it.
Toxic Phlebotinum: The meteor fragments in "Showdown at Red Gulch" increase the power of their users tenfold, but will soon overload said users. Mega Man uses one anyway, since it's the only way to stand up to Wily's superpowered robots. It ends badly.
Odd single-episode example: After Proto takes a Hard Knuckle to the chest in "Bad Day at Peril Park", he isn't seen or heard from for the rest of the episode. In the same episode, the corrupt park attendant is never even found out, much less defeated or punished.
You Shall Not Pass: Mega and Roll try this on Brightman to let Rush Bring News Back in "Robo-Spider". Though since he was about to run them over with a tank while they were blinded, it was more trying not to die.
Zeerust: In the future, the robots are the only ones not mired in the 1990s.