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Western Animation: Metajets

Metajets is a 2008 action animated series created by Peter M. Lenkov and David Wolkove. It is another in a string of Canadian series borrowed by Cartoon Network. In 2067, ten years after the Black Cloud war, the world's most powerful cities have been sent to the skies. When the world is in danger, four young flying aces competing in the A.R.C. (Aeronautical Racing Circuit), become the elite flying team known as the Metajets. Under the command of Captain George Strong, chairman of the A.R.C., the pilots work in secret, transforming their race jets into battle jets.

The four pilots consist of:

  • Johnny Miller, codename Ace, the protagonist and the Rookie Red Ranger pilot. Formerly a farm boy from Oklahoma, Johnny is investigating the death / disappearance of his father (a former Metajets pilot). Less than subtly implied to have a crush on Maggie. As of "Self-Destruct Part 2," he's now the team leader.
  • Trey Jordan, codename Burner, the cool Jive Turkey-talking pilot, and field leader of the Metajets team until "Self-Destruct Part 2." While he's the most competitive and successful A.R.C. racer of the four, when it comes to Metajets business, he's strictly professional.
  • Maggie Strong, codename Foxtrot, the daughter of Captain Strong and the only female Metajets pilot. She is level-headed and often the voice of reason amongst the team. Although she has a no-dating-teammates rule, it's subtly implied that she has a crush on Johnny.
  • Zachary "Zak" Kim, codename Vector, the overlooked Ace Pilot and the youngest member of the Metajets team. A Gadgeteer Genius, Zak loves music and video games and cannot fly without music.

The biggest threat to the Metajets pilots is the re-surging Black Cloud organization led by the evil General Raven.

Tropes related to the series:

  • Ace Pilot
  • Affectionate Nickname: Torissa "Tori" Kim calling her brother Zak "Smarty Pants" much to his chagrin.
  • After the End: Subtle but something is not right when during a quick pan on New York, it shows the city built stories above sea level, and the ocean is up to Lady Liberty's knees.
    • In "Razor's Edge," it's revealed that most of the major cities have been flooded by rising sea levels due to global warming, which has made most of the world's population live in flying cities. The exception is London, which has massive walls to hold back the water instead.
  • Airborne Aircraft Carrier: Everyone seems to have one.
  • Anime Hair: Zak's is the most blatant example. At least, until Razor is introduced.
  • Animesque: Quite blatantly with the design, along with the genre which is borrowed from anime shows. It seems they borrowed some quality as well.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Not without reason, Zak thinks that his sister, Tori, is one.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: Captain Strong interprets the end of "End of the Line" this way. Metajets did rescue the fusion-powered train's crew and passengers from an explosive death, but the train project has been put on indefinite hold, which was Black Cloud's goal from the start.
    • "The Fortress" has Griffin Hawksmore succeeding in tricking Metajets and Black Cloud into testing his fortress's security system, allowing him to develop an improved version for his new fortress. Why he did all this is still unknown.
  • Beauty Mark: The Red Baroness has one.
  • Becoming the Mask: Captain Strong in "Lady in Red" is prepared in case this happens to Ace. Ace's homing device can also remotely wipe out someone's memory of the last few months with a push of a button. Good thing Foxtrot stops Captain Strong just as he is about to use it.
  • The Cavalry: In "End Game, Part Two," Colt, Boomer, Cane, and Diesel help out against the Black Cloud drone jets.
  • Chekhov's Gun: A lot of items and people in earlier episodes come back and play a part in later episodes.
  • Conspicuous CGI: The Metajets themselves. Though not nearly as glaring as other shows.
  • Cutting the Knot: In "Under the Ice," when Vector says it'll take a while to find the right access code to open the door to the abandoned research facility, Burner just blows the door open with a good shot from his snowmobile cannon.
  • Cybernetics Eat Your Soul: So far all we have seen the most of is Viper and Raven's very obvious low-tech cybernetics.
    • It also seems there is a bit of No Transhumanism Allowed, but not because it's evil but because cybernetics is still something new so no one really know how to classify augmented humans.
    • Dr. Nova's more advanced cybernetics feature in two episodes. Since the upgraded people are susceptible to Mind Control by the doctor...
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Flygirl's actions in "Grounded!" could be seen as this. She framed Maggie by making look like that Maggie had used live ammunition to kill fellow A.R.C. pilot Drew Dyson during a race, which could've ruined Maggie's racing career and gotten her prison time. The reason? Maggie had punched Flygirl during her escape from Black Cloud's airship in "Opening Day". As a result, Flygirl got in trouble with General Raven.
    • Part of General Raven's motivation is getting revenge for being drummed out of the A.R.C. and Metajets by Captain Strong 10 years ago. In "Boiling Point", he decides to mark the anniversary of his removal by causing all of the volcanoes on Hawaii to simultaneously erupt, wiping out the whole island, just because there's an A.R.C. race happening there at the time.
    • Carmone Fontaine, the crime boss doing business with Black Cloud in "One of the Family." Angry over Johnny not throwing the race in favor of his son Doug, he sics a heavily armed automated airship on the stadium in order to kill Johnny's aunt. General Raven, of all people, calls him out on this, and immediately cancels their alliance, because he refuses to work with anyone who'd waste such a powerful weapon on such a minor task.
    • In "Vanishing Point," General Raven sends out an entire armada (larger than there'd previously been any evidence that Black Cloud even had) to destroy an island to kill one scientist for betraying him.
  • Double Agent: In "Attack of the Drones," Razor is Black Cloud's London-based agent, but is actually leading the Anarchitechs and infiltrated Black Cloud to take control of a drone jet as part of their latest plan.
  • Enemy Mine: Metajets and Black Cloud team up in "High Impact" to destroy three meteors that will wipe out the human race. It turns out Black Cloud was responsible for bringing in the meteors as part of its plan to destroy a city of its choice.
    • Again in "The Island of Dr. Nova" on a smaller scale: Ace and Crusher are forced to work together when they're stranded on the titular island, to take down the titular doctor.
    • In "Lady in Red," Ace and Viper team up to take on the Scarlet Circle before returning to shooting at each other.
  • The End... Or Is It?: The ending of "Under the Ice". After Vector says nobody will be seeing the energy-absorbing creature (which was defeated by dropping it into miles-deep water underneath an ice sheet) again, the scene immediate shifts to the creature, its energy glow getting brighter as it draws power from a nuclear reactor despite now being miles away from it.
    • Again with "Eye of the Swarm". Vector manages to wipe out the swarm of robotic locusts with a magnetic attack. Since the robots adapt to any attack that's been used on them before, he had to take out all of them in one shot. And it seemed that he had. Until the final scene, when General Raven reveals that he kept a few in reserve.
  • Energy Beings: The antagonist of "Under the Ice."
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Razor in "Razor's Edge" draws the line at killing innocent people while trying to force London to grow skyward. He abandons this viewpoint in "Attack of the Drones."
    • Carmone Fontaine had a unique device that could shut down any and all electronics at the touch of a button. Despite being an international crime lord, he only used it on a small scale to escape the police, because at full power it was far too dangerous even for him. He approves of Ace destroying it with a good old fashioned kick.
  • Evil Counterpart: The Stunt-Hawks, a trio of criminals flying newer, more advanced transforming jets designed by Griffin Hawksmore, the same man who designed the Metajets.
  • Face-Heel Turn: Captain Curtis at the end of "Deep Secrets." In "Sky-Riders," Razor after his initial Heel-Face Turn in "Razor's Edge." Colt becomes the Metajets' enemy in "Moving Target" because of the bounty on Carmone Fontaine, but helps them out after Viper shows up and Fontaine's men turn on their boss.
  • Fate Worse than Death: In "End Game, Part Two," General Raven gets frozen in ice thanks to Ace. He's still alive, but Captain Strong isn't in a hurry to defrost him.
  • General Failure: General Raven, big time.
  • Good Colors, Evil Colors: The Metajets team have bright-hued personalized paint jobs on their jets. Black Cloud jets are always jet black.
  • Hard Light: In "The Phantom Fleet," Shirobi's weapons technology can create anything from arm cannons to the titular planes. It even enables Shirobi and Ace to duke it out in giant robots.
  • Heel-Face Turn: Carmone Fontaine in "Moving Target."
  • Hey, It's That Voice!: Zak is Dan, Owen, Trent, and Yang. Maggie is Julie.
    • The Red Baroness in "Lady in Red" is Lydia from the Beetlejuice cartoon, Jubilee, and Mira.
    • Logan in "Antarctic Invasion" is 6teen's Nikki and Corona.
  • Hidden Agenda Villain: Griffin Hawksmore could be one of these judging from his actions in "The Fortress" and "The Stunt-Hawks." In "The Fortress," he tricked Metajets and Black Cloud into testing his floating fortress's security system so his new fortress wouldn't have any security flaws. He also turned out to be the creator of the Stunt-Hawks' jets in "The Stunt-Hawks."
  • Human Popsicle: General Raven in "End Game, Part 2."
  • The Infiltration: In "Lady in Red," Ace infiltrates the Scarlet Circle as the Grim Flyer.
  • Intrepid Reporter: Sylvia Saxfield in "Gone in 0.6 Seconds."
  • Kid Hero: The Metajets are all in their teens.
  • Kill Sat: In "The Pyramid Scheme," General Raven adapts the ground-based Lost Superweapon he locates into one by launching a reflector satellite to redirect the Wave Motion Gun's blasts back to Earth.
  • Large Ham: Raven IT IS GENERAL RAVEN NOW!!
  • Law of Chromatic Superiority: Follows the general mecha rule regarding red.
  • Lost Superweapon: In "The Pyramid Scheme," the Great Pyramid of Giza is revealed to be a gigantic Wave Motion Gun. It was apparently meant to be a defense against alien invasion, or at least aerial attack.
  • Mad Scientist: Dr. Nova. Revealed to have turned himself into a cyborg in "The Island of Dr. Nova."
  • Mecha-Mooks: Black Cloud likes its Attack Drones and in large numbers.
  • The Mole: Captain Strong believes that there's one on the World Council working for Black Cloud, and "Sky Hard" proves him right. It turns out to be Councilor Roman. In "The Island of Dr. Nova," Captain Curtis, although he gets caught at the end of the episode. Viper infiltrates the Scarlet Circle in "Lady in Red" to capture the group's leader, the Red Baroness.
  • Not My Driver: Black Cloud pulls this on Griffin Hawksmore at the beginning of "The Fortress." It turns out to have all been planned on Hawksmore's part, as it was actually an android double in the limo.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: The President of the World Council looks like he'll be this, based on the end of "Sky Hard". His incredibly stupid actions in "End Game, Part 1" confirm it.
  • Papa Wolf: Captain Strong.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: The heroes' metagear aren't exactly the greatest disguises ever conceived, but the jets themselves are the real problem. Nobody notices that they have the exact same color schemes as four of the top A.R.C. pilots' racing jets? Really? Not even General Raven, who used to be a member of Metajets, at the same time as Johnny's father, who flew the exact same jet that Johnny does now? The fact that music-obsessed Zak's jet uses sound-based weapons in its combat form doesn't exactly help either.
    • In "Escape from the Outback", Maggie dresses up in Trey's clothes (as he and Johnny broke protocal to rescue the former's parents) and Captain Strong comes in on "him" fixing his jet. She does a good job of just grunting and not actually trying to speak but she gives a thumbs up at one point. Apparently, Captain Strong didn't notice that "Trey" was now white. This is subverted, however, when Captain Strong finds out what happened at the end of the episode when he is given a satellite photo of Trey and Johnny. He destroyed the photo after looking at it.
  • Put on a Bus: "The Island of Dr. Nova" ends with Dr. Nova trapped on a disabled satellite which won't fall back to Earth for a few decades. Effectively writing out of the show a villain who would've easily conquered the world if not for Ace and Crusher having the dumb luck to crash on his island.
  • Quirky Miniboss Squad: Flygirl, Crusher and Viper. They abandon Raven in "End Game, Part Two," and Crusher addresses Viper as "General Viper."
  • Screwed by the Network: Cartoon Network sticking it in a 6 AM weekday timeslot, when most of the target audience is asleep, couldn't have helped the ratings. Nor could the complete lack of advertising and the fact that the whole series got only a single run; if you missed an episode, you're just out of luck. No wonder it didn't get renewed for a second season.
  • Ship Tease: Johnny and Maggie. Just look at how either of them reacts when the other shows the slightest hint of possible interest in somebody else.
    • Also, Maggie and Cane in the latter's two appearances.
    • Made even more blatant at the end of "Antarctic Invasion" and during the "End Game" two-parter. The latter includes a final scene where Maggie reminds Johnny that she doesn't date teammates...while they're on what looks suspiciously like a date. Plus, when Zak asks Maggie who she's cheering for in the Johnny/Trey tiebreaker race, she hesitates before saying (unconvincingly) that she's cheering for both of them, then blushes.
  • Skunk Stripe: General Raven, goes nice with the goatee.
  • Sky Pirate: Cane and his caravan in "Pirates of the Sky," although they only target rich tourists. In "Night of the Living Carrier," they've given up their pirating ways and have limited themselves to scavenging through wrecks for parts.
  • The Starscream: Viper. He succeeds in "End Game, Part 2" after manipulating General Raven into joining the battle in person, then leaving him to be captured by the Metajets.
  • Status Quo Is God: In "The Island of Dr. Nova", Ace seems to be on the verge of convincing Crusher to make a Heel-Face Turn. A series of plot contrivances at the end of the episode leave Crusher with the false impression that Ace betrayed him, erasing all the good will that had been built up during their team-up.
  • Stock Footage: The transformation sequences.
  • Street Urchin: "The Island of Dr. Nova" reveals that Crusher used to be this. The old skills come in handy against the Eviler than Thou Dr. Nova.
    • Dee in "Gone in 0.6 Seconds." She ends up as Trey's mechanic and possible Love Interest since she's seen dancing with him at the end-of-season celebration in "End Game, Part 2."
  • Technology Porn
  • Temporary Blindness: Crusher suffers from this in "The Island of Dr. Nova." Convenient, as it allows Ace to maintain his Secret Identity despite having his face exposed.
  • Weather Control Machine: The cause of the conflict in "Antarctic Invasion," although it's being developed to help the world, not destroy it.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Razor in "Razor's Edge." The Anarchitechs want London to modernize by growing skyward and resort to tactics ranging from grafitti to planting bombs on the wall protecting London from floods. In "Attack of the Drones," with Razor as their leader again, they take control of Black Cloud's drone jets with a computer virus in order to conduct a kamikaze attack on the wall.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: General Raven is the leader of the evil Black Cloud and spends most of his time in their airship, yet he is shown to be so afraid to fly jets that he chokes any time he gets in a cockpit. Even in simulators.
    • It seems he's gotten over it after Viper's Starscream moment in "Self-Destruct, Part 2" failed.
    • "The Phantom Fleet" reveals that Trey has a fear of ghosts. The other pilots (especially Zak) couldn't resist making fun of Trey after finding out.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Logan in "Antarctic Invasion."
  • You Have Failed Me: General Raven does a lot of the lead-up but never follows through with his threats. Viper actually calls him out at one point which leads to the revelation about General Raven's fear of flying.
    • In "End Game, Part 2," Viper delivers a You Have Failed Me to General Raven, as he (along with Flygirl and Crusher) abandons Raven to the Metajets.

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alternative title(s): Metajets
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