[[quoteright:350:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Mortal_Kombat_Defenders_of_the_realm_9578.png]]

->''"Much has changed since the last Mortal Kombat tournament. Dark forces of Outworld have begun invading the Earthrealm. These attacks are seriously weakening Earth's dimensional fabric, enabling not only outworlders to enter the Earthrealm, but warriors from other domains as well. Only the most extraordinary warriors can possibly meet this challenge: Liu Kang, Princess Kitana, Sub-Zero, Jax, Sonya Blade, Nightwolf, Kiva, Kurtis Stryker. Driven by purpose and bound by honor, these are the Defenders of the Realm."''
-->-- '''Raiden's OpeningNarration'''

''Mortal Kombat: Defenders of the Realm'', also known as ''Mortal Kombat: The Animated Series'', is an AnimatedAdaptation of the ''Franchise/MortalKombat'' games. It aired on the Creator/USANetwork's USA Cartoon Express animation block from September to December 1996.

''Defenders of the Realm'' follows the events of [[Film/MortalKombat the first live-action movie]]. Raiden again gathers a group of warriors to stand against the forces of the Outworld and various other invading dimensions. The series also introduced a handful of characters, one of whom, Quan Chi, was later [[CanonImmigrant a mainstay]] in the {{fighting game}}s.

''Defenders of the Realm'' makes continuity problematic, since ''Film/MortalKombatAnnihilation'' starts immediately in the same place. However, the cartoon is held in higher regard than ''Annihilation'', so it generally takes precedence.
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!This series has examples of:
* AdaptationalVillainy: Scorpion. True, he's no saint in the games, but is more neutral if anything. Here? His very first line in the show makes it clear what team he's playing on:
--->'''Scorpion:''' By all the powers of '''evil''', I will not rest until I have my revenge!
* AmazonBrigade: Zara and her female warriors.
* AmbiguouslyGay: [[ScaryBlackMan Jax]], of all people. [[HoYay Calls Raiden]] ''[[HoYay girlfriend]]'' on at least one occasion, his first response to defending Sub-Zero is [[SuspiciouslySpecificDenial "Hey I don't want to]] ''[[SuspiciouslySpecificDenial marry]]'' [[SuspiciouslySpecificDenial the guy!"]], and [[BerserkButton flips his lid]] when you call him "blubber butt".
* AnimatedAdaptation
* AnimationBump: The final episode has different animation than the rest of the series.
* TheAtoner: Sub-Zero.
* BackportedDevelopment:
** When Liu Kang has a flashback about his victory over Shang Tsung, the latter has the beard and facepaint he uses on this series (from ''VideoGame/MortalKombat3''), even though he didn't have them in the live-action movie, which the flashback represents.
** Both played straight and averted with Kano. When he's shown in a flashback of Sonya's partner's death, he wears his series/[[VideoGame/MortalKombat3 MK3]] outfit, yet in a flashback to their fight in the movie, both Sonya and Kano have their movie looks.
* {{Badbutt}}: Sub-Zero, most of the time. However, in two episodes, one of them being the last one, he uses his ice powers to kill enemies.
* BattleCouple: Kitana and Liu Kang.
* BattleCry: Sonya: "Kombat time!" for the whole team, and "Kiss Off!" for herself.
* BeardOfEvil: Kano sports a goatee here.
* BigBad: Shao Kahn.
* BigNo: Poor [[spoiler:Smoke]] delivers one right before his [[spoiler:UnwillingRoboticisation]].
* BackFromTheDead: Shang Tsung.
* BroadStrokes: From time to time, in regards to the first movie:
** When Sub-Zero introduces himself, he reveals to be the young brother of the old one, [[spoiler:killed by Liu Kang]]. In the games, the elder Sub-Zero, [[spoiler:who would become Noob Saibot, was killed by Scorpion]].
** In the Liu Kang vs. Sub-Zero scene in this series, Kitana sported her outfit from the series, and Sub-Zero (the elder) was finished by Liu Kang throwing a water bucket to him, [[HoistByHisOwnPetard freezing him]]. In the first movie, Kitana wore a different outfit, and Liu Kang finished Sub-Zero by throwing said water bucket to him, but [[spoiler:the water became a big spearhead, and nailed Sub-Zero to the wall ''and then'' got himself frozen]].
** Another Liu Kang kill that was softened for the cartoon was [[spoiler:Shang Tsung]]. Sure, he's still reduced to a skeleton upon defeat, but one: he just turns into bones, instead of actually emaciating, and two: [[spoiler:the bed of spikes where Tsung landed in the movie is absent]].
* BroughtDownToNormal: Jax when his bionic arms are damaged in "Acid Tongue".
* CanonForeigner: Asgaarth (a bird-man from Edenia), Oniro (Grand master of the Lin Kuei), Ruby (red female ninja and possible {{Expy}} of Jade), Kiva (Nightwolf's pet wolf) and Zara (Kitana's mortal enemy).
* CanonImmigrant: Quan Chi.
* CrossThrough: "Resurrection" is the third part of a four-part storyline aired on November 16, 1996 about a "Warrior King" chasing down a powerful MacGuffin through four (otherwise unrelated) USA Network Saturday morning cartoons. Two notes regarding this: unlike the other three parts, this episode features ''only'' the MacGuffin, with the Warrior King himself only appearing as an unexplained shadow for all of five seconds; and the American ''WesternAnimation/StreetFighter'' cartoon was one of the other four cartoons in the storyline, making this the closest the two DuelingGames have ever come to interacting.
* CompositeCharacter: Stryker has a couple of personality traits from Johnny Cage, who is absent from this cartoon.
* DeadpanSnarker: Raiden.
--> ''"Before you make a bigger Mortal BUTT out of yourself..."''
* DisneyVillainDeath: Scorpion gets frozen by Sub-Zero, then thrown into some kind of pitch-black abyss inside a temple by Raiden.
* DownerEnding: Due to the series' cancellation after one season. [[spoiler: Outworld is in chaos with Shao Kahn gone ''(but there is a very good chance that he'll return anyway)'', Kitana's rebellion to restore Edenia fails, and there is no indication whatsoever that Earthrealm's invasions will stop.]]
* EverythingsBetterWithPrincesses: Princess Kitana.
* ExposedToTheElements: The characters never seem to dress appropriately in colder environments.
* FiveManBand
** TheHero: Liu Kang.
** TheLancer: Stryker.
** TheBigGuy: Jax and Sonya.
** TheSmartGuy: Nightwolf (GeniusBruiser).
** TheChick: Kitana.
** [[{{Mentors}} The Mentor]]: Raiden.
** SixthRanger: Sub-Zero.
* FiveTokenBand
* FlatCharacter: Cyrax and Sektor.
* FreezeFrameBonus: A [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cTw4ugmkSyA#t=734 closer inspection of the Dragon Jets]] reveals decals patterned after the riders' [[VideoGame/MortalKombat3 Animalities]].
* FusionDance: The few times Nightwolf entered kombat himself, he would magically merge with his pet wolf Kiva and open a can of whoop-ass on the enemies. This happened exactly twice in the whole series. Why the others kept him in front of a computer screen all the time is unknown.
* GoshDarnItToHeck: It's pretty obvious what the "Realm of No Return" is [[{{Hell}} supposed to be]], which adds levels of FridgeHorror whenever somebody gets banished there by Raiden.
* HatePlague: In "The Secret of Quan Chi".
* HeelFaceTurn: Even though Sub-Zero helps the good guys from the beginning, he mentions he was a Lin Kuei and fought for the forces of darkness. A later episode showed how he came to join the team.
* IGaveMyWord: Sub-Zero and Smoke once swore an oath to never fight one another, which Smoke can't remember at first due to being a cyborg, but he ends up remembering it and tells Sub-Zero that it's impossible for them to be friends, but he will honor their oath now that he remembers it.
* IKnowYoureInThereSomewhereFight: Sub-Zero's fight with [[spoiler:Smoke. It does not work, but he agrees not to kill him, nonetheless.]]
* {{Jerkass}}: Raiden. Sonya can qualify as well due to her abrasiveness, but she has her reasons.
* LighterAndSofter: And how.
* MechaMooks: Most of the robotic Lin Kuei.
* MissionControl: Nightwolf.
* NotQuiteDead: Kano.
* PungeonMaster: Jax, from time to time. For example, after Sub-Zero's first appearance:
---> '''Sonya''': ''What's that sleaze doing here?''
---> '''Jax''': ''Seems like he's putting a ''chill'' on the invasion.''
* TheObiWan: Raiden.
* SuspiciouslySimilarSubstitute: Komodai and Karbrac for Reptile and Baraka, respectively, to the point where "Karbrac" is almost a total anagram for "Baraka".
* TeamPet: Kiva, Nightwolf's wolf.
* TitleDrop: By Nightwolf, in the first episode, "Kombat Begins Again", after chatting with Liu Kang.
* TomboyAndGirlyGirl: Lieutenant Sonya Blade and Princess Kitana. Ironically, during their inevitable GirlsNightOutEpisode, it's Sonya who asks Kitana if she ever misses being a woman, what with all the fighting. Earlier in the episode, Sonya attempted to get herself a makeover, only to be given a sexist remark from Jax.
* TotallyRadical: While the series isn't as bad with it as some others, you know you've seen everything when you see, of all people, ''[[PhysicalGod Raiden]]'' saying "Now kick your jets and jam!"
* VoluntaryShapeshifting: Oniro and Shang Tsung.
* WalkingShirtlessScene: Liu Kang, Jax, Sub-Zero.
* WeUsedToBeFriends: "Old Friends Never Die".
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