Western Animation / Phantom Investigators

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"Phantom investigators"
note 

Phantom Investigators! When the going gets eerier, we get superior!

Phantom Investigators was a show created by Stephen Holman and Josephine T. Huang with their studio, (W)Holesome Products, Inc. (already known for the KaBlam! short series, Life With Loopy), produced by Sony Pictures Television (then known as Columbia TriStar Television) for Kids' WB! in 2002. The show was known for mixing Stop Motion and traditional 2D hand drawn animation, as well as live action puppetry.

The show featured a team of four junior-high aged paranormal investigators who would solve supernatural mysteries around their hometown of San Francisco. The cast was comprised of the team leader, Daemona, a telekinetic, Jericho, a telepath, Kira, and a shapeshifter, Casey.

The show premiered on May 25, 2002 and became the highest rated show in its 11:30 AM timeslot on Saturday mornings. While it looked like Kids WB had a new hit on their hands, the network was pretty upset over the show eventually slipping in ratings with younger male viewers while it grew with female viewers. This combined with Sony suddenly deciding to stop funding new animated shows (especially with the show's high production cost) caused the show to end after thirteen episodes. And due to WB's dissatisfaction with it not doing as well in the specific demographic that they wanted, only six episodes aired in the United States, with the show quietly being yanked off the schedule on June 29, 2002. The remaining seven episodes all premiered outside the US on Teletoon in Canada and various international feeds of Cartoon Network where available. It remains a very obscure series due to its very short run and lack of an official commercial release, but it has its own small following- especially among Life With Loopy fans that wanted to check out the studio's other work.

Now has a character page in need of some work.

Phantom Investigators provides examples of:

  • Above Good and Evil: The station of Elementals, the highest in the supernatural hierarchy. However they can be called on to settle any personal grudges, such as the elemental of roadkill being called to devour a powerful possessed car responsible for many animal deaths.
  • Adorkable: Casey. Daemona even states in "Were-Dog" that he's "cute, smart, and adorable".
    • Daemona herself is pretty adorkable, with her being the only member on the team to wear her own costume while on the job (without even having any powers) and her constant attempts at a cheesy rhyming slogan for the team.
  • Adult Fear: Has at least one instance of the trope per episode as the main cast are a bunch of twelve-year-olds. Particularly the case with Daemona, as unliked her empowered teammates, she has no means of fighting back against the supernatural creatures the gang face off against.
  • An Aesop: Most of the episodes tended to have one.
  • Alpha Bitch: Yasmine from "Stall Of Doom"
  • Animation Bump: In comparison to its predecessor, Life With Loopy, the animation is much more fluid as the show was produced on a larger budget.
  • The Artifact: Daemona's name. Originally, "Daemona Prune" was just her aliases while on the job as a Phantom Investigator, with her real name being Prunella Daemon. Eventually it was decided she would always go as Daemona Prune.
    • In "Haunted Dreams", Daemona states that her psychic amplifier came from her great-grandma. While this may be a Blooper at first glance as Daemona inherited her PI tools from her grandmother in the series, it was initially planned for her to inherit them from her great-grandmother early in production. Presumably, the line ended up unchanged in the script even after that aspect of the show was changed.
  • Back for the Finale: Mustafa, the headless ghost from "Stall of Doom", turns up in the finale to help the P Is with a background check on Daemona's grandparents.
  • Baleful Polymorph: Wad used to be an elemental named Tad but was demoted to gum wad sprite as punishment for ding-dong ditching the Earth Elemental.
  • Berserk Button: Wrecking her outfits is this for Kira. She even threatened to quit the team due to her dry cleaning bills.
  • Beta Bitch: Darnelle from "Stall Of Doom" was this to Yasmine.
  • Book Dumb: Jericho
  • Cerberus Syndrome: "Secrets Exposed!" brought the show in a darker, more dramatic direction than the rest of the first (and only) season. Whether or not this would keep up had the show been renewed is unknown.
  • Clark Kenting: Daemona hides her identity by wearing a mask and wearing her hair in a different style (and early in production, would've gone by a different name. In the show, she never gives her name to her clients). Fortunately, most of her clients never met her before (and while a few of them are her classmates, it's established that she's still pretty new in town so they simply might just not know her very well).
  • Class Trip: The gang and their class take one to the Museum of Natural Science in "From Egypt, With Love", which kicks off the plot.
  • Cheaters Never Prosper: The Aesop of "The Fifth PI", with the twist that Daemona never goes through with her plans to look at last year's answers after realizing that would make her Not So Different from the Netherworld Hanging Judge the crew faced off against.
  • Conflict Ball: The entire gang end up holding it in "Stall Of Doom", spending most of the episode arguing with each other. Making up and apologizing was even key to the resolution.
  • Cool Car: The Ghoulmobile
  • Crazy Enough to Work: In "Were Dog", giving Lycaos new haircuts so he'll lift the curse.
  • Cut Short: While not ending on a major cliffhanger, the last episode of the first and only season implied more was to come had the show not been cancelled. Made even worse in the US as Kids' WB pulled the show after six episodes had aired due to their dissatisfaction of not having enough male viewers.
  • Darker and Edgier: The final episode, "Secrets Exposed!", brings the show in a much darker and serious direction in comparison to the lighthearted tone it carried for most of the episodes. Many fans wonder if the show was going to continue down this route had it been renewed for another season.
  • Dead All Along: One episode saw the team try to help an amnesiac girl named Jenny, who was plagued by supernatural dreams. It turned out she was a ghost who was placed back in the human world in an accident, and the dreams were her family trying to explain.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Kira. Though all four members could be pretty snarky.
  • Disguised in Drag: Casey disguises as a mermaid at one point in "Skating The Plank".
  • The Ditz: Jericho has his moments.
  • Eaten Alive: The titular demon of "Demon Driver" ultimately suffers this fate when the P Is call on the elemental spirit of roadkill, which, since he Drives Like Crazy, he made a lot of.
  • Enhance Button: The PIs can match a fingerprint to a present day picture of Professor Navarro to blown up photo from Daemona's grandparents' yearbook.
  • Everybody Laughs Ending: "Stall Of Doom", "The Fifth P.I.", and the opening titles end this way.
  • Everything's Better with Princesses: "From Egypt With Love" reveals that Kira is the reincarnation of the princess Laiatiti.
  • Exactly What I Aimed At: In "Skating the Plank", Kira dives at a pirate who's grabbed Casey but he remains standing; as he proceeds to gloat, he realizes his leg is missing and Kira smugly waves said leg, her actual target.
  • Exact Words: In "Stall Of Doom", Daemona asks Mustafa if he has any books about "alternative dimensions, demon holes, and that sort of thing". He then gives her a book entitled...Alternative Dimensions, Demon Holes & That Sort Of Thing.
  • The Fashionista: Kira
    Kira: Some things are worth fighting for- fashion happens to be one of them!
  • Feud Episode: "Stall of Doom". For bonus points, making up and apologizing proves key to the resolution.
  • Five-Man Band:
  • Foreshadowing: At the end of "Omega Pizza Pi", Daemona suggests that one day, the gang should investigate Professor Navarro as he seems to know exactly what gadgets will help them in a situation before it even happens. They eventually do in the final episode.
    • In the first episode when Daemona downplays her importance to the team, being the only one without powers, Professor Navarro tells her to never underestimate her importance as the brains of the team. In the final episode, it's revealed that in the original Phantom Investigators team, he was the Team Normal just like her.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: Daemona (choleric), Jericho (sanguine), Kira (melancholic), and Casey (phlegmatic).
  • Free-Range Children: The gang are all twelve and go out around town and on missions without any parental supervision, who are unaware that their children are Phantom Investigators.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: In "Stall Of Doom", a Bugsteak poster from Life With Loopy can be briefly seen in Kira's locker.
  • Gender-Equal Ensemble: The Phantom Investigators- two girls and two boys.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Professor Navarro
  • Generation Xerox: "Secrets Exposed!" shows that Daemona's grandmother not only resembled her at her age in the show, but was also the part of the original Phantom Investigators in the fifties.
  • Ghostly Goals: A common motivation for lingering spirits the gang find themselves investigating and trying to fulfill.
  • Ghost Pirate: The gang had to deal with one in "Skating The Plank".
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Daemona and Kira are the closest members of the gang.
  • Identical Granddaughter: Daemona's grandmother has been shown to look almost exactly like Daemona back when she was in junior high, just with a different hairstyle.
  • Idiosyncratic Wipes: The "PI" logo is used for scene transitions.
  • I Know Mortal Kombat: Daemona's driving skills come from video games.
  • Inherently Funny Words: "Sphinx" is this to Jericho.
  • In Medias Res: The first episode, "Demon Driver", already have the gang and their powers established. As the show only lasted a season, an origins episode was never made.
  • Innocent Blue Eyes: Both Daemona and Casey. Daemona's the loyal, heroic leader of the team, while Casey is very sweet and innocent.
  • Insane Troll Logic: In "Ghosts on Film", Daemona's father decides that corn must be her favorite pizza topping because she eats it all the time. Daemona is both annoyed and extremely confused, pointing out corn as a pizza topping DOESN'T exist.
  • Insistent Terminology: Casey is not "in love" with Terri; he just has a "very deep like" for her.
  • Invisible Parents: Aside from Daemona's parents, none of the gang's parents are shown on screen, only getting a mention now and again. Press releases did state what the kids' parents are like (Kira's mom is a lawyer and her dad is a policeman, Jericho has hippie parents, and Casey's dad is a teacher and it's confirmed his mom's out of the picture).
  • Jerk Jock: Brad from "Birthday Presence". He refuses to cancel his birthday party in spite of the haunting for his reputation. When given a chance to solve the problem by returning the artifact the conflict began over he selfishly keeps it and mocks the witch doctor currently supernaturally aggressing him.
  • Just Here for Godzilla: In-universe. Daemona only wanted to join the debate team in "Omega Pizza Pi" because they get to go on a field trip to France. Otherwise, she hates debate.
  • Kid-Appeal Character: Wad, of the "clown" variety. Jericho also counts, being the most laid back and fun-loving member of the gang.
  • Kitschy Local Commercial: The Phantom Investigators have one as seen in "Ghosts On Film", consisting of Daemona saying the slogan while Jericho and Casey pose in monster masks on a cheap set.
  • Knight of Cerebus: Willard from "Secrets Exposed!". As soon as he appears and is shown to have a connection to Professor Navarro, the episode takes a much darker turn than the rest of the series.
  • Large Ham: Almost every antagonist in the series tended to be one.
  • Least Common Pizza Topping: In "Ghosts on Film", Daemona references this trope by telling her dad that corn isn't a pizza topping, "not even in California".
  • Leitmotif: Lugosi Junior High, Navarro Repairs, and Daemona's house all had brief themes for their establishing shots.
  • Let Us Never Speak of This Again: Casey's attitude about all of his more embarrassing transformations, such as the Disguised in Drag moment mentioned above and turning into toilet paper to slip under a locked door.
  • Lost in Character: "Ghosts on Film" came about due to the titular ghost's unfinished business involving finishing the film in question and being unable to escape his role; once the Investigators enable him to say the last line of the script, he returns to normal, thanking the Investigators before moving on to the afterlife.
  • Luminescent Blush: Casey in "The Fifth P.I." after Jericho points out that after the two of them came out from hiding in a clothes hamper, he still had underwear on his head.
  • Magic Music: The witch doctor in "Birthday Presence" uses drumbeats to remotely cast his magic from Africa to San Francisco. Because he's using music the P Is can effectively jam his signal by playing louder techno music with drumbeats.
  • Make Them Rot: The Monster of the Week in "Thank Wad" Is the trash elemental, who's manipulating garbage sprites into cultivating a mold that rots whatever it touches into trash.
  • Mayfly-December Friendship: Professor Navarro is revealed to be immortal in the final episode, being a vampire, while the Phantom Investigators are twelve. Meaning he'll eventually outlive the gang.
  • Medium Blending: While most of the show was stop-motion animated, the ghosts were portrayed by live-action actors and the other supernatural creatures as puppets.
  • Messy Hair: Daemona when dressed casually.
  • Missing Mom: Casey's mom is out of the picture. Her whereabouts are never brought up, either.
  • Monster of the Week: In every episode.
  • Mundane Utility: All of the empowered P Is to a certain degree but Jericho takes the cake as he claims he developed his powers because he was too lazy to do his chores.
  • New Transfer Student: Daemona had just recently moved to San Francisco and began attending Lugosi Junior High sometime before the beginning of the series.
  • Noodle Incident: Daemona's experiments, one of which blew up the bathtub she was working in and another of which involved a lemon battery and ultimately blacked out the town.
  • Non-Human Sidekick: Jinxie and Wad
  • Non-Powered Costumed Hero: Daemona wore a mask and uniform while on the job, while the rest of the team dressed casually.
  • Older Than They Look: Professor Navarro appears to be in his twenties, but only because he hasn't aged since becoming a vampire years prior while always wearing the totem of spirit control to stay human.
  • Only One Name: While Daemona and Kira were given last names in the show (Prune and Williams, respectively), neither Jericho nor Casey received one.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: One can become one through a Deal with the Devil and they're monstrous winged hulks between human and demon. They can sire new ones through bites but the condition can be suppressed by a totem of spirit control rendering the victim human but still unaging.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: They transform on the night of the full moon (which the show puts on more than one night) and can infect dogs. Hair remains turned if cut off and animates under moonlight. Vulnerable to silver, they're not considered a part of the supernatural hierarchy, regarded as supernaturally afflicted humans. Their Monster Progenitor however is a three-headed wolf who was a Demon of Human Origin.
  • Paranormal Investigation
  • Posthumous Character: Mary Prune, Daemona's grandmother. She passed away three years prior to the events of the series, and after Daemona and her parents inherited her house, Daemona also found out her occult books were left to her in her will, and finding her ghost detector and other gadgets was what led to her forming the Phantom Investigators in the first place. In the final episode, it's revealed that in the 1950s, she was also part of the Phantom Investigators, and that she can contact Daemona from the NetherRealm.
  • Pre Ass Kicking One Liner: Spoofed in "Skating The Plank", as ass-kicking doesn't quite follow Daemona's one-liner...
    Daemona: Okay, mateys. Tonight, you guys sleep with the fishes.
    *Daemona ends up slipping on a dead fish*
    Daemona: WHOA! *falls* STUPID FISH!
  • Red-Headed Hero: Daemona and Jericho.
  • Redhead In Green: Daemona
  • Reincarnation Romance: Kira turns out to be the reincarnated love of an Egyptian pharaoh. After performing last rites on his mummy, being transported to ancient Egypt and resolving his attempt to force Kira to come with him, it's implied that the New Transfer Student that looks and sounds like him is his reincarnation.
  • Restraining Bolt: A twice mentioned artifact is the Totem of Spirit Control, essential for controlling any summoned demons or suppressing demonic influences.
  • Running Gag: Daemona coming up with a different rhyming slogan for the Phantom Investigators each time they get a phone call. Often with disapproving looks from the rest of the gang.
  • Satellite Love Interest: Terri Chang from "Were-Dog" was this to Casey; in all other episodes she appears in, she's a background character without any dialogue. She appeared in the next episode "The Year Of The Snake" without Casey acknowledging her as she walked by him, possibly hinting that his crush on her ended up not going anywhere.
  • Secret Diary: A brief scene in "The Fifth PI" has Wad reading Daemona's diary while the gang are gone.
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Casey and Jericho
  • Shapeshifter Mode Lock: In the episode featuring a dog groomer whose ancestor had been turned into a werewolf because he had given the original werewolf a bad haircut, the groomer bites Casey when Casey is in the form of a dog, forcing him to stay in that form until they manage to cure the groomer. This is further emphasized as Casey tries to go human but the morph fizzles out.
    • Happens again in the finale, with the added wrinkle that Casey is shifted into a different form against his will by a demon before the mode lock. And this time Casey can't even attempt a new morph.
  • Shared Universe: Possibly with Life With Loopy, as a Freeze-Frame Bonus in "Stall Of Doom" confirms that Bugsteak, a rock band in-universe from Loopy, also exists in the show.
  • Sigil Spam: The Phantom Investigators' logo appears on pretty much all of the gang's gadgets, and is also used as a scene transition.
  • Significant Green-Eyed Redhead: Jericho.
  • Small, Annoying Creature: Wad
  • Smart People Wear Glasses: Casey
  • Special Effects Evolution: Live-action characters could appear in the same shots as the stop-motion characters via compositing; prior production Life With Loopy, produced six years earlier, was unable to do so.
  • Stylistic Suck: In-universe example with the Phantom Investigators' commercial. Not only is it already a Kitschy Local Commercial and already cheaply made, but it's been put together by twelve-year-olds.
  • Taught by Television: Daemona learned how to drive the Ghoul-Mobile through video games.
  • Team Normal: Daemona is the only member of the team without powers.
  • Team Pet: Wad, a chewing gum sprite.
  • Team Title
  • 10-Minute Retirement: Kira tries at this in "Haunted Train Ride". It doesn't take.
  • Theme Tune Cameo: Kira plays part of the theme song at one point during Brad's party in "Birthday Presence".
  • Thinking Up Portals: A telepath can psychically link at least three people so they can will a portal to the Netherworld into existence.
  • Title Montage: The opening titles use clips from "Demon Driver", "Skating The Plank", "Omega Pizza Pi", "Birthday Presence", and "Haunted Dreams", as well as a few clips unique to the title sequence (such as the beginning and ending).
  • Title Please: The episode titles are never shown on-screen.
  • Title Theme Tune
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Daemona and Kira
  • Transformation Sequence: Daemona has a brief one in the opening.
  • True Companions: The Phantom Investigators.
  • Voice of the Legion: Professor Navarro as a vampire.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: Casey's power.
  • Wham Episode: "Secrets Exposed!". Also the Series Finale, though at the time it was in production it was just intended to be just a season finale before Kids' WB canned the show.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: Professor Navarro, being a vampire, is able to stay human by wearing a Totem of Spirit Control, which also renders him immortal and unable to age past his twenties. Unfortunately, this also means he had to watch his friends pass before him.
  • Who You Gonna Call?
  • Wide Eyes and Shrunken Irises: Happens with Jericho in "The Year Of The Snake" when he's under the control of his V-Buddy.
  • World Building: Surprisingly, the show actually had a specific hierarchy of ghosts and monsters to follow, instead of just making it up as each episode went. At one point, the fact that a monster didn't seem to fit into any category was a plot point.
  • Writers Cannot Do Math: At the beginning of "Secrets Exposed!", Daemona was confused about how Professor Navarro knew both of her grandparents, stating that her grandfather died "years before Navarro was even born". It's shown that he died in 1981 and Professor Navarro looked to be in his early-to-mid-twenties and hinted to be already out of college in "Omega Pizza Pi". Assuming the show takes place in it's debut year of 2002, he would've been born around the late seventies and possibly 1980 at the earliest (however, this was before The Reveal later in the episode that he's a vampire and had stopped aging decades ago).
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Professor Navarro tells this to Daemona in "Demon Driver" after she downplays her importance to the team, being the only member without powers.
    • Daemona gives Casey a talk like this in "Birthday Presence" after he laments how he wishes he had Brad's life, as he was rich and popular. Daemona then points out that Brad's "friends" are just classmates dying to be part of the "in-crowd", and while Brad is a stuck-up jerk, Casey has the better life as he's smart, kindhearted, and already doing something important with his life.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/WesternAnimation/PhantomInvestigators