An animated action/adventure series set in more or less our world with one pretty big exception: the existence of a sprawling underworld called Slugterra. The series is set entirely in this subterranean land and follows Eli Shane and his new friends as they travel and act as protectors of the people. It is basically a Mons series with a twist.For generations, the men of the Shane family have acted as protectors of Slugterra. When Will Shane mysteriously disappears, Slugterra is left without a Shane. However, in the last moments before his disappearance, he sent one of his slugs, Burpy, to his son on the surface. A few years later, honoring a deal he made with his father to wait until his fifteenth birthday, Eli Shane journeys down to Slugterra to follow in his father's footsteps and become protector of Slugterra.Eli quickly makes friends to help him in protecting Slugterra: Pronto, the Molenoid (self proclaimed) master tracker; Trixie, the girl with the camera, ready to document the world; and Kord, the strong cave troll/team mechanic.A refreshingly new spin on the Mons concept, this show is brought to you by the creators of Dragon Booster, Storm Hawks, Hot Wheels Battle Force 5, and League of Super Evil. Link to the official site.
Action Bomb: Some slugs explode on impact, such as in a shower of sparks, or at least disappear. They're always fine when they show up again.
Grenuker (supposedly a portmanteau of grenade and nuke)
Action Prologue: The series opens in the middle of a battle between Will Shane and Dr. Blakk. This happens again in Keys to the Kingdom
All Trolls Are Different: "You'll never find someone more loyal, honest, and brave than a cave troll." And they're known as the best engineers, crafting many of the passageways used in Slugterra. Though the website refers to "cave troll rage".
And the Adventure Continues: The third season ends with Blakk, his minions and the Dark Bane banished. Eli decides to stay in Slugterra and seals the drop just before the Shane gang faces against Blite riding a dinosaur. This is the series finale, at least until the movie.
Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: Pronto in the episode Mario Bravado explaining how his (nonexistent) crime organization will bust him out of jail.
"It's about fear, and respect. Kind of a... fearful respect."
Brick Joke: In "Slugball", the commentators' comments on dedicated ring technicians leads to a Gilligan Cut to the actual technicians discussing how to get rid of mustard stains. Later on, Kord's near impossible goal is described by one commentator as "my favourite day after the time I got that mustard stain out of my pants!"
Bullet Time: All over the place. Bear in mind these 'bullets' take a little more animating than most.
Call Back: In "The Journey Home", the slugs pass through the mall from "Dawn of the Slug", and even that mall cop puts in an appearance.
In "The Gentleman And The Thief", a montage of Dana Por's victims shows Mario Bravado, the fishman-pirate, and yes, the mall cop.
King of Sling, the Ted Baxter beaten by Trixie in episode 2, gets his own episode down the line.
"Mission Improbable" has Mr Saturday from "Dawn of the Slug" in The Alcatraz. The fact that he was last seen getting arrested even fits - thanks to his old mind control gimmick, he's literally Running the Asylum.
The Ted Baxter Molenoid from "The Slug Run" returns for "Keys to the Kingdom".
Call to Agriculture: The titular Mario Bravado, trick shot celebrity who's now running a pizza place.
Chekhov's Gun: Played with in "The Hard Part". A water stain on the map turnsout to be a leaking pipe - which doesn't do anything, but Eli's slugs get the drop on Boss Ember by dislodging an identical pipe to create a landslide of junk.
Chekhov's Skill: The trick shot skills that Mario taught Eli become useful again in The New Kid, Part 2.
Cool Bike: In the episode Upgrade, Kord gives the Shane Gang's mechabeasts an upgrade that allows them to switch between their normal mode and this mode.
Cool Pet: Burpy often sits on Eli's shoulder, he can set his head on fire for light, and he also turns into a flying flaming manta ray creature when he's shot out of a blaster at 100mph. The rest of the slugs fit as well.
The Corruption: Dr. Blakk's nefarious schemes involve turning all slugs into vicious, evil versions of their species called "ghouls".
Crippling Overspecialization: Eli's first real duel is with a guy who only uses Tazerlings. He's a one trick pony, but it is a pretty nice trick. He loses because Tazerlings tend to misfire if they get tired out from overuse, shocking himself.
Curse Cut Short: In The New Kid Part 2, when he realised he was about to get defeated, Diablos said "Oh..." before he got hit.
Defeat Means Friendship: Played with as slugs don't really get the concept of defeat as applies to their sluggers - but they can pick a better master.
Diminishing Villain Threat: The Ghoul Slugs are depicted as nigh unbeatable in their first few appearances, but gradually start getting beaten more easily. (Justified, perhaps, by the Shane gang's growing skill, and by the addition of Doc to Eli's ranks, which makes it so Blakk has to conserve them more).
Dr. Blakk’s forces seem to be averting this, becoming more dangerous as the story goes on, what, with the Gatler (essentially a Ghoul-firing ‘’machine gun’’, the Titan tanks, and four Dark Bane to his group.
Disappeared Dad: Will Shane disappeared when Eli was young, though Eli knew all about Slugterra.
Picking a bad match of slugs for a combined shot will have this effect with every slug in the area.
Enemy Of My Enemy: "Dark Water Deep Water" invokes AND subverts this when the Shane gang must work with the fishman-pirate Malvolio Drake to take down a Blakk mining facility, run by Drake's own brother. The pirate's misunderstanding with his brother is cleared up like that, leaving the Shane gang alone against the both of them.
Gentle Giant: Kord is huge and imposing but very friendly. And according to Eli's father, you'll never find a more loyal friend than a cave troll.
Good Old Fisticuffs: Bludgeon slugs have big ram's horns when transformed. What do they do? Punch you.
Gotta Catch 'Em All: Not a goal per se, but in official slugslinging rules, the winner is allowed to take one slug from the loser. Also played straight, since catching slugs in the wild is also a thing.
G-Rated Drug: The slug accelerator from "Club Slug" has the effect of G-rated steroids, down to the slugs needing a regular fix afterwards.
The gang ride around on a mechanized police dog, panther, warthog... and a donkey.
The Hooligang from "The Slugout" all get hyenas.
"The Slug Run" is filled with these - there's a bull, an elephant, a mole, a chicken, even a giant snake. Vance Bolt may be the only one whose mechabeast actually resembles a horse.
Humongous Mecha: The villain of the episode in Roboslugs pulls one out that forces the Shane gang to make one of their own.
I Call Her "Vera": Not a straight example, but Eli may come across as this to some people in-universe, as evidenced by Pronto's reaction to hearing Eli talking to his slug, Burpy. He is technically naming his ammo.
Identical Twin ID Tag: Brothers Locke and Lode. Locke has a thick beard, Lode has multiple shaving cuts on his face.
There are also triplets who wear different-colored suits.
The beginning of "The Gentleman And The Thief" is a lovely example. She takes Mario Bravado's pizza while he's still tossing it!
Improbable Aiming Skills: Eli performs a near impossible shot with an Armashell slug he just obtained, after being told it would take weeks or longer to build a bond strong enough to get a slug to do exactly what he wanted with that much precision. It just went to show how quickly he builds a friendship with his slugs.
Instant Expert: It should be noted that Eli's entire slug experience until he turns 15 is probably from books until he got to enter Slugterra.
The Inner Reveal: Eli decides to reveal what he knows to Trixie, Kord and Pronto about the Shane secrets in The Distant Shore. This includes revealing the surface world is real and that's where the Shanes came from.
More Dakka: Standard blasters are comparable to the typical handgun. In The Unbeatable Master, Dr. Blakk pulls out something comparable to a giant machine gun called a gattler. Kord says it's probably the first working model of such a weapon.
My Species Doth Protest Too Much: Kord's clan wanted him to go into the family business of engineering, but slugslinging was just way more fun. He still tinkers, though.
Never My Fault: The Gamemaster in "Thrill of the Game", doesn't reveal all the rules of his game till it's too late, still accuses them of cheating.
Never Say "Die": Will Shane is sucked into an uncontrollable vortex that leaves a blackened crater, but no one ever suggests he could be dead.
Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Will Shane managing to convince the Slugs to abandon Blakk may have stopped him from forcing people to sign over their lands for the Slugterran Express, but it is what ultimately led him down the path to Ghoul slugs.
In "The Return", Eli attempting a two-slug combined shot without any practice creates something akin to an EMP for slugs, leaving them powerless as Blakk successfully destroys the mechabeast factory.
In "Mission Improbable" Eli does pull off a combo shot - except this time the resulting bludgeon-tornado turns on our heroes as well.
Non-Human Sidekick: Technically there's two, but Pronto is distinctly more nonhuman than Kord. If you wanna start counting the slugs though...
No Sense of Direction: For a "master tracker" and explorer, Pronto seems to get lost often. He may get you to where you need to go, but it will be the scenic route and possibly through unnecessary peril.
Oh Crap: During The Journey Home, the slugs manage to show this by expression alone when they encounter various perils, like falling down a canyon, getting chased by a slughound, dealing with sharp electric saws and getting chased by Locke and Lode.
Our Zombies Are Different: There was a ghoul-hypno slug that turned everyone into brainwashed zombies that stole stuff for the caster in the episode Dawn of the Slugs. The fun thing is, it was set in a mall and the slug's master is a straight-up Voodoo witch doctor named Mr Saturday, covering both zombie archetypes in one go.
Power Walk: Leading up to the climax of "Dawn of the Slug".
Pun: The word "slug" is used in three ways. The creatures look like upright cartoon slugs, they're used as ammunition (like shotgun slugs), and the phrase "Slug it out" is used as a series motto ("slug" meaning a hard blow/hit, as in "slugfest" or "slugger").
Pursuing Parental Perils: Eli knows that his father disappeared protecting Slugterra, but he's still determined to follow in his footsteps.
Redemption Equals Death: Played with, See the Shane Gang faked Dana Por’s death to Blakk so he stop hunting her, And in return she turns over a new leaf and gets along better with Eli.
Renowned Selective Mentor: Shinai, the Unbeatable Master shows up at her own choosing to pick one student out of many hopefuls to teach.
Sixth Ranger Traitor: In The New Kid, Part 1 and Part 2, the Shane gang encounter a guy named Twist. He helps them out for a while, but by the end of Part 1, he is revealed to be in league with Dr. Blakk.
Title Drop: In the episode Bandoleer of Brothers, Eli says the episode title at the end of the episode.
Also happens early on in "The World Beneath Our Feet".
Combined with Call Back in "Keys to the Kingdom" when Pronto drops the title of the episode the Ted Baxter Molenoid first appeared in ("The Slug Run").
Too Many Halves: According to Pronto, the Lightwell is "50% legend, 50% lore, and 50% mystery."
Tournament Arc: Not really an arc, but the two part series premiere follows Eli through a tournament as he gets a hang of slugslinging and gathers a variety of new slugs.
Translator Collar: Eli found that the device that was in a chest could have the listener speak to the Shadow Clan. However, it causes great mental pain to do so. The head of the Clan even said that most can't handle it, though he hinted that Eli might someday.
Eli seems to be getting better at handling it, he has used it several times since his first time and hasn’t shown as much strain.
Trick Arrow: Having a variety of slugs in your arsenal helps with strategy; punching, net launcher, bolas, taser, smoke cloud...
Unknown Rival: Pronto is this to fellow Molenoid Sedo; Pronto has met him before, but Sedo doesn't even recognize him.
Unorthodox Reload: Diablos simply slams his blaster on his own bandolier to load a cartridge. So does Boss Ember, except his shells are all on his back.
Vampiric Draining: One episode has a Dark Bane monster that feeds off the energy of slugs and humans to stay in Slugterra.
What's the point of winning if there's nobody to lord it over?
Villain Team-Up: Blakk and the Dark Bane have been working together all along.
Water Is Air: Averted with slug-slinging. Slug-slinging is still possible underwater, but unless you have a slug suited for water, you need a torpedo tube for them to gain enough speed to transform. Fire-typed like Burpy are ineffective in an underwater environment.
The Watson: Because Eli grew up on the surface and not on Slugterra, what is common knowledge for other characters is not something he could be expected to know and he would need an explanation from his friends. This includes the caverns dying if the slugs abandon it and notable baddies his dad took on, like Blite.
Inverted when the gang learn from Eli that the surface world is real. They don't really understand the astrophysics that would explain the Sun or how the Moon would stay in the sky.
Wax On, Wax Off: Played straight in "Mario Bravado" when Eli has to master the ultimate trick shot... by working a pizza place. Granted it's a pizza place that involves slugslinging for ultra-fast preparation time.
Weak, but Skilled: Unlike the Shanes, Blakk was never an exceptional slinger but made up for it via his innovative tendencies.
Wham Episode: “Back to Blakk”. In it we learn Blakk’s origins, how Burpy came to be with Eli’s dad (he used to be one of Blakk’s slugs, but he knocked his cartridge out of place so Blakk couldn't fire at Will Shane, allowing will to get Blakk’s slugs to defect, saying that no slug would ever aid him again), and what led Blakk to create the Ghouls.
In the end, Blakk is rescued by Nacho, who used the Gattler to create a portal to the Deep Caverns and release four Dark Bane with him!