Storm Hawks (2007-2009) is an animated action/adventure series involving giant flying motorcycles, powerful crystals, and a gang of plucky teens out to save the day. A flurry of clichés thrown together, it is saved from being boring by being just plain fun.The show is set in a fictional world called Atmos, a largely mountainous world consisting of scattered landmasses known as terras. Because of the geography, travel is largely dependent on flight. The technology of Atmos is based around energy-generating crystals, used to power the various devices in the series. Patrolling the skies of Atmos are the Sky Knights, groups of warriors who pilot motorcycle-like vehicles that can semi-transform into flying machines. These warriors are loosely managed by the Sky Council.In the backstory of the series, an Evil Overlord named Master Cyclonis and her people threatened Atmos. The original Storm Hawks led the Sky Knights in a war against them, but were betrayed by one of their own, the Dark Ace. Despite this, the attack was apparently successful, though the Storm Hawks did not survive the war. Ten years later, a group of teens (some human, some not) discover the wreckage of the Storm Hawks' carrier, the Condor, and unofficially take on the Storm Hawks name in the hopes of becoming Sky Knights themselves, despite most of them not even being old enough to legally fly the vehicle. Their youth defeats their ambition, however, as neither friend nor foe take them seriously because of it.This changes when they are brought into conflict with a new Master Cyclonis, one no older than they are but still just as dangerous. Among her followers are the Dark Ace, now famous for his betrayal and unmatched skill; Snipe, a mace-wielding strong man with a fondness for smashing things; and Ravess, an archer who brings a violin-playing henchman into battle for theme music. By managing to foil Cyclonis' plan, they are recognized by their peers.The rest of the series focuses on the Storm Hawks' continuing mission to protect Atmos from the Cyclonian threat, in turn putting themselves in extreme danger by doing so. Of course, they have plenty of unrelated adventures along the way.Also, giant flying motorcycles. Oh yeah.Oh, and it's a Canadian Series. Also oh yeah.
Accidental Unfortunate Gesture: When the Storm Hawks visit Terra Wallop, they accidentally discover that extending both hands palms outward towards someone - the typical 'calm down' gesture - means "I am challenging you to a duel".
Slightly subverted in that, at the end of the pilot, the man telling Aerrow and company that he can't officially make them Sky Knights by way of being too young subtly (or rather not so subtly) indicates that rules aside he thinks they're Sky Knights already.
Aerial Canyon Chase: Aerrow tries this to defeat the Dark Ace. As demonstrated earlier in the episode, the very end of the canyon is so narrow, one must turn their fliers to motorcycle mode to get through, and then back again as to not plummet to the ground. The trick here is that, earlier in the fight, Aerrow had stuck a wrench into the Dark Ace's wing mechanism, preventing him from retracting them.
The Wallops. Their entire culture is based on strength.
Cyclonia follows this precept too, given that its ruler is one of a grand total of two residents of the planet to have a Type 3 Super Weight.
Every squadron save for the Cyclonians is led by a Sky Knight, an elite rider that every citizen recognizes as a badass.
Bad Boss: Every major villain in the series have abused their underlings in one form or another, from Master Cyclonis threatening her underlings to Repton yelling at his 3 underlings/brothers. The only exception to this is the leader of the Murk raiders Captain Scabulous, who acts like A Father to His Men.
Bag of Holding: Piper's crystal bag. It's about the size of her fist, but it can somehow hold several crystals, most as big or larger than the bag. "The Key" is an episode that displays it's Hammer Space capabilities well..
Big Entrance: Aerrow in "Tranquility Now" when arriving to bail out the others. He crashes through the face of the clock tower with his skimmer, somersaults off of it while it slides across the floor and crashes into Snipe and Ravess, and lands in a crouch in front of his team.
"Atmos' Most Wanted" has numerous callbacks to episode 1. Piper saying "Freeze!" just before using a freeze attack, Finn kissing an arrow before loading it into his ride's crossbow, and Junko remarking "Ooh, that looked like it hurt!"
The last line of the series, spoken by Aerrow as the Storm Hawks marvel at the Far Side, mirrors his words from the intro of episode 2: "This is gonna be fun."
Clock Discrepancy: In the episode "Five Days", when Aerrow breaks nearly every bone in his body and has to remain motionless for five days for a repair crystal to heal him, he starts noticing some small minor problems with the ship, including a clock running three ticks too slow. Then Master Cyclonis attacks their ship to take back the repair crystal (that Piper stole). She looks at the clock thinking the crystal needs ten more minutes to completely heal him so she removes the crystal from Aerrow's cast. Just when she's about to finish him off, Aerrow points out that the clock was slow and that he was healed two minutes ago and fights back.
In "The Ultra Dudes", Finn is sent off on an errand, with the adventure that ensues being the focus of the episode. Radarr accompanies him, but his role in the episode is minimal. Ironically, the errand being assigned to him was just an excuse to keep him out of trouble.
Fridge Logic: In-universe. Noob points out that Aerrow sometimes deploys his skimmer wings manually and sometimes automatically. Aerrow, more concerned with the fact that they're free-falling at the time, brushes this off with "We got upgrades."
Fumbling The Gauntlet: In "A Wallop For All Seasons", the Sky Knights travel to Junko's home, where Piper accidentally bumps into someone. She raises her hands placatingly - and Junko hastens to intervene, because this is how his people challenge each other to a fight.
What about the episode "Home Movie Night"? Use Plenty of Caution Handling Unstable Crystals, or U.P.C.H.U.C.
Piper:(sincerely) I always U.P.C.H.U.C. Do you?
Gadgeteer Genius: Especially in "Statosphere" where Stork and Piper are able to analyze how the enemy has built an aircraft that can fly in the Stratosphere (which has never been done before) and then get the Condor to do the same.
Genre Savvy: The Talon Commander from "Radarr Love". Not too much, but he had enough to try and get himself promoted.
A Good, Old-Fashioned Paint Watching: In "Royal Twist", Piper (involuntarily) swaps places with Princess Peregrine in a Prince and Pauper plot. She discovers that the Princess's duties consist of a never ending stream of mindless activities designed to keep her busy and out of affairs of state. One of these activities is judging a paint drying competition.
Hand Wave: In "Number One Fan", Aerrow gives a couple of these. Why did he sometimes need Radarr to transform his skimmer when other times he didn't? He got upgrades. What does Finn do when his skimmer gets wrecked? "He's got a spare."
Heal Thyself: "Five Days" When Aerrow becomes badly injured, Piper comes to the rescue with a Crystal that can heal him perfectly. The problem is that the name of the episode is how long it takes for the crystal to heal.
Hitchhiker Heroes: A partial example, at least. Junko and Stork joined separately, and in that order, after Aerrow received the quest to find the Condor. The others were already with him, but seeing as they didn't all grow up on the same terra, they might or might not have followed the same pattern. All we really know is that, according to Word of God, Radarr is about 7 or 8 years in age and was a pup when he met Aerrow.
Repton falls off the edge of his terra when he's struck by his own boomerang, thrown by his own hand.
Ravess gets hit by her own seeker arrows in "The Lesson".
Snipe was tricked into destroying his own ride in "Age of Heroes".
It's a common theme for the Storm Hawks to trick the Cyclonians into attacking each other, or even themselves.
Hollow World: Sort of. ''Dark Waters" reveals that there are underwater caverns that extend straight through to the other side of the Atmos, and there seems to be life in them. Domiwick gets to the far side using these tunnels.
There's a Rex Guardian with an uncanny resemblance to Finn. He even had his skimmer cut in half the same way that Finn is known for. Nothing really came of him, so the connection between the two is unknown.
Inferred Holocaust: The Nightcrawlers are implied to have killed the entire indigenous population of Terra Tropica because they might have interfered. Cyclonis also destroys nine terras in as many days during the series finale, which realistically would have killed a good number of people even with the Sky Knights trying to rescue their residents.
Intergenerational Friendship: Stork is a twenty-something-year-old Merb hanging out with a bunch of 14-year-olds, though he seems to have the mentality of a teenager, rather than that of someone older.
Just a Kid: The initial reaction to the current generation of Storm Hawks. It even prevented them from being officially registered. Fortunately, all their hard work pays off and they get unofficially recognized as worthy successors and heroes in their own right.
Keep Away: The Storm Hawks play this game as practice, much to Starling's frustration.
Laser Blade: Standard weapons throughout Atmos. Deactivated, they look similar to regular swords, except for their blunt and often impractically shaped blades. Upon activation, the blade lights up with energy, which forms the cutting edges.
Lawful Stupid: The Rex Guardians follow a very antiquated code and believes in strictly. It's shown that their strict rules are useless in the real world as both the Storm Hawks and the Dark Ace prove repeatedly in the first episode to feature them closely.
Leitmotif: Ravess' theme is very distinct, and most of the time, she (or her minions) are actually playing it on a violin as she enters.
Some other characters also have leitmotifs. Junko's is strong and trumpeting, Cyclonis's is suitably creepy, Starling's (when played in full) has a low, action-y drum beat, and Arygyn's is a whimsical flutey sound. note A note on the website: the inclusion of a song on a character's page does not necessarily mean that it is their personal leitmotif. Some (e.g. most of the Storm Hawks') are more general background music, some are associated with a group (e.g. Carver's is used for his whole team).
Let's Get Dangerous: Though the Storm Hawks are heroes, they're still mostly just young people who like to play. But when they get serious, watch out.
Let's Split Up, Gang: In "Radarr Love", Aerrow decides to split the team up for some reason after they've just escaped from a cell. The two groups soon run into each other again, almost attacking each other.
Happens again in "Payback", after the Condor gets destroyed.
Mundane Utility: There are many crystals which are used for simple, everyday tasks.
Musical Assassin: Ravess. So much so that she had a Talon fly while playing a violin just so she would have live music while she fought. She frequently forced Talons to practice different instruments with her, and punished anyone who interrupted. Not to mention building a Energy Cannon that was powered by music.
My Rule Fu Is Stronger than Yours: In one episode, the Storm Hawks compete with the Rex Guardians for a powerful crystal. The competition was made up of several challenges that tested a member of each squadron, and while the Storm Hawks won every challenge, the Rex Guardians used various absurd technicalities to win the competition. When the Dark Ace shows up, however, the Rex Guardians discover that their laws do very little good against someone who doesn't follow them, and it's up to the Storm Hawks to beat him their way.
My Species Doth Protest Too Much: Subverted. Junko grew disappointed not that his people were obsessed with being strong, but that the leader of his people sided with the evil Cyclonians because he interpreted their mantra of "the strongest rule because strength brings power" into one that the Wallops should ally with the strongest faction out there rather than fight its evil. Junko then proceeds to beat his superior strength and win leadership of his Terra... or would have, if he'd "finished him". Nonetheless, he calls him on it twice, accusing him of being afraid of Cyclonia, and later denouncing that strength without the will to use it for good is worthless. In a more straight example, his actions do create a cell of resistance fighters that also disagree with collaborating with Cyclonia.
Nonverbal Miscommunication: Oddly enough, considering their closeness, Aerrow is hopeless at figuring out what Radarr is trying to tell him, no matter how obvious it is to the viewers. Of course, the rest of the team is usually no better at it, and most of Radarr's desperate attempts to tell them anything end with him giving up in frustration.
Happened in the episode "A Wallop For All Seasons", and Piper nearly got into a fight with a female Wallop because of it.
Paper-Thin Disguise: In "Atmos' Most Wanted." The citizens of the Atmos must have been blind or stupid (possibly both) not to notice that the 'Storm Hawks' had tails and, in the case of two of them, suddenly overweight.
The Storm Hawks end up using these on occasion as well. Such as everyone (including Piper!) wearing fake mustaches.
The Chroma crystals allowed Piper, Aerrow, and Radarr to pass themselves off as non-Storm Hawks, by virtue of pallet swap.
Plot Allergy: Junko and his Murk Raider allergy. Also his Sky Shark allergy.
Positive Discrimination: The Blizzarians have a special course that the girls don't normally run. Aerrow gets upset and insists that, cultural norms or no, Piper ought to be allowed to join them. It turns out the reason they told her to stay behind with the girls is that the course isn't quite as intense, so it's just for "squaddies"; they assumed Piper was the Sky Knight because all theirs are likewise girls, and that she'd be running the harder course with them.
Power Crystal: As noted, they're the basis of Atmosian technology.
The Power of Rock: Done in "The Storm Hawks Seven". Finn uses his powered up guitar to take on Ravess's powered up violin.
Precursors: Remnants of their civilization are seen in "Forbidden City" and "Shipwrecked". The Precursors are later revealed to have some connection with the far side of Atmos.
Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Stork, in Payback, after Repton blows up the Condor. He single handedly liberates all of Terra Bogaton.
Rummage Sale Reject: While not impossibly outlandish, the clothes worn by almost all of the characters looks to be stitched together from different pieces of fabric. This is most likely for the punk feel, and Ruleof Cool. The pieces of metal that they place randomly on their bodies, however, appears to be completelyuseless.
A better example would be the armor worn by Wren and Dove, which consists mostly of kitchen appliances.
One character mentions how real fabric is hard to come by anymore. This might imply that the Cyclonians took over whatever Terra was specialized in cloth production. Or that they destroyed it.
Running Gag: Finn's motorcycle being destroyed mid-air. Bonus points if he falls crotch-first onto the hood of a teammate's cycle.
Also, there's a chicken in almost every episode. Sometimes they fly across the screen, sometimes they play a part in the episode, and sometimes they just hang around.
Ravess's violin player getting shot down. Bonus points if it was by one of Ravess's arrows.
Saw It in a Movie Once: In the pilot episode, Aerrow performs a dangerous stunt that he claims to have seen in a cartoon.
Played with hilariously in "Stratosphere" where Stork makes his first appearance in that episode wearing nothing but a towel and losing it not one minute later. Cue screaming and drooling fangirls/boys.
And most of the cast in "Shipwrecked", for the entire episode.
Finn has the most in number, if not in total screentime. Besides "Shipwrecked", there's "Siren's Song", "Stratosphere", "What Got Into Finn", and "Royal Twist".
"Terra Deep" recreates the cloud scene from the finale of Serenity.
A lot of the style of the show seems to be mirroring that of the the Mad Max movies. Especially the clothing and apparent combinations of modern and old technologies. They have ships that fly, but they still use record players.
Sibling Yin-Yang: Ravess is a cultured perfectionist and Snipe is a gluttonous slob.
Repton and his brothers could count, too.
A Simple Plan: Piper makes all kinds of plans that the other Storm Hawks tend to deviate from.
Usually because Piper's plans go into so much detail that they fail to account for things going wrong, new situations arising, or are just so elaborate and complex that they succumb to Occam's Razor.
Not necessarily. Her plans are actually fairly simple. In the episode "Storm Warning", the whole team pranks a group of Cyclonians and steals their crate of crystals, even though it was originally just a recon mission. Finn states in the same episode that he thought Piper's plans were 'kinda lame', which suggests that her plans don't always succeed because her teammates are opportunistic and don't find her plans very entertaining. Piper's plan to retrieve the Aurora Stone in the pilot episode fails in a similar fashion.
Single Phlebotinum Limit: Crystals do everything. Even food preparation is left to crystal power. Nobody ever just rubs two sticks together to make fire, you have to have a fire crystal.
Piper actually attempts that with rocks in "Shipwrecked", with some success. But not very much.
Sky Surfing: The boys were doing this in the beginning of "Royal Twist" (instead of working). They'd fastened Finn's surfboard to a rope and were taking turns towing it with their skimmers while someone got to ride.
Aerrow does this with a skimmer engine in "Escape!"
Smart Ball: Piper knows all Crystal related trivia, and Stork knows just about every possible natural (and imaginary) danger they might face.
Snake Oil Salesman: Finn plays this role in "Velocity", talking various squadrons into trading their skimmer parts for scrap metal. This skill of his comes up again later, when he talks the Murk Raiders into taking their side in the final battle.
Spell My Name with an S: Leugey/Luegy/Lugey gets this a lot. The first spelling is from the official website. The second is the way it's usually spelled in the credits. The third is how it's spelled in "Life with Lugey", both the episode title and the credits.
Suzy Lu/Suzi-Lu. The former is from the website, the latter is from the credits of "Fire and Ice" and "Five Days".
Stealth Pun: Several of the terras exert this in relation to their inhabitants.
Terra Gale's inhabitants mostly use wind crystals- which cause "gales". Taking it just a little farther, inhabitants of Terra Gale speak with French accents. Gale sounds like Gaul, the ancient name for France.
The Rex Guardians, the Sky Knights of Terra Rex (which means "king"), speak with high-and-mighty British accents and act like aristocracy.
Theme Naming: There's loads of avian theme naming. With the exception of Radarr, Master Cyclonis and the Dark Ace, the main cast all have names that reference bird species. (Aerrow was originally named "Sparrow," Finn was "Finch", Junko is a corruption of Junco, etc. Also, Piper was originally "Oriole", so she's had two bird names.)
Repton's brothers (Hoerk, Luegey and Spitz) have the lovely distinction of names that all deal with expulsion of mucus.
It would be simpler to list the aversions to this trope. The show's creators took the idea and ran with it.
Those Magnificent Flying Machines: Played with. Influence from this can be seen in some of the vehicle designs, like Piper's heliscooter. Later on, we do see some more traditional pedal-and-propeller-powered machines, but they're not very impressive compared to Atmos' usual technology standards.
The Storm Hawks' training exercises; Starling is annoyed that the Hawks "hone their skills" using unstructured childrens' games, but wouldn't you know it, every last one of those games turns out to be invaluable to saving the day in that episode.
Wire Dilemma: At one point, Crystals have to be removed from the engine before it overheats and explodes. And removing them out of order would also cause it to explode. The Crystals in the engine are even mostly blue and red ones.
What Could Have Been: In the original concepts for this show, the Storm Hawks are a bunch of prison kids who escape into the Wastelands, where they meet Piper (named Oriole here). In addition to the war against Cyclonia, the plot involves their quest for the Helix, an artifact that held the world together in the past. The Helix is broken up into numerous crystal fragments around the world and it's the Storm Hawks' job to find them with help from the Guardian of the Helix, the White Hawk. (Who, incidentally, is the one who leads Oriole to the others in the first place.) Instead of Master Cyclonis, we have Master Anarchis (Cyclonis's mother?), a fashionista who was formerly exiled to the Terra of Thorns by her brother, Heron, the rightful king of Cyclonia. Piper is a well-traveled, crossbow-wielding adventurer. Finn is younger and smaller (but still the main turrets guy), has a knack for telling tall tales, and fights with energy blades in hand-to-hand combat. Junko has a temper, although he tries to control it. Stork is an expert metal-smith and a loyal friend who is largely confined to the Condor due to a leg injury. Also, there are living storms — all of which have their own names and personalities — that were released when the Helix was dismantled, tearing up the crust and creating the terras, making the current Atmos a post-apocalypic world. Some of this can be found here, although other things like the Helix plot are no longer up.
There are several references to the original plot, with Piper calling a Helix Crystal "The most powerful Crystal in existence" and being afraid of Master Cyclonis taking it. Stork also mentioned the Terra of Thorns when he was naming the most dangerous places on Atmos.
The Wild West: The terra from "The Ultra Dudes" is based on this.
Wingdinglish: The Atmosian writing system. If you look closely, sometimes it's possible to read it.
Wronski Feint: In one episode, Aerrow tries this to defeat the Dark Ace by flying through a hole in a canyon. As demonstrated earlier in the episode, the very end of the canyon is so narrow, one must turn their fliers to motorcycle mode to get through, and then back again as to not plummet to the ground. The trick here is that earlier in the battle, Aerrow stuck a wrench into the Dark Ace's wing mechanism earlier in the fight, preventing him from retracting them. The results are explosive...
You Taste Delicious: Aerrow and Piper were eavesdropping on the Big Bad, Master Cyclonis, when she sensed them outside and threw a catering cart at the door, knocking the two of them down. Cyclonis then went over to Piper, who had some cream on her face. She ate it and then said that it was "not bad, except for the sour Storm Hawk aftertaste".