Western Animation: The BOTS Master
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The BOTS Master
"It's Laser Time, Boyzz!"
(1993-1994) was an early 1990s
animated sci-fi/action series created by Jean Chalopin and Avi Arad set in the year 2025 about a guy that invents robots. This guy basically invents a multitude of robots, each with their own distinct personality and appearance, skills, and he uses them as his team to take on the evil corporation he used to work for.
This show focused on the exploits of Ziv Zulander (no, the name was not coined by Ben Stiller
) and his sister Blitzy. Ziv works for the RM Corporation, run by Sir Lewis Leon Paradim. It was responsible for all the technological robotic advancements of that time, partly thanks to Ziv's inventive streak. Life was good for the two siblings, however LLP, as he was referred, decided that being the owner of the wealthiest conglomerate in existence just was not enough, and that ruling the planet was much more in line with what he wanted. He decides to utilize the robotic creations sold by the company to secretly lay the foundation for a coup d'état of the world, and wants everyone in the company on the team. Ziv is obviously shocked at this, and wants no part in it. This in turn, makes him the prime enemy of the entire Corp, and he goes on the lam with his sister, converts his family's old fallout shelter into a secret base, and retools his own group of robots, known as the BOYZZ, to assist in the battle to save the world from RM Corp's sinister schemes.
Notable for being one of the few western shows about mecha not coming from Japan.note
The show was really intended to be Merchandise-Driven
due to its 3-D gimmick. During each episode's big action scene, someone would shout out "Laser Time!" Signaling the viewer to put on 3-D glasses that you could only get by buying one of the toys. However the toyline failed and became one of the reasons the series didn't last longer.
The Bots Master contains examples of:
- Action Duo: Ziv and Blitzy, although usually not until things are completely FUBAR.
- Action Girl: Blitzy, albeit as a back-line commander rather than the front-line attacker ZZ tends to act as. But what did you expect from someone with a name like that?
- Alliterative Name: Ziv Zulander.
- Alphabet Architecture: RM Corp has two positively massive skyscrapers side-by-side in the shape of an R and an M.
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: "The call came from Venezuela. It also came from Cathmandu, Montevideo, Paris and a shoe store in Ohio."
- Artistic License – Biology: It's never explained how Ziv is able to scan holograms of deceased historical figures to obtain DNA scans, or why DNA would contain their personality, memories and skills.
- Authority Equals Asskicking: LLP may be a Non-Action Big Bad for most of the series, but when he steps into battle personally, he is a surprisingly dangerous opponent. Case in point, LLP takes on Ninjizz, the one BOYZZ who was designed specifically for combat (and is, you know, a robot while LLP is a mere human), and soundly defeats him in a brutal Curb-Stomp Battle.
- Badass Adorable: Swang. She took down a small army of greenbots, securitybots, and TANKS, BY HERSELF. And all she did was hop around taking spy pictures. Either that or those bots just suck really bad to be taken down by one robotic hopping bug that didn't even lay a finger on them.
- Same with Birden, who caused a small bot army to accidentally destroy each other AND a world leader's private plane simply by flying around haphazardly.
- Badass Bookworm: Considering that his main purpose is to provide medical care, Watzon is surprisingly ready to risk his neck to help the rest of the team out. Applies to the rest of the non-combat Boyzz as well, to varying degrees of willingness.
- Badass Crew: The Boyzz Brigade.
- Bald of Evil: Both Paradim and Dr. Hisss are bald.
- Berserk Button: Don't call the Boyzz "bots".
- Betty and Veronica: Alicia and Lady Frenzy, respectively.
- Big Red Button
- Brainwashed and Crazy: RM Corp is offering free processor upgrades to all owners of the Triple-A bot models without telling their customers that the upgrade will push their bots into this trope as part of their Take Over the World scheme. It's kind of surprising that no one seems to be alerting the media about this since the crazy behavior starts immediately after every individual upgrade rather than waiting for all Triple-As worldwide to be upgraded and activating them all at once.
- Bratty Half-Pint: Not Blitzy (who also subverts or averts Scrappy tropes in general), but Kiddie. In fact, it's not totally clear what his purpose is, as he's basically just this trope in Boyzz form.
- Brother-Sister Team: ZZ & Blitzy, of course.
- Butt Monkey: D'Nerd not only gets captured and prominently tortured in one episode (something that doesn't happen to the other Boyzz), he also gets ignored and bullied by his fellow Boyzz and ZZ, including Watzon and Genesix using him for an experiment and ZZ ignoring his cries for help when he tries to escape the two, and a scene where the Sport Boyzz seem to be throwing one of his books around. It's also unclear if D'Nerd simply can't help stating the dictionary definition of words, which is the reason people find him annoying - a glance into his mind in one of said experiments revealed his entire programming is like that. Genesix especially seems to dislike him, hell, their entire sequence in the opening together has Genesix pushing a confused D'Nerd out of the way.
- Combining Mecha: Several - ZZ's car and Twig is the first one we see, followed by the Splitvan and then Jungle Fiver.
- Cool Car: ZZ has one that can sprout wings and fly, or transform into a humanoid form. It consists of two parts - the car itself, and Twig, a large humanoid Boyzz who combines with it and provides the mind to drive/fly/move it. Let's also not forget Splitvan, which is several vehicles in one.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: LLP and, by extension, all his chief executives.
- Cut Short: The last episode had Ziv exposing RM Corp's plot to the world and being hailed as a hero, while Paradim finally gets his hands on the secret of creating sentient robots of his own, and announces to his underlings that a new day is dawning for RM Corp. And that's where the story ends.
- Dating Catwoman: There's a lot of Unresolved Sexual Tension going on between Ziv and Lady Frenzy. It isn't lost on the bots: in one episode, they kidnap her while she's sleeping because they think she'd make the perfect birthday present (he's mortified when he finds out, and she never wakes up to discover what happened).
- Deadpan Snarker: Everyone's got a bit of snark in them.
- Depth Deception: The 3D effect is driven by the Pulfrich effect. When viewing footage with elements horizontally moving while one eye is behind a dark lens, the eye that's covered lags a bit in its perception. This gives enough of a perspective shift that the brain thinks its seeing 3D. This is also a case of The Dev Team Thinks of Everything since it looks just fine without it (no seeing double as you would in modern stereoscopic 3D footages or the cyan/red schema used during this time).
- Distinctive Appearances: The show is made of it - the Boyzz particularly are designed asymmetrically (with the exception of Batz and All Ball), and can be recognized from their silhouettes.
- Conversely, while the Boyzz are painted in such a way as to imply that they were built out of spare parts, there's not much explanation or reason (other than this trope) for the RM 'bots to have the varying, often jarring color schemes they do.
- Enter Eponymous: The second episode, "Enter the Ninjzz". Flipped for the first episode, "Adios... ZZ".
- Evolving Credits: There are actually two versions of the credits. The first used scenes from the show itself (mostly episodes 2 and 3). The second was made scratch, and looks far more polished - AND it opens with a Street Boyzz high-five.
- Exact Words: D'Nerd - in SPADES. Ask an innocent question and he might respond with a dictionary or encyclopedic definition, even if the question wasn't directed at him.
- Expository Theme Tune and Theme Tune Rap: "GREETINGS FROM THE STREET BOYZZ!"
- Expy: Admit it, LLP really stands for Lex Luthor Pastiche.
- Feed the Mole: When Paradigm found out a mole planted by The Hero, he used it to give Zulander misleading information.
- Femme Fatale: Lady Frenzy
- Fiery Redhead: Blitzy Zulander
- Find the Cure: This become a plot when RM Corp infect the BOYZZ with a computer virus. Of course, Dr. Hiss has the only copy of the anti-virus.
- Frickin' Laser Beams
- Fun with Acronyms: BOYZZ = Brain-Operated Young Zygoetopicnote Zoids. Also, Momzz = Maxi-Organized Mature Zygoetopic Zoid.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: In one episode, the BOYZZ buy a girl for ZZ's birthday (she's the (human) model in a catalogue regarding robots) by ringing up the company and asking to buy the girl. Very thinly-veiled prostitution.
- There's another scene in an earlier episode (which crosses with That Came Out Wrong) where Ace starts attacking one of the RM Corp bots...by spanking it.
- Hero with Bad Publicity: Ziv has been branded a terrorist by the RM Corp.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: Jammerzz and Toolzz.
- Hopping Machine: Swang the bug BOYZZ.
- Humongous Mecha: Jungle Fiver.
- Hypno Trinket
- Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: The Boyzz Brigade typically comes back without receiving much damage in combat due to this.
- Also played with, as there aren't many laser weapons amongst the Boyzz Brigade, who generally rely on either melee combat (Ninjazz, Street Boyzz) or indirect fire (the Sports Boyzz, themselves very accurate with their own sports-themed weapons - which mostly act like explosives rather than projectiles).
- Insistent Terminology: They're not bots, they're BOYZZ, and don't you forget it!
- I Know Madden Kombat: The Sports Boyzz. Their actual attacks, however, are explosives in the shapes of various sports balls, delivered via expert sports skill (kicking, batting, golfing, serving...).
- Instant Awesome, Just Add Ninjazz
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Genesix tends to be kind of self-centered and is easily peeved, but he does genuinely want to help people with his inventions. This comes back to bite him in the butt later when he accidentally uses a device which splits the good side and the evil side of a person note . His evil side is surprisingly strong and even poses a threat to ZZ and his Boyzz by trying to sell them out to the Corp.
- Jive Turkey: The Street Boyzz. To a lesser extent, Ninjzz.
- Laughing Mad: At least one of the Talking Heads.
- Living Legend: In episode "ZZ Come Home", Ziv Zulander's sister used the expression "living legend" to describe him.
- Loads and Loads of Characters: Heck, the opening is longer than normal for a cartoon because it takes damn near forever to introduce all the toys, er, Boyzz.
- Logic Bomb: Done rather humorously. Dr. Hisss ordered all his bots to fire at Jungle Fiver while commanding the others to aim at ZZ and the others and wait for his command. Ninjzz hits Dr. Hisss with a sleeper device, putting him to sleep. Jungle Fiver leaves, but the bots ordered to shoot at it was not shooting at an unpresent target while the bots aiming at ZZ and the BOYZZ on the ground just stood there awaiting commands which won't come on account of Hisss being asleep. ZZ and the BOYZZ simply walked out of the battlezone unscathed.
- Loophole Abuse: In one episode Batz loses his memory and falls in with the members of a little league team. Officials protest when they have him play since teams are allowed to own a bot but it's supposed to carry their gear and stuff. But the rule only says they're allowed to own a bot, so Batz gets to play.
- Mad Scientist: Dr. Hisss
- Mama Bear: Momzz.
- Mecha-Mooks: Very common adversaries, especially the generic security-bots.
- Mega Corp.: RM Corp, which even has its own private city (appropriately named RM Corp City).
- The Napoleon: Momzz. It was inevitable, given that her personality template was the short guy himself, Ziv lampshades it when he figures out this important detail.
- Non-Lethal Warfare: ZZ is adamant about this, and tries to avoid casualties. To that end, the Boyzz are unarmed (Science Boyzz), technically unarmed (Sports Boyzz, Twig), or melee-armed (Ninjazz). The Street Boyzz do have built-in laser weapons, but generally prefer melee combat.
- An Offer You Can't Refuse: Said almost verbatim.
- Once per Episode: The 3D action sequence.
- Parental Abandonment: Ziv and Blitzy's parents are never seen and are dead.
- Personality Chip: Ziv's bots have them, and RM Corp's trying (and mostly failing) to replicate his success.
- Phone-Trace Race: RM Corp initially tries to find out where Ziv's hiding by keeping him on the phone while they trace the call, but since he bounces the signal all over the world, it doesn't do any good. They still make the attempt each time they deal with him over the phone in later episodes, just as a matter of course, but they never really expect to get anything back apart from a random list of cities.
- Pretty Fly for a White Guy: Hoo boy. Ziv is obviously hit with this pretty hard, considering that the Boyzz are all his inventions. The black street culture vibe starts with the name (they're "his Boyzz, yo"), and just takes off from there. The whole series was clearly going for some form of this, from the rap theme tune to the way the characters talk.
- Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: The Boyzz, Ziv had built them for other purposes before taking on RM Corp; his first combat robot, Ninjazz was built after starting his campaign.
- Red Right Hand: Dr. Hisss's deformities and tubing, verging on Obviously Evil.
- Rhymes on a Dime: Jammerz tends to rap everything he says.
- Ridiculously Human Robots: The Boyzz are very obviously mechanical, but have wildly differing personalities whilst displaying self-initiative and emotions (and, in at least one case, amnesia). The 3M-produced robots avert this most of the time, uniformly speaking with a "Steven Hawkings-voice" and demonstrating no personalities or sentience: one of the RM Corp's goals is figuring out how Ziv made his robots so human. One episode revolved around ZZ trying to sell the secret to a rival of RM Corp, who was The Mole.
- In another sub-type of this trope, there are at least two episodes with robotic body doubles of main characters used by the RM Corp.
- Robot Kid: Kiddie.
- Robot Master: Ziv Zulander, the show's title is only missing two letters.
- Rollerblade Good: Jammerz, Toolz, and Ninjazz are the only BOYZZ with rollerblades built into their feet, which they use to great efficiency.
- Schmuck Bait: The plot in about two of three episodes.
- Science Is Bad: Played straight by the RM Corp who wants to use it to take over the world. Inverted with ZZ and his BOYZZ.
- Sibling Yin-Yang: Ziv and Blitzy, naturally. They agree on the goal (stop LLP and co.), but generally take different steps towards it. ZZ prefers surgical strikes as part of a guerrilla war (less chance of civilian deaths/injuries); Blitzy leans towards full assaults and a hot war (it'll end sooner that way).
- Spoiler Opening: The first opening, culled from in-show scenes, has this effect. Of course, the theme tune itself also reveals Ninjazz, before he was built in the second episode.
- Spotting the Thread: Genesix create Spybot who look exactly like an ordinary Securitybot. Unfortunately, it get discovered very quickly by RM corp because of his programming behavior.
- Sssssnake Talk: Dr. Hisss.
- Stuff Blowing Up
- Synthetic Voice Actor: All of the RM Corp 3A bots, with the exception of those made to serve as duplicates of humans, are voiced by Dr. Sbaitso.
- Take Over the World: It's what the RM Corp wants to do.
- Team Pet: Swang and Birden.
- Theme Music Power-Up: The instrumental version of the theme song plays during the episode's climatic action scene.
- Three-Dimensional Episode: Each episode had a short action sequence (almost always a laser shoot-out with the RM Corp bots) with motion designed for Pulfrich Effect-style glasses (ie, one darkened lens), announced by ZZ shouting "it's laser time!" Thankfully they never lasted long and nothing really pivotal happened during them.
- Title Drop: While trying to get MomZZ to respect him, Ziv Zulander tells her he's The BOTS Master
- Unwilling Roboticisation: Threatened fate for a Damsel in Distress.
- Villain with Good Publicity: Sir Paradim and RM Corp as a whole. As far as most of the world's concerned, they're the heroes whose robotic inventions revolutionized the world, and Ziv's a luddite terrorist.
- Villainesses Want Heroes: Lady Frenzy, for ZZ.
- Weaksauce Weakness: At one point the RM Corp robots switch to a highly advanced, laserproof alloy for their armor plating that the Boyyz have trouble cutting through. Until they discover that the alloy's chemical weakness is citric acid. As in, lemon juice.
- Why Did It Have to Be Heights?: Toolzz is terribly afraid of them.
- Xtreme Kool Letterz
"Game Over, Boyzz!"