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Animation / Cubix: Robots for Everyone

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Cubix: Robots For Everyone (2001) was a short-lived Korean All-CGI Cartoon, set in the future not so far away where robots capable of emotions and independent thought are commonplace.

The plot revolves around a boy named Connor and his Robot Buddy Cubix, a Super Prototype made of modular blocks who can transform into a number of useful forms. Along with his friends from the local robot repair shop (the "Botties"), Connor and Cubix battle the evil Dr. K as he tries to collect a mysterious substance called Solex that's causing robots to go berserk.

The series was commissioned, licensed and dubbed by 4Kids Entertainment and was animated by Korean animation studios Cinepix and Dai Won.

4Kids worked together with Cinepix to produce the show. As such the Korean version came first and the English version was based upon it, with several scenes featuring new animation being created solely for the English version. For example, more scenes were added into the first episode showing the Botties warming up to Connor as he works on Cubix.

Other international dubs are based on the English dub with the exception of the Japanese dub (commissioned and produced by Xebec) which borrows elements from both the English and Korean version for its own unique adaptation.

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Tropes specific to the English adaptation:

     Tropes List 
  • Adaptation Expansion: As stated previously new scenes and footage were created for the English adaptation. However in order to meet the standard episode run time, certain scenes from the original were either shortened or Adapted Out.
  • The Ahnold: Maximix, a deliberate parody of Arnold Schwarzenegger speaks with a thick Austrian accent.
  • All There in the Manual: Some pieces of information are never mentioned within the series and were instead present on external media. For example many of the background robots' names were only revealed on promotional media.
    • The book "Connor's guide to Bubble Town" claims the Disposix the Botties rescued was named "Pepe" though said detail is never mentioned within episode 4. This is actually a case of Lost in Translation as in the original Korean dub, Disposix was indeed named Pepe.
    • Scenes showing Professor Nemo discovering Solex and the explosion at Robixcorp were only shown on promotional tapes.
  • Almighty Janitor: The janitor robot in "Tyrannix". He's really Grixkey (read: Wayne Gretzky), the former star player of the hockey-like sport played by robots. Dr. K is the one behind forcing him into his current occupation by taking some of his EPU and most of his body and using them to upgrade his own robots.
  • Alphabetical Theme Naming: The names of Dr K's robots usually begin with "K". Dr K even muses that when he captures Cubix for himself, he'll keep the name but spell it with a "K".
  • Alternative Foreign Theme Song: While most of the International dubs used a cover of the English theme song "Robots for Everyone" there were some exceptions.
  • Awesome by Analysis: Cerebrix has no offensive capabilities but as his name suggests, he is essentially a brain on legs. He can hack and/or analyze just about anything and can replicate any frequency he comes across, allowing him to jam the enemies' weapons while the others do the hitting.
  • Badass Boast: Dr K's password "The password is I'm Dr K and you're not!" Later Kilobot would put his own twist on it to taunt Dr K.
    Kilobot: "The password is I'm Kilobot and you're not!"
  • Bootstrapped Leitmotif: Kilobot's signature EPU absorption theme was actually first used in the episode "Magnetix Personality" during Kan-It's rampage.
  • Bowdlerise: Occasionally certain scenes were shortened, removed or entirely reanimated in order tone down violence. For example, in the episode 1 a scene with the Solex infected Weld-N-Fix attacking other robots was reanimated to Weld-N-Fix lying broken in a pile of debris.
    • In episode 2, Dr K. being blown away by an explosion had its fire effects reduced. Also, less attention was drawn to Connor and Graham almost getting hit by a piece of broken scaffolding.
    • The infamous "Burping Bubbles" scene in "Tommorow's Robots Today". In the original the bubbles were explosive, whereas in the dub they're still explosive but are filled with gas that makes people burp.
    • In "War Triangle" Dr K. creates an allegory of his evil plan using gingerbread cookies embedded with gumdrops. In the original version the cookies were action figures (with gumdrops stuck to them). This change was likely made due to the fact that Dr K. proceeds to eat a gumdrop in the scene and 4Kids didn't want to give kids the impression it's okay to eat toy parts.
  • Can't Catch Up: The other robots in regards to Cubix, due to the fact that Cubix runs on Solex. Maximix eventually suffers a crisis in confidence as a result in "The Importance of Being Maximix".
  • Character Narrator: Connor, for at least seven episodes in the first season anyway.
  • Chest Blaster: Cubix combines this with a Battle Aura to push enemies off of him. Kolossal has a solar cannon he only uses once. Kulminator has two: a Gatling-like beam and a Solex-powered Disintegrator Ray.
  • Clean Dub Name: The Toonami dub changed Mong's name to "Mark", because one definition of "mong" is a derogatory term for people with Down syndrome.
  • Combining Mecha: Katastrophe has two main parts that can operate separately or join together.
    • In "War Triangle" Kilobot forcefully combines with Cubix's body to take control of him.
  • Curse Cut Short: Averted in "Kubix", where Mong does a song and dance in front of a sleeping Kolossal and when the Botties try to warn Mong that it's waking up, he believes that they're attempting to do this.
    Mong: Lighten up! There's nothing wrong with saying rump.
  • Disney Death: Happens a total of four times during the series.
    • Cubix twice near the end of Season 1 and once in Season 2, first in Season 1 when he gets blown up by Antix robots delivered to the Botties' Pit by Raska and is later revived by Connor's friendship with him, and the second time when he pulls off a Heroic Sacrifice to stop the Kulminator and is revived by the Solex that powered it. In Season 2, he is temporarily destroyed by Kilobot before once again being revived by The Power of Friendship.
    • And Maximix at the end of season 2, who is killed by Kilobot, and is brought back using the data that Kilobot had absorbed from Maximix in an earlier episode. Subverted somewhat as Maximix lost some of his memory as a result.
  • Disappeared Dad: And Missing Mom. Both Conner's mom and Hela's dad are dead. It turns out that Hela's dad, Dr. Nemo, had just been kidnapped.
  • Do-Anything Robot: Cubix can parts-shift to form vehicles for Connor, including a hover scooter and helicopter. On top of that, Cubix even has smaller gadgets built into his cube parts that can be used in other situations.
  • Dub Name Change: 4Kids localized many of the original Korean character names for the English dub. (Their original names are listed in the Korean dub folder.)
  • The Echoer: For much of the first season, Cubix can only repeat words that others have said.
  • Et Tu, Brute?: Dr K is genuinely surprised when it seems as though Kolossal has betrayed him alongside Kilobot.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Dr. K is reunited with Klank, the robot equivalent to his childhood teddy bear, only for him to be damaged beyond repair in a nearby fight. Dr. K is so distraught he bursts into tears and orders everyone to retreat despite having the upper hand during the battle.
  • Evil Counterpart: Kilobot to Cubix, to the point of being designed with his cube separation gimmick. The major differences between them are that Cubix is loyal to his friends, while Kilobot is much more willing to betray Dr. K, eventually mutinying in the second season finale.
  • Enemy Mine: In the series finale, The Botties and Dr. K team up to stop Kilobot from taking over the world.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Cubix not only is made of cubes, but also features the colors on a standard Rubix cube (red, green, yellow, blue, white, and orange).
  • Exposed to the Elements: Abby still wears her midriff bearing top even in cold weather.
  • Falling into the Cockpit: Near the end of the first season, the Botties take control of Dr. K's other robots when fighting Kolossal. Of course, they barely have a clue what they're doing. Abby only barely getting the hang of Kannon better than Chip or Mong, who just keep making Katastrophe and Krab fall down.
  • Fantastic Racism: Connor's father, Graham, has a dislike of robots, believing how they have made humans lazier over the years. At least until he warms up to Cubix.
  • First-Episode Resurrection: No one had been able to repair Cubix until Connor came along in the first episode.
    Chip: We all really tried, but none of us could fix him up.
  • Foreshadowing: In the fifth episode, Mong suspects a robot eating alien is behind the disappearances. Guess what turns out to be The Man Behind the Man?
  • Giant Enemy Crab: One of Dr K's robots the aptly named "Krab".
  • Go Out with a Smile: Cubix is reassuring and smiles at his friends every time he faces the possibility of dying.
    • In "Office Politix" a bunch of Antix attach themselves to him and prepare to self destruct, so Cubix gives Connor one last smile before flying skywards to save everyone from the blast.
      Connor: Cubix wait! I have to save you!
      Cubix: (smiles) Save you!
    • In "Kuliminator" Cubix smiles as he shuts down apparently for good.
      Connor: I knew you'd be okay as long as you didn't run out of solex.
      Cubix: (smiles) Out... Of... Solex...
    • In "War Triangle" Cubix assures Connor of their friendship with a smile as Kilobot seemingly destroys him.
      Cubix: (smiles) Connor, you're my friend! Friend... friend...
  • Heart Drive: What the Emotional Processing Unit (EPU for short) invented by Professor Nemo essentially is: a computer core that gives a robot thoughts and feelings equivalent to those of a human. In the show's setting, all modern robots have one.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Konfusion after it becomes apparent Dr K. doesn't care about him.
    Dr K: (to Konfusion) You're not guarding the junk, you are the junk!
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Cubix sacrifices himself to stop the Kuliminator at he cost of using up all his solex. He gets better.
  • Heroic Second Wind: On occasions Cubix's desire to protect his friends allows him to come back from the brink of defeat.
    Connor: Cubix! We need you!
    Cubix: (powers up) Need you!
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Kilobot was defeated when the heroes used his own giant Zombot monster to drain him of his EPU energy. Considering Kilobot's method of gaining his powers, it's ironic and poetic.
  • How We Got Here: "The Underground of Bubble Town" begins with the Botties trying to save a Sewwix from Dr. K. As Cubix falls to his doom, the action freezes and Connor rewinds all the way back to the night of a blackout to begin the episode properly.
  • Hulk Speak: "KOLOSSAL CRUSH!"
  • Humongous Mecha: Dr. K uses his evil autonomous versions to battle the kids. They later turn out to have internal cockpits. Also, Kulminator and Kontraption.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: When Don Don appears to be totally broken, Mong makes an insensitive comment about not throwing Don Don away because he could make use of his circuits. Abby is understandably upset but Mong points out he's not wrong.
  • Insert Song: There were a few insert songs used in some episodes, composed by the Harmonix. Though some were only present on the DVD release.
    • Episode 1 had "Suddenly", which plays over a montage of the Botties warming up to Connor as he works on Cubix.
    Harmonix: Suddenly, dreams don't seem so out of reach. Suddenly, challenges seem easy. Suddenly, the world is full of possibility. Starting out all on your own, but no one has to be alone, friends can make it feel like home! Suddenly, suddenly...
    • Episode 2 had "You can never have", which plays during Connor and Cubix's little race. Some airings such as the Hulu version cut this scene out entirely and then had new narration by Connor later on in the episode during the song's reprise.
    Connor: "You can never have a robot", that's what my dad said. Then he told me to take Cubix back to the Botties pit. Well, he didn't say we couldn't have some fun on the way. I'll race you Cubix!
    Harmonix: You can never have, too much fun! You can never have too big-a dream! You can never have, a brighter smile. You can never have a friendship-too extreme! Just can't be too happy, or have way too many laughs. Oh you can never have too much of a thing, you can never have! (Reprise) You can never have too much love for your friends and family, don't ever give up your dreams... You can never have too much of a thing, you can never have...
    • Episode 14 had "You may be...", which plays during Chip's sadness montage about being short. Some airings such as the Hulu version removed this song entirely, instead having narration by Chip during the montage instead. Another interesting note is the fact that this song was also featured in the Korean dub with Korean lyrics, making this song the only example of background music used in both dubs.
  • Kill It with Fire: At least two Solex-infected robots had spouted flamethrowers and torched everything around them.
  • Leitmotif: Cubix has one for his transformations.
    • A twisted remix of it is used for Kilobot's transformations.
  • MacGuffin: Solex isn't even explained in the first few episodes. Dr. K wants it, and he goes out and gets it while the kids try to stop him. It's later revealed to be a powerful source of fuel, and is used later to move a giant robot.
  • Mad Scientist: Dr. K definitely counts.
  • Mecha Expansion Pack: Cubix gets one "The Power Module" towards the the end of season 2.
  • Mickey Mousing: The English version's BGM is often tailored to the precise movements onscreen.
  • Minimalist Cast: While we meet many new robot characters over the course of the show, the only human characters to have a major role are the main cast.
  • Mouth Flaps: Expected from a Korean CG series dubbed into English. Largely averted for the robots, none of whom have movable mouths in the first place (and whose lines are noticeably less awkward as a result).
  • Multiple Personalities: The aptly-named Konfusion.
  • Murderous Malfunctioning Machine: Solex-infected robots are prone to going on a rampage.
  • Musical Pastiche: A riff on the James Bond theme plays during the "Agent Don Don" scene in episode 4.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Dr. K's combat robots, even if they aren't up to par with Cubix.
  • Never Say "Die": Unusually (for a 4Kids dub) averted in the first season, though played straight in the second.
    • First example would be in Episode 1 where Connor jokes his dad would kill him for running away.
    • Then in Episode 2 Connor outright states his mother had died years ago.
    • Then in Episode 5 where Hela claims her father died in an accident.
    • And in Episode 7 Hela at one point states "Are you trying to get us killed!?"
    • In episode 24, this trope is played straight as the characters all but name drop an explosive device attached to Maximix.
    Kilobot: Nemo, open the security mesh or RobixCorp will be gone!
    Cereberix: Alert! Device will eliminate RobixCorp in 5 minutes!
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: In "Don Don for Dinner" the Botties meet a Disposix who's personality is based on Rodney Dangerfield and shares his schtick for telling one-liners.
  • No Full Name Given: All the human characters have no known surname, save for Hela Nemo.
  • One-Word Vocabulary: In the first season Cubix could only repeat short phrases that others had recently spoken.
  • Oop North: Kan-It is modeled with a thick Cockney accent.
  • "Open!" Says Me: Kilobot (disguised as Maximix)
    Kilobot: Standing by, NOT!
  • Power Copying: This is Kilobot's special ability. He can copy the information of any robot he absorbs, gaining their powers and the ability to shapeshift into them. But as a trade off, he also gains the weaknesses of every robot that he changes into.
    Mong: Maximix, put that down!
    Kilobot: (as Maximix) Yeah, right away.
    Mong: Ha, it worked! The program you copied includes the order to follow every instruction I give.
  • Robot Buddy: "Robots for Everyone" is the show's tagline, and also the in-world tagline of RobixCorp, which offers hundreds of models from pet-like companions to kitchen assistants to construction bots.
  • Robotic Undead:
    • One of Kilobot's first victims was a theme park robot based on Count Dracula, whom Kilobot impersonated in order to attack Cubix. Unlike most examples of this trope, the "Count Draculix" was completely harmless by himself and only scared people as part of a haunted house attraction.
    • Kilobot himself could arguably qualify being a black-played robot with bat-like wings and Vampiric Draining.
    • The Zombots are Dr. K's skull-faced Elite Mooks introduced in the final two episodes. Their virus spread by draining other robots of their EPU energy, turning them into Zombots as well.
  • Robot Master: The main cast save for Connor's dad.
  • Rocket Punch: Cubix is capable of doing this.
  • She's a Man in Japan: Inversed. Some robots that were clearly modeled with feminine voices in the original Korean dub are given masculine voices in the English dub and are referred to with male pronouns. Some examples would include Don Don, Cerebrix and Diagnostix.
    • Raska's alien form was explicitly female in the original Korean version too though the English dub gives her alien form distinctly a male voice.
  • Ship Tease: Abby and Conner.
    • As well as Hela and Conner's Dad.
    Mong: Maybe they're an item...
  • The Starscream: Kilobot eventually becomes one after he can no longer stand Dr K's humane idiocy.
    Dr K: You're a lot smarter than I thought.
    Kilobot: (to himself) Yeah, I am.
  • Suddenly Speaking: Throughout the first season, Cubix spoke like a parrot, repeating whatever words he heard his friends say. In the season finale, after being brought back to life after his Heroic Sacrifice to save Bubble Town from the Kulminator, he gains the ability to speak his own words.
  • Super Mode: In a few season two episodes, Cubix uses a power up module that increases his strength and speed, and gives him teleporting powers. However, he can only use it for short periods due to its intense power usage - if he uses it for more than three minutes he will overload his power systems and explode.
  • Super-Powered Robot Meter Maids: Solex makes the infected robots gain powers that seem rather implausible.
  • The Man Behind the Man: In the first season, Dr. K was working along with an alien creature to gather the Solex for their plan.
    • In season two, it was inverted into The Robot In Front Of The Man when Kilobot, who looked like at first he was obeying Dr. K's orders, turned out to have his own plans and in the end, double crossed Dr. K and nearly lead an army of robots in the conquest of the world.
  • The Power of Friendship: Cubix runs off of this, and it brings him back to life. Especially on more than one occasion.
    Nemo: You can fix Cubix you know.
    Connor: Professor Nemo? I-
    Nemo: There's something Cubix needs that only you have. Cubix gets his ultimate power from something much greater than just his EPU.
    Connor: But what can I give to him? [...] I want you to come back Cubix, I miss you. Cubix you're my friend. (Cubix comes back to life)
    Cubix: Friend!
  • The Reveal: It turned out that Raska, the attractive model who was the spokesperson for RobixCorp was actually the alien creature who was working with Dr. K in disguise.
  • The Virus: This was how Kilobot's Zombot army worked. They would touch a robot and drain them of their EPU energy, turning them into Zombots as well, then the new Zombots would repeat the process.
  • This Is a Drill: Krab hoists an energy-equivalent weapon, and Cubix sports a Drill Tank mode.
  • Tim Taylor Technology: In a pinch? Need to save your friends? Overclock your super-powered reactor and save the day! Justified as Cubix is powered by Crystalized Solex which in theory grants him near limitless power.
  • Tomboy: Abby qualifies as one.
  • Transformation Sequence: Stock footage used several times per episode, on account of Cubix's many forms.
  • Transforming Mecha: Cubix, although he parts-shifts instead of an actual transformation between pre-defined modes. This gives him a surprising amount of versatility.
    • Maximix can also turn into a bike.
    • Kilobot later mimics Cubix's part-shift powers, first to change into a condor-like form, then again while disguised as Endurix and a third time to stop Cubix himself from recombining his separate pieces, hijack those parts, and try to pulp them in between his own.
  • That Reminds Me of a Song: In "K's Kages" while the gang is captured, a nearby Hop2ix randomly bursts into a song to explain what's going on.
    • Kan-It is prone bursting into a song quite often without prompt.
  • Turned Against Their Masters: This happened to many of the robots that were infected with Solex. Kilobot also did this in the season two finale. In an interesting twist, Kilobot's Keystone Army of Zombots did the same thing to him when the heroes reprogrammed them to attack him.
  • 20 Minutes into the Future: "In the future, not so far away..."
  • Undying Loyalty: Kolossal to Dr K. In "Final Showdown" despite apparently betraying Dr K, he has a change of heart and decides to protect his master from Kilobot.
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: Old video recordings on Klank show Dr. K as a bright and happy child who enjoyed building robots and playing with Klank.
  • Vile Villain, Saccharine Show: Kilobot was a Knight of Cerebus in a rather light hearted show.
  • Villainous Breakdown: After Cubix and the gang foil Kilobot's plans, he becomes enraged and attempts to wipe Cubix out by crushing his EPU with his bare hands.
    Kilobot: Cubix, there is one way I can stop you for good... And that's to crush your EPU with my bare hand!
    Cubix: Nooo!
    Kilobot: (laughs) Yes!
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: Many robots in the show are capable of this, including Cubix.
  • Weaponized Teleportation: Kilobot gains this ability after absorbing Endurix's data. Cubix later gains this ability too with his new booster pack.
  • World of Pun: It wouldn't be a 4Kids dub if the show didn't have puns but the entire premise of the show employs this trope regardless of the dub.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Subverted. The main cast all love their robots very much, Hela even points out that because of their EPU's "robots have feelings now", however robots are typically considered more expendable than human beings as they can often be rebuilt good as new.
    • Case and Point: In "Dondon for Dinner" a Solex infected Disposix consumes three other robots and the Botties just shrug this off as the robots' EPU data can easily be transfered into new bodies.
  • Wingding Eyes: Cubix employs these. His eye monitor will often display various symbols to express his mood. Some other robots such as Don Don are also capable of doing this too.
  • Wrench Wench: Abby and Hela, both members of the Botties.
  • X-Ray Sparks: Dr. K creates Kilobot with the power of a lightning bolt, much like a certain other monster.
  • Xtreme Kool Letterz: Dr. K's robots follow a theme of starting with "K", e.g. Kolossal, Katastrophe, Krab, Klawber, Kannon, Kuliminator, Kontraption, Kilobot and even Kan-it, Konfusion, and Klank. Most of the manufactured robots from RobixCorp end with "ix," i.e. Diagnostix, Hop-2-ix, Lectrix, etc.

Tropes specific to the original Korean version:

     Tropes List 

Tropes specific to the Japanese adaptation:

     Tropes List 
  • Adaptation-Induced Plot Hole: Since the Japanese dub skipped episode 5, the viewers won't recognize the Chef robot during the scene where the Botties identify the Solex infected robots.
  • Alternative Foreign Theme Song: The Japanese dub used "Stay with Me" for the opening and "Byebye with a smile" for the credits.
  • Calling Your Attacks: Combock does this in the Japanese dub.
    Combock: Combock, reload!
  • Diegetic Soundtrack Usage: During a visit to the theme park, Ichiro sings the Japanese opening theme on the Ghost Train.
  • Dub Name Change: In the Japanese dub, Connor is named "Ichiro", Cubix is "Combock", Mong is "Ryuuta", Maximix is "Blue-motor", Chip is "Takumi", Cerebrix is "Mini-Com", "Bubble Town" is "New Musashino City", Kan-It is "Mag-Pyon", Professor Nemo is "Doctor Hanami", Solex is "Crystanium", Doctor K is "Professor K" and Kilobot is "Black Vader K".
    • Averted with Kolossal and Abby who retain their Korean names and "Endurix" whose name is the same in all dubs.
  • Gratuitous English: Professor K is prone to using English catchphrases such as "Game over!"
  • "I Am" Song: Mag-Pyon sings one To the Tune of... "Ode to Joy" in his debut episode.
  • Punny Name: "Combock" is a portmanteau of "combo" and "block" referring to the robot's abilities.
  • Pokémon Speak: Scavenger can only say his own name.
  • V8 Engine Noises: Despite the futuristic setting, some of the hover cars use stock car sound effects.
  • The Voiceless: Averted with both Combock and Blue-motor who are both able to talk in full sentences from the start of the show.
  • Verbal Tic: Mag-Pyon often ends sentences with "pyon". It's a pun, as in Japanese "pyon" is a slang honorific and also onomatopoeia for "boing" which fits the robot's bouncy gimmick.