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Anime / Cannon Busters

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Cannon Busters is an anime based on LeSean Thomas' 2005 comic book of the same name, written and directed by Thomas himself, and with the animation done by the Japanese studio Satelight with Yumeta Company. Cannon Busters was initially crowdfunded on Kickstarter in 2014, successfully raising over $150,000 against a $120,000 goal, and after several years, finally led to the entire series being picked up by Netflix as part of their goal to expand into the anime market.

The story follows the adventures of Philly the Kid, an outlaw and the youngest wanted vigilante in the land of Gearbolt, who accompanies a young girl drone named Samberry, alongside an outdated repair bot named Casey Turnbuckle, as she seeks her owner Prince Kelbi.

Given that the comic it was based on only lasted two issues (due to Thomas' busy schedule keeping him from completing it in a time where indie comics weren't nearly as viable), Adaptation Expansion is practically necessary.


Tropes applying to Cannon Busters:

  • Adaptation Expansion: The first season lasts 12 episodes, while the original comic was only 2 issues (three if counting #0). It's a given.
  • Afro Asskicker: Philly the Kid sports what looks like an exaggerated version of Spike Spiegel's iconic hair style.
  • Animesque: A blurred example, as the series is based on an American comic book while being written and directed by its creator, while being produced by Netflix, yet the animation is done by the Japanese Satelight. Officially speaking, it's considered an anime.
  • Amazon Brigade: Villainous example with the Red Horizon Foundation.
  • Ambiguously Brown: Zigzagged. Much of the cast, including background characters, are obviously African-looking while still many more play the trope straight.
  • Berserk Button: Call Jojo little, and he'll eviscerate you.
  • Advertisement:
  • Bilingual Bonus: If you can read Hebrew, you can read the text of the book in episode 6.
  • Body Motifs: Eyes are this for Locke and his forces. (Even one of his assassin have at least one member who can shoots out lasers out where her eye should be).
  • Break the Cutie: A bit brattish he may be, but Kelbi learns soon enough that the real world (Especially during war) is a cruel mistress.
  • Cain and Abel: Locke is actually the King of Botica's illegitimate son, and wants to kill his half-brother Kelbi.
  • Cat Girl: One shows up prominently in "Squeaking Springs Afternoon" as a stripper. She turns out to have a second job as one of the sheriffs who arrest Jojo.
  • Catchphrase: Philly the Kid's "I hate my life." He has every right to it.
  • Cool Car: Philly drives a massive hot magenta land yacht of a car... which just happens to transform into a sixty-foot-tall fighting robot.
  • Cavalry Betrayal: Hilda betrays the prince and Odin.
  • Curbstomp Battle: Bessie lasts approximately thirty seconds against the transforming airship, despite Casey's confidence in taking it on. The transforming airship manages to stand up to Sam for slightly longer, despite Bridge's confidence in taking her on.
  • Cybernetics Eat Your Soul: Not necessarily, but most of the cyborgs we meet are a hell of lot less moral than the full robots.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Currently three for three.
    • First up is Philly used to be a good kid if the ending credit is anything to go by, till Botica (That is Botica during the age of magic) destroyed his home and killed his parents, where he fled and bumped into a sorcerer who gave him his unique Resurrection magic so he can get revenge, only for it to spiral into a life of debauchery (With at least two others saying he squandered his gift). Is it any wonder his catchphrase is "I hate my life"?
    • Next up is Locke, born the illegitimate son of the King of Botica and an unnamed woman, and both were banished to the wastes, with Locke growing to despise his father and his half-brother (to the point he made a Deal with the Devil to get his revenge)
    • 9ine as well, he was a member of 47 samurai till almost the whole group was killed and they became ruthless mercenaries, till one botch job cause 9ine to quit the group and became a wandering swordsman.
  • Dark-Skinned Blonde: Samberry has a dark complexion but blond hair.
  • Drunken Master: 9ine. He even outright states that the drunker he gets, the stronger he gets.
  • Dungeon Bypass: In Madura City, when Sam is trying to find and rescue Philly from the Fetter, she determines his location and calculates the best route to reach him. Said route involves entering her Cannon Buster mode, obliterating everything between her and Philly, and creating a straight path.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Mora, an eldritch being whose body is spherical darkness with hundred of eyes and is the one Locke allied himself with.
  • Fantasy Kitchen Sink: The land of Gearbolt has Humongous Mecha, sorcerers, Beast Men, and cyborgs.
  • Floating Continent: Shavon, it shows the dark underside of such place in the form of its junkyard Zenith.
  • Floating Limbs: The leader of the Red Horizon Foundation has prosthetic hand/claws that act as this.
  • Genre-Busting: The world is influenced by westerns, Steampunk, Mecha, Jidaigeki, High Fantasy, and urban Hip-Hop culture.
  • Ghost City: The state of Madura City in episode 6 "Unfettered".
  • Giant Enemy Crab: The episode "Lullaby of The Stars" has Philly, Sam, and Casey running from one after they stole its pearl. Philly discovers that it's actually an egg off-screen.
  • Giant Robot Hands Save Lives: Parodied when Philly splatters like a bug against Bessie's.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: The big bad has a bunch of these all over his arm.
  • Golem: Quite a few pop up in the series It's turns out that Sam is in fact a War Golem.
  • Hack Your Enemy: Villainous example, during his invasion of Botica, Locke forces were able to hack Botica machines, and use it against them.
  • Hillbilly Horrors: Philly, Casey, and Sam fought against a family of this trope in issue 2-3.
  • Humongous Mecha:
    • With a touch of Transforming Mecha as Philly the Kid's car 'Bessie' turns into a mechanical minotaur.
    • There's also the bad guys' Cool Airship in the Season 1 finale.
  • Just in Time: Happens twice in 'Innocence Lost PT.1' though it barely stopped the bad guys.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: Considering the idiots Joe-Bob and Bob-Bob (From ep. 2-3) aided their mother and sister in skinning people, their deaths at the hand of those blitzraiders was well deserved.
  • Kids Are Cruel: Technically Jojo, He's only qualified due solely to the fact he was cursed by a sorcerer.
  • Luke, You Are My Father: The king learns that the guy who invaded his kingdom is his illegitimate child.
  • Made of Iron: Torture, flying claws, ninjas, explosions, and energy cannons are not enough to keep Odin down.
  • The Magic Goes Away: The people of Botica learned the HARD way that this trope was averted when Locke and his forces invaded and utterly laid waste to the kingdom.
  • Magitek: War Golems are a blend of technology and magic rolled into one.
  • Mistaken for Prostitute: In episode 8, Sam gets mistaken for a Sex Bot by a man named JT (or just a flesh-and-blood prostitute since she never tells him she's a robot) who takes what she innocently says in a sexual way.
  • The Pig-Pen:
    • Casey, Samberry, and just about everyone they meet often comment on how horrible Philly stinks.
    • 9ine is noted by several people as being the only individual they've ever met who smells worse than Philly — like a mixture of stale booze, stale sweat, stale vomit, and stale feces.
  • The Pollyanna: Samberry, partially due to the fact she been sheltered, partially due to the fact she has no memory of what happens when she activates her Super Mode.
  • Purpose-Driven Immortality: Possibly; Philly sold his soul for immortality specifically so he could track down and kill the people responsible for killing his parents, but it's unclear if fulfilling the vow will make him mortal again.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: Bessie's color (when not in battle) is pink.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Hilda protected Kelbi from that claw attack.
  • Red Right Hand: Just about every villain in the series has some sort of obvious physical trait that marks them as villainous. Jojo has a literal red right hand- he wears a red glove on his right hand to conceal the fact that he has a revolver in place of the first two fingers and thumb of the hand.
  • Resurrective Immortality: Every time Philly the Kid dies, he regenerates in about a minute, with a tattoo appearing where his lethal injury was with the number of the death. He starts the series as 23 and ends the first season in the high 30s.
  • Retired Badass: 9ine, a former assassin of the Red Ronin. He spends his days drinking beer and fighting his former comrades.
  • Ridiculously Human Robots: Sam is basically indistinguishable from a robot until she starts talking, but even Casey speaks like a person and enjoys food (albeit not cleaning her internals afterward).
  • Road Trip Plot: On the way to Gara's Keep.
  • Robocam: Sometimes, the audience gets to see how the robots in the series see. Often it is Sam's P.O.V. when she registers new friends or when determining threats to her friends.
  • Royal Brat: Prince Kelbi is a classic case of a prince who's discontent with royal life just because he has no idea what the real world is like. He doesn't even seem to grasp that there is a murderous magician army after him, and, in episode 4, he insisted on resting at a castle that has clearly been overtaken before Odin talked him out of it.
  • Running Gag: Casey picking up scrapped bits of machinery to tinker with, to the point of hoarding.
  • Shattered World: Not Gearbolt but there is a planet (or moon) that is clearly visible and that it has fragment around it.
  • Single-Biome Planet: Averted, Gearbolt has deserts, forests, ice lands, the place has a variety of landscapes.
  • Ship Tease: Quite a few moments between Sam and Philly.
    • Sam and Philly hold hands quite a few times in the series.
  • Shout-Out:
    • In-universe, Bessie is apparently a 1950 model of something called a "Mospeada" according to Casey.
    • The three drunkards Philly meets in a bar in the episode "9ine" seem to be non-human versions of the Three Old Men (also drunkards) from Cowboy Bebop. In both groups, two guys wear hats (one has a red-and-white one and the other brown) and the hatless one is brunette.
    • The Fetter becomes very Hollow-like after continuous absorption of Philly's Life Energy, with the hole in its chest, skull mask, and the rest of its exoskeleton.
    • The floating city of Shavon, which dumps its trash onto the junkyard city of Zenith below, is a pretty obvious one to Tiphares/Zalem and the Scrapyard from Battle Angel Alita.
    • During the final battle, Sam, who's transformed into Humongous Mecha starts generating cross-shaped sparkles similar to that seen in Studio Gainax and Studio TRIGGER works like Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, Kill la Kill, and DARLING in the FRANXX. The term "Cannon Buster" is even very close to "GunBuster" and Sam's similarity to Nono is even played up. They are both initially unaware that they're Pintsized Powerhouse Superweapons, gain Flaming Hair when their powers are awakened, and can transform to larger forms.
    • 9ine was once part of the Red Ronin, a group of 47 samurai mercenaries.
  • Shovel Strike: How Philly killed Mama Hitch.
  • Super Mode:
    • Bessie, when given four quarters, can transform from car mode to a massive, bull-themed robot.
    • Sam, as a Cannon Buster, goes into a Super Mode whenever her friends are in danger. She has a Humongous Mecha form as well.
  • Survivor's Guilt: According to the Fetter, this is Philly's greatest inner demon. He's haunted by the pain of watching his parents get slaughtered and their farm burned to the ground as a boy, and being unable to do anything about it.
  • Telescoping Robot: Sam can do this when she goes into her Super Mode. It's quite disturbing.
  • Trash of the Titans: Casey points out how much of a mess Philly makes in Bessie in the first ep, and when she cleans the inside of the vehicle, he complains about having a system where he understands the whereabouts of his belongings that way.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: The King of Botica did this when he had the bright idea of banishing his lover and his illegitimate child, unaware that he sealed his kingdom's fate being invaded in the future.
  • Vampiric Draining: The Fetter is a type of immortal wizard that drains the life force out of their victims.
  • Vengeance Feels Empty: When Philly finally gets the prince dead in his sight, he ultimately decided that revenge isn't worth it since it won't give back what he lost.
  • Visual Pun: The underground dwellers from "Lullaby of The Stars" have flowers growing on the tip of their noses. The Japanese words for nose and flower are homonyms ("hana") but written with different characters.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Philly teaches Sam about this concept in episode 8. He tells her that friends more often rib and insult each other. Sam takes to the idea, insulting Philly's hygiene and odor, getting laughs out of Philly. She later entertains a group of would-be kidnappers with this until Philly retrieves her.
  • Weapon Tombstone: In episode 12, Odin digs a grave for Hilda outside Gara's Keep and marks it with her sword.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Sam certainly considers herself real, and calls Prince Kelbi a jerk for implying otherwise.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?:
    • Philly seems to be spending his immortal existing drinking, smoking, and outrunning every bounty hunter under the sun.
    • Jojo was cursed to never leave his pre-teens. He's pretty pissed about it
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle!: Just as the party has completely reunited, the prince is kidnapped and dragged back before the Mystic Emperor.