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Anime / Flint the Time Detective

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Way before Fox.
Flint the Time Detective (originally known in Japan as Space-Time Detective Genshi note ) was a children's anime premiering in 1998 which greatly combines elements from Mons Series and Time Bokan.

Young caveman Flint Hammerhead (Genshi) and his father Rocky Hammerhead (Dad-tan) were turned into fossils by the villainous time traveler Petra Fina (Time Pilfer). Luckily, they were found in the 25th century by Tony Goodman (Tokio Yamato) and his sister Sara Goodman (Sora Yamato) who brought them to their uncle Dr. Bernard Goodman (Professor Yamato). He managed to restore Flint but was unable to fully restore Rocky, so Rocky was fashioned into a hammer which Flint could use.

Flint, Rocky, Sara and Tony then join the Time Police with the purpose to travel to different historical eras to recover mechanical creatures called Time Shifters while opposing the Dark Lord and his servants, Petra Fina and her henchmen Dino and Mite. Joining our heroes was the mysterious Merlock Holmes (Kyoichiro Narugami), who was rather attracted to Sara.


Flint and company need to collect all the Time Shifters so they don't damage the timeline. These are nice creatures not doing it on purpose, but Petra Fina can use a rubber stamp control and transform them into hideous monsters called Con forms which the heroes must revert through the Power of Friendship.

Contains examples of:

  • 1 Million B.C.: Flint and Rocky came from this time period, complete with non-avian dinosaurs and pterosaurs.
  • Alternative Foreign Theme Song: The English theme song is different from the Japanese version.
  • Appease the Volcano God: Subverted in the episode with Moah. Virgins aren't used, but the citizens of Easter Island prayed that Moah reverts back to his normal self.
  • Artistic License – History: Various times it's rather obvious the writers are not trying to be historically correct. One of the most blatant examples is "Musey", in which Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Ludwig van Beethoven are seen working together (though in this case, it is lampshaded by Old Timer at the end of the episode that in real life the two men never met).
  • Advertisement:
  • Asian Fox-Spirit: Talon.
  • Badass Adorable: Flint
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Only when Sara uses Muscles does it just turn her giant instead of muscular.
  • Belly Dancer: Petra dances to earn the trust of a young Marco Polo. Shame it was interrupted due to her pulling a back muscle.
  • Big Eater: Flint
  • Big Bad: The Dark Lord/Masked Man, lord of the Land of Dread, is the one who attacks the Land of Time and causes the Time Shifters to Ben lost in time, though his sidekick Time Pilfer Lady/Petra Fina Dragmar is the one mainly opposing the heroes for most of the series.
  • Big Good: Old Timer (Time-G), ruler of the Land of Time and Man Behind the Man for the Time Police.
  • Bishoujo Line: Bindi when becoming Bindi-master
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: The vast majority of the Time Shifters at the hands of Petra, the Uglinator, and the Dark Lord.
  • Broken Aesop: The Time Police work under very specific guidelines — recover all the Time Shifters, no exceptions, and never disrupt the fabric of time. But reanimating two cavemen in the modern era? Allowing Bindi and Get-a-Long to roam free? No problems there (although considering that they didn't actually time-travelled to modern era, but rather being fossilized in the past and re-fossilized in future, they may simply be out of Time Police jurisdiction). It should be noted, though, that with Petra on the loose they needed those cavemen to help with the first directive of recovering all the Time Shifters...although that still doesn't explain the Bindi and Get-a-Long part.
  • Care-Bear Stare: Getalong
  • Christmas Episode: The very last episode of the series. However, it apparently takes place before the Grand Finale.
  • Circling Birdies: A bunny variant happens to Dino and Mite, after taking a giant mallet to the head.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Bindi to Merlock.
  • Cosmic Keystone: The great clock in the Land of Time; if it stops, the clock in the Land of Dread below starts up, and history is recreated into a world ruled by evil.
  • Creator Provincialism: They visit a lot of important dates and important people. But the country they visited the most during the series was, of course, Japan.
  • Dancing Theme
  • Dhampyr/Our Vampires Are Different: Merlock
  • Dreadful Musician: Merlock's singing is awful.
  • Dub-Induced Plot Hole: Early on, it's clearly shown that the cast lives in Japan. In the Columbus episode, though, Sara tells us they're from the US.
  • Eenie, Meenie, Miny Moai: Moah, the largest of the Time Shifters. When possessed by Petra, he turns into a floating Moai head that can shoot magma and cause volcanic eruptions. As the golem-like Moah-master, he can call the giant stone Moai to summon a seawall to prevent a tidal wave from washing up the island.
  • Enemy Mine: Used in the penultimate episode where Petra and her minions ally with Flint in fighting the Dark Lord. Only works once.
  • Evil Counterpart: Three of the Great Four are basically evil Timeshifters created by the Dark Lord, complete with their own transformation to con-forms. Only Super Ninja is different.
  • Evil Doppelgänger: When fighting Flint, Ominito transforms four of his mushrooms into evil doubles of Flint's friends Sara, Tony, and Merlock, and Flint's father Rocky. These doppelgangers are all a Call-Back to episodes in which these characters really did temporarily turn on Flint (Sara is the Giant Sara from "Muscles", Tony the winged Tony from "Wing", Merlock the monstrous, Uglinator-controlled Merlock from "Uglinator" and Rocky the evil Rocky from "Rocky in Love").
  • Four Is Death / Quirky Miniboss Squad: Great Four, the Dark Lord's minions.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble
  • Gotta Catch 'Em All: The Time Shifters
  • The Grim Reaper: The Dark Lord is a close example.
    • One of his minions, Uglinator, is a skull-like imp with pale yellowish teeth, dark blue horns, and bloody red eyes, complete with Sinister Scythe. His appearance is extremely menacing to the point of terror (especially his evolved form), and can also possess people just like what he did to Merlock.
    • The Cardians' Con form also looks like one.
  • Here We Go Again!: After the Dark Lord is defeated and turned good, Petra and her minions will continue to cause trouble in time, this time without working for anyone and Petra's gotten over her crush on the Dark Lord. Flint and his friends go after them.
  • Historical In-Joke: Several historic figures and events were influenced or were caused by the Time Shifters.
  • Internal Reveal: Flint and his friends find out that their teacher Ms. Iknow is Petra all along.
  • Irony: Merlock's only heroic moment that goes right is him defeating the evil Sara, but on pure accident. He's extremely overjoyed that he finally did something right.
  • Kid Hero
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Done Once an Episode to the various historical figures the group meets.
  • Mask of Power: The Dark Lord's mask is the source of his power and his adult body, since his real form is that of a child
  • Mind-Control Device: The Petra-Stamp.
  • Missing Mom: Flint has no memory of his mother. Rocky himself has no memory of his wife. While Flint may have been too young to remember, with Rocky he's probably too dumb to remember.
  • Mons: The Time Shifters.
  • Monumental Damage: When Petra Fina goes back to Ancient Egypt, she takes over the local mon, and uses its influence to change the Sphinx's face to her own.
  • Non-Lethal K.O.: Flint doesn't attack the Con forms of the Time Shifters with brute force. He just convinces them to return to becoming good mons.
  • Out of Focus: Of the Great Four, only Super Ninja and Uglinator get a reasonable amount of screentime and characterization due to accompanying Petra Fina for several episodes. Ominito and Nascal however don't appear, or are even mentioned, until the Grand Finale.
  • The Power of Friendship
  • Plucky Comic Relief
  • Pokémon Speak: Played straight in the original Japanese version, where the Time Shifters speak this way.
    • Subverted in the English dub, for they are capable of speaking like a normal human.
      • Coconaut was one exception, however, as all it could say was its own name and a buzzer-like sound (in case Christopher Columbus was about to make a bad nautical decision).
  • Protagonist-Centered Morality: It's stated time and time again that all the Time Shifters must be returned to the Land of Time, regardless of their wishes on the matter. Any meaningful relationships they form in the past are obliterated via memory wipes, ostensibly to protect the integrity of the timeline. If employing a pair of fossilized cavepeople is damaging to the timeline in any way, it's never brought up. Furthermore, no one seems to have a problem with allowing Flint to keep Getalong permanently.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Most of the Con forms of the Time Shifters have that.
    • Petra Fina, who attempts to possess them, has natural red eyes herself.
  • Remember the New Guy?: The star-shaped Time Shifter Orbit, capable of encouraging people, just shows up at the start of the series finale, when Flint, on his way to the Land of Dread, encounters her in the timestream.
    • Elfin was this to those with the English dub, as his episode, the Christmas Episode, didn't air until after the series finale! This was even worse in the Dutch dub, where Fox Kids had a strict policy of not airing any Christmas themed episodes. This means he just appears without any explanation at all.
    • The Korean dub of the show, called "4th Dimensional Detective Ttolbi"note , removed the episodes that took place in ancient Japan because of bumpy political and social relations between South Korea and Japan at the time note . So for Koreans, this trope applies to a few more time shifters as well.
  • Riddle of the Sphinx: The Time Shifter Lynx poses these.
  • Running Gag: Merlock constantly screws up his heroic moments.
    • Dr. Goodman always tries to ask Dr. Jillian out, but she brushes him off every time and prefers to have their relationship strictly professional.
  • Run the Gauntlet: The last two episodes. Flint and company fight against the Con forms of all the Time Shifters (except for Getalong and Bindi), all possessed by the Dark Lord.
  • Sentai: The Cardians, one set of Time Shifters, are basically a parody of the genre, and of J.A.K.Q. Dengekitai in particular (four members with playing card motifs). Their combined Master Form resembles a Humongous Mecha, even!
  • Series Continuity Error: The main characters live in the 25th century, so somewhere between 2400 and 2499. Yet, when they travel back to the year 2000 in "The Cardians", Flint, Sara and Tony meet a teenage version of Dr. Goodman. Though he's probably supposed to be their ancestor, who tries to go out with Dr. Jillian's ancestor.
  • She's a Man in Japan: A Dude Looks Like a Lady samurai in episode 7 was dubbed as a female.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: Sara and Tony.
  • Something about a Rose: Merlock.
    • Dark Lord as well, who combines it with Green Thumb on at least one occasion.
  • Spiritual Successor: To the Time Bokan Series.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Merlock.
  • Super Mode: Most of the Time Shifters' Master forms which they access on their own, usually with the help of Flint and company.
    • Even Nascal, Ominito, and Uglinator also have their own evolved forms (though they're described as Con forms). Nascal's has three heads a la Cerberus, Ominito turns into a giant parasitic mushroom, and Uglinator into a demon skull.
  • Superpowered Evil Side: When possessed by the Dark Lord (through Petra Fina or Uglinator), the Time Shifters can turn into hideous monsters called Con forms.
  • Team Pet: Pterry the robotic pterodactyl.
  • Terrible Trio: Petra Fina, Dino, and Mite.
  • ¡Three Amigos!: Flint, Sara, and Tony.
  • Tilting Tower of Pisa: In the episode "Plumella", the heroes travel back to Pisa during the time of the renaissance. Flint sees the leaning tower and, fearing that it might fall over, straightens it, despite his friends warning him that it's supposed to be leaning, and Flint is now altering history. Near the end of the episode, an explosion causes the tower to tilt back to its original position, thus restoring history.
  • Time Travel
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Pizza. Flint even asks for it in Ancient Japan.
  • True Companions
  • Two Guys and a Girl: Flint, Sara, and Tony.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension:
    • Merlock and Sara. More or less on Merlock's side than Sara's.
    • Petra and Dark Lord. This too was one-sided, as Dark Lord was just using her.
  • Verbal Tic: Uglinator ends his sentences with "-dasu" in the Japanese version.
  • Villain-Possessed Bystander: Petra Fina uses her rubber stamp to control and transform the Time-shifters into hideous monsters called Con forms, which the heroes must revert through the Power of Friendship.