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Anime / Shinzo

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Mushrambo, also known as Shinzo, is a 32-episode Shōnen series produced by Toei Animation and was broadcast on TV Asahi in 2000.

Saban Entertainment licensed the series and aired it on Fox Kids in 2002 note  and in 2005 later aired in reruns on Jetix where the series finished its run internationally.

In the 22nd century, humankind was wiped from the face of the Earth by their own genetically engineered creatures called Enterrans (Matrixer in the original Japanese) . As man's defeat approached, one scientist, Dr. Tatsuro (Dr. Shindo in the original Japanese), placed his daughter, Yakumo, into suspended animation with hopes that when she awoke, she could reach Shinzo/Center, where the last humans are supposed to be.

She awakens 500 years in the future (300 in Japanese) and begins her journey in search for Shinzo/Center to save the humans and bring peace between them and the enterrans. Along the way, she befriends three enterrans who vow to protect her, Mushra, Saago, and Kutall. With a price on her head and a group of villains after her, they do quite a lot of protecting.

The show tends to be more about the battles with the three enterrans each having their own Super Mode (later with wings) and are even able to combine into the legendary Mushrambo.

The adaptations differ per country, but all tend to follow the general travel-and-battle Shonen plot.

The series provides the following tropes:

  • Aborted Arc: The first season sets up an arc where the heroes have to confront the so-called Seven Enterran Generals who started the war that wiped out humanity and ending with their leader, who is of course the most powerful one. This quest is cut short when the third General on the list reveals that she had already killed the remaining ones to absorb their power, then herself is killed by a time-displaced version of the Big Bad. Killing him then causes a Temporal Paradox that changes the entire history of the show.
  • Actual Pacifist: Yakumo refuses to fight anyone, even if they are attacking her personally. Given that she's the Big Bad's most wanted, this gets her into trouble at least once an episode.
  • After the End: The 22nd century, 300/500 years (depending on which version you watch) after a huge war that destroyed the humans.
  • Aliens Speaking English: In the original Japanese version Yakumo and Mushra meet Saago around the New York area. Saago speaks short phrases in English from time to time.
  • All Your Powers Combined: Rusephine, the last "king" the heroes face, absorbs the remains of the others, but is then in turn absorbed by Mushrambo, the Dark King.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: The enterrans or kadrians that don't look human or huggable. If an enemy does look human, they will undergo a transformation that makes sure you know they're evil. Unless they're female, in which case they'll only die in a degrading way.
  • Amusement Park of Doom: In season 2, the main characters stumble onto a silver amusement park in the middle of nowhere and don't find anything fishy about that. The entire thing is actually the liquid-metal body of Eilis, one of the Co-Dragons of Lanancuras.
  • And Now You Must Marry Me: The Reptile King Ryuma (one of the seven Enterran generals) decides to do this to Yakumo, the last living human, to prove his superiority over her. He says something to the effect of "Anyone can kill their enemy. Only the truly powerful can marry them", and further compares it to a snake wrapping a rabbit inside its coils and keeping it there instead of eating it.
  • Applied Phlebotinum: The cards grant enterrans new powers.
  • Arc Villain: Both seasons had a different Big Bad, but season 1 also had the so-called Enterran Generals who were essentially mini-bosses working for the first Big Bad.
  • Artistic License – Biology: Just how does the ecosystem function if all death results in the body vaporizing, leaving no biomass at all, just a card?
  • Artistic License – Geography: 300 (500 in the English dub) years into the future, the statue of liberty is partially buried and surrounded by forest, with miles and miles of land around. At the same time, Egypt has become an ocean. Global warming apparently is only regional.
  • Bad Boss: Most villains who have servants will be seen harming/killing said servants for no apparent reason; often, they didn't even fail them.
  • Barrier Maiden: Yakumo becomes this in season 2 where her role is keeping Lanancuras in his can until her friends arrive to kill him.
  • Big Bad: Evil Mushrambo is the major antagonist of the first season because he is the one who is ultimately behind the season' conflict. Lanancuras is the head villain in the second.
  • Bird People: The Bird Enterrans, although they vary in their degree of anthropomorphism. Most of the mooks are very birdlike, but Lord Caris is halfway to human with feathers covering only part of his body, talons for feet and a human face with a beak, and Queen Rusephine is a Winged Humanoid.
  • Blob Monster: Eilis is a liquid metal variation of this. He specifically traps the heroes by disguising himself as an entire amusement park in the second season.
  • Broken Aesop: They're trying to say that racism and such is bad and forgiveness is good, yet Enterrans outside of the three heroes are at the best depicted as greedy, sneaky and deceiving, and with one mild exception all of the villains are pure, sadistic evil. If Yakumo forgives someone, they will endanger her life shortly after. The real message becomes : forgiveness is stupid and you can totally judge people on their appearance.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: The original evil Mushrambo, who used the title "Dark King". Not very convincing when you're trying to portray your own side as victims of humanity.
  • Chained by Fashion: Lanancuras has rock armor. Turns out that's the last bit of the asteroid that restrained his power, and once it's all knocked off of him in battle, he goes from powerful to god-like.
  • Crossdressing Voices: Mushra, Hyper Mushra, Mushrambo, Black Mushrambo, Gold Mushrambo, Satan Mushrambo, and Ryuma in the Japanese version
  • Cute Kitten: Este/Sanju, Rei, and Sen are tiny little cat enterans.
  • Damsel in Distress: Yakumo, A LOT. Justified as she's an Actual Pacifist on every enteran's hit list.
  • Deader than Dead: With difficulty and the right tech, an Enterran reduced to End Card form can be revived. Cut the card, however, and that's that.
  • Diabolus ex Machina: After the heroes have just spent several episodes trying to save Robot City from the Bird Enterrans led by Lord Caris, after he is finally defeated his angry boss Queen Rusephine immediately destroys the city from afar to render all their efforts null and void. This drives Mushrambo to go on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge against her and the rest of her forces.
  • Deus ex Machina: The card that turned Mushra back into a god and as is the random power-up of pink light in the final episode. It's a justified example as it was a battle involving the gods/Guardians.
  • Devour the Dragon: An oddly literal version of this comes when Ryuma transforms into Hyper Serpent Warrior Ryuma and severs Grandora's (a three headed dragon) head for the express purpose of obtaining and swallowing Grandora's card to become Grand Ryuma.
  • Distant Finale: Manga only Five years into the future, Saago and Kutaru return to a small village where Matrixer live peacefully with humans and are greeted by a girl who is the daughter of Mushra and Yakumo.
  • Dub Name Change: Saban surprisngly left most of the characters names intact. However, Yakumo has her last name changed from "Shindo" to "Tatsuro" and Sanju's name was changed to "Este" in the dub. In regards to the terminology, "Matrixer" was changed to Enterran and "Center" is changed to "Shinzo".
  • Dub Pronunciation Change: In the original Japanese, Mushra's name is pronounced "Mush-ra" as in "mushroom", however the dub has his name pronounced "Moosh-ra" instead and of course this applies to the titular Mushrambo as well.
  • Earth-Shattering Kaboom: Mercury, Venus, and almost Earth during the Final Battle.
  • Elemental Powers: Fire, water, earth, time, darkness, light, web, ice and ghost.
  • The End of the World as We Know It: Prior to the series' first timeline, there was global genocide on the human race, leaving the world to the Enterrans. In the second timeline, Lanancuras threatens it as well.
  • Eviler than Thou: Queen Rusephine uses her time travel powers to summon a past version of the Dark King Mushrambo so that he'll take care of Mushra, Sago, and Kutal. He immediately kills her instead to absorb her power.
  • Eye Beams: Mushrambo was able to instantly incinerate a mook with black fire just by glancing in his direction. He was of course evil and brainwashed at the time but that didn't change how powerful he was so chances are he could still do it.
  • The Farmer and the Viper: This happens quite a lot; when Yakumo shows kindness towards a villain, you can bet they'll try to kill her anyway. Even regular Enterrans will betray her kindness in a second; Yakumo saves an Enterran child, but once the villagers find out she's human, they try to burn her.
  • Foil: Yakumo is an Actual Pacifist and perennial Damsel in Distress due to never getting the message that bad guys you forgive might still come after you later. So naturally, after time is altered, Binka, who finds Mushra in the same way as Yakumo, is a Bratty Half-Pint who loves a good fight and carries a bazooka with her everywhere.
  • Four Gods: The five heroes symbolize this trope.
    • Mushra represents the Vermillion Bird of the South, with his Hyper Mode being red and bird based.
    • Sago represents the Azure Dragon of the East. He is predominantly blue and his Hyper Mode has several draconic features, such as horns and wings. He is also able to summon dragons made out of water.
    • Kutal represents the White Tiger of the West, as his Hyper form is based on a large cat.
    • Hakuba represents the Black Tortoise of the North, since he is a vehicle based on a turtle.
    • Yakumo can be seen as an analogy to the Yellow Dragon of the Center, as she is the core of the group and the reason why the group stays together.
  • Frilly Upgrade: Gender-Inverted Trope with Mushra - his most powerful form as a Galaxial god is, in fact, his regular orange armour with pink frills added.
  • Frothy Mugs of Water: In the Toon Disney version, Kutaal somehow gets drunk on apple juice.
  • Fusion Dance: Enterrans have the ability to transform to become stronger and they turn into "En Cards" when they die. When an Enterran eats an En Card, or absorbs one through the chest, they transform into a composite of themselves and the Enterran whose card they ate/absorbed. The protagonist Mushra does this with the other two male heroes, Saago and Kutall, to become Mushrambo. Subverted later on when it's revealed that they're actually the three split components of the original Enterran General Mushrambo, who originally orchestrated the genocide of the human race.
  • Genetic Engineering Is the New Nuke: Somehow, mixing the DNA of humans with those of animals granted the some of the resulting creatures magical powers of the elements, the spirit world, and the time-space continuum.
  • Golden Super Mode: Mushrambo has a golden armored form that's only second to God Mushra. Earlier in the series, a Humongous Mecha turns gold when at full power.
  • Gotta Kill 'Em All: While the overall Myth Arc is about Yakumo trying to find the fabled city of Shinzo, season 1 also set up a plot where the heroes had to confront the Seven Generals who started the Human-Enterran War and kill them to collect their cards. This plot is abandoned halfway through by the time they get to the third major villain on the list.
  • Heroic Bystander: When Mushra returns to godhood Saago and Kutal can only watch.
  • Hidden Villain: The identities of the Enterran Generals were kept hidden at first, as well as who the Big Bad was.
  • Homage:
    • Journey to the West: Like Xuanzang, Yakumo is constantly advocating sparing the lives of their enemies, and Mushra like Sun Wukong, loves to fight, wields a staff, and wears a golden headband. Kutal counterparts to Zhu Bajie, and Saago to Sha Wujing. Also, the way Hakuba transforms into a car to transport Yakumo is similar to the other show.
    • Grandora is based on King Ghidorah, arch-enemy of Godzilla. It even has Godzilla's roar. Unlike King Ghidorah, Grandora has arms and only one tail where King Ghidorah has two tails.
  • Hot-Blooded: Mushra in hise base form is quick to anger and aggression but though his power increases by transforming into Hyper Mushra and then even further into Mushrambo, his hot blood cools down a fair bit. The transformations appear to increase his maturity alongside his power level. When he becomes Celestial Mushra at the very end of the series, which is more powerful than Mushrambo his personality is the same as his regular form. It becomes Fridge Brilliance when you realize that only this transformation is natural to him; the other involved other people/power sources.
  • Human Popsicle: Yakumo is placed in Cold Sleep for 300 years (500 in the dub). The dub also expands/alters this a bit by presenting it as a suspended animation that makes her age 1 year for every 50.
  • I Have You Now, My Pretty: Ryuma gets distressingly affectionate with a captured Yakumo.
  • Kaiju: Enterrans are basically mons that populate the earth After the End. They don't get ginormous... usually. One Big Bad has as The Dragon an actual three-headed dragon named Grendora. Grendora is positively enormous, shoots ice blasts, and uses canned Godzilla roars.
  • Kick the Dog: Specifically, try to kill the kittens.
  • Killed Off for Real: Whenever an Enterran dies, they drop an EnCard. Destroying this card results in this trope, as it is shown an Enterran can be resurrected from their card.
  • Killed Offscreen: Three of the Enterran Generals are killed off by Queen Rusephine without the heroes ever meeting them.
  • Large Ham: Ryuma. Instead of killing Yakumo as every other enterran wants to do, he chooses to marry Yakumo, complete with ice castle wedding ceremony, frilly dress, and a castle-full of subjects as onlookers.
  • Last of His Kind: Yakumo is the only human left because all the others were killed by enterrans. When the timeline is altered, the genocide never happened.
  • Leaking Can of Evil: Lanancuras is an evil celestial god who was sealed inside a meteorite by his brethren to stop him from destroying the universe. He still had enough reach to engineer a genocidal war on Earth from his prison, since retcon establishes that he brainwashed the leader of one of the factions.
  • Light Is Not Good: Queen Rusephine has a very angelic look about her, being a winged humanoid, conventionally attractive, and wearing a light-colored uniform. She's one of the Evil Overlords who wiped out humanity, and is introduced destroying the city that the heroes had just saved out of spite for losing her Dragon.
  • Literal Split Personality: The three male heroes are revealed to actually be different components of the Enterran overlord Mushrambo, whose soul was split into several parts by Yakumo when he tried to kill her.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: Yakumo gives up her pacifism shtick at the end of the first season and displays Psychic Powers.
  • MacGuffin Location: Yakumo is trying to reach the eponymous Shinzo, the last human city several centuries in the future. In the original Japanese version it's called "Mushrambo", after the main character's fusion form. However, it's more about what happens along the way than actually reaching it, as when they do we find out that in season one, the original Mushrambo destroyed it. After he is defeated prior to this and time is altered, in the new world where humans and Enterrans live in peace there is no need for a human refuge, and the city is empty ruins. In both timelines, the journey to Shinzo is important, but what they expect to find there and use to solve all their problems doesn't exist.
  • Mac Guffintitle: Only the dub is referred to as "Shinzo", the place Yakumo is trying to go.
  • The Man Behind the Man: Lanancuras is the cause of the wars on Entera. Mushrambo, the leader of the Enterrans who wiped out mankind, was brainwashed by him.
  • Manchild: Very much a Justified Trope. Yakumo was in suspended animation from the time she was 4 till she was 17 so while she matured physically... mentally is a different story, as such many of her mannerisms are that of a little girl.
  • Medusa: One of the first major villains faced by the heroes is Gyasa, a reptile Enterran with snake hair and the complexion and demeanor of the Joker. He turned Yakumo to stone before dropping her off in an acid lake (it's later reversed) and could shed his skin to avoid getting killed, growing stronger each time.
  • Mega Neko: Kutal is a cat that is bigger and broader than anyone else in the main cast.
  • Mental Fusion: The Enterrans turn to cards when killed and can be absorbed for power, or can do it voluntarily to give another Enterran Super-Empowering, returning to normal afterward. Sago and Kutal would later on do this to give Mushra enough power to enter his (near) final form.
  • Merchandise-Driven: A defeated monster will turn into a card.
  • Merger of Souls: All Enterrans, the new inhabitants of Earth, are reduced to an Encard when defeated. The victor can then decide to keep the card, destroy it (effectively destroying that Enterran's soul) or eat or absorb it. The soul and power of the eaten Enterran are then merged with the eater's, who usually remains in control but does take over some of the physical characteristics of the other Enterran.
  • Monumental Battle: A fight in the second episode finally shatters the already-wrecked Statue of Liberty. Nobody but the viewer knows the significance of it.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: Gyasa beat the shit out of the guardian trio. Saago and Kutal turned into cards and Mushra would have followed if he didn't turn into Mushrambo.
  • Older Than They Look: Mushra looks like 12 or 13, is probably 15, and can grow to look 20. Then there's the little fact that Mushra's actually a reincarnated god (Guardian in English), and is about as old as the galaxy. He still looks like a 13-year-old.
  • One-Winged Angel: Every major villain will transform into some sort of grotesque monster during their battle sequence.
  • Ominous Latin Chanting: Not ominous, but definitely Latin when the gang meets Yakumo again in the second timeline.
  • Orcus on His Throne: Lanancuras, who technically has a good reason to sit on his throne: it's his prison. Except he never tried breaking out until AFTER the barrier maiden had discovered the power to keep him there, which is three hundred years (five hundred in the dub). And he does absolutely nothing during that time. This is the result of a second-season Retcon that revealed him as The Man Behind the Man of the original Big Bad.
  • Outdoor Bath Peeping: In the 7th episode, Yakumo is looked at while bathing in a lake by monster warriors who try to attack her. But Mushra shows up and fights them — and gives Yakumo a towel.
  • Plucky Girl: Both Binka and Yakumo are determinedly optimistic; the former is more rambuncious and the latter is more patient.
  • The Power of Love: Yakumo breaks Ryumma's mindcontrol on Mushrambo with her love for him. The dub added some extra sugar too.
  • The Pretty Guys Are Stronger:
    • Gyasa is a scary, physically imposing Medusa, but the actual King of the Reptiles, Ryuma, is a short, boyish Bishōnen.
    • Lord Caris is a very muscular Winged Humanoid, but his much stronger master Queen Rusephine is a delicately-build, angelic-looking woman.
    • Dark King Mushrambo is easily the strongest of the Seven Generals, despite several of them being much larger and buffer than he is. King Daku, for instance is a towering giant in insect-themed armor, but is the first (and thus weakest) of his minions faced by the heroes.
  • The Promised Land: The eponymous Shinzo is a Promised Land for the human lead Yukumo to find the rest of the human race, in a world populated by animal-human hybrids called Enterrans. It turns out that Shinzo doesn't exist anymore, as Mushra, Katul, and Sago go 500 years back in time to the end of the Human-Enterran War, and find out Mushrambo had destroyed it.
  • Promotion to Parent: Yakumo pretty much adopts little Binka, whose parents died. Binka refers to her as her mother figure.
  • Protagonist Title: The original name for the series, Mushrambo.
  • Quest to the West: Shinzo, the goal of the series, is located in the west.
  • Rule of Seven: As the king of Mechano City tells Yakumo and the heroes, the Seven Enterran Generals led the Enterran forces against the humans. Later, after Queen Rusephine summons Dark King Mushrambo from the past, he kills her and absorbs the cards of the six generals.
  • Rule of Symbolism: Mushra, angel wings and crosses.
  • Safe Zone Hope Spot: The whole plot is about Yakumo, after waking up from hibernation centuries After the End, trying to reach the last human stronghold somewhere out west. Only at the end of the season does she learn that Shinzo was already destroyed by the Dark King of the Enterrans at the end of the war.
  • Satanic Archetype: Lanancuras, the ultimate villain of the show, was a member of the cosmic race of Celestial Guardians and given the duty to protect the Milky Way Galaxy. He was eventually corrupted by his power and turned into a Satanic figure. The other Guardians responded by sealing him inside a meteorite to protect the mortal beings from him. The lingering influence of his evil on the world caused the Human-Enterran War and he isn't released until the second season. Mushra eventually transforms back into his angelic celestial form to defeat him.
  • Sidekick Glass Ceiling: Aside from Mushra being stronger, when the three lose their powers to Lanancuras, Mushra finds out he actually still has another power and can keep going, while Saago and Kutal become useless.
  • Small Girl, Big Gun: Binka carries a grenade launcher.
  • The Smurfette Principle: Even more grating since the first half of the series takes place in areas dominated by mutants based on animals were normally the females are stronger and bigger, yet they encounter only 2 females. Unless you count the female member of the kittens that is.
  • Storybreaker Power: The Mushrambo upgrade makes the trio (Mushra, Saago, and Kutall) unstoppable when they fuse together. His first appearance is bad enough and further alterations make him even more overpowered. The villains recognize they can't beat him and so their plans involve exploiting the transformation somehow. At the end of the first season, all they can do is summon an evil Mushrambo because nothing else is up to the task.
  • Time Master: Queen Rusephine, one of the last villains of the first season, has power over the spacetime continuum. She uses this to reveal several unpleasant truths from the past to the three main heroes, as well as summon a past version of the Big Bad to the present. The first was an effective way to rub salt in the wound, but the latter backfires when he just kills her and absorbs her powers.
  • Time Paradox: Rusephine for inexplicable reasons sends Mushra, Saago and Kutal back to the past, getting rid of Yakumo's guards. In the past, they destroy Mushrambo and save Yakumo's life, leading to Yakumo in the future gathering them together to the point of being sent back in time. In order for this time loop to occur, Yakumo should've been able to survive Mushrambo's visit without anyone's help.
  • Timey-Wimey Ball: What do you expect from a series where time is a power alongside spider-web and phantom energy? It's going to be weird and inconsistent.
  • Tin Tyrant: King Daku of the Insect Enterrans and Lanancuras are tall, hulking overlords covered entirely in armor.
  • Wake-Up Call Boss: Gyasa was the first major villain whose plan spanned 3 episodes. He turned Yakumo to stone and chucked her in an acid lake. Fighting him required the first transformation into Mushrambo to win, and even then after he went One-Winged Angel, Mushrambo was barely able to win. The guy had a touch of Implacable Man since he could shed his skin right before death and return with no damage damage even stronger than before. And he was just so creepy.
  • We Have Reserves : Makes one wonder how the Enterrans/Matrixer won the war when several generals don't even get the idea to order their troops to stand aside before attacking the enemy.
  • Winged Humanoid: A number of characters, including the Bird Enterrans and Celestial Mushra.
  • Women Are Delicate: Yakumo can't save a life without being shown collapsing afterward/losing consciousness/needing help herself/dying from exhaustion, the male heroes save lives looking all heroic. Similarly, female antagonists will either be absorbed by someone with only their face sticking out and get Mushra's spear shoved in said face, another died by having Mushra fall on her from high altitude, the last was killed by Yakumo (who collapsed afterward). Whereas all main male enemies died in combat with the heroes in full battle mode and got epic deaths. Also, the very same powers that make Mushra a god and boosted Saago and Kutal are apparently too much for Yakumo to handle and they end up killing her.
  • Younger Than They Look: Yakumo was placed in suspended animation at the age of 6 or 7, which for some reason made her wake up as a 16 year old; even her clothes grew along. (This was partially explained during a flashback sequence — the suspended animation was NOT intended to halt her aging completely, just slow it down drastically.)

Alternative Title(s): Mushrambo