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Tropes from Animorphs.

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  • I Always Wanted to Say That: Rachel and "It Was a Dark and Stormy Night" .
    • Marco and "let's do it", Rachel's catchphrase. He just wanted to say it first one time.
    • Jake and "Charge!"
    • In an interview, K. A. Applegate stated that Rachel's "dark and stormy night" and "I always wanted to write that" lines were Applegate speaking to the readers.
  • I Ate WHAT?!: Inverted. Ax eats all kinds of stuff (cigarette butts, engine oil, and paper plates, just to name a few) but it doesn't really bother him. He can't see what the others are getting so upset about.
    Cassie: Were the nachos good?
    Ax: They tasted of grease and salt. Plus, there was another flavor that reminds me of some delicious engine oil I tried once. Oil. Oil-luh.
    Jake: know how I mentioned you can't eat cigarette butts or dryer lint? Add engine oil to the list.
  • Identity Impersonator: In later books, the Chee start doing this for the kids when they have to go on long missions.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: The regular series books are all in the form of "The <Noun>". Likewise, the three prequel books are all in form of "The <Species of the Person the Book Focuses On> Chronicles."
  • If I Wanted You Dead...: The second-last book. Not only could Tom have fought them with his battle morph (jaguar), but he could've conceivably called in every Hork-Bajir-Controller on the planet and taken them down.
  • If You Die, I Call Your Stuff
  • If You Kill Him, You Will Be Just Like Him: When the war ends, Jake refuses to kill Visser One (previously Three). Tobias, enraged, demands to know why, claiming that Visser One was the one responsible for the entire war. Jake replies quietly that they "don't kill prisoners".
    • The Visser immediately mocks his hypocrisy: Jake has just killed seventeen thousand unarmed, helpless Yeerks. Not to mention he and the others had blown up the shopping mall to take out the Yeerk Pool beneath it, which killed thousands of unhosted Yeerks and hundreds of innocent people.
    • Rachel is about to kill Tobias' captor Taylor, but Tobias urges her: "Be Rachel. Not her."
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: During the war, pretty much everyone except Rachel.
  • "I Know You Are in There Somewhere" Fight: Rachel tries to talk Tobias into controlling his Deinonychus morph, first by appealing to his humanity. But when that doesn't work, she grudgingly tries to accept the fact that he's a bird now.
  • I Know Mortal Kombat: Marco tries to use knowledge from video games to drive a truck and operate a tank. He doesn't kill anyone (trash cans excepted), but he does scar them for life.
  • I'm Cold... So Cold...: There is a rather chilling portion with this exchange:
    So cold. Just... Can you just get me a blanket or... I'm scared. Does that... Does that make you happy, Andalite?
    Jake: No. No, it doesn't make me happy.
  • Immortality:
    • Complete Immortality: The Ellimist and Crayak.
    • Immortality Inducer: During their adventure back in time (Megamorphs #3), Jake (the others can't stay dead after his death because only one Animorph was allowed to die).
  • Impact Silhouette: In book #25, The Extreme, the Animorphs (as Polar Bears) are being chased by Venber at the Arctic Yeerk base. Marco stops quickly and a Venber misses him, slamming through a steel door and making a vaguely-Venber-shaped hole in it. Marco even calls it a "Bugs-Bunny-runs-through-the-door kind of hole".
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: Quoth Visser Three: "Would it be asking too much for one of you to actually hit something?!!"
  • Imported Alien Phlebotinum: The Escafil Device (the blue box), which transfers the morphing power.
  • Impostor Exposing Test: In The Unexpected, Cassie, hiding from the Yeerks on an airplane, tries to pose as a passenger. The Yeerks, knowing she's the only one on the plane who hasn't been affected by their paralysis-inducing phlebotinum, ferret her out by shooting everyone with low-intensity Dracon beams and seeing who flinches.
  • Improvised Imprisonment: In The Capture, Jake becomes infested by a Yeerk and the others decide to hold him captive for three days until the Yeerk dies of starvation. They initially tie him to a chair in an abandoned shack in the woods. The Yeerk easily gets out of the bonds using Jake's morphing powers, but each escape attempt ends with them being caught or driven back by wildlife and forced to return to the shed.
  • Improvised Weapon: Naomi tries to fight a grizzly with a spice rack.
    • In Megamorphs #4, Rachel picks up and fights with a bottle and a severed Hork-Bajir head. In another, she beats a Hork-Bajir to death (offscreen) with her own severed arm.
  • Incredible Shrinking Man: Happened twice. Both involved the Helmacrons.
  • Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: The Helmacrons start out as this
  • Informed Judaism: Cousins Jake and Rachel separately mention their fathers are Jewish in Elfangor's Secret, but nothing beyond that.
    • Well, according to Ax, Jake's family says a short prayer before dinner, but we don't know which one.
  • In Harm's Way: Rachel. Also everyone else besides Cassie to a lesser extent.
  • Injured Limb Episode: Tobias spends most of "Megamorphs 2" with a broken arm. Oddly enough, despite morphing normally healing injuries, when he turns into a hawk, his wing is still broken.
  • Insane Admiral: Yeerk Vissers in general. Visser Two from The Deception is utterly bat-shit crazy. Bonus points for taking over an actual admiral.
  • Insectoid Aliens: The Taxxons.
  • Insecure Protagonist, Arrogant Antagonist: The Animorphs are all teenagers fighting a secret war against alien invaders while still maintaining their teenage lives, each with their own issues which they learn to work out as the series progresses (The Chains of Commanding, Slowly Slipping Into Evil, Archnemesis Mom, Mode Lock, Revenge Before Reason, etc.) The villain they most commonly face is Visser Three, whose ego is the size of a planet (and inversely proportional to his intelligence) but can't be gotten rid of because his stolen Andalite body has access to ridiculously dangerous morphs.
  • Instant Expert: Averted. While the animal form's brain has the animal's base instincts (how to fly, how to process smell, etc.) actual experience is necessary to learn to control the morph, which is why Tobias (being trapped in a hawk's body for years) is often described as the best flier of the group.
  • Intelligent Forest: "Father", the planet-sized Hive Mind forest, a kind of giant sponge-like organism that absorbs its victim's memories.
  • The Internet Is for Porn: Actual pornography is implied once or twice, but, this being a kids' book, we get a more toned-down version: Marco uses the internet almost exclusively to look up scantily-clad girls.
  • Interspecies Romance: Aldrea and Dak Hamee, Elfangor and Loren. Also, Tobias and Rachel, sort of (Tobias is stuck as a hawk, but he was originally a human and thus identifies as one. Also, while his original form is genetically fully human, his father was actually an Andalite in human morph, so it might be vaguely interspecies even if he wasn't a hawk most of the time).
  • I'm Not Doing That Again: Frequently used as a catchphrase, but twice they're very serious: when the kids morph ants and termites—the ant morph has some very disturbing side effects which are shared by termites, both being social insects with a Hive Mind.
    • Cassie also says this when she leaves the Animorphs for a brief period, referring to a particularly grisly battle.
    • Ax also drops this one in #31, after torturing Chapman.
      <I will gladly fight this Controller, and even, in fair battle, kill him, but I am not a torturer.>
  • Innocent Aliens: Subverted in a variety of ways. Much like Always Chaotic Evil, even the good guys have their flaws.
    • Andalites are the "good guys" and Ax often points out the immorality of human actions for Aesop effect—for instance, he states that human wars are often pointless and needlessly cruel. However, setting aside the horrifying ruthlessness of the Andalite military, Andalite citizens themselves are no saints. They have a variety of distasteful flaws, such as extreme arrogance. Most notably, they intensely hate vecols—the disabled, who, they believe, should ostracize themselves from society to preserve themselves from the shame of being "incomplete" and therefore worthless. Most notably seen when Ax strongly objected to meeting Mertil, the marooned Andalite fighter pilot from #40, The Other, and Mertil's companion Gafinilan opposed the other Animorphs meeting him as well, on the grounds that subjecting Mertil to the public eye would be shameful.
    • Hork-Bajir used to be a species of Innocent Aliens. They're usually not all that smart and they're vegetarians who feed on bark. Their natural disposition is to be very sweet and kind. It wasn't that they were pacifists—they simply didn't really understand the concept of fighting. The Yeerk/Hork-Bajir war, however, changed that. Hork-Bajir are still simple pacifists in nature, but they're far from the Innocent Aliens they used to be.
    • Also the Howlers, who are, from a certain standpoint, the most innocent species that the kids meet. Unfortunately, for Howlers, "fun" means "killing the shit out of everything they see". Howlers are a species of genetically-engineered killing machines. It's just that they don't know that killing is wrong, and Crayak preserves their naïveté by altering their collective memory.
    • The Pemalites may fit this trope, though the kids never meet the Pemalites themselves, as they were killed by the Howlers thousands of years ago.
    • And the mind-reading giant frogs, the Leerans.
  • Iron Maiden: In the 25th novel The Extreme, it's revealed that Visser Three's room on the Blade Ship contains an assortment of torture devices, including an iron maiden.
  • It's All My Fault: Jake, concerning every single thing that goes wrong.
  • It's a Wonderful Plot: Megamorphs #4 has Crayak's lackey the Drode approach Jake after a difficult mission and needle him for several pages, offering to let him go back and not become an Animorph. In this timeline he has no more than a trace of memory of being a guerrilla leader and just remains a kid... however, the Yeerks are still there. Because the kids still find out and some of them act with alacrity they largely end the invasion much faster than in the main series, but most of them die in the process. Rather than immediately rejecting this reality Jake wonders if it isn't better like this. In the real end of the war more of the Animorphs live, a lot more humans die, there are free Hork-Bajir, and the Yeerk-Andalite war ends.
  • It's Personal: David and Rachel, in their rematch toward the end of the series. Rachel was the one tasked with abandoning David, stuck in rat morph, on a deserted island. Through Crayak's intervention, he manages to capture her and nearly exact his revenge.
  • It's Up to You: Combines with Comes Great Responsibility. The kids are the only ones who know about the invasion who also have the power to resist it. If the kids give up, Earth is doomed. This doesn't make them happy.

  • Jerkass: Marco and David, though Marco's generally regarded as more likable about it.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: After David joins the team, he notes that they're all crazy.
  • Just for the Heli of It: Tobias and Rachel (in bird morph) are following a woman by latching on to a taxi. Then Tobias, for some reason, gets it into his head that they'll lose her if they stay on the taxi, so he flies up to a nearby helicopter and grabs on to the skids, a dangerous act and, as it turns out, pointless, since the helicopter ends up landing at the airport where the woman (Visser Three in morph) was going.
  • Kangaroo Court:
    • Visser One is tried as a traitor and an Andalite sympathizer, but, in actuality, Visser Three set up the whole thing and convinced the Council to go through with it in order to usurp her position. Unusually, she actually is guilty of treason, due to the incident mentioned under Going Native. There was also at least one Council member trying to get her acquitted.
    • In an amusing bonus, Visser three attempting to fake an attack by the "Andalite bandits" puts himself under the same kangaroo court when the Council of Thirteen finds out and is not amused. Visser One's charges include such things as associating with Andalites, incompetence, murder of subordinates, and improper use of resources — i.e. killing human hosts, each of which Visser Three does almost as a hobby.
  • Kicked Upstairs: Tom's second Yeerk, who is improbably promoted to chief of security despite being the last Yeerk qualified for the position. It's implied that he's promoted simply because the job requires working closely with Visser Three, which Yeerks recognize as a death sentence.
  • Kick the Dog: Literally. To keep alleged Friend to All Living Things William Roger Tennant from recruiting for the Sharing, Marco morphs his stepmother's annoying poodle and torments Tennant every minute possible, with the namesake result televised live.
  • Kid Hero All Grown Up: At the end of the final book. It's not very pretty. Jake is a Shell-Shocked Veteran, Rachel died just before the war's end, Tobias retreats to the woods to mourn her, Ax becomes a prince but is captured and infested by a mysterious new being, and Marco becomes a materialistic celebrity. Cassie becomes an ambassador, and is possibly the only one to survive the Bolivian Army Ending later.
    • A previous book has an alternate universe where the Yeerk invasion succeeded. Jake became an infested drone, Cassie was also infested but with a Yeerk fighting the empire, Rachel was crippled too badly for morphing to heal her, Marco is controlled by the dictator of Earth Visser Two, Ax is dead, and Tobias has trapped himself in morph as Ax pretending to be Elfangor back from the dead.
  • Killing for a Tissue Sample: One book had a race of inbred mutant fish people who wanted to kill the Animorphs with an elaborate machine to get their DNA to increase their gene pool. They aren't interested when it's pointed out that there's easier ways to get a DNA sample.
  • Kill the Poor: One of the Megamorphs books begins in an alternate universe where the homeless "are rounded up and shot".
  • Kind Restraints: The team has to tie Jake up when he's accidentally infested to starve out the Yeerk in his head, and they have to constantly watch him on top of it, because they know the Yeerk will try to morph to free him from the restraints.
  • Klingons Love Shakespeare:
    • Ax's favorite TV show is These Messages: commercials.
    • Ax and TV in general. Partially subverted in that Ax hates all human music.
    • Elfangor does like human music though, especially The Rolling Stones.
  • Knight of Cerebus: While the series was never particularly lighthearted, the events of the David Trilogy really ushered in the War Is Hell era, forcing the heroes to take extreme measures to attain victory.
  • Know-Nothing Know-It-All: Rachel's mother Naomi, who doesn't adapt well to going from high powered attorney to camping with aliens and subordinate to her teenage nephew.
    • Not at first, but Naomi eventually proves herself rather useful, helping the Hork-Bajir draw up their own Constitution and persuading Captain Olston to lend his support to the team.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: At the end of the final battle. After it becomes clear that Tom plans to kill Visser One using his own personal Blade ship, the Visser essentially surrenders to the kids once they arrive on the bridge.
    • Similarly, once the Controllers aboard the Pool ship realize what has happened, they surrender to the kids in exchange for amnesty and a chance to acquire the morphing power (to permanently morph animals and move away from parasitism). The surrendered Yeerks got off quite well, all things considered.
    • In The Capture, this is revealed to be a major tenet of Yeerk psychology: Yeerks will give up when the odds don't favor them, rather than fight against impossible odds, as humans do. This semi-defeatist mindset is presented to explain away the Bond Villain Stupidity of Jake's Yeerk, but later books are consistent with this, as it comes up again in VISSER and The Answer.

  • Lampshade Hanging: Generally, tropes in this series are lampshaded if they aren't deconstructed or subverted (though a couple are played straight).
    • In book #38, Ax emphasizes that Vulcans aren't real.
  • Large Ham: Marco. Especially during any of the few Breather Novels.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: Rachel in The Andalite's Gift.
    • Averted with Tobias's mother, Loren.
  • Last-Name Basis: Chapman. In the main series, he's the main characters' assistant principal, so it's rather understandable that they refer to him by his last name, with or without a "Mr." in front. In The Andalite Chronicles, he reveals that his first name is "Hedrick", but he prefers to be called "Chapman", anyway.
  • Last Stand: The Animorphs choose fight over flight often, even if it seems hopeless. Maybe especially if it seems hopeless. The fact that humans do this mystifies Visser Three. Visser One recognizes that makes humans very dangerous.
  • Left Hanging:
    • The reader never finds out who burned down Joe Bob Fenestre's house after Jake told him that inside that house was the only place he'd be safe from them. Jake says that the list of potential suspects includes Visser Three, Cassie, and himself.
      I guess you'll never know.
    • Did Rachel kill David?
    • In #41, the whole Bad Future thing turns out to be a mind exercise brought on by some other entity that is studying humans. It's not the Ellimist or who was it?
    • The ending of the whole series, actually...more or less. We don't know what the hell The One is, what happened to Ax, or even whether or not Jake, Marco, Tobias, and Ax survived the Bolivian Army Ending.
  • Les Collaborateurs: While most Yeerk Controllers are enslaved, there are many, both human and other species, that are willing hosts to the Yeerks, who are outright called Collaborators by Tobias in the very first book. Jake and others notice in their first journey to the Yeerk pool. While the enslaved Controllers have to be dragged to and from the pool kicking and screaming back into cages, the Collaborators are simply placed in a comfortable waiting room with plush chairs, TVs and drinks. Marco notes that the entire purpose of the Sharing is to find desperate and/or uncaring people who would trade their freedom in exchange for being part of something.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Many of the kids use Lightning Bruiser-esque animals as their battle morphs. Jake's tiger and David's lion are the most obvious examples, but Rachel's bear and elephant and Marco's gorilla can also motor when they have to, while remaining very, very, strong. Rachel even notes in the first Megamorphs book that an elephant can outrun a human.
  • Like Parent, Like Spouse: Tobias's mother Loren is a feisty, fearless, often reckless, smart-mouthed blonde who falls for a guy outside her species....hmm, I wonder who that sounds like.
  • Lilliputian Warriors: The Helmacrons, tiny-but-understandable in the narration, and dozens of them fit on an anteater's tongue in the illustrations.
  • Limb-Sensation Fascination:
    • Ax, and Andalites as whole, do not have mouths and if they morph into a creature with one then the feeling of taste drives them mad. Every time Ax turns human, his friends have to stop him from devouring everything from cinnamon buns to cigarette butts.
    • Yeerks in their natural state are blind slugs, and possession of their victims is intoxicating because of all the new senses they gain. Even Visser Three, the Yeerk Dragon-in-Chief, fell in love with the sense of sight.
  • Line in the Sand: Literally. After the Yeerks find out where the Hork-Bajir Valley is located, they plan to storm it and kill everyone. Jake and his friends attempt to explain to Toby that going into battle is suicidal, and to demonstrate his point Jake draws a line in the sand and asks the Hork-Bajir to vote on which course of action is the smartest. Jake's point backfires when every Hork-Bajir votes to fight back.
  • Literal Split Personality: When Rachel is bisected while in starfish morph, the two halves demorph into two completely different Rachels, "Nice" and "Mean." The former has none of her confidence and calls Marco cute, but gets her sense of duty and ability to plan ahead. The latter has her love of violence without any impulse control and is incapable of thinking beyond the moment.
  • Literal Surveillance Bug: The Animorphs use insect morphs to spy often.
  • Literal Transformative Experience:
    • Tobias was a shy, lonesome Bully Magnet constantly shuttled between a neglectful aunt and uncle; after he'd been given the morphing power and first transformed into a red-tailed hawk, he would not shut up about how awesome flying was - which might explain why he took his Shapeshifter Mode Lock so well after getting trapped in bird morph during the team's first mission. Later in the series, he starts living as a hawk (hunting his own food and defending his territory) for so long that once he gains the ability to morph back into his old human body, his behavior is no longer entirely human: he stares at people when he forgets to check himself, and since hawks don't show emotions he becomes The Stoic (which actually saves his life after he learns that his father is Elfangor and he doesn't react, so the Yeerks trying to use the info to catch him are fooled into thinking he really is just a mundane human).
    • Ax starts off as a naive Andalite cadet overcompensating some aspects of the Andalite Proud Warrior Race ways. Transforming into a human also lets him get a better idea of how they work (especially their sense of taste), and when they meet other Andalites later on, he realizes how much he's changed due to the circumstances (serving under a non-Andalite commander, for starters).
    • Really, most of the Animorphs experience this over the course of the series: because their ability to morph is tied with their status as Child Soldiers, their use of it often ends up with them either being horribly traumatized (especially after morphing social insects like ants and termites) or growing increasingly cold as they're forced to use these morphs to kill sentient beings. Rachel goes from a sporty Action Fashionista to a borderline-psychopathic Blood Knight; Marco turns from the Sad Clown / Plucky Comic Relief to a Machiavellian schemer with a vengeful streak; and Jake, the responsible, good-hearted leader of the group, turns into a driven, desperate commander willing to commit war crimes if it means stopping the Yeerks.
    • In The Ellimist Chronicles, the Ellimist himself grows weary of his constant defeats at the hands of Crayak and decides to temporarily abandon the life of a technological demigod in favor of a simple existence as a primitive Andalite. For many years, he enjoys a life in the company of others, reveling in marriage and family life while also suffering the death of his firstborn daughter. When the time comes to reclaim his old Sapient Ship body, he returns to his role as the Ellimist with renewed vigor and certainty, having finally learned the way to outfight Crayak: "more children, some live."
  • Living with the Villain: Jake's brother Tom is a Controller.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: Let's see: Jake, Marco, Cassie, Rachel, Ax, Tobias, David, Tom, Eva, Peter, Loren, Naomi, Jordan, Sara, Chapman, Erek, Visser Three, Visser One, Toby, Jara Hamee, Mr. King...and none of those are one-shot characters, either.
  • Look Ma, I Am on TV!: Marco uses this trope at one point to let an Andalite general know that the entire Andalite civilian population is watching their conversation before the general has time to say anything in front of them that he won't be able to take back. As an unfortunate consequence, humanity's first direct words to the larger universe are, "Hey, everybody! Howard Stern rules! Yah!"
  • Losing a Shoe in the Struggle: Morphing often results in lost (if not outright destroyed) footwear. The kids go through a lot of clothes and shoes.
  • Losing the Team Spirit: The group breaks up for various reasons once or twice. And near the end of the series there's a period where they all hate each other.
  • Loving a Shadow: One interpretation of Rachel's relationship with Tobias. She doesn't seem to love the reality of this shell-shocked, angst-ridden soldier trapped as a hawk who isn't sure how much humanity is left in him anymore, so much as the idea of the soft, sweet, dreamy, poetry-loving boy she knew before he was a nothlit that doesn't even exist anymore.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Twice. Marco's mother has been taken over by the leader of the invaders. Tobias' father was the war hero alien who gave them their powers. Justified late in the series; the Drode whines that the Ellimist stacked the deck to get Marco, Tobias, Ax, and Cassie into the Animorphs.

  • MacGuffin: Several over the course of the series, including the Pemalite crystal, the blue box, the Anti-Morphing Ray, and the Pemalite ship—but the ultimate MacGuffin is the Time Matrix, which was the catalyst to the Andalites and Yeerks even discovering Earth, let alone the war itself.
  • Mad Scientist's Beautiful Daughter: Aldrea, the daughter of Seerow.
  • Made of Iron: Because the kids can morph or demorph to heal all injuries (since morphing uses your DNA, which doesn't know what injuries you have), it takes a lot to kill them. Typical battles include at least minor injuries. More commonly, the kids suffer major injuries: arms being cut off, guts spilling out, major blood loss, et cetera. The most memorable example was in the second-to-last book, when Jake, woozy from blood loss, gets shot in the head by a human-Controller. Miraculously, he survives long enough to demorph.
    • Bear-Rachel getting an arm cut off and using it as a weapon also qualifies as memorable.
    • As does the time Jake in fly morph got swatted on a plane and the others had to fly him to the airplane bathroom while carrying his squished fly guts.
    • After reassuming the original form, the morpher's bodily injuries are healed. In Megamorphs #2, Tobias says that he should be able to heal his broken wing after morphing and demorphing. Ergo, any bodily injury sustained in the original form of the morpher should be repaired, including brain damage, amputation and the like. Age would remain unaffected as DNA degrades with age: a newborn cloned from a 27-year-old's cells will essentially start with 27-year-old DNA and cells.
      • James, the leader of the Auxiliary Animorphs, was crippled due to an accident rather than a genetic disease, so after demorphing from pigeon, he finds that he can walk again. Loren's blindness is cured by morphing. Marco also heals a dog bite and the rabies virus that came along for the ride by morphing then demorphing.
  • Magic from Technology: Morphing in a nutshell, although it follows Magic A Is Magic A.
  • Magic Pants: Averted. Morphing is not kind to most clothing. The only exceptions are skin-tight clothes like leotards or wetsuits. Shoes always come out looking like "a pack of dogs played tug-of-war with them".
  • The Magnificent:
    • A complete list of Jake's nicknames: Big Jake, Fearless Leader, Jake the Mighty, Jake the Yeerk-Killer (sometimes Big Jake the Yeerk-Killer, used mockingly), Jake the Ellimist's Tool, and (in the alternate timeline from Megamorphs #3) Supreme Leader. Ax calls him "Prince Jake", but this is an Andalite military designation.
    • And, of course, Marco's always calling Rachel "Xena: Warrior Princess".
    • Esplin 9466 the Abomination.
    • The Beast Elfangor.
    • After the war, it's "Aximili of Earth".
  • Mainlining the Monster: The Venber are a sentient race with unusual physical properties, chief among them that if they are brought to a temperature above freezing, they melt. The resulting liquid is apparently an excellent coolant fluid for supercomputers, and the Venber were hunted to the brink of extinction for it.
  • Mama Bear: Both Loren and Eva qualify, but Naomi, for all her bossiness, thickheadedness, and inflexibility, is the epitome of Mama Bear. In one instance, she attacks a grizzly bear that she thinks poses a threat to her daughters Jordan and Sara with a spice rack, and knowing her, probably would've won if it weren't for the fact that the bear was her eldest child.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Cassie, Marco, David, the Drode. But most of all, Jake, who becomes more and more manipulative as the series progresses.
  • Mars Needs Water: Downplayed; in the third book, the kids see the Yeerks regularly send down supply ships to retrieve water and oxygen for their ships in orbit, but it's not the main reason for their invasion.
  • Mauve Shirt: Most of the named Auxiliary Animorphs.
  • Mean Boss: The author herself (to her ghostwriters), according to a Reddit AMA:
    "[My husband and I] started as ghostwriters, so we saw it more as opportunity. We paid well, but not very well to be honest. We wrote outlines (we suck at outlines) and then got all bitchy when we didn't like what we got. Neither of us is an editor so we weren't really capable of offering decent guidance. So we tended just to sort of slash and burn. Basically without meaning to be we were probably horrible assholes to work with."
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Sometimes obvious, sometimes not. According to Word Of God, The Lord of the Rings references are everywhere; "Yeerk" is a reference to "Yrch", the Elvish word for "Orc", and Elfangor and Aximili's names are references to elvish cities.
    • According to Word of God, Cassie and Marco are based off of K. A. Applegate and her husband, Michael Grant, respectively. Applegate's first name is Katherine, so she's probably called "Kathy" a lot, which explains "Cassie", and "Marco" sounds pretty similar to "Michael".
  • Meta Guy: Marco. The others often do it, but Marco makes it an art form.
  • Mercy Kill: Only sparingly, and they tend to angst about it. Most significantly would be David... assuming Rachel actually granted his wish and put him out of his misery.
  • Middle-Management Mook: Chapman. He's a high-ranking controller whose primary purpose is helping infest schoolchildren and their families.
  • Mildly Military: The Animorphs themselves. Not at first, but as the war goes on and they get a sense of discipline, they definitely grow into this.
  • Militaries Are Useless: The military doesn't seem very worried about the Earth being invaded by aliens (see Extra-Strength Masquerade). When they finally admit that aliens are indeed invading, they send some Redshirts to die to support the main cast, and give them heavy weaponry to toy with, but don't have a very important role in the end.
  • Military Brat: David.
  • Million-to-One Chance: At some point the reader may sit back and think, "Hey, wait a second. Yeerks are a race with insanely superior weapons. Not only that, but anyone can be a Controller. And this is a worldwide invasion. The heroes are six teenagers who live in a small city in California that can turn into animals? How can they stop the invasion? A bunch of animals couldn't beat the U.S. Army, never mind the Yeerks." This is lampshaded many, many times throughout the series, as the kids admit that at best all they do is slow down the Yeerks from time to time. They mostly lose battles and they agree that they'll never really be able to beat the Yeerks. They do eventually win, due in large part to the morphing technology being so dangerous and versatile. Rachel sums it up pretty well during David's betrayal when the kids are reflecting on how hard it is to kill an Animorph:
    Rachel: Just us. Just us against an enemy that could become any living thing. An enemy that could be anywhere, at any time. An owl in a tree, a spider in your house, a cat in the night, and then...then, when you were unprepared, when you were vulnerable, a lion or a tiger or a bear. I was starting to see why Visser Three hated us so much.
  • The Mind Is a Plaything of the Body: Morphs come complete with the animal's instincts and desires. Some are useful, some can be ignored, some (ant, termite, Taxxon) are horrifying.
  • Mirror Match: Happens a handful of times on account of the Animorphs' powers, usually when they're morphing a Taxxon or Hork-Bajir. It's taken Up to Eleven in The Revelation: when Visser Three's elite Hork-Bajir unit corners Rachel and Marco on the narrow infestation pier, Rachel fights all of them in her own Hork-Bajir morph as they advance.
  • Mister Muffykins: Euclid, Marco's stepmother's evil poodle.
  • Mix-and-Match Man: Ax's human form. He takes traits from the other Animorphs and blends them together in such a way that he has a unique look, but the others occasionally point out that he has their nose or mouth.
  • Mordor: The Yeerks' home planet. Also, in a way, the Yeerk pool, which is consistently described with terms like "molten" and "leaden."
  • Mook Promotion: Tom, who becomes an important antagonist late in the series and a major player in the final battle.
  • More Than Mind Control: There are voluntary Controllers, people who willingly let a Yeerk infest them. Many of them are simply so alone, so desperate to be part of something, that they're willing to give up their free will. The Sharing's main purpose is to find these sort of people and indoctrinate them.
  • More than Three Dimensions: In The Andalite Chronicles, Elfangor explains Z-space travel in an As You Know speech that includes a mention that normal space has ten dimensions. However, for most lifeforms only the first three (length, width, depth) are actually visible; the other seven are curled up inside themselves in ridiculous fashion and can't be perceived.
  • Multiple Narrative Modes: They're primarily written in the first person, but switch into the third person at one point.
  • Mundane Utility: Includes getting keys off the pool floor and getting into concerts for free. Jake tries to forbid this, but he keeps failing miserably...especially since he wanted to go to both concerts.
  • Mutual Disadvantage: The reason the Ellimist and Crayak conduct their 'war' through proxies. Even if one of them could kill the other, the last time they fought directly the collateral damage wiped out entire species and did God-knows-what to the spacetime continuum.
  • Mutual Envy: In The Ellimist Chronicles, two Ketran flying crystal cities meet. One Ketran blurts out that the others are building a hydrofoil (which means the crystal requires less manpower to stay airborne) just as his counterpart exclaims that they're building a spacecraft.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: After the war, Jake is so guilty about ordering to have the Yeerk pool flushed into space and sending Rachel, his cousin, on a suicide mission to kill Tom, his brother (the former dies in the process) that he is driven to clinical depression. As Marco puts it: "He wore Rachel and Tom and those seventeen thousand Yeerks around his neck like the Ancient Mariner and his albatross...He could've snapped his fingers and had anything he wanted, but he didn't want anything. Except for Rachel and Tom to be alive. For Tobias to come back. To unlive that fateful order that doomed seventeen thousand Yeerks."
    • The whole series exemplifies this, to some extent. The kids agree that self-defense is justified, but the problem is when you kill a Controller, you don't just kill the Yeerk; you're also killing the host, who is completely aware but unable to stop the Yeerk. The kids debate during the entire series what is acceptable when it comes to self-preservation and exactly how far is too far. Initially the kids take a very narrowminded, black-and-white view—"We have the right to do anything we have to to win" - but as they mature and experience more in the war their moral lines become blurred to the point that they don't know the difference between right and wrong.
  • My Greatest Failure: Jake, whenever he recalls the David incident. Also the fact that Jake couldn't save Tobias from being trapped as a hawk.
    • Even moreso, the fact that he couldn't save Rachel or Tom from dying, not to mention the order to kill seventeen thousand Yeerks. Those two failures become the entire focus of his personality for about five years.
  • Mythology Gag: Jake's decision to "ram the Blade Ship" in the series' ending mirrors Elfangor's decision to ram an enemy ship in The Andalite Chronicles. While Elfangor won his battle involving that tactic, the result of Jake's decision is unclear.

  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast:
    • "The Abomination" is a name given to Esplin 9466 the Greater after he infests the Andalite Alloran. Granted, he fights with a sledgehammer, but do you really want to piss off someone with a sledgehammer of monstrous morphs from dozen of star systems?
    • And from the Yeerks' perspective, Jake is "Jake the Yeerk-Killer". He earns the title.
    • Ax is kind of amused when he learns that Yeerks refer to his brother as "Beast Elfangor".
  • The Napoleon: The Helmacrons.
  • Narrative Profanity Filter: Being teenagers, and this being a very realistic series, the kids swear and flip each other off a lot. Depending on the "explicitness" of the word, it may or may not be directly written. "Crap", "damn", and "hell" are okay. Nothing else is explicitly mentioned, though the reader can guess the exact word most of the time.
  • Nature Is Not Nice: A major theme of The Secret.
  • Necessarily Evil: A lot of what the kids do. It causes them problems.
  • Never Found the Body: Visser One, who more or less makes a career out of this.
  • Never Say "Die": Completely averted, and kinda lampshaded when Rachel initially thinks "I'm going to destroy David," but then she corrects herself: she's going to kill him. "Destroy" is a "weasel word" because it's vague and almost meaningless (the exact reason it's considered more family-friendly and often used in kids' fiction), whereas "kill" means kill.
    • When a bunch of Star Trek fans insist on helping the kids protect the Hork-Bajir's valley from a Yeerk onslaught, all is splendid until Jake starts giving some last-minute orders, including "move the wounded to safety but let the killed lie". The father of the Trekkie family then asks timidly if by "killed" Jake meant "stunned or captured" and Jake replies, no, by "killed" he meant "killed to DEATH".
  • Never Trust a Title: Some of the later books got really bad about this. Titles like The Suspicion (where nothing is suspicious), The Prophecy (which features no prophecy), and The Hidden (which features a bizarre morphing buffalo that is definitely not hidden) come to mind.
    • Strangely, these are all Cassie books. Make of that what you will.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Elfangor. Alloran's infestation by Visser Three was his fault.
    • That and Seerow being responsible for the Yeerks becoming a danger in the first place.
    • Jake's handling of David in The Threat also counts.
    • Megamorphs 4 is an It's a Wonderful Plot where the kids never get the morphing power or warning about the Yeerks, but the invasion is slow and covert and largely progresses much as it did in the first months of the main series - until Ax, out on his own, decides to find out if there are Yeerks by broadcasting video of himself and waiting for the reaction. After a little attempted damage control, the Yeerks jump right to open war and mass infestation, which in the main canon doesn't happen for about three years. This version of Ax, not interested in humans as he learns to be in the main series, considers the greater loss of life an acceptable trade for a decisive blow against the Yeerks.
  • Nightmare of Normality: Crops up in Lotus-Eater Machine form in The Ellimist Chronicles. After crashing on an ocean world, Toomin is forcibly connected to a planet-wide Hive Mind known only as Father and finds himself in an illusion of his carefree life back on Ket. In exchange for amusing Father through games of skill and chance, Toomin is provided with an imaginary life where he remained an ordinary gamer and never became the heroic leader of the Ketrans; here, he can be reunited with his friends, marry Aguella, start a family and grow old. He doesn't really enjoy it, especially since he knows full well it isn't real and everyone he's ever known and loved has died; however, he agrees to Father's terms because the games are all he has left. In the end, Toomin escapes the illusion by winning at enough games to hijack Father's nervous system and absorb all of the entity's collected knowledge, thus paving the way for Toomin's transformation into the Ellimist.
  • Noah's Story Arc: In the seventh book, the Ellimist makes his first appearance by telling the main characters that they have no real chance to defeat the Yeerks. While he's not allowed to interfere with the war, he offers to preserve Earth's life by transporting a portion of humanity, along with animals, to another planet. He even shows them a Bad Future of how things will go if they don't take his offer. Said Bad Future actually helps them realize how to strike a major blow against the Yeerks, which was the Ellimist's plan all along.
  • No Biochemical Barriers: Hork-Bajir can eat Earth bark and Andalites can eat Earth grass. Yeerks can interface with all sorts of alien nervous systems, suggesting a common signaling system. Also, it seems DNA is very common, forming the primary building block of almost all living organisms around the galaxy.
    • Averted in the Andalite Chronicles. While on an andalite ship that has lost atmosphere, Loren and Chapman are given andalite emergency breathing devices. The gas mixture in the device is formulated for andalite physiology to keep them alive while exposed to the vacuum of space and it is made clear Loren and Chapman are being poisoned by them. The only reason they aren't removed is the vacuum would kill them quicker.
  • No Help Is Coming: For most of the series, the Animorphs are waging a guerilla war against the Yeerks to buy time until the Andalites arrive. When they get in touch with the Andalites, they are informed that Earth is a low priority, and they'll have to finish the war by themselves. When the war is over, the Animorphs call again for some minor last-minute help. The Andalite military again denies them, until Marco points out that the conversation is being broadcast live to the Andalite civilians, and they're not going to appreciate hearing that the war is going to continue because the military was too stubborn to take an excellent deal. Jake then passive-aggressively "thanks" the Andalites for all their help in such a way that the military is basically forced to help them, or else admit that they've been ignoring them this entire time.
  • No OSHA Compliance: Repeatedly lampshaded in The Attack—the Iskoort homeworld is covered in super-structures comparable to God-sized Lego towers...with no safety railings whatsoever, much to the heroes' confusion.
  • Noble Savage: The Hork-Bajir before their war with the Yeerks.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Jeremy Jason McCole (from #12) of the fictional TV series Power House is totally not an expy of Home Improvement's Jonathan Taylor Thomas.
    • However, if they were not really integral to the plot and were just there for a quick joke or cultural reference, real celebrities' names were dropped all the time. Noah Wyle of ER was mentioned a lot, and book 17 gives us no less than seven real celebrity names at the Planet Hollywood concert. Cassie and Jake even use David Letterman as a code word when talking about David in an insecure phone conversation.
    • They also meet a world leader at the summit in the David trilogy who is almost certainly Boris Yeltsin.
  • No Ending: Oh yeah. It approaches Mind Screw territory.
  • Noodle Incident:
    • The only backstory we are ever given on Crayak is that is was chased out of another galaxy by an even more powerful Sufficiently Advanced Alien. We never learn anything more about this or who the being in question was, although a lot of fans theorize that it was in fact The One.
    • The whole Anati conflict is one big example. All we know is it involved the Yeerks trying to conquer the Anati race (who we learn nothing about), and it was apparently unsuccessful as Visser One is ordered to be executed for losing the conflict.
  • No Mouth: Andalites.
  • No Name Given: All of the protagonists except Ax.
    • In #23, Tobias' last name is transcribed as "______" in dialogue. One fan theory is that his last name is "Fangor", since Elfangor was his father and he used the human name "Alan Fangor". Another fan theory is that, because the Ellimist erased all trace of Elfangor from Tobias' mother's memory and she married someone else, even though Tobias still existed somehow, Tobias was given that man's last name. Whoever he was.
    • The revelation of Jake's last name (Berenson, which is probably also Rachel's) is used to highlight the seriousness of the new situation.
  • Non Sequitur, *Thud*: Tobias crash-lands into a window and starts rambling about Clue at one point in "The Discovery".
  • Non-Standard Kiss: Two instances in "The Hork-Bajir Chronicles":
    • Aldrea (who has morphed into a Hork-Bajir) and Dak Hamee kiss for the first time by pressing their foreheads against each other's.
    • Aldrea also mentions in her narration that it is much like what Andalites do when kissing: they stroke each other's faces with their hands, as they don't have mouths to kiss with.
  • No One Gets Left Behind: Particularly memorably in #41 The Familiar.
  • No-Paper Future: Used to comedic effect and to demonstrate Applegate's mild dislike of computers: Ax can't believe that books were invented before computers because he finds them much quicker and easier to use. (He's also surprised that the telephone was invented before the chat room.)
  • No Sense of Humor: All of the Andalites, besides a few like Ax and Arbron.
  • No Sidepaths, No Exploration, No Freedom: Alternamorphs #1 is a rare literary example. Despite ostensibly being a Gamebook, the author doesn't seem to understand the concept, because the story is completely linear and every "wrong" choice results in instant death. Oddly enough, the second book went to the opposite extreme to the point of unintentional deconstruction.
  • Nostalgia Filter: An in-universe example: at the end of the series, Marco sees the years he spent fighting Yeerks as the "good old days". He remembers life-and-death battles as "cool, rock 'em sock 'em battles". He doesn't really seem to remember how much they scared the crap out of him at the time. But then, it's said that Marco has a much easier time adjusting to civilian life than the others—he doesn't feel guilty about the things he's done.
    • Inverted with the books themselves. Adults who reread the series tend to notice more how incredibly dark and violent the series actually is.
  • Nothing Is the Same Anymore: After Visser Three's promotion to Visser One, the war quickly escalates and missions become increasingly important. This culminates in the discovery of the "Andalite bandits"' true identities. The seriousness of the kids' new situation is highlighted by the revelation of Jake's last name.
  • Not Quite Dead: After David leaves the barn, Jake sends Tobias to follow him. When Jake catches up, David says that he's killed Tobias, and Jake sees Tobias' mangled corpse. But as it turns out, that wasn't really Tobias, just an innocent red-tailed hawk that happened by. David had simply lost Tobias early in the evening, and the latter had spend a good couple hours trying to find him.
    • While the Helmacrons and the kids are inside Marco's body, he morphs into a cockroach. The Helmacrons shoot Marco's heart, rendering him ostensibly dead. But, as Cassie suddenly recalls, stopping a cockroach's heart doesn't kill it—they have a backup system.
    • Spoken word-for-word near the end of the final battle:
      Visser One: So. Still not dead.
      Jake: No, Visser, not quite dead.
  • Not So Different: There's some angsty speculation among the kids that taming and controlling their morphs' natural minds is the same as what the Yeerks do. Likewise the whole-sale slaughter of Yeerks, and the possible comparisons to terrorist attacks on civilians.
    • Cassie gets an entire book dedicated to this, The Departure.
    • Crayak does this with Rachel.
    • Also done with the Howlers and the Pemalites, two alien species created by Crayak and the Ellimist. The Howlers look like Always Chaotic Evil monsters who kill everything in their path and the Pemalites are insanely pacifistic, but the two races, thanks to how they were designed, actually had the exact same priority in life: to have fun. Their creators just gave them different ideas of "fun".
  • Not So Extinct: The Venber in The Extreme. Though they're actually hybrids of Venber and humans brought back by the Yeerks.
  • Not Wearing Tights: Kinda.
  • Number Two: Marco fits the traditional role of The Lancer, but Tobias seems to fit this role. Jake usually appoints him leader of the Marco-Tobias-Ax sub-team, which ended up carrying the end of the war.

  • Obfuscating Stupidity: A favorite strategy of Marco's.
  • Obligatory War Crime Scene:
    • In The Hork-Bajir Chronicles,note  we discover that Alloran killed thousands, if not millions, of Hork-Bajir in an effort to keep that planet from falling into Yeerk hands. By creating and releasing a virus that will break down the DNA proteins unique to the Hork-Bajir, meaning a peaceful race whose resistance movement has been of tremendous help has over half their population die by having their bodies disintegrate slowly and painfully.
    • A recurring theme is to what degree the Animorphs' own actions are war crimes, especially since the Yeerks they fight a.) are helpless in their natural form and b.) cannot be harmed without hurting their host if they are given a fighting chance.
    • Probably the best example of this trope is the second to last book, where Jake has a pool of 17,000 Yeerks dumped into space. The next book plays it off as a morally-gray diversion tactic, but this is a Retcon; at the time, the only excuse was Animorphs' fury at the Auxiliaries getting slaughtered. Discussed at Esplin's trial.
      • This also serves as a Call-Back to The Andalite Chronicles, where Elfangor refuses to do the same thing when ordered to by Alloran.
  • Obliviously Evil: The reveal regarding the Howlers.
  • Obviously Evil: Averted, as the Yeerk in a Controller's head is indistinguishable from the Controller, as the Yeerk just knows the thoughts of the host and acts accordingly. The one exception is Visser Three, who just oozes evil (being the only Andalite-Controller in Yeerk history, he doesn't need subtlety).
  • Odd Friendship: Tobias and Ax.
  • Off with His Head!: Visser Three's preferred method of execution, though he's a fan of torture as well.
  • Oh, Crap!: A couple times, but most notably in the second-last and last books. First, when Visser One realizes that the Animorphs have gotten aboard the ship, and second, when Tom discovers he's been had and the kids are still alive.
  • Ominous Cube: The Escafil Device is an Andalite invention that looks like a blue cube, and whoever touches it gains the power to morph into other lifeforms.
  • Once Acceptable Targets: The Yeerks are an in-universe example. In early books, the kids (especially Ax) can't overemphasize how evil they are, talking about how they'll destroy the environment because they can and comparing them to Nazis. But as the war goes on, they come to realize that not all Yeerks are cackling villains like Visser Three, and even gain allies on the other side in the form of the Yeerk Peace Movement.
  • One-Winged Angel: Technically, all of the "battle forms" count, though Visser Three gets to do a classic example at least once every few books.
  • Online Alias: Mostly features the "modern" kind: YeerKiller9, Gump8293, Bball24, etc. But it also has some more hacker-like ones, like "Govikes" and "YrkH8er". The Ketrans use gaming names as well. Like "Ellimist".
  • Only the Leads Get a Happy Ending: Completely inverted in the end. Humanity, Andalites, Yeerks, Taxxons, and Hork-Bajir all get a bright future, but most of the leads are dead or psychologically shattered and scarred by the things they went through, and almost all of the survivors get a final Bolivian Army Ending.
  • "Open!" Says Me: In The Warning, Jake morphs a rhinoceros to invade Joe Bob Fenestre's home. The other Animorphs have to guide him due to the rhino's poor eyesight, and frequently have him "open doors" where none existed before.
    [WHAMMMM! WHAMMMM! Crunch.]
    Jake: Man, that was a tough door!
    Cassie: Um, Jake? You missed the door. That was the wall. You okay?
  • Opt Out: Right before the final battle, a lot of the Auxiliary Animorphs decide that they want to sit it out, due to the fact that their friend Ray was recently killed. Jake doesn't really care and makes them go anyway. ("We didn't give them morphing power so they could have fun flying around. This is when we need them. All of them. You're their leader, James, so lead.") They then all get killed, which Jake expected to happen.
  • Opposites Attract: Platonically, Rachel and Cassie.
    • But like every good thing in this series, the very traits that they like so much in each other- what makes each girl want to be like the other- is taken to an ugly extreme by the war. Rachel's aggressiveness gives way to bloodthirst and Cassie's attempts to remain a pacifist hinder the Animorphs. By the end of the series, neither girl can stand the other.
  • Our Centaurs Are Different: Andalites are blue centaurs with scorpion tails and stalk eyes. In one book, a TV show gets a few seconds of an Andalite on film and wonders if it proof that centaurs exist.
  • Ordinary High-School Student: All of them (excluding Ax, of course, and Tobias after the first book).
  • Organic Technology
  • Orgasmic Combat: A possible G rated version: in Megamorphs 3 Rachel is about to charge into attack. She describes herself as giddy and excited and even bursts out laughing at one point, leading Marco to wonder if she's totally lost it.
  • Orifice Invasion: The Yeerks. In the ear.
  • Other Me Annoys Me
  • Out-Gambitted: Visser One's plan worked well. Tom's worked even better. Jake's worked best of all.
  • Overly Long Name: The Ellimist's real name is "Azure Level, Seven Spar, Extension Two, Down-Messenger Forty-One". Ketrans' names are basically their address, which is why they tend to call each other by their chosen names or gaming handles. His was "Ellimist".

  • Padding the Paper:
  • Painful Transformation: Actually, it's specifically mentioned that, while there's no actual pain, it definitely feels like there should be.
  • Panthera Awesome: Big cats make good battle morphs. Jake's main morph is a tiger, while David and James both had lion morphs. There were also times when the whole group morphed jaguars and cheetahs. Hell, even Tom's favorite battle morph is the jaguar.
  • Parent with New Paramour: Marco's dad eventually marries Nora Robbinette, his son's math teacher. It doesn't last. Eventually, he's reunited with his Not Quite Dead first wife and Nora becomes a Controller. Marco, either because it'll be easier on his father or because he wants to see his parents together again, lets him think that Nora was always a Controller. God only knows what happened to the dog.
  • Parental Abandonment: Tobias' dad is dead (his dad is Elfangor, by the way), and his mother is blind and an amnesiac, and therefore unable to take care of him. Tobias is "raised" by his aunt and uncle (who live on opposite sides of the country), neither of whom want anything to do with him.
  • The Password Is Always "Swordfish": The access code for the Pemalite spaceship is "6". That's it. Just "6". It's justified in that the Pemalites were incredibly peaceful and trusting. They are also all dead, and the Yeerks cracked the code in about a second.
  • Patchwork World: In The Andalite Chronicles, Elfangor, Loren and the future Visser Three all try to use the Time Matrix at once, instructing it to transport them back to their respective home worlds. This results in it creating a small universe that's a patchwork of Earth, the Andalite home world (basically Earthlike) and the Yeerk home world (which is less pleasant).
  • Path of Inspiration: The Sharing.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: Jake, before flushing the Pool into space, decides that Yeerks are subhuman parasites who deserve nothing but cold, frozen death: "They could've stayed home, I thought. No one had asked them to come to Earth. No more than they deserved. Aliens. Parasites. Subhuman."
    • Also, Marco isn't very good at hiding the fact that he takes pleasure from killing Yeerks. In #19, he tells Cassie, "You don't make peace with parasites. You don't turn them around. You bury them."
      • It eventually subsides, though, as part of Marco's Character Development; over the course of the series he becomes much less emotional, which makes him a more effective strategist.
  • Percussive Prevention: When Ax realizes that the only way to avert a world war in book #46 is to threaten the Yeerk pool, and everything above and around it, with nuclear destruction, Jake, naturally, objects. Ax knows he can't force Jake to have any responsibility for it, so he calmly knocks Jake out.
  • Perfect Pacifist People: The Pemalites, a ridiculously peaceful race who were completely obliterated by a more militaristic species. Tragically, their incredible technology could have been converted into weapons that would easily destroy their opponent, but as a species they couldn't bear to do so.
    • There's also the Hork-Bajir, who while not as advanced, were also totally peaceful, and were enslaved when they caught the attention of a more aggressive race. Notable in that both of these species were created artificially, and designed to be non-violent by their creators. The series seems to give the impression that while being a pacifist sounds great, in reality it isn't a good survival tactic.
    • Parodied in the opening of The Ellimist Chronicles, where Toomin successfully turns his alien civilization in a video game into a cultured race of pacifists, only for his opponent's race of fast-breeding carnivores to land on their planet in a primitive spaceship and slaughter them all for food.
  • Phlebotinum Breakdown: Happened a couple of times with Body Horror-riffic results. Rachel suffered a case of Involuntary Shapeshifting, turning into crocodiles, ants, and elephants at inconvenient times. Marco got it even worse, turning into a series of Two Beings, One Body creatures. Osprey-Lobster. Trout-Gorilla. (Neither of which could breathe.) And, of course, the mighty poo-bear (Poodle-Polar Bear)!
    • In The Hidden, insentient animals accidentally acquire morphing ability. A buffalo manages to at least morph entirely human most of the time, but an ant morphs parts of Cassie unsuccessfully, resulting in a mismatch of parts, all disconnected from the ant hivemind and unable to make sense of its intelligence and senses.
  • Planet of Hats: The Iskoort enforce this in their own culture. Each member of the species belongs to a guild, which does one thing and one thing only. The Sales Guild does nothing but try to sell anything and everything, and the Shopping Guild does nothing but buy the things the Sales Guild sells. There's even a Criminal Guild, whose job it is to cause trouble for the rest.
  • Playful Dolphin: As you'd expect, the dolphin morph is pretty playful. Marco and Cassie force Jake to morph dolphin in an attempt to counter his depression with the dolphin's natural chirpiness. Also subverted, as the morph comes with strong Blood Knight tendencies.
  • Plucky Girl: Loren. She's Rachel Lite.
  • Police Are Useless: The Yeerks infested the town's local police and are most likely using the police's resources such as firearms and databases to do whatever can increase the number of human hosts the Yeerks can take over.
  • Poor Communication Kills: The Ellimist's race loved to play simulation games based on manipulating populations into developing along certain lines and using them to compete against other players. When another race intercepted a few of these being broadcast they thought they had discovered an utterly evil race of conquerors with the blood of trillions on their hands and wiped the entire race out in a preemptive strike.
  • Population Control: Mentioned for the Andalites in The Andalite Chronicles.
  • Powder Trail: The villain uses this to blow a hole in HMS Victory in Elfangor's Secret.
  • Power at a Price: To quote Jake: "The power made us responsible, see. Without the power, the knowledge would have just been a worm of fear eating up our insides. Bad enough. But it was the power that turned fear into obligation, that laid the weight on our unready shoulders...Power enough to win? No. Power enough to fight? Ah, yes. Just enough, little Jake, here is just enough power to imprison you in a cage of duty, to make you fight..."
  • Power Nullifier: The anti-morphing ray. Though we never actually find out if it works—the Animorphs just manage to convince the Yeerks that it doesn't, by virtue of only ever testing it on Tobias, who can't demorph into anything but a hawk.
  • Power of Friendship: Corrupted by the imitation abilities of the Yeerks.
    • Marco and Jake's friendship is a theme in the series. Jake and Marco have been best friends since they were old enough to talk, and are immensely loyal to each other. It's said that Marco only initially joined the war effort because of his loyalty to Jake. Marco is the only one who never criticizes Jake when it's apparent that he's already under a lot of stress, notable because normally 99% of criticisms come from Marco.
      • Made even more heartwarming by the fact that Jake is the only person Marco really respects. Everyone else just brings out Marco's sarcastic Deadpan Snarker mockery.
  • Power Trio: Marco, Ax, and Tobias were often sent alone on missions, especially near the end of the war. Ax and Marco switched off, but Tobias was always Ego/Kirk.
  • Power Parasite: Following this trope literally, Yeerks use other creatures as hosts for their specific abilities.
  • Praetorian Guard:
    • Visser One's Blue Band Guard, named after the blue armbands they wear.
    • Also, the Orff, a race of aliens who act as security agents to the Council of Thirteen.
    • In early books, Visser Three had red and black-armored guards to contrast with One's blues. It was stated each Visser had their own private security force, each with different colors.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: Subverted with Visser One.
  • Preferable Impersonator
    • Marco is horrified to discover that while Erek (an android who can use a hologram to look like anyone else, and in this case was covering for Marco's absence during a mission in the Arctic) was impersonating him, he cleaned his room, something Marco quickly set about correcting (to his dad's chagrin).
    • Subverted in a story where Rachel suffers Literal Split Personality, with Mean!Rachel having all the aggressiveness and Nice!Rachel all the... fashion sense? However, it soon turns out neither is preferable — Nice!Rachel is a spineless wimp who bursts into tears at a moment's notice, and Mean!Rachel is bloodthirsty psychopath with no self-preservation instinct — so the team quickly look for a way to bring back the real Rachel.
  • Premature Empowerment: Done out of necessity with David, contributing to his Face–Heel Turn.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: The entire purpose of The Sharing started by Visser One is for the Yeerks to find humans that willingly submit to them, so that outright war and conquest is avoided. While the Yeerks are far more advanced humans, there are a lot more humans, and as Visser One notes to Visser Three, a bullet from a 9mm handgun can kill a Hork-Bajir well-enough, and six billion humans armed with weapons would pose a problem. There's also the matter that the entire point of the invasion is to harvest living humans, so going to war with and potential wiping out millions or even billions of them defeats the whole purpose of the invasion.
    • This extends to the treatment of the voluntary controllers. While the enslaved ones are kept in cramped cages until they can be infested again, the voluntary Controllers are kept in a nice waiting room with chairs, televisions, and even drinks being served to them by Taxxons.
  • Preppy Name: Marco says that "Hewlett Aldershot III" is this.
  • Pretty Boy: Ax in his androgynous male human morph, which is made of DNA from Rachel, Cassie, Jake, and Marco.
    Marco: Ax, you could be a really pretty guy, or a kind of unattractive girl.
  • Probability Pileup: The Ellimist Chronicles establishes that while the odds against the Ellimist's ascension were tremendous, the odds of it happening a second time, to Crayak, were very good.
  • Properly Paranoid: All the kids to some extent, but Marco takes it really really far, mostly because he's the most afraid of dying.
    Marco: I live in a paranoid world. But just because I'm paranoid doesn't mean I don't have enemies. I have real enemies. Enemies that would freeze your blood if you only knew.
  • Prophecy Armor: In the book Megamorphs #3, the kids are given the power to follow the Villain of the Week through time while retaining their memories despite any changes to history. The power comes from the two opposing forces The Ellimist and Crayak, so the price for the two of them cooperating is Crayak demanding one of the kids must die. Ellimist twists this into "only one of them may die", causing the other Animorphs to become immortal after Jake is killed, healing from bullet wounds, surviving ship explosions, etc. Eventually they rewrite the time stream where the book's events never happened, nullifying the villain's threat and causing Jake to have never died.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: Ax, though it's explicitly said that Andalites aren't really a warrior race. Andalites are supposed to love peace, spending time with their families, and communing with nature, and so forth. Andalite warriors vary but strongly tend to be more interested in fighting for the glory of their people. It's expected that eventually warriors will retire into peaceful civilian life - but Ax, after the war, finds that the slower pleasures of the garden can't compete with the thrill of battle.
  • Proud Merchant Race: The Iskoort.
  • Psychic Glimpse of Death: When Jake is possessed by Yeerk and his friends have to tie him up and wait for it to starve in order to stop him from endangering everyone else. Jake feels everything the Yeerk does the whole time it starves to death, including the moment of its death, and says that he glimpses something terrifying right as it dies, which is later revealed to be Crayak in The Attack.
  • Psychic Powers: Several alien races communicate telepathically. However, the amphibious Leerans are the only race that can actually read minds; the others, such as Andalites, Helmacrons and Iskoort, can only broadcast their own thoughts through "thought-speech," which is limited to language. The Ellimist and Crayak, being beings that exist outside of reality as we know it, assumingly have the full gamut of psychic powers as the least of their abilities.
    • Thought-speech seems to be a physically measurable phenomenon (the Nesk had thought-speak detectors; Andalites have thought-speak microphones) present in the brains of some species that allows them to broadcast thoughts. Even more supported in that only linguistic information is usually transmitted, suggesting that the transmitter is located in the language centers of their brains. Apparently absolutely any brain can act as a receiver without any specialized neural structures.
      • Further supported while simultaneously providing an explanation for why the morphing technology grants thought-speech to those in morph. If an Andalite's thought-speech transmitter was a physical structure in their brains, they would lose it during a morph and thus be unable to thought-speak unless the morphing technology included that feature.
  • Psychic Static: Visser Four's host, John Berryman, Jr., knows Shakespeare's Henry V line-by-line and constantly recites it at him out of defiance. As retaliation, the very first thing Visser Four does when he finds the Time Matrix is try to change the result of the Battle of Agincourt so that Shakespeare would never be inspired to write it.
  • Psycho for Hire: Taylor.
  • Psycho Poodle: Marco's stepmother's poodle Euclid is a vicious little bastard, with Marco and his father sharing the same opinion of him. Marco uses it as a morph to attack a Nice Character, Mean Actor Controller who's completely insane but needs to maintain a mellow guru aura.
  • Puppeteer Parasite: The Yeerks.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!:
    Rachel: [in a different book] Don't. Touch. Me.
  • Punished for Sympathy: The Yeerks consider sympathizing with or befriending the host the worst possible crime, and their laws punish it with a painful death sentence. It's odd considering that voluntary hosts are rewarded with better treatment.
  • Punny Name: "Animorphs", a portmanteau of Animal Morphers, was a name originally devised as a joke by Marco, reminiscent of the Justice League and other superhero team names. The kids more or less jokingly adopt the name, but refer to themselves as "the Resistance" or something similar to outsiders. By the end of the war, their enemies begin seriously calling them Animorphs, and they begin calling themselves Animorphs seriously as well.
    "After all these years of the Yeerks thinking we were Andalites, always yelling 'Andalite!' whenever they saw a morph. It was strangely gratifying that they at last knew who we were."
  • The Purge: Late in the series, a massive campaign to reorganize the Yeerk Empire begins, headed by Visser Three. Visser Three convinces the council that Visser One is a traitor, and she is executed. Visser Three usurps her position and kills everyone loyal to her, replacing them with his own subordinates.
  • Put Off Their Food: In The Android, Marco's dad tries to serve him chicken for dinner after he was nearly killed by a bird while in spider morph. Marco opts out.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: In book #47: The Resistance; and in the final battle, in books #53-54.


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