Characters from the Autodale animated web series.
Spoilers for all entries before "Friendly Shadow" will be unmarked. You Have Been Warned.
A woman deemed Exceptional by Autodale's society, trying and failing to escape her horrific fate.
- Admiring the Abomination: She deeply admired the Mayor. The other compnents of Hive teases her for it, implying that she liked him in other ways too.
- Assimilation Plot: She was the first to be recruited into what would later become Hive, and as soon as she was given the power to do so, she started hunting other Exceptional people to assimilate them into Hive.
- Became Their Own Antithesis: She was allowed to rule by the mayor, being the first person to realize Autodale wasn't as rosy as it appeared; in present day, she harshly punishes those who intentionally or unintentionally break the rules.
- Body Horror: When she gets caught, the Girl's body is sliced apart, until she's just a head, a heart and a pair of lungs, hanging suspended from cables in the Matriarch's lair.
- Conditioned to Accept Horror: Word of God says that the Girl chose to have her body torn to shreds and being hung up in the Matriarch's lair, partly due to Autodale's influence on her. Not only that, she began hunting Exceptional people to join her, and eventually formed Hive.
- Evil All Along: The No monster short implies she was unwillingly turned into a cyborg. Immortal Machine reveals that she was actually given free rein to rule the city after being captured, and she chose to do it as an immortal hive mind. Life under her became even harsher than it was under the Mayor.
- Eviler than Thou: The Mayor is deeply troubled by what he had to do to ensure mankind's survival. The Exceptional Girl finds his accomplishments impressive.
- Dark and Troubled Past: Word of God revealed that she was the first person to realize Autodale wasn't as happy as it appeared and openly rebelled. She was apprehended by the mayor, who said she could help run Autodale alongside him. For that, she was taken away and began to assimilate other Exceptional people.
- Dramatic Irony: She was chosen to run Autodale by the mayor, as she was the first to realize the town wasn't as utopian as described. Instead, she has enforced their rules, put out propaganda, and deemed a child Ugly for being associated with the Freaks.
- Face–Heel Turn: Goes from the first rebel to the Hive.
- Lack of Empathy: Upon witnessing the terrible truth of what happens to the Uglies, that they are ground into mush and used to power the city, she admits that she found it impressive.
- No Name Given: We never find out the name of the poor woman; the closest she gets to have a name is being referred to as Neutral Hive as per Word of God.
- Immortal Machine reveals that even she doesn't remember it anymore, only that she was called the Exceptional Girl.
- Pet the Dog: Ruthless as she may be, she's willing to consider the fact that Shadow was merely honoring the dying wish of a grieving mother when deciding what to do with him.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: As Neutral Hive, she tries to argue against punishing Shadow too much, stating that stripping away more of his humanity would diminish his usefulness. She doesn't get far before the Hive comes to a consensus and drowns her out.
- Ship Tease: She has a bit with the Mayor. The other components of Hive tease her for it, which she dismisses since he only had eyes for the Matriarch, but doesn't deny it. David also describes her becoming Hive as him "seducing" her.
- Til Murder Do Us Part: She was discovered by the Mayor because her own husband turned her in, which would have been a death sentence had it not been for her exceptionality.
A family of three, living out their lives in Autodale. Mr. Robinson works, Mrs. Robinson stays home to take care of the house and their son, Robinson Junior.
- Ambiguously Brown: The model for Ms. Robinson is re-used in one of David's other films, "Locked Doors", where she's seen with color and does in fact have dark-ish skin. It's unclear if this is meant to reflect how she looks in Autodale.
- The Cameo: They make a quick cameo in "Friendly Shadow" viewing an advertisement for Friendly Shadow's newest adventure. Junior's wife also makes a quick cameo as an adult, turning the radio up when Shadow's radio drama is announced.
- Conditioned to Accept Horror: Though they are sad and scared when they are lined up to be executed, they are still more than willing to walk to their doom, as they know they've fulfilled their purpose in life. When the Handyman about to club them to death tells them that they're "true model citizens", Mr. Robinson even takes his hand and thanks him.
- Face Death with Dignity: Though they die indoctrinated, they die satisfied and keep their poise. The two of them even manage to share a Last Kiss.
- Only One Name: Mr. Robinson, Mrs. Robinson and Robinson Junior are their full names, as Autodale's citizens don't have first names. When Mr. Robinson is executed, Robinson Junior becomes the new Mr. Robinson.
- Together in Death: So far, the only "Ugly" couple scene who are killed both consensually and side-by-side.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: When Robinson Junior grows up and moves out, Mr. and Mrs. Robinson are branded as Ugly and executed.
Autodale's undesirables. Any citizen that is no longer useful to society is labelled as Ugly, sentenced to death, and thrown into mass graves.
- Absolute Xenophobe: Everyone who doesn't fit into Autodale's very specific mold is labelled as Ugly. "Being Pretty" shows us that this is a disturbing amount of social groups, from disabled people, to LGBT people, to people unable to produce children, there are even two Uglies that are labelled "fat" and "depressing". It should also be noted that all of Autodale's citizens are white, with the very disturbing implication that people of color were labelled Ugly too...
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: One can be deemed Ugly for being disabled, unemployed, or having your grown child leave the house.
- Conditioned to Accept Horror:
- "No Monsters" shows that even though the Uglies don't fit Autodale's standard of Pretty they still believe in the system, as they all start to rat out the Exeptional girl trying to escape the Handymen. Not to mention that they all willingly walk up to their death.
- It's implied one can choose to be Ugly if they believe they can no longer contribute anything to society: the Robinson couple decided when it was time to declare themselves Ugly, reasoning that after their son married and left home, there no longer was use for them.
- Death March: The Uglies are lined up and forced to walk toward their grave, where at the end, they're hit over the head by a Handyman and thrown into the pit.
- Early-Installment Weirdness: In the first short, Uglies have their imperfection written on their mask, such as "depressing" or "sterile." Whenever Ugly people are shown in the rest of the shorts, they simply have "Ugly" written instead. Possibly justified, as "No Monsters" is stated to take place two thousand years before "Friendly Shadow", meaning the branding of somebody as Ugly likely changed as well.
- Human Resources: "Immortal Machine" reveals that the blood of the Uglies is drained and used to power the barely-alive Matriarch, preventing Autodale's residents from mutating like the humans of the outside world.
- There Are No Therapists: People with mental illnesses can be branded Ugly. In "Friendly Shadow" the little girl was going to be branded Ugly because she was associated with the Freaks and likely traumatized, implying that traumatized people are considered Ugly.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: An Ugly is someone who is no longer useful to society, or who does not fit the mold. Mr. and Mrs. Robinson are labelled as Ugly when they grow old and their son grows up, and the mother from "Friendly Shadow" is labelled as Ugly when her husband is murdered.
Robotic peacekeepers, here to protect citizens from anything that could harm them. Or so they say, at least.
- Affably Evil: They are polite and kind to the citizens of Autodale, even the Uglies they execute.
- Apologetic Attacker: One of the Handymen apologize to the Robinson couple before it executes them.
- Big Brother Is Watching: Certain Handymen are assigned the trivial surveillance task of going door-to-door and asking how their days were to make sure that they remain "pretty".
- The Executioner: Among their functions is to execute the Uglies by delivering a blow to the head and letting them fall into a mass grave.
- Gaslighting: A Handyman is able to convince a girl who notices blood on his breastplate that the horrific truths of Autodale are purely her imagination.
- Identical Stranger: At the end of "Model Citizen", Mr. Robinson thanks the Handyman about to execute him, referring to him as "Joe", like the Handyman he's known for years. Word of God confirms these are not the same Handymen.
- In-Series Nickname: The Robinsons call their favorite handyman "Joe". This highlights the flaw of the Autodale system, as no matter how much societal brainwashing and propaganda they were put through, the Robinsons were still people.
- Let Them Die Happy: The Handyman who executes the Robinsons doesn't correct them when they believe he's "Joe", allowing them to think that their lifelong supervisor was present for their deaths.
- Mecha-Mooks: The nameless, innumerable, robotic enforcers of Autodale's deadly system.
- No Name Given: As robots, the Handymen don't have proper names. Although, some are nicknamed. The Robinson couple nickname their favorite Handyman, "Joe."
- Pet the Dog:
- The Robinson couple offer to dance with Joe, who refuses at first because he is busy. Eventually, he agrees to dance with Mrs. Robinson some time down the line.
- The Handyman who executes the Robinson family praises them as model citizens before executing them.
- In "Children's Toys", the Handyman comforts the child when she's scared of him, telling her she's safe in Autodale.
Autodale's ruler. A gigantic woman, strung up inside the central tower.
- Broken Angel: This massive, grotesque, Body Horror laden monstrosity? She's a nature goddess. An imobile, maimed, dying one only sustained by the Mayor's inventions and mass blood sacrifice. And she's the only thing keeping the lands around Autodale - the last living lands on the planet - alive.
- Giant Woman: The Matriarch is absolutely gigantic, easily as tall as the building she resides in.
- Girlish Pigtails: Her horns are stylized as these in her cartoon mascot self featured in Autodale propaganda.
- Hope Spot: The Mayor's first impression of her was of a massive, benevolent nature god who could cure the plague that was killing mankind. Then after healing a single child, she collapsed, revealing herself to be just as susceptible to what was killing the human race as anyone else.
- Human Sacrifice: The blood of the "Uglies" is collected and injected into her, presumably to keep her alive but the process appears to be very painful to her.
- Last of Her Kind: Implied. The Young Man comes across the ruins of several towns while wandering the wasteland, including the corpses of several massive beings akin to the Matriarch. Eventually confirmed in "Immortal Machines".
- Mechanical Abomination: Cyborg, at least. She is massive, ancient, and rules her society with impunity. She used to be a benevolent Botanical Abomination, before the rise of Autodale.
- Powered by a Forsaken Child: She is at the brink of death, kept alive only by the blood of the Uglies and the machines of the Mayor.
Detective, monster hunter and mercenary, the Friendly Shadow is dispatched to solve any crimes that happen within Autodale.
- Bad Butt: The Friendly Shadow is as much of a chain-smoking, hard-drinking, pulpy, noir detective anti-hero alternative to the Handymen as Autodale will allow. Which is to say, edgy enough to be interesting and marketable, but largely restrained from anything too hardboiled.
- Badass Longcoat: In propaganda, he is shown wearing a black trench coat which conceals his cybernetic limbs. He refuses to wear it when not in such media, in defiance of Autodale.
- Body Horror: When he gets his arm ripped off by the Freak, it exposes a bundle of what appear to be nerves.
- Cyborg: Shadow is part human, in order for him to do the kind of problem-solving detective work that a Handyman just can't pull off.
- Dark Is Not Evil: He's a shadowy, mysterious figure who works in the shadow and is essentially Autodale's SpecOps division, but he is also far more understanding than the Handymen and actively resists Hive's influence, placing himself strongly on the side of mankind.
- Good Cop/Bad Cop: Shadow has two versions of himself working in tandem: his human half and his cybernetic half. When in his bad cop state, he is able to speak without moving his mouth, much like Hive.
- Jurisdiction Friction: The Handymen rib him, slow entrance into crime scenes, and cheerily try to make his life difficult. It's never established if they're programmed to do this for Kayfabe or if they genuinely resent his involvement with Autodale security matters.
- Necessarily Evil: In-Universe, this is how Hive views him. While she generally doesn't allow much independence from her components, she does recognize the need for someone who can handle delicate affairs that the Handymen aren't equipped to handle.
- Only Sane Man: So far, he's the only person we've seen that's critical of Autodale and the way it's run. He openly expresses grief and remorse when the mother of the abducted child is labelled Ugly and sent to her death, and disobeys orders to let the little girl and the baby Freak go free.
- Propaganda Hero: In addition to detective work, he is also the face of a propaganda campaign depicting him as "Autodale's Shady Protector." Autodale at large knows him from comic books, films, and radio dramas. After his failure to apprehend the Freak, Hive wastes no time in convincing the public Shadow was a hero who defeated the Freaks and rescued the little girl.
- Really 700 Years Old: Word of God states that Shadow is a century or more old.
- Unwilling Roboticization: Shadow's transition into cyborg does not seem like it was voluntary, considering the way he behaves. He actively resist the robotic part of himself, shows open resentment to the Handymen, and he's implied to be a substance abuser in order to cope. At the end of "Friendly Shadow", Hive considers removing more of his humanity as a punishment. Word of God reveals that he used to be a part of Hive as well, but was given a body due to his exceptional problem-solving abilities.
The brain of Autodale. Hive consists of hundreds of Exceptional people, stripped down to their bare essentials and strung up in the Matriarch's lair.
- Always Someone Better: Neutral Hive deeply admires the Mayor, and considers the Matriarch his only equal.
- Bait-and-Switch: The beginning of "Friendly Shadow" suggests Hive is just a single woman who is Shadow's superior, occasionally giving conflicting orders. In truth, Hive is a collection of hundreds of people, who each give their own input.
- Benevolent Boss: To Shadow, Neutral Hive flips this like a switch: she can harshly criticize Shadow one second and be incredibly merciful the next. When he fails his mission, she advocates simply rewiring him, reasoning that he was following the wishes of the Little Girl's mother and that pragmatically, it would defeat his purpose to appear robotic. However, the rest of Hive is able to convince her to "give him the coat."
- Body Horror: The people who make up Hive are mutilated to the point where most of them are just a head and some organs, suspended from cables. Their mouths don't move when they speak, they have cables plugged into their heads, and one of them still has a large piece of metal sticking out of his chest. Hive's chambers look almost eldritch, with the ground and walls covered in cables and organs, and mutilated people hanging from the ceiling.
- Creepy Twins: A pair of twins make up a single component of Hive called "Funny Hive."
- Cosmopolitan Council: As far as you can get with Autodale. The members of Hive are Exceptional people, or those with a talent or skill considered worth preserving. For example, Shadow was assimilated into Hive because of his problem solving skills.
- Deadly Euphemism: Hive seems to decide that Shadow's punishment will be "giving [him] the coat."
- Fate Worse than Death: Instead of being branded "Ugly" for not fitting Autodale's mold, the Exceptionals are slashed into pieces and hooked into the mainframe to help run the town.
- Hive Mind: Hive is not an individual, but a collection of hundreds of Exceptional people from over the years. Despite the fact they have thousands of members, some have more input than others. There are three main members of Hive, who serve as its main components: Neutral Hive, Angry Hive, and Funny Hive.
- The Illuminati: Hive's existence is unknown to the population at large. Because of propaganda, they simply wish to be Exceptional, but they don't realize what happens afterwards.
- Internal Retcon:
- In "No Monsters", the apprehension of the Exceptional girl is depicted as a storybook where she is hunted by monsters, but the Handymen save her. Word of God states the purpose of this is to convince Exceptional people to disregard any ideas of rebellion so they can be assimilated into Hive.
- In "Friendly Shadow", the events of the episode are rewritten in the form of a comic book, a cartoon, and a radio drama. In this version of events, Shadow is able to defeat the Freak and bring the girl safely home to her mother.
- Judge, Jury, and Executioner: The main components of Hive serve as this to Shadow during his "trial": Neutral Hive serves as his judge, wanting to simply rewire him for his insolence; Angry Hive serves as his executioner, who wants to harshly punish him by "giving him the coat"; finally, Funny Hive acts as the jury, who is able to convince the rest of Hive - and by extension Neutral Hive - to "give him the coat."
- Mission Control Is Off Its Meds: Hive serves as Mission Control for the Friendly Shadow, but constantly gives contradicting orders, acts warm and kind one moment and cold and heartless the next, and can't seem to make up her mind about anything. It turns out Hive isn't one woman, but a collection of hundreds of different people, all with their own ideas on what the correct course of action is.
- No Name Given: As Autodale doesn't have first names, the members of Hive are referred to by their role in the system, such as Neutral Hive, Angry Hive, and Funny Hive.
- Propaganda Machine: They are behind the multiple PSAs and commercials that brainwash the citizens of Autodale. When Shadow breaks his promise, they waste no time in depicting his story in the most heroic light possible.
- Really 700 Years Old: Word of God states that she is approximately two thousand years old.
- Voice of the Legion: When one is assimilated to Hive, regardless of gender, they take on the voice of the original Exceptional girl.
- Would Hurt a Child: At the end of "Friendly Shadow", Hive decides to brand the little girl as Ugly, reasoning her connection to the Freaks wouldn't let her fit in with Autodale's standards.
Autodale's creator. Or at least the man who made it all possible.
- 10,000 Years: According to David, that's how long he's been sitting in his tower running Autodale.
- Age Without Youth: The millennia have not been kind to him.
- All for Nothing: According to Word of God, this is the reason for his (and by extension Autodale's) fear and hatred of the Freaks. Everything he did was to ensure the survival of life in a sick, doomed world. He thought that all of his atrocities were necessary. The Freaks, who evolved after the Withering, proves that they were not. Life went on outside the walls, even if humanity did not. Inside the walls, humanity has been stripped of its humanity.
- Ambiguously Related: To the young girl he's carrying in the flashback. She appears alongside him in every scene in the past, but it's unclear if she's his daughter, his apprentice or just a girl who survived the withering.
- Anti-Villain: He was motivated to create Autodale because the world outside has been destroyed and he's trying to save humanity.
- Bald of Evil: Bald of Necessary Evil, at least. His scalp is hairless, both in his emaciated form and in his youth.
- Big Bad: As the creator of Autodale, he is directly responsible for all of the atrocities committed throughout the series.
- Body Horror: The Mayor rivals Hive in this department. He is still humanoid, but he has no flesh on the front of his torso and has gained elongated limbs. Tubes and machinery stick out of his back, clearly the only thing keeping him alive, and his eyes have been replaced with mechanical optical lenses. His skin hangs loosely of his face, and his mouth appears to have grown shut. It makes him look a lot like Mother Nature.
- Dark Lord on Life Support: Once a genius inventor, is now barely human and sustained only by the energy of the Matriarch and his own cybernetics.
- I Did What I Had to Do: He asks the Exceptional Girl if she can "forgive [his] necessary sins" before showing her what truly happens to the Uglies.
- Parental Substitute: He has shades of this during his interactions with the Exceptional Girl, acting as a dark mentor to her. As Hive, she even believes she cannot surpass him, only the Matriarch can equal him.
- Scary Shiny Glasses: Sported these while he was still human.
- Sympathy for the Devil: The Exceptional Girl recalls feeling this for him, although Hive seems confused by this.
- Tragic Villain: The Mayor, for all his crimes, is ultimately a tragic figure. He created Autodale to preserve some part of the dying world, but it is hard to say if the effort was worth the cost. He later brought in the Exceptional girl to get a "new perspective" and maybe even find a better way to manage his creation, but she turns out to be Eviler than Thou.
- Was Once a Man: The Mayor was human. Once. He is not anymore.
Horrific looking monsters that prowl the wasteland surrounding Autodale. However, despite their appearances, they're mostly docile.
- Alien Blood: In "Friendly Shadow", they have what appears to be black blood. In any case, it's a dark colour that isn't red.
- Ambiguous Situation: Word of God states that the Freaks in "Don't Feed the Freaks" can represent other people, with the one at the end being the Young Man seen through the eyes of Autodale's citizens. In "Friendly Shadow," however, the adult Freak displays far greater physical strength that couldn't be explained if it saw itself as another human. In addition, the drawings made by the juvenile freak depicts itself as a monster and the humans as humans, thus showing that they are indeed physically as they appear to us.
- Beyond the Impossible: As revealed in "Immortal Machine", the world beyond Autodale isn't just desolate, it is dead or dying. The End of the World is long past, and even the gods of life (with the exception of the Matriarch) are dead. The Freaks survive nonetheless.
- It Can Think: "Friendly Shadow" reveals that the Freaks are sentient; a Freak child befriends a human girl and displays the ability to draw.
- Mama Bear / Papa Wolf: The adult Freak in Friendly Shadow initially ignores the eponymous character because it's badly wounded. However, upon witnessing Shadow near its child, the monster immediately springs back into action to protect its offspring.
- Meaningful Name: "Freak" means something abnormal and abhorrent. Suiting for the monsters, but it is more commonly used as an insult for other people that are different. The Freaks are a metaphor for other people.
- Multi-Armed and Dangerous: They have two sets of arms, and know how to use them.
- Shrouded in Myth: To the average Autodalian citizen, the Freaks are nothing more than creatures of fairytales. To the city's leadership, they are a complete mystery with no live specimen ever being caught. That almost changes during Friendly Shadow, but the detective releases the beast before Hive can get their hands on it.
The only survivor from a Town that has collapsed into ruin, and the focus character for "Don't Feed the Freaks". The Young Man travels the wasteland in search of a safe place to live, a mythical place called Autodale.
- Author Avatar: According to Word of God, this pale, bald loner who's looking for companionship in all the wrong places represents David himself.
- Genre Blind: He takes everything positive he hears about Autodale at face value, believing it to be a paradise where everyone is "pretty." He also mostly ignores the corpses of people trying to escape the place. He's clearly not aware that he's in a dystopian story.
- Tomato in the Mirror: He sees himself as human. The people of Autodale see him as a Freak.