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Nightmare Fuel / Code Lyoko

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The premise may sound like your standard Saturday Morning Cartoon... but a closer look will reveal plenty of horrors.

    Code Lyoko 

  • EVERYTHING ABOUT XANA. The reason being that XANA was, and in fact, still is, unique among villains is that he never personally appeared or communicated with anyone throughout the entire series, with the exception of four/five episodes at most, out of 97 total, meaning the viewers were just in the dark about it as the characters, in fact, to this day, audiences re-watching the series have a hard time pinning down XANA's motives. XANA is literally the result of a villain who is Nothing Is Scarier as a character. If this isn't enough convince you how terrifying he is, just read the rest of this page to see how much it is related to XANA.
  • "Guided Missile": This episode provides one of the most horrifying XANA attacks of the entire series. Jeremie, who has a fear of flying, is trapped in a falling fighter plane about to hit the factory. Anyone who does not get heavy Fridge Horror was probably born after 2001. The military proceeds to threaten the tango contingency, which means shooting down the plane. The eject fails, which is Nightmare Fuel in of itself, as XANA has accessed non-electronic technology. But what truly sells it is just how horrified topical the situation is. They are caught in an impossible situation: kill Jeremie and the pilot, or let the plane fall. This becomes horrifyingly familiar, considering suicide bombings in today's world. If it hadn't been for Aelita, this episode would have had a Downer Ending in a truly horrifying way.
  • The monsters XANA uses in Lyoko. Most of them are partially organic, partially mechanical. Kankrelats are small, cockroach-esque monsters with four mechanical legs on a round base and a single red robotic eye. Sounds unsettling out of context, but they're laughably stupid and often the comic relief of XANA's monsters. Others however are not. Here's a specific listing of them:
    • Bloks, unlike the Kankrelats, are as large as a person in height, and have four of the creepy Eyes of XANA on each side of their rocklike shell. Their weapons range from Frickin' Laser Beams to rings of flame to a freeze ray; in Season 1 more than a few Lyoko Warriors have been frozen solid by the Freeze Ray, unable to react to their friends being attacked and devirtualized.
    • By far the scariest of the standard monsters (we're not even getting into the Scyphozoa or the Kolossus, but be patient, we will.) is the Megatank. Unlike the other monsters which have a real life animal that they're based off of, the Megatanks are just alien. They're huge black bowling balls that split in half, revealing an Eye of XANA, metal framework, and squicky pink flesh connecting its halves. Most monsters use the aforementioned Frickin' Laser Beams, but the Megatank just shoots a plane of energy in a circular path; causing INSTANT devirtualization on a hit, and impossible to dodge if you're in its way, even if you're above the Megatank. That's not counting it simply flattening you as it rolls.
    • Then, there's the Tarantula, XANA's first new monster. For people who don't like spiders, rejoice! XANA now has a four cannon-legged behemoth that moves very much like a spider. It wipes out the group in the season 2 premiere, and is one of the signs of XANA's power increasing, a plot point that would loom over the Lyoko Warriors' heads throughout all of Season 2.
    • NOW we get into the Scyphozoa, which is quite possibly put, XANA's most horrific monster and his Dragon for Seasons 2 and 3. Unlike his other monsters, the Scyphozoa is not designed to fight. Rather, it is meant to drain Aelita's memories to allow XANA access to the Keys of the Lyoko, which, if he manages to obtain, will enable him to escape the supercomputer and infect the world-wide web. It takes the form of a floating jellyfish, using its tentacles to subdue its victims and drain them of their memories. Aelita is subjected to it numerous times throughout the series, as is Yumi in Episode 34, and from we can tell, the experience is NOT pleasant and involves mind raping whomever gets caught by it in order to extract data. To up the nightmares even further, if the thing catches you, you can't escape unless there's someone else nearby who can cut the tentacles. Worse, it cannot be destroyed by conventional ways, only made to retreat when its tentacles are severed. Through the entire run of the show, the only thing that managed to kill the Schyphozoa was Aelita overloading the Skid's barrier on season 4, and even then XANA just programmed another one.
      • And in Season 3? When you thought that with XANA's escape in the network means that it will never appear again? Surprise! It isn't! And in fact, it turns out to have even more functions than just data extraction! It can implant viruses in the Lyoko Warriors, viruses that XANA uses to mind control them. Yes, the Lyoko Warriors, who should be immune to XANA's mind control tactics in the virtual world... don't have it anymore! Once again, Aelita is subjected to the process so that XANA can have her delete the surface sectors in order to destroy Lyoko piece by piece. Then, in the Season 3 finale... William, the Sixth Ranger, falls victim to the creature. He then proceeds to lead an army of Creepers on Lyoko's core, destroying it and ending up as XANA's general for most of Season 4.
    • XANA-William. Now under XANA's control, William has been upgraded into a dark and powerful juggernaut leading XANA's forces on Lyoko. His expressions are psychotic, and much like his master, he rarely ever talks, except to grunt and yell. He acts rather creepy around Yumi and Aelita, and he's extremely brutal in battle, to the point of the show needing to use a Gory Discretion Shot, which it has NEVER needed with XANA's other monsters.
    • The monsters in the Digital Sea, partly due to them having very sharp teeth, or, in the Kalamar's case, a very big drill. Unlike XANA's other monsters, with whom devirtualization is just going back to the real world, a defeat via these creatures equals permanent deletion due to the nature of the Digital Sea.
    • Finally, there's the Kolossus. It's a gigantic lava golem that looks very much like an Eldritch Abomination. For reference, here it is. It only appears in three of the last four episodes of the series, but those three leave enough of an impact. It can destroy the Skidbladnir in one hit, and it has two Eyes of XANA that need to be hit in order to destroy it. Note the size of the thing. It can hold Lyoko towers in its hand and instantly put them under XANA's control. Now you can run.
  • An Alternate Universe example: What if what happened to the Real Life factory in France happened in the show before Jeremie turned on the Supercomputer? That would mean that Aelita and Franz would have died!
  • Some of XANA's attacks do border on this, especially if it's a widespread offensive. XANA-possessed characters can be particularly creepy, and many examples of XANA trying to murder the protagonists (like electrocuting Jérémie) can induce nightmares.
    • One time XANA decides to store up electricity in a power transformer, why? To sabotage the nuclear power plant and thus, cause a meltdown! As soon as the Lyoko Warriors realize what's going on there is instant infighting as Yumi immediately wants to tell everybody what's going on while Jeremie is suffering from a serious case of Love Makes You Dumb and doesn't want to tell anyone to preserve Aelita. Considering how many lives could've been lost if XANA succeeded and considering what happened the few times there have been nuclear meltdowns there are some serious cases of Fridge Horror there. Did we mention that this happened in the second episode?
    • Most ways that XANA tries to kill Jérémie can cause Nightmare Fuel. Jérémie gets electrocuted by one of the power sources for the Supercomputer, as well as getting electrocuted by the specters.
    • Also, when he discovers that the one Franz Hopper is actually a polymorphic specter in disguise, it gets pissed at him, turns into smoke to invade his airways, and proceeds to suffocate him while Ulrich can do nothing but watch.
  • A lot of the psychotic expressions XANA-fied William makes.
    • Not just him actually, any xanafied person will often arbore a quite scary expression with Voice of the Legion to complete.
  • This lovely shot of a XANA-possessed Aelita.
    • Want to make this concept even scarier? Watch "Ghost Channel" (where Aelita proves she's able to essentially do the same things XANA could do in the first season, and without needing the towers, could do so unopposed if she wanted to) and then imagine what she and XANA could accomplish if he was able to control her more often.
      • To add a bit more horror to this, during Season 4, it is implied several times that XANA does know of what he could accomplish if he had Aelita with him permanently, but intends to kill Hopper first before he does so. Meaning that had the final battle gone the other way around, XANA's next objective likely would've been having Aelita under his control much like William, and given how much he powered up William, one shudders to think of what upgrades Aelita would've had if XANA succeeded in such a goal.
  • Jérémie scores one with the "Marabounta". Basically, sort of purple goop starts covering Lyoko, devouring initially every XANA monster, then going after the Lyoko Warriors. The heroes were definitively squicked — especially when it ate Yumi. (Seriously, just watch the scene where she is Eaten Alive by the thing. Imagine how she must have felt. You have to wonder just why these kids even do this.)
  • "Attack of the Zombies": XANA possesses Kiwi, Odd's pet dog, and uses him to spread a zombifying virus through the school. Most of the group is trapped in the cafeteria, and William is trying to keep them there (give him some credit, he doesn't know about Lyoko yet). Odd is bitten and Ulrich and William have to restrain him. Imagine seeing your best friend gagged and tied up and trying to bite you while moaning in the Voice of the Legion.
    • The worst part? Thanks to Loophole Abuse, this doesn't counts as XANAfying, meaning that the Lyoko Warriors are not immune to this one.
    • Jeremie gets bitten before Aelita deactivates the tower and has a horrifying transformation. He can barely gasp out 'Return to the Past now!' and his voice is already changing... if Aelita had been seconds late...
  • Of course, in animation there's a lot of Art Evolution between pilot episodes and the resulting series themselves, but Garage Kids (in certain scenes) combines Off-Model and Uncanny Valley and turns them Up to Eleven. To clarify: Ulrich's avatar has eyes that seem like they came from the first Crash Bandicoot (1996). But still, Tropes Are Not Bad (see What Could Have Been in the Trivia tab).
    • Not to mention the darker tone the pilot has a whole. Each scene of virus activity from Xanadu is given a real sense of dread, and the rather unclear boundary concerning the virtual and real worlds has its own slew of horrors. In fact, given how the show creators at the time were taking influence from Serial Experiments Lain (A series which is filled with nightmare fuel and whose head writer worked on Digimon Tamers, which has it's own brand of horrors), one can start to understand where all the nightmare fuel on this page could come from... and then wonder just how bad it could've gone had the pilot concept been used!
  • "Killer Music" borders on the High Octane variety. Imagine an MP3 becoming a successful hit. Now imagine it being a simple, looped sentence (I've seen the Italian version and it was like, "Uh, hah, you will never win") creepily reminiscent of synthethizeritis. Now picture it putting each of its listeners in a comatose state. It's especially terrifying when Odd falls victim to it, as he's stuck with a huge grin on his face, thus looking like he'd been murdered by The Joker.
  • Who else shat bricks when we saw XANA's disguise of Jérémie breaking down from "Ghost Channel"? XANA Jérémie's "NOT LOGICAL! NOT LOGICAL!" after the kids decide that he's the fake Jérémie because he doesn't understand that Jérémie would virtualize himself to save his friends. And then the scene where he screams and then tries to kill the characters.
    • Let's admit it, Ghost Channel was the scariest episode of Code Lyoko's first season and still stands out. For a season with episodes that were mostly Filler and that involved XANA attacking and the team having to deactivate a tower in Lyoko (and that were pretty creepy on their own), it really drove home what kind of a threat this nutcase of a computerized Omnicidal Maniac was, to the point where his pants-browningly horrifying One-Winged Angel form at the climax now serves as the page image. Good Lord.
    • The most terrifying thing about this episode? This was the only time XANA ever personally appeared, so we actually see that yes, he does take pleasure in the misery he causes
  • There are also the attacks where XANA takes over animals and uses them to attack Kadic. So far, we got wasps, rats, birds, boar, wolves... the latter even had a scene with Ulrich falling in the middle of said wolves, who immediately start to attack him. The Return to the Past barely saves him.
  • The time XANA took control of a dangerous criminal.
    • In the episode with the above criminal, just how casually Jeremie informs Ulrich (via cell phone) that after he replaces the Supercomputer's nuclear core, XANA is going to kill him. No 12-year-old should be that calm in that situation.
    • Potentially even worse, XANA has a noticeable sadistic streak. When there isn't obvious pressure to keep him pragmatic he's been shown to take his sweet time killing, maiming, or destroying whatever he so chooses to. There is a very real chance that Jeremy wouldn't have ever been found or would have been found in several hundred pieces by the time XANA was done.
    • Slight but also very real, XANA forced this career criminal to steal a damn radioactive power source that doesn't seem to have any shielding. The whole factory, that career criminal, Jeremy after he got kidnapped, and the entire path that they took to get to the factory. Probably contaminated now with at least some radiation.
  • Just how quickly Odd and Yumi deteriorate in "Ultimatum" due to being Locked in a Freezer. Yumi starts shivering first and by the time XANA has gotten tired of waiting for Aelita to give herself up, is reduced to being barely able to stand and weakly crying Odd's name as XANA prepares to kill him.
    • And then there's the added idea that Odd might have accidentally caused XANA's later attack of creating an obscenely cold blizzard by telling XANA that cold is lethal to humans.
    • Fun fact, this is the second time XANA ever unambiguously communicates with the heroes. He sends them a text message, simply saying to deliver Aelita to the Scyphozoa within a certain time, else, he'll kill Odd and Yumi. No theatrics like other cartoon villains. Here's the message: cold, simple, and to the point:
    XANA: Aelita at two o'clock to give herself up to the Scyphozoa. If not, Odd and Yumi will be liquidated
  • The Zero Gravity episode. Think about it; the evil computer virus has taken control of FREAKIN GRAVITY to the point where it can just LAUNCH PEOPLE INTO ORBIT WITH EASE.
  • The amount of times Ulrich has nearly died in general. No child would be perfectly fine with that, not even mentioning how many of them were different e.g. burned alive/dehydrated to a dangerous degree, crushed, frozen, mauled to death etc.
  • In the second-to-last episode, the group decides not to send William to Lyoko since he just got freed from XANA's influence. XANA decides to make them regret that decision, and immediately possesses William's body again, prompting Yumi to devirtualize herself and fend him off to protect Jeremie. What follows is the most brutal beatdown ever seen in the real world. She gets launched, stalked, and toyed with for several minutes. It's hard to watch, and it isn't played for laughs.
    • Ulrich gets in on it after his devirtualization and though he gets some progress against William, he's kicked so hard against the wall that it takes him a split second for him to cry out in pain.
    • XANA's death (Or not, if Evolution or the novels are of any indication). As the multi-agent system meant to destroy him surges through the network, XANA is slowly expelled from William's body, emerging as a giant made of black smoke, clutching his head in pain, moaning and screaming all the while. Finally, as the last Replika is destroyed, XANA morphs into a massive black mass screaming in agony as he's deleted once and for all. Even Ulrich and Yumi were horrified!
    Ulrich: What's going on? (Referring to the giant, agonized specter)
    Yumi: ...I don't know.
    • Following that, when XANA is destroyed, after he's forced from William's body (in a scene that's horror in its own right), he's left unconscious in the machinery room. Nobody bothers to pick him up and take him back to the control room. Do they dislike him that much?
  • Franz Hopper. He may be the Big Good, but back when he was creating Lyoko, he was forced to use the Return to the Past 2546 times, living the same day over and over again. To be blunt, the process drove him insane. He's quite clearly paranoid and unstable as his diary demonstrates, though thankfully, he seems to have pulled himself together in the present-day of the series.
  • "Double Trouble": The specter in this episode is one of the most unnerving villains in the show. It gets this close to murdering Jeremie, and is so good at impersonating him it successfully fools everyone it interacts with. It's also much more talkative, and manages to show how deranged and cruel XANA is in spite of being a soulless computer virus.
    • There is also the way it's defeated. After Aelita destroys the last sector on Lyoko, it uses its last moments to electrocute Ulrich to near death, all the while grinning creepily at the camera, before fading away.
    • Jeremie calls Odd in the middle of the episode to warn him of the imposter... only Odd is in the presence of the spectre at that exact moment. His reaction needs no explaining.
  • Aelita's flashbacks are above and beyond some of the more intense and darker scenes in the show. Imagine that you've finally been brought into the real world...and then you have nightmares with strange people that you know nothing about, as if they want you for something...And even after her memories return...the nightmares don't stop. Brr.

    Novel series (Code Lyoko Chronicles) 
  • XANA as Eva has determined the fastest way to get a necessary item is to maim whoever has it. When a passerby woman with her dog sees a girl in a hospital gown, obviously weak and confused, she stops to check if she's alright. XANA realizes it's because duh, humans wear clothes and what he has is considered too little. The next thing we see? XANA-Eva calmly walking away in oversized clothes while the lady's dog barks desperately.
  • Hannibal Mago makes much more of an impact than Tyron. He's abused Anthea and erased her memories, is a ruthless criminal who Would Hurt a Child, and starts to go insane as he realizes just what capabilities Lyoko has to offer him.
  • Whether or not it is canon to the actual series, we learn that the scanners can only properly virtualize children, due to forming an avatar based on their subconscious. Children do not have much to worry about, enabling the scanners to form a cohesive avatar for them. Adults, due to having faced the stresses of real life, are too unstable for the scanners to process, and end up as incoherent Eldritch Abominations, with only Hopper managing to keep his sanity intact. Again, we don't know if this is fully canon...but still, rather unsettling all things considered.
  • The flashback of Aelita being shot in the head while she and her father try to run from The Men in Black, followed by Franz's terror for his daughter. Worse, there's no indication the man who shot her was punished for it.
  • You remember how terrifying XANA was in the original show? Well, the novel reveals he became that way when he got infected by a virus. Specifically, a virus from the castle hosting Project Carthage. That suggests Project Carthage was so malevolent that even without being sentient, just being nearby was enough to turn a once-friendly AI into a monster. No wonder Hopper wanted it destroyed.
    • Speaking of, Hopper also reveals that he couldn't destroy Carthage no matter how hard he tried, which is why he locked it up and had XANA guard it in the first place. Reminds one of the Marabounta, doesn't it?


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