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Shell Shocked Veteran / Western Animation

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Shell-Shocked Veterans in western cartoons.

  • 101 Dalmatians: The Series: Lt. Pug will often panic in mundane situations that he mistakes for something much more serious.
  • Steve Smith on American Dad! becomes one after participating in a Vietnam War reenactment for one day at a golf club. Though it was really because participating in the reenactment was the only thing Stan was ever proud of him for.
  • Referenced in an an episode of Aqua Teen Hunger Force.
    Err: Is he alright man?
    Ignignokt: Cliff hasn't been 'all right' since the Lunar War.
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  • Archer: Wodehouse was an enlisted servant on a Royal Flying Corps base, and didn't see any combat... until the death of his officer, Reggie Thistleton, broke his heart and his mind and sent him on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge. It's implied that his experiences are the reason for his heroin addiction, as he is seen smoking opium not long after the war.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • Iroh downplays it, but he's clearly haunted by his six-hundred-day siege of Ba Sing Se (including the loss of his son). It doesn't stop him, notably, from taking it back in the finale.
    • Zuko, whose childhood was a constant battle for survival against his father, grandfather, and sister tormenting him and/or trying to kill him. The way he reacts to reminders of his father's horrific abuse in "The Storm," the narrative flashbacks in "Zuko Alone," and his dreams in "The Earth King" (among other indicators) all seem to suggest a certain level of post-traumatic stress.
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  • It's hinted that the museum curator that Spellbinder brainwashes to steal the Princess Audrey line of clothes in Batman Beyond was of this trope, as the method he used to brainwash him involved him in an unspecified war where he was carrying an injured comrade (actually the Princess Audrey line of clothes) through the jungle and then placing his "comrade" in a support chopper (actually Spellbinder's vehicle) to evacuate from the warzone, and told the chopper to leave without him when soldiers from the enemy's army approach (actually Batman), and it is hinted that the reason why Spellbinder chose that specific way to brainwash him was because the curator, a parent of one of the High school students, told Spellbinder's true identity, the High School's guidance counselor, about it during a parent-teacher session.
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  • Parodied on Family Guy when Peter and Lois' restaurant becomes a popular hang-out for cripples:
    Peter: Oh, God. I hope there's not one of those angry, handicapped Vietnam guys with a bandanna on his head. Oh, there he is.
    Crazy Vietnam Guy: I've seen some things, man, and some stuff. I wouldn't recommend it!
  • It is implied in Kim Possible that Mr. Barkin is this. He often refers to his time in 'Nam and at least once retreats into his private Cloudcuckooland when he and Ron are trapped together in a container.
  • In King of the Hill, Cotton Hill falls into this somewhat, although he seems to revel in his past war experiences a bit more than is healthy. This trope comes into full effect during an episode when Cotton's VFW group attempts to reach out to some Vietnam vets (whom Cotton thinks of as wimps who got off easy compared to him). This ends with the Vietnam vets suffering flashbacks and chasing Cotton and Hank into the woods, where they finally earn his respect by managing to capture him.
    • In the first part where Hank, Peggy, and Bobby accompany Cotton to a peace ceremony in Japan, Cotton has to be restrained and stuffed into an overhead compartment of the plane after he hallucinates the 50 men he killed coming back for him.
  • In Book Four of The Legend of Korra, Korra herself is a straightforward example; her near death experience and paralysis at the hands of Zaheer left her unable to do much of anything. The second episode of the season shows her dealing with her PTSD for roughly three years, complete with flashbacks of being attacked by Zaheer and being stalked and attacked by an apparition of herself in the avatar state. This is after she tells her friends she'd only be gone for a few weeks.
  • Matrix from Reboot. The war for Mainframe, the loss of his hero to betrayal, and his own experiences in the games have left him this way.
  • A parody of this trope is Principal Skinner on The Simpsons, with his occasional 'Nam flashbacks, like the one on "I Love Lisa" where he saw his best friend (who was writing a love letter to his girlfriend) get shot in Da Nang in 1969 on Valentine's Day or the one on "Team Homer" where Skinner was put in a POW camp by Viet Cong after being distracted by a racy T-shirt slogan ("Up With Mini-Skirts") worn by one of his men and the always classic flashback of him and his men in a POW camp where he watches with horror an elephant eat his entire platoon.
    • Parodied in Team Homer, where it looks like he's going into angry flashback mode, except...
    I spent the next three years in a POW camp, forced to subsist on a thin stew made of fish, vegetables, prawns, coconut milk and four kinds of rice. I came close to madness trying to find it here in the States, but they just can't get the spices right!
    • Also, one episode (the one where Samantha arrives at the school as a new student) had Skinner at one point angrily reminiscing about Vietnam while Samantha was being checked out, the two flashbacks he was angrily thinking about was being trapped in a Tiger cage while in Vietnam, as well as his being spat on presumably when he returned from Vietnam when he was promised with a parade.note 
  • In Transformers Animated (of all things), Ratchet breaks down into this during his first in-series combat situation against Lockdown, complete with Vietnam-esque flashbacks. He gets over it eventually after talking it over with Optimus.
    • And you really can't forget the helpful effect of taking his revenge on Lockdown by forcibly removing the grapplers Lockdown stole and causing some apparently serious pain.
    • As the Season Three opener has shown through a combination of more traumatic flashbacks and severe self-esteem issues? He's got a lot more to get over.
    • This can also be seen in his attitude towards life in general. He's usually cranky, especially at "turbo-revving young punks" like Bumblebee who enjoy putting on mods and show off their battle prowess, and is dismissive of Optimus Prime's idealization of what the Great War must have been like. He was in it, and it sucked. He's often described as "Having one servo in the scrapheap." That's robo-speak for "one foot in the grave", FYI.
    • He also displays a pathological hatred of upgrades after being tortured at the hands of an upgrade addict. Problematic when they become necessary over the course of the series— he practically has a Freak Out over Optimus getting a Jetpack.
  • In Transformers: Prime, Arcee has a slight form of PTSD, that didn't get showed until the twelfth episode, there she meet Airachnid again, the same Decepticon who captured her, tortured her and killed her partner in front of her eyes during the war. She almost has a Heroic BSoD when she meets her again.
  • Brock Samson from The Venture Bros. shows elements of this, especially in the beginning of the series, as his name is basically a household word to most people in the army and he is described as a "god" by those who served with him. His first response to anyone who surprises him is to brutally murder them and the only emotions that he normally shows throughout the series is apathy, annoyance, and extreme sociopathic rage.
  • Played very straight in Wing Commander Academy: Archer is forced to kill a fellow cadet who had gone insane and was going to destroy the Tiger's Claw. To twist the knife a little more, he had confessed his love to her only hours before. After that, Archer tended to hesitate before firing because she didn't want to take another life, which nearly got her wingman killed at least twice because they were still actively fighting in a war.
  • Samurai Jack has become one of these in Season 5. Jack, a One-Man Army Action Hero, was constantly fighting against Aku and his troops for 50 years straight, both for his own survival and to save as many innocent people as he can. However, the toll of seeing how many innocents he failed to save, combined with not being able to succeed at his original goal (of escaping this wretched world), has caused Jack to fall into a deep state of insanity; he's now an extremely anxious, depressed, and paranoid shell of his former self, who suffers from nightmarish visions borne from his guilt and self-loathing. He even regularly argues with his own subconscious, as he's constantly considering whether or not to commit "honorable" suicide just to put an end to his misery.
  • Steven Universe: Many Gems who participated in the 1,000 year war have this.
    • Steven is a special case. While he wasn't alive for the Gem War, certain adventures he has while encountering certain Gems, such as Jasper and Peridot, really did a number on his psyche. That's not even counting his encounters with Bismuth and Eyeball. The Future episode "Growing Pains" has Dr. Maheswaran flat out state that his childhood traumas have warped his mind and body's reaction to stressful situations, meaning that even minor inconveniences leave him reacting like he's in mortal danger.
      Steven: How do I move on from all the stuff I've been through? How do I live life when it always feels like I'm about to die?
    • Lapis Lazuli was a civilian caught up in a Rebellion battle, imprisoned under the assumption she was another Crystal Gem, and interrogated for ages before being left behind and uncaringly stepped on (which cracked her gem), the war did a number on her psyche.
  • Used in the Big Mouth episode "Duke", where, while Duke is telling his Coming of Age story in the 1910's, Maurice's penises are fighting in World War I as a background event. One of them is heavily traumatized by watching his best friend die in his arms and he returns to the United States, embittered, an alcoholic, and a heroin addict. Over the course of the episode he is shown landing in the hospital, where he falls in love with the nurse treating him, they marry, have children, and he finally visits his friend's grave where he is finally able to be at peace.


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