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Thundercats 2011 / Tropes T to Z

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Thunder Cats 2011 provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Tailor-Made Prison: Panthera makes one to imprison her Commander.
  • Take Up My Sword: Justified and made quite literal. The Sword of Omens is the Ancestral Weapon of Thundera's kings, which Lion-O inherits on his father Claudus' death.
  • Talking/Transformation Is a Free Action: Notably Subverted, in service of The Unreveal. Mumm-Ra attempts his incantation only to be interrupted by the rising sun. Fortunately for him, he has an army on his side.
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  • Tap on the Head: Cheetara uses her staff to sharply rap the head of a mugger who had Lion-O headlocked, in a Conveniently Timed Attack from Behind
  • Team Title
  • Technology Is Evil: "The Soul Sever" shows that Lion-O slowly adopted this point of view since the destruction of Thundera, going from one extreme to another. The events of the episode itself make him realize that technology isn't inherently bad or good, it's how it's used that decides it.
  • Temple of Doom: In "Journey to the Tower of Omens" an elaborate one (with Plot Tailored to the Party) must be traversed to get to the Tower of Omens.
    • Mount Plun-Darr in "The Curse of Ratilla"
  • Tempting Fate:
    Claudus [during Lion-O's rite of passage]: It is now the ThunderCats who are strong enough to maintain this fragile peace!
    Tygra [during the fête]: Perhaps what the skeptics say is true: the book's existence is no more real than its stories of technology or Mumm-Ra.
    Tygra [while boasting their discovery of the SoP]: See? I told you all of that nonsense about...
    Cheetara [interrupts him]: DON'T. Taunt. The curse!
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  • Theme Tune: The original, rearranged and severely truncated.
  • Theory Before Phenomenon: Inverted Type One. Viewpoint character Lion-O is the "crackpot" explaining his belief in Lost Technology to a skeptical but patient Cheetara, while escorting her to the shop of Jorma, his Friend in the Black Market. Jorma proudly says: "Y'think this is a fairy tale?" while unveiling a Black Box. Cheetara pegs it as Worthless Yellow Rocks, and, not unkindly, says she thinks Lion-O is "different."
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: When the Lizards want an empire to fall, they hit it with everything they've got.
  • They Called Me Mad!: Downplayed. Lion-O makes reference to years of being called crazy for his disturbingly irrational dabbling in the science of technology. His great sin? Believing in it.
  • Thicker Than Water:
    • In "Omens Part 1": This leads Claudus to come to his unfavorite Lion-O's defense when Grune remarks on what a great king Tygra would have made within Lion-O's earshot, even though Claudus has expressed similar sentiments to Tygra himself.
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    • In "Ramlak Rising" Lion-O discusses this in a fury over Tygra's agreement with Cheetara that avenging Claudus' death should wait. Instead, Lion-O wishes to hunt down Mumm-Ra, electing Revenge Before Reason.
  • Third Eye: When using the Sword of Omens' "Sight Beyond Sight", Lion-O stares through the sword positioning the hilt so the Eye of Thundera rests against his forehead, and a glowing pupil manifests.
  • Thirsty Desert: In "Ramlak Rising" the ThunderCats begin Crossing the Desert rather conventionally, until they reach the Sand Sea. Things start to get weird when they get hauled onto a Pirate Ship...
  • This Is Gonna Suck: Cheetara's reaction when Panthro meets up with Grune for the first time since Grune's betrayal.
  • Threat Backfire: Grune destroys a tree in the Elephant's home hoping to scare them into telling him what he wants to know. They thank him kindly and honestly as removing the tree will give their gardens more sunlight now.
  • Three Plus Two: In "Ramlak Rising" Power Trio Lion-O, Tygra and Cheetara (and Snarf) pick up Tagalong Kids the Thunderkittens on their way out of Thundera.
  • Threshold Guardians: In "The Trials of Lion-O" arc, the Spirit Stone makes Lion-O face guardians in the form of the other ThunderCats that challenge him to overcome his various flaws. Each guard keys that he must win through defeating their challenges, which then open gateways to proceed further in the trials, given to him to see if he is worthy of a second chance at life.
  • Through a Face Full of Fur: In "Journey to the Tower of Omens," Wilykit blushes briefly while making smooching noises, teasing Lion-O about Cheetara's Hands-On Approach when coaching him in the use of the Sword of Omens.
    • In "Into the Astral Plain", we see a young Tygra blush during a flashback to when he first met Cheetara.
  • Throwing Down the Gauntlet:
    • In "Omens Part 1" During Grune's homecoming festival, while watching Gladiator Games in The Thunderdome, Lion-O finally has enough of Tygra's insults, and challenges him to a match, hoping to embarrass him in front of his hero, Grune. It doesn't end well.
    • In "The Duelist and the Drifter" this is how the Duelist gets young, Hot-Blooded swordsmen like Lion-O to agree to duel him. He favors the Showdown at High Noon.
    • In the same episode, the Drifter doesn't throw down a gauntlet so much as lazily proffer the willow reed in his mouth. He bets Lion-O can't split it, and gives him three swings to try...
    • Later, Lion-O demands a rematch and the Duelist agrees, but only if Lion-O puts his life at stake.
    • Tygra bets three of the power stones on his ability to beat a bird at flying and challenges the bird prefect Vultaire in "What Lies Above, Part 1." Tygra wins.
  • The Thunderdome: Thundera has a tremendous amphitheatre where Cats can watch the Blood Sport Gladiator Games. It's later the site of a Defensive Feint Trap and Claudus' assassination at the climax of The Siege of Thundera.
  • Time Dissonance: The ThunderCats encounter the Petalars, who age in the span of a day - a briefly lost child reappears as an adult, and deeply touched that they had "never stopped looking for me" when he had been out of sight for mere minutes.
  • Tired of Running: In "Song of the Petalars," Lion-O decides to face the Lizard army head-on after they have spent a day on a Stern Chase. Only a Deus ex Machina prevents the battle from becoming the ThunderCats' Last Stand.
  • Title-Only Opening: Rare Western Animation example.
  • Title Scream: "Thunder... THUNDER... THUNDERCATS, HOOOOOOO!!!"
  • To Absent Friends: Claudus' speech at the games' opening dedication ends with him, his sons and Grune raising their glasses to toast Panthro, while the crowd cheers raucously.
  • Tomes of Prophecy and Fate: The Book of Omens
  • Too Important to Walk: Grune arrives standing astride a giant geode hauled by a chain gang of dozens of Lizard slaves.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: All the cats have done this at one point or another. Lion-O has an extended bout of it from "New Alliances" through the end of "The Trials of Lion-O," the first part of which had all the cats taking a level or two, actively picking on and subverting him. Justified in "The Trials of Lion-O, Part 1," as the other cats could see Lion-O was leading them on a wild goose chase into the trap that ultimately kills him (he gets better). They do feel pretty bad about it when he dies though.
  • Torches and Pitchforks: When Lion-O's attempt at Shaming the Mob backfires and they begin to demand a Vigilante Execution of stockaded Lizard prisoners, Lion-O demands the mob Go Through Me as he's joined by Tygra and Cheetara. Their leader's response is to call Lion-O "Lizard Lover" and then threaten to put him in the stocks. A brawl breaks out which is only halted by the timely arrival of Claudus.
  • Town with a Dark Secret: The Tiger Clan village.
  • Tragic Keepsake: During his Death Notification, Grune hands over one of Panthro's nunchucks, describing in vague, praiseworthy terms, the circumstances of his death... which would be fine if Panthro had died.
    • As of "Native Son," Tygra's new whip, which was left to him by his biological father.
  • Trail Of Breadcrumbs: Wilykit, who seems to be the only one who believes that Lion-O is still alive in "The Trials of Lion-O, Part 1", marks some boulders with drawings of her own face as the group is captured and forced to go with Slithe.
  • Training the Peaceful Villagers: "Berbils"
  • Transformation Sequence: The Hero Lion-O's weapon, the Sword of Omens, has a stock transformation sequence via By the Power of Grayskull! where the blade lengthens from dagger to longsword while sparking impressively and shooting Sword Beams, recreated shot-for-shot from the original series.
  • Transforming Mecha: The Berbils have their own Morph Ball form.
  • Trial Balloon Question: Inverted as Jaga deliberately walks Lion-O into asking one
    Jaga: The Book says that our greatest king will possess the ability of "Sight Beyond Sight,"
    Lion-O: Like having visions?
  • Trojan Horse: The Lizard Army gets into Thundera by hiding in a large, fake geode.
  • Tron Lines: Appear on Mumm-Ra's Futuristic Pyramid when its door opens.
  • Truncated Theme Tune: Ten seconds worth of surprisingly effective aural Adaptation Distillation.
  • True Love's Kiss: Played straight for drama in "The Curse of Ratilla" between Cheetara and Tygra, breaking the curse of the Sword of Plun-Darr.
  • Two Girls to a Team: Cheetara and Wilykit in a 2:4 ratio to male ThunderCats (plus a Snarf.)
    • Subverted when Pumyra joins the team and then Double Subverted when she betrays them and leaves.
  • Two Guys and a Girl: The Initial Power Trio of Lion-O Tygra and Cheetara.
  • Underestimating Badassery:
    • In "Omens Part 1" an Angry Mob does this, assuming that Lion-O, Tygra and Cheetara are too outnumbered to put up much of a fight when pulling a Go Through Me in defense of some Lizards.
    • In "The Duelist and the Drifter," the Duelist inverts and exploits this to get inexperienced and Hot-Blooded swordsmen to take up his challenge.
    • In the same episode, the Drifter takes advantage of Lion-O's naiveté to make a point about how sorely outmatched Lion-O is against opponents with any measure of defensive guile.
  • Unobtanium: In "Old Friends" Thundrillium is needed to power the Thundertank, so the ThunderCats have to head to Cloud Mine, where the Lizards have a mining operation.
  • Unreliable Illustrator:
    • Sometimes the Eye of Thundera is depicted with a black pupil in its resting state, other times, it's simply a red stone.
    • In "Old Friends" Grune's mace vanishes then reappears just as he's taking a swing at Panthro.
    • In "The Duelist and the Drifter," despite being narratively referred to as such, the Duelist's left hand sword does not match the gold Sword of Hattanzo, but is a gold recolor of the grey serrated sword the Duelist used in flashback before obtaining it.
    • In "Recipe for disaster", the swelling on Pumyra's face disappears and reappears throughout the first half of the episode.
  • The Unreveal: Mumm-Ra's attempted transformation in "Omens Part 2" is interrupted by the timely arrival of the sun.
  • Unsportsmanlike Gloating: In "Omens Part 1": Tygra does this before he's won a match of the Gladiator Games against Lion-O, as an effective I Shall Taunt You that ultimately ensures Tygra's win.
  • Unusual Eyebrows: On many Cats.
  • Unwilling Suspension:
    • In "Omens Part 2" A hostage is presented to Claudus this way, as part of a Hostage for MacGuffin gambit.
    • In "The Duelist and the Drifter" The Drifter gets snagged on fences three times, each time needing Lion-O's help to get down, and offering advice in return.
  • Urban Segregation: The first hint that Thundera is not the Shining City shown in the Epic Tracking Shot is the downward tilt exposing Thundera's slums. Word of God holds that this is not just classism at work, but the mechanism of a Fantastic Caste System, whereby tailed Cats and Specific minorities are confined to a Fantastic Ghetto, while the tailless live lives of wealth and privilege.
  • Vagueness Is Coming: It's little wonder that Lion-O didn't know what his vision in the Sword of Omens meant. A contextless Mirror Monster image of a scary, red-eyed face doesn't exactly scream, "The Empire is doomed to fall on the 'morrow."
  • Vestigial Empire: Thundera, with its handful of living Cats, a monarch among them.
  • Viewers Are Goldfish: A Really Dead Montage occurs that contains only intra-episode footage, which is more than a little redundant.
  • Vigilante Execution: Threatened by an Angry Mob that feels like inflicting some Disproportionate Retribution on a pair of stockaded Lizard scavengers, until Lion-O challenges them to Go Through Me.
  • Viking Funeral: For Claudus.
  • Villain: Exit, Stage Left:
    • In "Old Friends" Grune bolts after siccing The Driller on the heroes, with a "Until next time, Panthro!"
    • In "Journey to the Tower of Omens" Mumm-Ra turns tail and runs after the ThunderCats gain an unexpected advantage.
    • In "The Duelist and the Drifter" The Duelist is allowed to run after trying to stab an opponent In the Back.
    • In "Berbils" the Conquedor and his allies run after Lion-O disarms him.
  • Vision Quest: Lion-O must perform one of these before he can fully access the Book of Omens
  • Visual Pun: Thundera's Gladiator Games have Cats racing up a tree, while fighting to ring a bell and losing when they hit water.
  • The Voiceless: The Clerics, Claudus' Church Militant Praetorian Guard who dress like spooky nuns speak no dialogue as part of their Full Body Disguises.
  • Vomit Discretion Shot: In "Ramlak Rising" when Tygra vomits off the side of the sand-ship, the viewer is spared the visual (but not the audio) through depicting him from behind, slumped over the ship's rail with his face off-camera.
  • Walking the Earth:
    • The series' premise is that the ThunderCats must do this in search of MacGuffins that have the power to stop Big Bad Mumm-Ra.
    • In "The Duelist and the Drifter," this is The Drifter's exit, walking into the sunset on a journey to return all the Duelist's swords to their former owners.
  • Walking Tank: The Lizards have these along with rifles as a mainstay of their army.
  • The Wall Around the World:
    • In "Omens Part 1" Thundera is shown to have one of these, contributing to the Cats' insularity and complacent sense of superiority.
    • In "Song of the Petalars" the Briar Woods functions as this for the Lilliputian Petalars, leaving them trapped and unable to find their way out to The Promised Land.
  • Wall Crawl: Cats can do this thanks to their hand and footclaws (which is why they go barefoot or wear spats) and employ the ability for sport when racing up a tree in their Gladiator Games.
  • Wall Jump: Cats can jump from branch-to-branch on the vertical or horizontal, covering great distances In a Single Bound.
  • Watching Troy Burn: Lion-O during the siege of Thundera.
  • We Used to Be Friends: "Old Friends" centers around a series of flashbacks that delve into Panthro's friendship with, and eventual betrayal by, Grune.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: Mumm-Ra is now weakened by direct sunlight.
    • Doesn't appear to be an issue anymore after he sockets the Tech Stone into the Gaunlet of Plun-Darr.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Headmaster Zig, who in his zeal to protect the Forest of Magi Oar will use any means, including cutting down the forest for the paper to fuel his magic and fighting its guardian.
    • The Soul Sever just wants to be reunited with his dead wife and two children by putting their souls in machine bodies. It's a pity that he won't accept help from Lion-O after stealing the Book of Omens to complete the process, then tries to rip Tygra's soul from his body to merge it with a machine, and it all goes horribly wrong anyway.
  • Wham Episode: "Legacy". How did all the animal races get to Third Earth? They're descendants of the survivors of the crash of Mumm-Ra's spacecraft. Why is there Animal Jingoism? The Cats were Mumm-Ra's willing servants, the other species were slaves. Think the Eye is the only magical gem of power? Think again. And those are only some of the major plot points dropped in this episode.
    • "Between Brothers". Grune gets (seemingly) killed off. Panthro, in a Heroic Sacrifice/Revenge Before Reason moment, loses his arms to get rid of his old friend. Lion-O obtains the Spirit Stone and nearly gives Mumm-Ra a Curb-Stomp Battle. And after a Cain and Abel battle and heartwarming reaffirmation of brotherhood which seemingly subverts the prophetic vision of the previous episode, Lion-O gets to witness Tygra and Cheetara's Relationship Upgrade.
    • "What Lies Above: Part 2". The leader of the Avistians changes sides mid-battle, shooting down Tygra. Mumm-Ra defeats Lion-O and knocks the Tech Stone free, thus causing the crash of the city. Pumyra is revealed to be Dead All Along and a Sixth Ranger Traitor who serves Mumm-Ra for Revenge and gives him the Tech Stone. Panthro manages to land the city mostly safely, and the kits succeed in showing Lion-O the good he has done through all those who came to ally with him, but the battle against Mumm-Ra has become even more dire with only one stone left to find and Lion-O's heart and faith are broken.
  • Wham Line:
    Pumyra: Lion-O, you are my king... but he is my master.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Cute?: In "Survival Of The Fittest", the hungry kittens refuse to kill the cute prey, but they gladly beat up an ugly beastly predator (who was hunting to eat) to rescue them.
  • What Were You Thinking?:
    • Frequently directed at Lion-O. In "Omens Part 2" Tygra chastised him for not saying anything about his vision of Mumm-Ra.
    • In "Ramlak Rising" Tygra and Cheetara call him out for nearly driving them to ruin when consumed by rage.
    • In "Old Friends" Panthro cannot fathom his impulsive blind charge into battle.
  • Whole Episode Flashback: "Old Friends," the bulk of which reveals Panthro and Grune's history, Grune's motives and betrayal, and why Panthro was believed dead. note 
  • Whole Plot Reference: "Ramlak Rising" is one whole Shout-Out to Moby-Dick.
  • With a Friend and a Stranger: The initial Power Trio consists of Lion-O, his brother Tygra and newly-met acquaintance Cheetara.
  • A Wizard Did It: In "Journey to the Tower of Omens" this is explicitly provided as a reason for the Bamboo Technology and Durable Deathtraps of the Temple of Doom. They were crafted by Thundera's ancient Clerics.
  • Wizards from Outer Space: In "Legacy" this is quite literally the ancient history of Mumm-Ra and the ThunderCats.
  • Working on the Chain Gang: Four-dozen Lizard slaves haul Grune's giant geode into Thundera.
  • World of Funny Animals: Played for Drama. In the words of Thundera's King Claudus, Third Earth is "...a world of warring animals." Apart from a small enclave of Lilliputian Plant People, Third Earth is presented as being this... until Lion-O's arrival in the series' first real Adventure Town introduces us to droves and droves of aliens... oh my!
  • Worth It: Panthro's reaction to sacrificing both of his arms to ensure Grune's (apparent) death in "Between Brothers."
  • Worth Living For: Downplayed the Drifter thanks Lion-O for bringing him out of his funk and helping him rediscover a purpose in life, embracing his archetype and Wandering the Earth to return all of the Duelist's swords to their former owners.
  • Worthless Yellow Rocks: Thunderian Cats like Cheetara dismiss evidence of Black Market Lost Technology as being forgeries to take in the gullible.
    • In the pilot, the Thunderkittens pass near a transport filled with gold and jewels looted by the Lizards from the Thunderra treasuries, and prudently decide that taking the clothes lying among the gold will be the most practical choice.
    • In "The Duelist and the Drifter", Lion-O tries to pay with Thunderran currency, but finds out to his chagrin that its value has dropped significantly since the kingdom's fall.
  • Written by the Winners: Along with having a genuinely poor historical memory, Thundera has styled itself as the Superior Species in its oral histories, having "brought order to a world of warring animals."
    • The motives and actions of the characters are shown to the audience chiefly from the hero Lion-O's point of view. A few of the episodes are even written by the voice actor who plays Lion-O.
  • Wrong Side of the Tracks: The Thunderkittens live in a hovel, in the Fantastic Ghetto of Thundera's slums.
  • Xanatos Gambit: The Siege has multiple traps to force Thundera's fall. First Claudus and Tygra are trapped at the gate and offered Panthro in exchange for the Sword of Omens. When Jaga's Clerics intervene, they're led into a Defensive Feint Trap in The Thunderdome, surrounded by Walking Tanks, until Lion-O intervenes. When they get to Panthro, he stabs Claudus, reveals himself as a disguised Mumm-Ra, and kills the Clerics. "Thundera has fallen!".
  • You Are Already Dead: In "The Duelist and the Drifter" Lion-O does this on a large block of stone.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: "Omens Part One" has a nice little moment between Lion-O and Jaga.
    Lion-O: It's official, they think I'm a failure. And they always will unless I can prove I'm not chasing a childish dream... But how can I do that when even Grune said there wasn't tech out there?!
    Jaga: Don't let what Grune failed to see stand in the way of what you believe.
  • You Are Not Alone: In "What Lies Above" Pt 2, Lion-O faces Mumm-Ra and Pumyra alone and likely to fall when the other Cats arrive to save him. Though they fail to stop Mumm-Ra from owning them further, they receive this again when Kit and Kat arrive with the friends they made during the series showing Lion-O he has made a difference for the better in the world.
  • You Are Not Ready:
  • Your Mind Makes It Real: The Astral Plane. Though whether this is a natural property of the place or due to Mumm-Ra's mystical manipulation isn't clear.
  • Your Soul Is Mine: Type 2 (Method undetermined): Mumm-Ra imprisons Jaga in a magical lantern that points the way to the Book of Omens.
  • Zorro Mark: At Claudus' Viking Funeral, Lion-O heats his sword in the flames to carve the royal emblem into the base of Claudus' ruined monument.


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