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Trivia / Animorphs

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The books:

  • Accidentally Correct Writing:
    • "In the Time of Dinosaurs" describes Spinosaurus as having shorter hindlegs than a Tyrannosaurus, before discoveries in 2014 suggested this may have been true. However, it's also portrayed as a land-dwelling "carnosaur", so it sort of cancels out.
    • The idea that the Animorphs would always morph into an animal of the age of the acquired one was never explained, and used as a plot device so that they could look exactly like controllers who they acquired and impersonated. However, years after the books were published, the discovery of epigenetics, the way organisms' DNA changes while they are still alive, show that the DNA reflecting how old an acquired animal is was very accurate.
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  • Attention Deficit Creator Disorder: The ghostwritten era began so K.A. could work on Everworld, although she seems pretty frustrated that it had to happen.
  • Author Appeal: K.A's favorite things - Star Trek, the Rolling Stones, Dr. Pepper, Mustangs, etc - are all prominently featured. Similarly, her personal views creep often into her work.
  • Author Tract: A handful of the books exist for no other reason than to promote the views of K.A. (and later, her ghostwriters). #04 The Message (whales are sentient) and #09 The Secret (logging is bad) are the worst offenders. A more mild offender is #16 The Warning (the internet is weird), which is redeemed by strong characterization and a truly awesome villain.
  • Blooper: There were quite a few in early books as K.A. established a series continuity, leading to the Fan Nickname of 'KASU' (K.A. Screws Up, for the uninitiated).
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  • Contest Winner Cameo: Erek King. See Promoted Fanboy.
  • Creator Couple: K. A. Applegate and her husband Michael Grant. Though it never came out until after the series ended, the pair wrote Animorphs jointly. Grant has since distinguished himself as a writer in his own right.
  • Dear Negative Reader: K. A. Applegate famously gave one to the many Animorphs fans who criticized the series' Bolivian Army Ending for being "too sad".
  • Fan Nickname: Emohawk for Tobias. Hawkward for Rachel/Tobias moments. Visser Mom for Edriss/Eva. KASU for "Katherine Applegate Screws Up/Screw-Ups", or the mistakes between books by the author and her ghostwriters. Applegrant for the Applegate/Grant co-author duo.
  • He Also Did: Melinda Metz, writer of Roswell High (which was the inspiration for the TV show Roswell) and Fingerprints, was the ghostwriter for The Sickness and The Prophecy.
  • Jossed: Every now and then K.A's come to answer a few questions and joss a few theories.
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  • Name's the Same: New readers of Everworld must have been surprised to see K.A. named the main hero of that series after the Sixth Ranger Traitor of this one.
  • Older Than They Think: Watch Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, from 1982. Do those slug brain parasites - that crawl into your ear and take over your mind - seem a little familiar? Considering that Applegate is a known Trekkie, this is almost certainly not an accident.
  • Promoted Fanboy: Erek King, the fan who won a contest to have a character named after himself. The Erek King character ended up becoming one of the most important secondary characters in the series.
  • Referenced by...: An instance of SCP-1468 started producing a carving of The Invasion before dying from malnutrition.
  • Science Marches On:
    • Tobias breaks the fourth wall at the end of In the Time of Dinosaurs to acknowledge that scientists dispute that several of the dinosaurs depicted in the book were alive at the end of the Cretaceous, asking the reader, "Who're you gonna believe, some scientists with nothing but bones, or a guy who was actually there?" Even aside from that, there are still some things it gets wrong, like scaly Deinonychus and a Spinosaurus that looks more like a generic "carnosaur" with a fin.
    • The pack mentality of wolves mentioned in the books has since been discarded by science along with the biology and mentality of many other creatures featured since they were written.
  • Shout-Out: The cover of #54, The Beginning was directly inspired by the cover of The Rolling Stones Hot Rocks 1964-1971
  • Technology Marches On: #16 The Warning, the "Internet is weird" book. It even explicitly mentions dial-up modems, which are pretty much obsolete these days.
  • Torch the Franchise and Run: Never confirmed, but K.A has admitted Scholastic owns the full rights to Animorphs (much to her frustration), and it'd go a long way to explaining that Bolivian Army Ending.
  • Unintentional Period Piece: As mentioned under Totally Radical, the original release is one for the 1990s.
  • What Could Have Been: The original plan was for all the aliens to be the rubber forehead kind, to make a then-theoretical Live-Action Adaptation easier to produce. Scholastic told Applegate to be more creative, so she made them all Starfish Aliens instead. And then, of course, they tried to make a Live-Action Adaptation...
    • There were originally going to be a few more books (including one more Megamorphs, which is why Applegate's letter at the end of the final book erroneously says there were five instead of four) that were cancelled for unknown reasons. This may also be why the number of "main series" books is 54, rather than something more regular like 55 or 60.
  • Word of Gay:
    • A twitter post from Michael Grant has stated that Marco is bisexual.
    • Another article confirms that Gafinilan and Mertil (identified as "a pair of Andalites") from The Other were a gay couple, something heavily hinted but not stated outright in the book itself.
  • Write Who You Know:
    • Applegate and Grant based most of the characters on people they knew. Applegate has said that the character Loren is based on herself. Grant is described as a lot like Marco but it's unknown if this was intentional (probably more of an author projection thing seeing as Marco's got an Expy in Grant's series).
    • Applegate also said Cassie was most like her, while Marco was most like Michael Grant.

The TV series:

  • Acting for Thousands: Because only one Hork-Bajir costume existed, a single Hork-Bajir was the only representation of an entire race. Still a better deal than the Taxxons got; they were cut from the show altogether.
  • Dawson Casting: A mild example, as the age of the book characters had not yet been revealed when Ani-TV went into production.
  • Disowned Adaptation: Applegate was quite vocal in her distaste for Ani-TV, going so far as to insert a Take That! to it in The Return.
  • Keep Circulating the Tapes: Only had 12 episodes released on VHS, and nothing else. Fans have taken to uploading the rest of the series online, even though most consider it a bad show. Qubo (one of Ion's spinoff cable channels) reran it in 2014.
  • Making Use of the Twin: When Ax morphs Jake so that Jake can be tied up while his Yeerk is starved. Shawn Ashmore's twin Aaron Ashmore appears in the one scene with two Jakes. It's also speculated that we're seeing Aaron in all the other scenes of Ax-as-Jake, but information is scarce.
  • No Budget:
  • Portrayed by Different Species: Tobias as a red-tailed hawk is played by a harris' hawk.
  • Recursive Adaptation: Meet the Stars of Animorphs, a companion book released shortly after Ani-TV started airing.
  • The Other Darrin: Tom Barnett replaces Eugene Lipinski as Visser Three in Season 2. Given that this is a series where people can change into anything alive (within reason), it is more easily explained then other examples of the trope.

The games:

  • Adapted Out: All the non-Yeerk villains.
  • Anti-Climax Boss: There's only one boss in Shattered RealityVisser Three, fighting in a kind of Golem morph. He's not very hard.
  • Cowardly Boss: Visser Three spends more time shielding himself from your attacks than actually attacking.
  • Button Mashing: The combat sections of Know the Secret basically amount to this. There's a kind of Combo system to it, but it's very rudimentary.
  • Executive Meddling: Applegate and Scholastic got caught up in the post-Columbine hysteria over violence in video games and had SingleTrac revamp Shattered Reality, which was at that point already a Troubled Production.
  • Filler Villain: Mostly seen in Shattered Reality. In addition to renditions of the baddie aliens, new enemies were created, some of which make more sense than others. The crowning moment of absurdity comes when you end up fighting pterodactyls in the Gardens level.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: There are a couple places in the Game Boy Color game where you can walk into but not get out of, causing you to have to restart the whole thing.
  • Game Music: It must be said, the music in the Animorphs games is truly excellent. Shattered Reality is worth owning for the soundtrack alone.
  • Gameplay Roulette: Hoo boy, yes.
  • Narm: All three games give generous helpings. Shattered Reality and Know the Secret have truly narmalicious voice acting.
  • Obvious Beta: The Game Boy Color Animorphs game was as shoddy as all get-out, including half-finshed sections it was possible to get stuck in.
  • Platform Battle: You're more likely to die from falling off the moving platforms than you are from combat with
Visser Three, the game's only boss.
  • Polygon Ceiling: In Know the Secret. It gives the game a really dated look, which is a shame, because it's quite serviceable in other respects.
  • Save-Game Limits: There is no regular save feature on the GBC game. Think about that... a game clearly modeled after Pokémon, with the same basic menu screen and gameplay mechanics has no save feature. Instead, either by pressing Select or reaching a checkpoint you be given a password that you have to write down that will return you to something approaching your current party next time you start the game. This means that unless you are either using an Emulator with savestates or trying to marathon the whole damn thing in one sitting (which is theoretically possible, thanks to unlimited continues), it's virtually impossible to beat the game in a way that feels like a continuous, complete narrative.
  • Shoddy Knockoff Product: This game was basically a poor man's Pokémon with the Animorphs property tacked on.
  • The Problem with Licensed Games: None of these games are exactly classics of the genre — even fans of the books tend to stay away from these things, not in the least because on top of being bad games, they don't actually represent the home series very well at all.


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