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Video Game / Dinosaur King

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A CCG arcade game from Japan. The player pays for a starter deck and scans the cards into an arcade cabinet. Then they play a fighting game where dinosaurs (real ones ranging from obscure to well-known) with superpowers fight both each other using both a literal rock-paper-scissors and an Elemental Rock–Paper–Scissors battle system. As the player progresses, the arcade cabinet dispenses newer and rarer cards for them to add to their deck.

Oh, and the superpowers? They're never really explained. We're just supposed to accept the fact that dinosaurs all had superpowers and the ability to breathe fire, electrify their bodies, and change in size. Rule of Cool, of course, applies.

A tie-in anime was eventually developed. It features the adventures of Max, Rex and Zoe, a trio of dinosaur-loving kids who search for dinosaur cards scattered all over the world before the Alpha Gang can retrieve them. The series has been brought to the U.S. by 4Kids and is considered to be one of their best dubs. You can watch it on Netflix or KidsClick as of February 2018, and Discotek Media acquired the home video license later that year. A Nintendo DS video game has been made that is based on the anime.


In the grand tradition of the internet, the show has its own Wiki.

Tropes used in Dinosaur King:

  • 100% Completion: Acquiring all 72 regular dinosaurs in the DS game rewards you with the Eoraptor lunensis, which can use move cards of all elements.
  • Action Girl: Zoe.
  • Aerith and Bob: As is usually the case with 4Kidz dubs, only certain characters have their names westernized, so you end up with things like Max's family, which includes himself, his father Spike, and his mother... Aki.
  • Affirmative Action Girl: Zoe, who was created from whole cloth for the anime.
  • All Animals Are Dogs: All of the dinosaurs exhibit dog-like behavior in their chibi forms. The D-Team can usually get away with claiming that their pets are dogs.
  • Almighty Janitor: Seth goes for most of season 1 unactive, but even before he turns out to be The Starscream, it's obvious he is ten times more competent than Dr Z.
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  • Alternative Foreign Theme Song: It's a 4Kids dub, so you should expect this to happen.
  • Antagonist Title: "Dinosaur King" is a title that Dr. Z wants to give himself once he takes over the world. Despite what the dub theme song implies, the goal of the series is not To Be a Master.
  • Arbitrary Headcount Limit: The DS game limits you to three dinosaurs loaded into your DinoShot.
  • Artistic License – Geography: In one episode, Rex's father is somehow able to drive from the Museum of Natural History in New York City to the Statue of Liberty, even though they are on two different islands, and the Statue can only be accessed by ferry. He also makes the distance in about five minutes or so.
    • Even moreso in the DS game, which uses real-life continents, but reduces them to a small town and three other areas at most.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: In the DS game, most 10 MP moves, as well as most mystery elemental move cards.
  • Badass Longcoat: Dr Z and Seth, but the latter is the real badass.
  • Bag of Sharing: Move cards are shared between dinosaurs in the DS game.
  • Bare Your Midriff:
    • Zoe. A few episodes set in colder climates show that her shirt is full-length, she just rolls up the bottom to show her midriff.
    • Ursula too, though not her whole midriff, only a diamond-shaped cutout around her navel.
  • Been There, Shaped History: The second season of the anime involves the D-Team and the Alpha Gang together traveling through time to rescue the team's kidnapped parents. The very first story arc puts them in Ancient Rome at the start of the Spartacus Rebellion, and they proceed to get similarly involved in other historical events as the season goes on.
  • Berserk Button: Every time Ursula is called an old lady, she can even be heard from the other side of the planet.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The Dark Pterosaur is destroyed and Spectre and his pirates are defeated, and despite multiple Heroic Sacrifices Everybody Lives... but also the dinosaurs are permanently stuck in combat form, they and everyone from the future return to their time, including Rex, and the time machine only has enough power left for one last trip, meaning Max and Zoe will NEVER see their friend Rex or their dinosaur friends ever again.
  • Blond, Brunette, Redhead: Rex, Max, and Zoe.
  • Bloodless Carnage: Not surprising given its target audience.
  • Boss Rush: In the DS game, all members of the Alpha Gang are refought in their lab in Antarctica, with some droids thrown in for good measure.
  • Bowdlerize: It's 4Kids, deal with it.
    • The Hot Springs Episode has some curious behavior, given that the characters have been seen wearing swimsuits before without being embarrassed.
  • By the Power of Grayskull!:
    D-Team: Dino Slash!
    Alpha Gang: Alpha Slash!
  • Capcom Sequel Stagnation: The games. Version 2 didn't introduce any new storylines, only new cards, slightly tweaked gameplay, and the ability to take on Dr. Z, who is the final boss.
  • Captain Ersatz/ Shout-Out: Aladdin looks so damn much like Disney Aladdin.
  • Carnivore Confusion: Though they can't speak normally, the dinosaurs are established to be nearer human sentience than that of other animals. They also eat species-appropriate diets. It's implied carnivores would eat other dinosaurs/humans with no qualms, but in practice their diet tends to be fish.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Dr. Owen. He's so amazed to see a real live dinosaur that he doesn't even acknowledge the Alpha Gang's threats to have it eat him, he only chases after the Alpha Gang afterwards because he fell in love with Ursula, and he thinks he can convince Dr. Z to give back the relic he stole as a wedding present.
    Dr. Z: Good grief, man! What planet do you come from?!
  • Common Tongue: Inexplicably, everyone in the anime speaks the same language... despite the fact that nearly every episode takes place in a different country.
  • Conspicuous CG: The full-sized dinosaurs.
  • Dancing Theme: While the anime originally had one, 4Kids didn't bother adapting it, but you can spot bits of it in the 4Kids OP.
  • Demoted to Extra: Zoe in the DS game. She says she's still a part of the D-Team, but Max and Rex don't seem to agree as talking to her in the HQ has the player ask if she even knows what the D-Team is. She's also not playable, doesn't go on missions, and doesn't even get her own "Dino-Shooter" (what the game calls the Dino-Holders).
  • Dinosaurs Are Dragons: Partly thanks to the Japanese word for dinosaur meaning "fear dragon" and partly due to the fact that Terry and many of the other large carnivorous dinosaurs are bonded to fire cards.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: Dr. Owen is infatuated with Ursula; Zander with Reese.
  • Does Not Like Shoes: The Brazilian children playing soccer in the episode "Field of Screams" are all barefoot. Later on, Max, Zoe, and Rex are convinced to play a game of soccer with them. To play fair, they indulge in the barefooted fun, leaving their shoes and socks on the sidelines.
  • Doppleganger Attack: Ace's Ninja Attack.
  • The Dulcinea Effect: Jim from season 2, who declares Zoe to be the most beautiful person he's ever seen immediately upon meeting her, and is willing to fight the infamous Blackbeard all by himself for her sake.
  • Dumbass Has a Point: Ed may be the dimmest of Dr. Z's minions, but even he knows the disastrous results of a forest fire in the Jurassic.
  • Enigmatic Minion: Seth
  • Elemental Rock–Paper–Scissors: Quite literally.
  • Emotionless Girl: Reese seems to combine this with Only Sane Woman. Mind you, it's not hard for her to look sane next to the exciteable Dr. Taylor.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Dr. Z., despite being a Bad Boss Mad Scientist, clearly loves Rod and Laura as much as much as any doting grandparent would, completely going off on Seth—whom he rarely even raises his voice to—when he learns that Seth has been sending them off on missions that he would think too dangerous for them to take on.
    • In the second season, we learn that Dr. Z adopted Rod and Laura's parents and the Alpha Gang trio as kids from an orphanage and raised them all as his own.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • In one episode Ursula, mistreated by Dr. Z and lost in Australia, meets and befriends the Iguanadon she's supposed to retrieve. At the end of the episode she purposely lets the D-Team have Iguanadon's card, knowing she'll be punished for it, because she feels Iguanadon deserves better than to be mistreated and brainwashed by Dr. Z.
    • Also Dr. Z, for all the awful things he's done, never wanted to send his grandkids out on missions where they could get hurt, even after it becoming clear they were far more competent than the trio he usually does send. When he finds out Seth has been sending the kids into danger without his permission he gets angrier than he ever has before.
  • Everything's Better with Dinosaurs: Yes, obviously.
  • Evil Laugh: Dr. Z, Seth, and Spectre.
  • Expy: Team Alpha, they are similar to Team Rocket both in anime and videogame status:
    • While Zander and Ed don't look like James or Meowth, Ursula is very similar to Jessie.
      • She's even voiced by the same voice actress in the English dub.
  • Evilutionary Biologist: Seth, especially after his Starscream. His goal is not to control dinosaurs, rather he wants to see a world ruled by hyper-evolved dinosaurs that never died off... even though that will almost certainly mean the extinction of humanity.
  • Fighter, Mage, Thief: The main trio's dinosaurs fit this pretty well, with Chomp's toughness, Paris's healing move, and Ace's speed used strategically in several battles.
  • Fire/Ice/Lightning: Averted. Chomp is affiliated with lightning, but Paris is earth/grass and Ace is wind. Fire is almost exclusively used by Alpha Gang.
  • Frothy Mugs of Water: In one episode, Ursula scams Alpha Gang's way into a swanky hotel. At dinner, she suggests they have some more "cherry pop".
  • Gotta Catch 'Em All: Collecting all the dinosaur cards is a big part of the game. It's never really played up in the anime. The D-Team do spend the entire first season trying to catch 'em all, but it's less about being a master and more about keeping the Alpha Gang from abusing them.
  • Happily Married: Max's parents, Spike and Aki Taylor. Also Zoe's parents.
  • Harmless Villain: While they have their moments of Not-So-Harmless Villain, the Alpha Gang essentially is barely more dangerous than the anime incarnation of Team Rocket
  • Healing Hands: Paris, with her Nature's Blessing ability.
  • Heel–Face Turn: While somewhat a bit antagonistic, Dr. Z and the Alpha Gang do this once Seth turns his back on them. Seth later pulls this off in the finale once the Cosmos Stones are taken from him by Spectre, leaving Spectre to be the final Big Bad of the anime.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Seth does this by ramming the Backland into the Black Pterosaur. Thankfully, this only renders him unconscious.
  • Hidden in Plain Sight In the anime, the Muggles are usually made to believe that the little dinosaurs are dogs. Most people don't seem to believe it, though.
  • Hot-Blooded: Zoe. Even Dr. Taylor knows better than to mess with her when she's angry. Max and Rex are positively mellow in comparison.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: After defeating Seth for the first time, he immediately battles you again with an "Irritator". Said dinosaur has the basic move cards, yet wins the rock-paper-scissors every time.
  • Idiosyncratic Wipes: Featuring either the D-Team's or Alpha Gang's symbol depending on where the focus was shifting next.
  • Knight of Cerebus: Seth, when he betrays Dr Z. And is a big example since once he decides to get into action, the series went really serious.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: Annoyingly, Aki Taylor. (She eventually learns the truth about them.)
  • Luck-Based Mission: Finding a specific dinosaur in the DS game depends mosly on how lucky you get with the fossils.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Seth
  • Mecha-Mooks: The Alpha Droids.
  • Mini-Game: The fossil cleaning in the DS game.
  • Mondegreen: A possibly deliberate example. The English opening theme has a refrain that's apparently meant to say "Make your move, come on and make your move", but it's quite possible to hear it as "Take your Pokémon and make your move". A possible Take That! to the competition?
  • Monumental Damage: When the heroes go to Spain, the Sagrada Familia winds up completely destroyed.
    • In Pisa, a certain tower loses its most distinguishing feature, though it seems perfectly fine otherwise.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Ursula. Also, Zoe in the uncut Japanese anime. Those poses she makes when swiping those cards doesn't exactly help keep this under wraps.
  • Mum Looks Like a Sister:
    • Inverted. Zoe is much younger than her big sister, Reese. Combine this with their mother rarely ever appearing, it's easy to forget they're sisters and not mother and daughter.
    • Also played straight, when Zoe's mother does appear she really doesn't look much older than Reese at all.
  • The Napoleon: Dr. Z
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed:
    • One episode has Dr. Owen falling out with a Hollywood director over how dinosaurs are represented in his movie. The director's name? Stanley Speilgman, whose past works include one with a guy attacking a sharkwith a whip, and one with a bug-eyed alien. The movie he was working on at the time? Not-Jurassic Park.
    • Another episode makes mention of soccer player David Beckham... or rather, Nathan Deckham.
  • Notice This: Most things that can be interacted with outside of towns in the DS are marked with a sparkle.
  • NPC Roadblock: All over the place in the DS game, where most areas outside of towns are blocked until something is completed in the previous one.
  • Palette Swap: See You ALL Look Familiar below.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Dr. Taylor as Dinoman.
  • Parental Abandonment: Averted: the three protagonists' parents are accounted for, and play parts (of varying importance) within the story. Also played straight with Rex, who was found abandoned by his adoptive father.
  • Power Trio
  • Real After All: The Loch Ness Monster, of course. It is explicitly stated that it is not a dinosaur or plesiosaur.
  • Reality Ensues: Ursula, Zander, and Ed attempt to cash in all the checks they've won or stolen from the previous episodes... with the giant cardboard cut-outs of the checks in question. The bank teller tells them that since they aren't even properly signed (or, y'know, real) that she can't give them anything. In Ursula's words, "They laughed at us, and then kicked us out!"
  • Robotic Reveal: Occurs with both Helga and Jonathan.
  • Running Gag: Zoe: (about Ursula) "It's the old lady!" Ursula: "I'M NOT AN OLD LADY!!" This was used to the extent that she could hear someone calling her an old lady on the other side of the globe.
    • Zoe used it once to trick Ursula into dropping her Paper-Thin Disguise.
    • A minor one in early episodes was the D-Team getting Helga's name wrong.
    • Also in early episodes, Ed mentioning that something was lucky, with Zander responding "Lucky for YOU! We put that on my credit card!"
    • The Alpha Gang's vehicles always get destroyed, often in mid-journey.
  • Satellite Character: Patrick, Dr. Owen's assistant.
  • Shown Their Work: Given the amount of different countries visited in the series and the multitude of obscure dinosaurs used, there's a good amount of educational material in the series.
  • Sleep-Mode Size: The chibi-forms of the main dinosaurs. Activating their cards turns them into their full-sized versions.
  • Spin-Off: The game is actually a spin-off of an earlier game, Mushiking, which was more or less the same thing but with beetles in place of dinosaurs. Mushi King wasn't imported to America beyond its arcade version, as the bug collecting hobby is much more perennially popular in Japan than in the US, but everyone loves dinosaurs.
  • Stock Dinosaurs: Averted: while the main character's dinosaurs fall under the definition of stock dinosaurs, many of the other dinosaurs (and assorted Mesozoic beasties) in the show are fairly obscure, especially when compared with the dinosaurs that the target audience (young children) is familiar with. Notably, the Tyrannosaurus Rex, arguably the most popular dinosaur ever, is used by the Goldfish Poop Gang villains rather than the heroes.
  • Take That!: One against Jurassic Park III in episode two. Terry the Tyrannosaurus easily defeated Spiny the Spinosaurus in battle.
    • The whole series may be a Take That! against Jurassic Park III, as Spiny almost always gets beaten up when fighting other dinosaurs. Even by smaller ones like Ace the Carnotaurus, something that's estimates put at best being under a FIFTH of its size. Often as not, it's the inoffensive Parasaurolophus, Paris, who usually battles him and wins.
    • Though to be fair, all 3 of the Alpha Gang dinosaurs get beaten pretty regularly, and this is due more to Alpha Gang's incompetence in battle than to the dinosaurs' abilities as fighters. Whenever Spiny is under Rod or Laura's control he actually fares a lot better.
  • Team Rocket Wins:
    • In the episode "Alpha's Zeta Point" the D-Team unknowingly transports into the Alpha Gang's secret hideout chasing a dinosaur and are soundly trounced for it. Turns out all of Dr. Z's followers are actually super-competent... except the ones he actually sends on missions.
    • More generally, even though the Alpha Gang's Terrible Trio routinely lose their fights against the D-Team, they usually end up winning in the end, getting away with the lost dinosaur cards more often than not.
  • ¡Three Amigos!: Max, Rex, and Zoe fit perfectly.
  • Terrible Trio: All three of the former trope namer's VA's work on this show, coincidentally.
  • Transformation Sequence: The series' main dinosaurs all have these for their tranformation from their chibi selves into their full-sized forms.
  • Tyke-Bomb: Several of Dr. Z's dinosaurs, particularly ninja dinosaur trio Dino, Dano, and Sue.
  • Villain Over for Dinner: Rod and Laura trick Max's mom into inviting them over for dinner in the Christmas Episode.
  • You ALL Look Familiar: All dinosaurs of the same general group, such as the ceratopsids or sauropods, share the same model in the DS game. The model isn't even scaled to match the dinosaur's size, leading to an Opisthocoelicaudia (12 metres long) being the same size as an Isisaurus (18 metres long).
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Seth has blue hair, Ursula hair is green, Laura & Zoe have pink hair. note