Before countless stick figure animations... there was only Xiao Xiao.
Xiao Xiao is a flash series created by Zhu Zhiqiang, a Chinese animator. The movies consist of stick figures fighting each other in choreographed scenes. There's not much else to it; people beating the crap out of each other is its only highlight. And what a highlight it is as it gained a lot of popularity in Newgrounds during the early 2000s. It can be found here.
After a healthy nine episodes, the series was discontinued in 2002. Zhiqiang was last heard to be animating advertisements for Chinese companies, but very little is known whether he's still involved in it or not.
This flash series contains examples of:
- Bullet Time: In the eighth episode.
- Conservation of Ninjutsu: The first installment had one of the fighters make a clone of himself. He still lost.
- Much like the badass entry above, this is also best showcased in the third episode. Especially when the protagonist makes it to the "Boss", who proceeds to hand him his ass for 2/3 of their fight.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: Xiao Xiao can effortlessly mow through a horde of mooks like it's no one's business, with Bad Boss being the only one capable of giving him a decent fight.
- Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: In episode five both fighters continue to fight as ghosts after they die, and fighting as a ghost really isn't that different. Hell, Mr. Boss doesn't even notice he's supposedly dead until after he sees his corpse.
- Downer Ending: Xiao Xiao 8, which ends with the bad guy getting away after a motorcycle chase and our protagonist reduced to hitchhiking with no success. There was supposed to be a third installment of the "Mutilator" series that would wrap things up, but it never got made. Unless you consider the ninth episode/game to be the third installment, even if it's not even loosely related to the "Mutilator" storyline.
- Early Installment Weirdness: The first installment was originally an .avi file that was later converted to a .swf and featured only two fighters. Both the protagonist and the antagonist are colored black, so it isn't easy to tell which fighter is supposed to be our beloved protagonist. It also uses a completely different sound effects library as the rest of the series.
- First-Person Shooter: The fourth installment.
- Foreign Language Title: The first episode was named "Xiǎo Xiǎo Zuò Pǐn", or "A Little Bit of Creative Work". Every episode after that was a numbered sequel simply named "Xiao Xiao #", literally "Little #".
- Hit Stop: Third episode contains the first one of them in the series.
- Humiliation Conga: Episode six is just some experiments in ways to kill the villain.
- Genre Popularizer: Those countless fighting flash movies? You have Zhiqiang to thank for that.
- Guns Akimbo: In episode seven.
- Good Colors, Evil Colors: The main villain, apparently called "Boss", is purple. In Xiao Xiao 3, he's black until he prepares to fight the hero, at which point he becomes purple, presumably to differentiate him from the hero.
- Made of Iron: At least some of the stick figures must be this.
- One-Man Army: The protagonist runs roughshod over pretty much everyone during No. 3 until he gets to the final enemy.
- Professional Killer: The protagonist seems to play one in the seventh and eighth episodes, a subseries known as "Mutilator".
- Rule of Cool: In stick figure flavor!
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: the very last Mook in Xiao Xiao 3 tries to make a break for it instead of fighting. It doesn't work.
- Shout-Out: It's very blatant that the series was inspired by kung-fu films and The Matrix. The final scene of No. 3 has the protagonist pulling the infamous Trinity Kick from the first movie right before the...
- Smash to Black: Xiao Xiao No. 3 ends with one.
- Stick Figure Animation: The Trope Codifier.