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Western Animation / Ballmastrz: 9009

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From the creator of Superjail! comes Ballmastrz: 9009, an animated series on [adult swim] that takes place in the dystopian future of 9009, years after the Rad Wars. If you've watched Superjail, you know what to expect.

To end the war a mysterious being known as Crayzar created The Game, where teams use sentient balls to score and maim each other. This brings us to the present, where the worst team known as the Leptons lead by Ace Ambling face against the greatest team, the Boom Boom Boys and their star player Gaz Digzy, whom Ace idolizes.

After winning the match and celebrating through a series of alcohol-fueled illegal escapades, Gaz is kicked from her team and forced by Crayzar to aid the Leptons in winning a single match if she wants her old position back, becoming de-facto captain of the Leptons. Can she get her act together and help them win? And what's the story behind this mysterious "Ballmaster" transformation that Ace Ambling and Babyball share together?

Season 1 premiered April 9th, 2018. It was announced that the show had been greenlit for a second season in July 2019, which premiered on February 23rd, 2020. Reruns of the show would join Toonami's lineup on June 6, 2020. A special entitled Ballmastrz: Rubicon was released on February 20, 2023.


  • After the End: The Rad Wars wiped out civilization some 20 Minutes into the Future. Crayzar has reformed society and watched over it for thousands of years since, but most of the world is still a wasteland.
  • Animation Bump: Much like the inspirations the show takes from, it bounces between this and Limited Animation regularly, with the latter often done intentionally.
    • Babyball's animation is of slightly higher quality compared to the others even outside the action scenes.
    • Season two as a whole has seen an animation bump due to its much higher budget.
  • Animesque: Its a parody of Sports Anime with a mix of general Anime stock character parodies mixed in. Specifically cited influences include AKIRA, Robotech, Kill la Kill, and JoJo's Bizarre Adventure.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: A news report covers Gaz's fall from fame in the "city of sin," which features horrors such as illegal drugs, prostitution, and... poor Wi-Fi reception.
  • Art Shift: Happens often during The Game when characters show off their moves.
    • Flypp Champion's flashback in episode 9 of season 1 is heavily based off of Fist of the North Star, right down to the art style.
    • The presentation of a team of humanoid monkeys is reminiscent of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann's eyecatches, including the heavy shading, distorted angles and random light reflections.
    • Ballmastrz Rubicon is animated entirely in an Animesque art style (by a Japanese studio, no less!) with intentionally cheap limited animation.
  • Applied Phlebotinum: Death is common and expected in The Game. Defeated players are removed from the game and immediately start regenerating thanks to B.E.H.O. going to work on them right away.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Gaz wanted to find proof that the talent agent handling Ace's career was slimy, and that proof turned out to be an entire sweatshop of mutant slave labor. Gaz herself is both shocked and openly appalled when the Leptons discover this, claiming she expected to find out he was stealing money or did some gross sex-related stuff but nothing this bad.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: The Ashigahari Princesses. They act sweet and innocent, but will quickly drop the act to be as cruel and violent as most teams who play The Game.
  • Blood Sport:
    • The Game, though it's far more downplayed than most examples.Whenever players are killed or severely injured, they're teleported off the field into healing chambers, where they are then quickly healed with absolutely no side-effects. Despite The Game being brutal and bloody, it's yet to be seen if players can permanently die playing it.
    • Its underground Team Rumble iteration is even worse since the teams don't even play for points and just try to kill each other with no healing chambers to bring any of them back.
  • Borrowed Catchphrase: More like "Borrowed Monologue". When Gaz is being trained by Flypp Champion, but with no apparent results, she reads the forbidden scrolls and is able to develop Flypp's Umbilicus attack. Before using it, she gives one of those long monologues he always exclaims in every episode.
  • Butt-Monkey: The Leptons as a whole are this. However, Flypp Champion, Ace, and Babyball have it the worst.
  • Casting Gag:
  • Characterization Marches On: In season 2, as the Leptons winning becomes a regular event, we see this in some of the members. Leto smiles more, Bob is more animated, and Flypp's Umbilicus is even occasionally useful. On the flipside, Ace shows more tendencies towards being self-absorbed.
  • Cool Car: The Leptons' mode of transportation is essentially a giant tower on wheels, which also seems to serve as their living space during game season. It actually looks pretty neat, if clunky and worn-down. It is implied that it is a mobile sewage refinery.
  • Cuteness Proximity: The Leptons lost 0-238 against a team of literal kittens just because of how cute they were. Babyball directly assisted in allowing them to score so many points.
  • Dark Is Not Evil:
    • Gaz wears menacing dark red armor (complete with Spikes of Villainy) and looks like a typical anime villainess, but she is the heroine of the story and she’s not evil, just a bitter, rude drunkard.
    • Crayzar has a creepy expression and long white hair, but is the benevolent leader of the game. When the Leptons arrive in his domicile after the events of the second episode, he rewards them with a banquet.
    • The Boom Boom Boys share Gaz's dark red armor motif, but they still consider Gaz their friend even though she was kicked off their team, and salvaged the song the Leptons were working on before playing it at the match. They specifically did it for Gaz because they felt bad about how crappy she'd been feeling.
  • Death is Cheap: B.E.H.O. (Biologically-Engineered Healing Organism) slime allows for the quick healing of severe injuries. However, the process is not instantaneous and players are effectively benched until they are fully restored.
  • Deranged Animation: Courtesy of the same team of animators at Titmouse Studios who brought you Superjail!.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: In episode 6: Ace and Babyball form the Ball Master, and then summon a giant sword out from Babyball's position in the crotch.
  • Enemy Mine: The Leptons hire rival MVP Stinkfinger to help make them immune to Deeter's stench bombs through arduous sensory training. While he is Only in It for the Money, he sticks around in the stadium's crowd to see whether they can defeat Gaz's stalker or not.
  • Everyone Has Standards: The audience watching the second match with the Leptons is legitimately disturbed and disgusted by whatever was done to Bob. Given they enjoy all the other chaos and carnage that occurs in these matches, it must've been really bad. If the following shot is anything to go by, Bob was liquefied.
  • Extraordinary World, Ordinary Problems: A few episodes focus on how Gaz's bad habits have negatively affected her body, and even in the sci-fi world she lives in there are no quick fixes.
    • One episode focuses on Gaz's self-consciousness about her beer gut. By episode's end, she still has it. When she finally loses it, it's over the course of season 2, which is implied to be weeks if not months.
    • In the episode where Gaz gets the Blab, everyone thinks she is pregnant at first. Leto points out that with Gaz's substance abuse, the (nonexistent) baby could be harmed terribly. There is also the fact that the disease she caught is curable but hard to do so.
    • One episode has Dee Dee mention she had student loan debt to pay off in the past.
  • Fake Special Attack: Flypp Champion's Umbilicus, some kind of Hard Light beam that spreads from where his navel should be. It takes a long time to get charged, and he always tells the viewers about the training he endured to develop it in the meantime... However, it's always shown to backfire or to be totally useless. At least until the last episode of season one, where he and Leto finally find an use for it.
    • In Season 2, he's had more opportunities to successfully use it.
  • Foil: Ace is humble and optimistic, while Babyball is arrogant and cynical. It's the contrast between the two that allows them to become a Ball Master.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: During the first episode's conversation between Gaz and Crayzar, there's a slow zoom-out with a few frames which hint that Crayzar might be a robot.
  • Fun with Acronyms: B.E.H.O. Biologically Engineered Healing Organism.
  • Genre Throwback: The series, in general, is a Western Affectionate Parody of the pulpy, hyper-violent, Cyberpunk, often post-apocalyptic anime Original Video Animations of the late 20th century, such as Genocyber, MD Geist and Apocalypse Zero.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Whatever happened to Bob when he got punched during the first match with Gaz on the team must've been pretty bad to have disturbed an entire audience that'd been enjoying the carnage so far.
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: At the end of season 1 in their match against the Boom Boom Boys, the Leptons are so in sync with each other that Flypp allows Leto to grab onto his Umbilicus and smash him down onto one of the BBB like a mallet.
  • Groin Attack: Ace and Babyball are tortured by Ashigahari Princesses this way for twelve straight hours with their ball repeatedly flying into Ace's groin and Babyball being smashed into the hard, muscled crotches of their team members to try and force a Ball Master Formation.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Gaz initially chastises Ace for playing To Catch A Princess, claiming that videogames are for people who can't win in real life. She later spends half a day playing the game after she believes it insulted her ability to pick up women.
  • Insult Backfire: In the tenth episode, the Boom Boom Boys get a hold of the Lepton's mixtape and play it to the crowd. Everyone laughs at their trash lyrical skills, but the team's happiness at their mixtape still existing helps give them the confidence needed to finally win a game.
  • Jerkass:
    • Babyball, oh so much. Not only does he have no real faith in the Leptons, he attempts to persuade Gaz into dumping them once she regains her former glory.
    • Gaz starts off as this, but as her character development sets in, she starts to treat the Leptons as genuine friends and family.
  • Leitmotif: Every so often, there's a female voice that whispers "Ballmastrz." It also tends to happen when the ending credits begin.
  • Lighter and Softer:
    • Ballmastrz is noticeably less gory than Superjail!, though there are still scenes of graphic dismemberment. None of the players actually die either. When they receive a fatal blow, they’re teleported off the field and are healed by strange pink creatures inside a box.
  • Limited Animation: Ballmastrz: Rubicon ditches the series' regular artstyle for an animesque art style with intentionally limited animation that mimics low production values of cheap 70s and 80s anime.
  • Magical Girl: The Ashigahari Princesses all dress in magical girl outfits.
  • Mr. Exposition:
    • Crayzar happily explains what the Ballmaster is, and what part it played in the Rad Wars.
    • Flypp Champion likes to go off on tangents and explain the training methods he underwent in order to channel special powers before unleashing them.
  • Mugging the Monster: Ace, Babyball, and Gaz all visit her ex to recover all of her rookie holo-cards. They soon discover that her ex is famous mobster Jojo Krako. Babyball starts freaking out and begging for forgiveness, but as soon as he learns that Gaz is with them, he immediately caves in. He kept the holo-cards safe just in case she ever came back for them, exclaiming she was super crazy and he's the one with the restraining order on her. He begs them to take the cards and leave.
  • Mundane Utility: The Ball Master transformation was created to turn ordinary people into super soldiers, capable of wiping out entire armies single-handedly. It's also pretty useful in winning The Game.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Gaz seems to take Ace's "The Reason You Suck" Speech a lot harder than the mocking she's received from the press and Crayzar's lecturing. While she doesn't become one hundred percent nicer, she's still bothered by how angry Ace was after being so nice to her.
  • My Little Panzer: The Game Balls. While they can and are supposed to be used to kill people in the Game, they were capable of so much more destruction back when they were Rad War Death Orbs.
  • Mythology Gag: The blue-skinned biker that Duleena falls for resembles a more badass version of Jacknife. He even wields a jackknife as well. There are other little nods to Superjail! in the design of the main characters: Babyball and Leto have unibrows just like the Twins, and Babyball also has the Warden's teeth gap. Meanwhile, Flypp Champion has too many abs, just like Combaticus.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed:
  • Nose Bleed: Ace gets one after Luna suggests that the two of them meet up in real life.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • When Ace, Babyball, and Gaz go to see her ex, they set off a security system. Gaz reacts accordingly.
      Gaz: Aww, shit.
    • Crayzar reacts the same way when his scientists revealed that he may have inadvertently caused the death of the sick Make a Wish kid that came to visit the Leptons.
  • Old Shame: In-universe, Gaz's rookie card from when she was with the Boom Boom Boys is this, due to some rather unfortunate angling making it look like she's giving a hand job.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: When Ace cuts into Gaz for betraying the team to make herself look good and expresses his belief there might not be hope for her or the Leptons, Gaz and Babyball are both genuinely shocked speechless by this outburst, and for a moment Gaz even seems remorseful.
  • Pet the Dog: As thanks for showing some integrity in trying to get back those embarrassing holo cards, Gaz offers to split the money with Ace 50/50 and refers to him as her "Little man."
  • Power Incontinence: The downfall of the original Ballmastrz. A multitude of them managed to learn how to combine with their Death Orbs, but far too few mastered the fusion and wrecked the world when they exploded from lack of control.
  • The Power of Friendship: In episode 10, Gaz was all but ready to quit The Game, absolutely certain the Leptons stood no chance against her former team, the Boom Boom Boys. The Leptons don't actually pick up on this and somehow get even more inspired to win. This ends up supercharging all of them into powerful, competent players who completely steamroll the Boom Boom Boys and score their first victory.
  • Quarter Hour Short: As per the norm with nearly every Adult Swim show.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: The Leptons are the worst team in the lowest ranked league in The Game. They barely know how to play, let alone work together.
  • Red Is Heroic: Gaz’s armor during the tournament is a dark red.
  • Riddle Me This: When the Leptons go to see Crayzar, they encounter a gate which asks them what Crayzar misses most since the Rad Wars. After getting their first nine tries wrong, the team huddles together to figure out what to say on their final try. Except for Bob, who approaches the gate and doesn't say anything. This opens the gate, because the answer was "silence."
  • Shout-Out:
    • Ace and Babyball's Ball Master design looks like it was ripped out of Mazinger Z.
    • The Game, being a Blood Sport that involves rollerblades, seems to take after Rollerball.
    • The Choo Choo Chums team resemble Thomas & Friends characters with arms.
    • After getting addicted to eating B.E.H.O., Ace grows out of control into a giant blob monster in the exact same manner as Tetsuo from AKIRA.
    • The "sauna" in episode 5 looks like Seth Brundle's matter transport pod.
    • Flypp Champion's Fist of the North Star-inspired backstory in "Chaste Wing of the Cold Turkey vs Flaming Fist of Indulgence" features a girl similar to Lynn being saved by him from bandits. Said bandits also died from their heads exploding after a delayed reaction.
    • In the same episode, part of the training montage shows Flypp and Gaz fighting robots similar to the "fighters" training robot that Paul Atredies fights against in Dune (1984).
    • The right-hand man of Gaz's criminal ex-boyfriend wields a giant sword that looks like the Dragonslayer.
    • One of the teams the Leptons fights in season 2 are basically green bloodthirsty Totoros.
    • In "Children of the Night Serenade Wet Nurse of Reprisal; Scream, Bloodsucker, Scream!", Duleena reveals that she used to work as a pest control job— which just happened to hunt vampires— before she joined the Leptons. She dresses up Vampire Hunter D, which is lampshaded when Leto calls her "Vampire Hunter DD". She likes the name.
    • Rudy the superfan from "When You Wish Upon A Spore" has the same aged appearance as the psychic esper children from AKIRA.
    • In the same episode, the way Flypp is transported into another dimension for sensitivity training resembles the opening of Doctor Who, specifically that of the Fifth Doctor.
    • In "Can't Stand The Heat? Ultimate Kitchen Technique! Finish Them, Warrior Bard!", Leto shares some drugs with the other Leptons called "Champagne Supernova".
    • When a sleazy manager (who himself looks like Lupin the Third) turns Ace into a pop star, Ace is shown doing the Caramelldansen.
    • Crunchyroll, in collaboration with Adult Swim, released a video detailing all the anime references found in season 2.
    • Lulu dancing at the club is one giant shoutout to JoJo's Bizarre Adventure. Lulu starts with the signature "JoJo look", suddenly sports a pompadour like Josuke, and starts doing the Torture Dance from Golden Wind, and the club goers who join in on the dance look like Giorno Giovanni, Bruno Bucciarati, Leone Abacchio, Trish Una, and Jean-Pierre Polnareff.
    • Kyoko from the Bad Omens team can transform herself into a Titan. She's introduced as such and even has the same green eyes and long hair as the Attack Titan.
    • The alien invaders at the end of Season 2 are straight up from Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, the mecha are essentially the Gunman from said series, with the characteristic huge faces being the most notable part of the mecha designs. The second variety of mecha is a more subtle shout-out to Neon Genesis Evangelion, with EVA 01's green/purple colour scheme and wielding a pair of Lance of Longinus-like weapons. Crayzar's capital is even a spaceship that flies off to fight them.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Deeter claims himself to be Gaz's biggest fan, and never left her alone. The Boom Boom Boys locked him inside some sewer pit, and he came back as a terrorist who uses stink bombs.
  • Sure, Let's Go with That: In episode 10, the Leptons believe that Gaz deliberately gave the mixtape to her old team so that everyone could hear it in good quality, and that it's a sign that she actually does care. Gaz tries to point out how stupid that sounds, but after seeing that everyone is getting a friendship power boost from the idea, she immediately rolls with it.
  • Suspiciously Similar Song: In the season 2 finale, the music playing at the end of the episode sounds very similar to Space Battleship Yamato's opening.
  • Techno Babble: In season 2 episode 5, Crayzar's scientist launches on a rambling explanation on why the superfan disappeared, with the gist of it implied to be that the experimental sensitivity training program level warped time and space to cause the incident that sent Flypp to it in the first place. Then it turns out that, the scientist was saying they just accidentally disintegrated him.
    Scientist: Interesting. Perhaps the amplified field waves created a reality pre-echo, mapping simulbot onto people and displacing them.
    Gaz: What the hell does any of that mean?
    Scientist: It means we totally disintegrated Rudy...
    Crayzar: OH SHIT!
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: Even though Ace messed up and scored a point in the other team's goal, the audience continues to cheer him on because they loved his transformation with Babyball.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Some of the Leptons manage to show off the results of Gaz's training in the fourth episode where they manage to defeat the Ashigahari Princesses, a seasoned team, without any of their members dying. Comes to a head in the season finale when they win their first game through the power of teamwork.
  • Victory Is Boring:
    • Crayzar is a universally loved emperor of a vast galactic domain who has rebuilt society from scratch after the horrific Rad Wars, but thousands of years of peace and prosperity has left him hungry for stimulation so much so that he's willing to allow the return of the Ballmastrz, the beings responsible for the Rad Wars in the first place, because it will make the Game interesting again.
    • Also the reason for Gaz's fall from grace. She was simply bored from constantly winning the Game. It's implied that the wild night of debauchery that resulted in a police chase and the entire world watching as she nearly gets thrown out of the game in the first episode is something that happens rather frequently.
  • Wham Episode: "Onward, True Blue Friends Win Eternal; Paladin of the Heavens, Start Today!", the season 2 finale. When a massive alien armada begins attacking Earth, Crayzar reveals that he didn't create The Game just as a form of entertainment in order for humanity to unify and gain focus to keep going, but he was secretly training its players for participation against a galactic alien threat that's much greater than he is.
  • White Hair, Black Heart:
    • A heroic example, Gaz has short white hair, but is a bitter disheveled alcoholic who is actually friendlier than she lets on.
    • Inverted with Crayzar, who’s not evil, just a bit mischievous.
  • Who Is Driving?: When the Leptons converge to discuss Ace embarrassing them with his victory dance, an unknown voice suddenly calls Ace a superstar. Which leads to two questions:
    Ace: Uh, who said that?
    Gaz: Better question! If we're all here, who's driving?
    (Camera pans over to the reveal the Leptons' base is being driven by a complete stranger)
  • X Meets Y: Some viewers have viewed the show as "OK K.O.! Let's Be Heroes on [adult swim]", with both being parodies of anime tropes. Some people also state it's like speedball meets anime.


Video Example(s):


What Does Crayzar Miss Most?

To meet Crayzar, the Leptons must solve a riddle. Their first nine guesses are fruitless, but the most unexpected member ends up providing the answer.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / RiddleMeThis

Media sources: