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Western Animation / Batman Unlimited: Animal Instincts

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Batman Unlimited: Animal Instincts is a direct-to-DVD animated film from DC Comics, tying into an action figure line by Mattel. Set at some undetermined point in the future where the various characters have not visibly aged, Batman Unlimited: Animal Instincts follows Batman and a team of other DC heroes fighting the Animalitia- a team of animal-themed villains lead by the Penguin.

Has a sequel, Batman Unlimited: Monster Mayhem.


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This work provides examples of:

  • Accessory-Wearing Cartoon Animal: Cheetah and Silverback may count. Justified in Silverback's case as he uses technological gadgets around his body to fight. Cheetah wears golden bracelets around her wrists and ankles, a belt, and a pouch wrapped around one of her legs. Unlike her companion, most of these accessories are for show.
  • Adaptational Wimp: The Flash comes off very inexperienced compared to everyone else.
  • All of the Other Reindeer: The Penguin's motivation, to get revenge on the high society of Gotham City who laugh at him behind his back.
  • Animal Mecha: The life-sized robotic animals created by Dr. Langstrom come in three flavors, wolf, lion and bat.
  • Animal-Themed Superbeing
  • Anime Hair: Nightwing and Commissioner Gordon.
  • Badass Normal: All the heroes expect for Flash.
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  • Barefoot Cartoon Animal: All of the animal-themed villains. Check on Does Not Like Shoes below for further detail.
  • Butt-Monkey: The Flash.
  • Cane Fu: Penguin.
  • Cheaters Never Prosper: One of the shorts features Batman and Green Arrow running an obstacle course while shooting at targets. Green Arrow does a good performance...but Batman wins by averting this trope thanks to a gadget that shoots multiple Batarangs. The short that acts like a sequel to the previous one shows the two having a contest, except that this time it is Green Arrow who cheats with a little help from Flash. The trope is played straight when Batman manages to tie up Flash. It seems that whether you cheat or not, Batman will always win.
  • The Chessmaster: Penguin.
  • Cool Old Lady: Bruce's close friend Gladys Windsmere.
  • Cuddle Bug: The Flash loves hugs.
  • Disabled in the Adaptation: Much like in Batman Returns, the Penguin has fused fingers.
  • Does Not Like Shoes: All of the animal-themed villains are barefooted. Justified as their physiology makes wearing shoes impossible (Cheetah has digitigrade paws for feet and Silverback's resemble large hands in account of being a gorilla) or unnecessary (Killer Croc is covered in scales so it is likely that he does not need shoes to protect his feet). The only member of the group who does wear shoes is Man-Bat when he is human (and even then his shoes get destroyed in account of his bat transformation).
  • Evil Is Petty: Penguin is willing to kill everyone in Gotham just because he hates how people talk about him behind his back. The fact the meteor is made of gold does help.
  • Eye Take: Cheetah does one of these when she sees Silverback's really a robot hidden beneath fake skin and fur.
  • Eye Scream: Cheetah tells Nightwing she'd like to keep his eyes while edging her claws towards them.
  • First-Name Basis: Gladys Windsmere insists that Bruce calls her by her first name.
  • Foot Focus: Cheetah's feet, after knocking out Nightwing in their first fight. Another focus happens again when she tries to deliver an axe kick to Flash's head and he dodges, with the camera lingering on her foot.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: All the heroes except Flash display a high level of technical skill.
  • High-Class Glass: Penguin as usual, but this one comes with Stat-O-Vision.
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: Red Robin attempts this on Man-Bat, surprisingly it actually works.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Green Arrow. Naturally as Oliver Queen he is able to get a Bat Tracking Device on Dr. Langstrom by flicking it from across the room.
  • I Want My Jetpack: Flying cars, robots and holographic billboards fill Gotham City.
  • Jekyll & Hyde: Man-Bat
  • Lighter and Softer: Like much JLA Adventures: Trapped in Time, it provides a counterbalance to the grittier and more adult material of DC Universe Animated Original Movies.
  • Murderous Thighs: In her first encounter with Nightwing, Cheetah uses this technique twice to overwhelm him in two different occasions.
    • In her first fight with Nightwing, Cheetah bended her leg as if she was going to do a roundhouse kick, only for it to be a feint so that Cheetah could wrap her kicking leg around Nightwing's waist, hook her other leg to the first one, and spin her body around Nightwing in a way on which she forced her whole body weight on Nightwing's back, pinning him to the ground.
    • In her second fight with Nightwing on that same scene, after stunning him with a few powerful blows, Cheetah finishes the fight with a cartwheel, catching his neck between her legs. Afterwards, she balances on her hands and whips her lower body around, releasing her grip on Nightwing's neck as she does so, throwing him into Flash and giving her and Killer Croc enough time to escape.
  • Mythology Gag:
  • Robotic Reveal: Silverback after his fur is burned off.
  • Running on All Fours: Cheetah runs on all four when she wants to move at her fastest. She is fast enough to chase Flash in the movie and even hold her own when being chased around him in one of the shorts.
  • She-Fu: This version of Cheetah, apart from her natural feline agility, also demonstrates some proficiency in flips and acrobatic techniques that resemble those of a trained gymnast into her fighting style.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Skyscraper City: Gotham.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye:
    Green Arrow: "I hate it when he does that."
  • Surrounded by Idiots: Both Batman and Nightwing get a moment or two of these.
  • The Team Normal: Inverted, Flash is the only superbeing in a team composed of Badass Normals.
  • Unskilled, but Strong: From the villain side we have Killer Croc and Man-Bat. Similarly, Flash is this in the heroes side.
    • Killer Croc is naturally big and muscular, his scales are tough enough to protect him from Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs from Flash, and his strength allows him to bring down lots of pain on his adversaries. However, his fighting style is very simplistic, allowing more skilled fighters to hurt him more than he hurts them. His two fights with Nightwing resulted in victories, but on both occasions he was getting his ass kicked by Nightwing, causing Cheetah to help him in his first fight and Penguin in his second fight.
    • Man-Bat shares Killer Croc's strength, but he can fly and has sharp claws. However, his intellect is that of a rabid animal and his fighting style consists of attacking his prey from the air.
    • Flash is a speedster, but it is implied in the movie that he is not fully capable with his abilities yet. His fights in the movie show this inexperience with combat. He attacks Killer Croc with Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs that don't affect him, which results in Croc knocking him down in one blow. He gets caught in a trap by Silverback when he fights him in a zoo and is even left as a toy for the gorillas there before he escapes and defeats him. In his fight against Cheetah, she sidesteps his charge and trips him with one foot, tries to axe kick him, and then chases him around for the rest of the fight, which highlights how little Flash knows about close-quarter combat.
  • Villain: Exit, Stage Left: Penguin makes his escape in an escape pod once his plans start going south. However one of Green Arrow's arrows knocks out the navigation system.
  • Villain Team-Up: The Animilitia consists mostly of Batman villains except for Cheetah and Silverback.
  • Weak, but Skilled: Excluding Flash, all of the heroes fit into this category. In the side of the villains we have Cheetah and Penguin.
    • Batman, Nightwing, Red Robin, and Green Arrow are Badass Normal heroes on peak physical condition. However, their enemies have animal powers that give them an advantage against them. To solve this difference, they all use gadgets and strategies to overcome them.
    • The Penguin has a similar problem with his theme as he is the only normal member of a theme of animalistic humanoids. He more than makes up for it with his Parasolof Pain having weapons installed on it. He even shows how tough he is by defeating a punk that was trying to assault him with just pressing a button on a wall in the street that made bricks fall on top of his head. Afterwards, he beats the remaining punks by hitting them with his parasol.
    • Cheetah does not posses the strength, endurance, or flight of her companions. She relies on the speed and agility that her feline physiology bestows upon her. However, she appears to be THE most skilled fighter in the villain side. Both of her fights with Nightwing shows that she is the better fighter of the two, with Nightwing having to use an electric stick to prevent her from going Eye Scream on him when she had him pinned to the ground. Even Killer Croc, the Mighty Glacier of her team, was getting his butt kicked by Nightwing in their personal fights while Cheetah can overcome him. Similarly, she proves to be good enough to handle Batman a very even fight at the zoo, to the point on which Batman had to use explosive Batarangs to beat her. She can easily trip Flash in spite of his Super Speed and actually has him running away from her after he dodged an axe kick to the head. One of the animated shorts has Cheetah playing on Flash's arrogance to outsmart him and get his feet stuck in wet cement, all while she is running away from him.

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