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Western Animation / Delta State

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The main four at the bottom, L-R: Philip Graff, Luna Palacios, Martin Gold, Claire Donally

"Four young amnesiacs hold the fate of humankind in their hands. Their mission is to protect you from the 'Rifters' who want to control the human mind. They may appear to be harmless and self-absorbed but they have astonishing, paranormal powers and an invincible motivation: To retrieve the secrets to their past lives, hidden deep in the parallel dimension of the Delta State."
Professor Robert Brodie, Opening Narration

Delta State is a Canadian/French animated television series produced by Canada's Nelvana and France's Alphanim. The series debuted September 11, 2004, on Teletoon's Detour block, but also aired in France from March 9, 2005, on France 2 and Canal+. It ran for a single season of 26 episodes, with designs, storyboards, etc. done in France and shooting and recording performed in Canada.

The show features four roommates in their early twenties named Luna Palacios, Philip Graff, Claire Donally, and Martin Gold. They have no memories of their lives from before they started living together, but their mysterious friend and mentor Professor Robert Brodie has told them all of one very important thing: they all possess psychic powers that grant them the ability to subconsciously enter a lucid dream-like ethereal realm known as the Delta State. With only their strange powers and each other's company, these four young adults must face off against a mysterious group of malevolent beings known as The Rifters, who seek to gain total domination over the collective minds of the human race. At the same time, they also do their best to piece together their past lives from before they all found themselves together in this strange situation.

Delta State was based on a comic book of the same name by series creator Douglas Gayeton that was being produced around the same time as the TV show, but for unknown reasons, the comic ultimately remained unpublished. Regardless, this European-Canadian production is a notable and landmark achievement in the world of television animation for being the first ever TV cartoon to be entirely created through rotoscoping, taking over 27 months to complete. For its unique place in animation, the show won the Special Award for a TV program at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival.

Every episode of the show is now available on Nelvana's Retro Rerun channel.

This series provides examples of:

  • Amnesiac Hero: Directly referenced in the Opening Narration, the protagonists can only remember since they started living together and gaining their powers.
  • Another Dimension: The titular Delta State. The main four must perform a ritual to have their minds enter the realm.
  • Body Surf: As opposed to the normal, longer method of taking over someone's body, if a Rifter's current body is dying they can jump immediately into a nearby person.
  • Catapult Nightmare: This happens to Luna in episode 10 after she has a nightmare she fears is one of her premonitions.
  • Dating Catwoman: Philip and Maria develop feelings for each other.
  • Downer Ending: The group manages to destroy the Big Bad, and stop the Earth-Shattering Kaboom, but their mentor is dead and they have absorbed a lot of Rifter's energy. Luna then has a vision that reveals that they will eventually become Rifters themselves because of this.
  • Earth-Shattering Kaboom: What will happen when Brodie's immense powers goes into Super-Power Meltdown.
  • Evil Wears Black: Sven and Maria wear an all-black ensemble, complete with Badass Longcoat.
  • Gaslighting: Maria disguised as the psychiatrist Sophia brings up the concept of group delusions to Phillip so that he questions the reality of the Delta State.
  • Grand Theft Me: The modus operandi of the Rifters, a Hunter Rifter will steal someone's mind, imprisoning it inside the Delta State,and after a short coma they will assume their identity.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Maria is torn between her loyalty to the Rifters and her feelings for Philip. She eventually chooses him.
  • Human Shifting: Sven and Maria appear to be able to change their appearance to other people, although it is implied to be a mental disguise.
  • I Cannot Self-Terminate: Brodie's motivation for training the group is to make them strong enough to kill him before he suffers a Super-Power Meltdown and destroys the world.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Brodie may seem cold to the others, but he does really care about them.
  • Part-Time Hero: While they recognize the threat of the Rifters as their main goal, the gang must also provide for themselves and they desire to have aspects of a normal life.
  • People Jars: When the Rifters capture someone's mind, they appear suspended in spherical containers in the Delta State.
  • Psychic Powers: The premise of the show revolves around the protagonists gaining the ability to send their minds into the Delta State to battle the machinations of the Rifters.
    • In addition to this each member gains a unique power:
      • Phillip: Can see glimpses of the past.
      • Luna: Has precognitive visions.
      • Claire: Is able to remote view.
      • Martin: Telepathy and Mind Reading.
  • Psychometry: This is how Phillip's power works specifically, he can see previous events related to an object he is holding.
  • Quest for Identity: The protagonists can only remember the last 2 months at the beginning of the series and struggle to find answers to their former lives in addition to their mission to save the world.
    • Luna laments this trope in the first episode, stating she wishes to start living again instead of having to live in the past.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Maria saves Philip from Sven's attack but is wounded in the process. She recovers, only to die two episodes later saving the whole group again.
  • Remote, Yet Vulnerable: When entering the Delta State the heroes' bodies are left in a comatose state. They usually need one of the group or Brodie to watch over their physical bodies.
  • Seers: Luna can see into the future, Philip can see into the past and Claire can see to faraway places.
  • Telepathy: Martin. Interestingly, he cannot read Brodie's mind.
  • Thanatos Gambit: Brodie trains the group so they will eventually gain enough power to kill him.
  • Weirdness Search and Rescue: Inverted. The protagonists must search in the Delta State to rescue victims of the Rifters.
  • You Are Not Ready: Brodie to Phillip in episode 4 after Chantelle is murdered and he wants revenge: "You're not ready for Sven and Maria. Nowhere near ready."