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Western Animation / Dinofroz

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The eponymous Dinofroz crew. note 

"Go to the past to win in the future!"
Tom's Catchphrase in Season 1

Dinofroz is an animated Italian series created by Orlando Corradi and Giochi Preziosi, and produced by Mondo TV.

After twelve-year-old Tom and his friends John, Bob, and Eric come across a strange board game known as Dinofroz, they decide to play it together. However, when they activate the game, they suddenly find themselves transported millions of years in the past where dinosaurs and dragons (and humans) still roamed the world. They soon discover that they have the power to turn into massive dinosaur-like monsters called Dinofroz, and that they were chosen to stop an evil dragon lord named Neceron from taking over the world. Should they fail, then the present will be affected as well, and Neceron shall rule over all.

Season 2 takes place some months after the first season while Tom and his friends are on summer break. After an alleged blue dragon is spotted flying around in the city, the gang decides to spend their vacation going on an expedition looking into the matter. During their journey, they inadvertently travel through a time portal and find themselves back in the prehistoric era. Upon finding out that a new dragon lord named Drakemon has surfaced, Tom and his gang find themselves battling the dragons once again to save humanity.

Dinofroz provides examples of:

  • Always Chaotic Evil: Subverted. All of the antagonists are dragons, while most of the protagonists are dinosaurs or humans. But flashbacks show that dragons used to be peaceful creatures until Neceron came along and forced them to go to war with the dinosaurs. Later episodes in Season 1 make it clear that several dragons hate Neceron and even rebel against him.
  • As You Know: Characters will often monologue about events that happened in previous episodes (and in some cases, events that occurred five minutes earlier). Even the characters sometimes get ired by this, such as when Vlad tells Neceron why James ate seeds from a Drowsy fruit.
    Vlad: "These seeds are able to slow down vital functions by provoking a long state of sleep."
    Neceron (annoyed): "I know what they're for!"
  • Four Lines, All Waiting: Season 2 has nearly half a dozen subplots all going on at the same time. The Dinofroz are fighting dragons again; Tom and his friends have to find all the fire rocks; Professor Stroker is kidnapping dragons for nefarious reasons; there's a Love Triangle between Tom, Keira, and Jeno; Drakemon is trying to weed out a traitor within his army. Throw in a Monster of the Week, and it's no surprise why it takes nearly two-thirds of the season before some of these subplots go anywhere.
  • Ascended Extra: Treek, who has little screentime in Season 1, becomes the Big Bad for all of Season 2, albeit he has a much different appearance and goes by the name Drakemon.
  • Big Bad:
    • Neceron in Season 1.
    • Drakemon in Season 2. Professor Stroker gradually becomes a major threat in Season 2 as well.
  • Breath Weapon: As expected, seeing as there are dragons in the series. Most dragons have a standard fire breath attack.
  • Calling Your Attacks: The dragons tend to announce their attacks before unleashing them—especially later on in Season 1. The Dinofroz occasionally do the same.
  • Card-Carrying Villain: Neceron has black scales and wings, his voice is deep, he monologues about evil plans to himself, he punishes minions for failure, he wants to Take Over the World, his lair is surrounded by lava, and he believes that everyone weaker than him is inferior. It'd be easier to make a list of what Neceron does that isn't cliche.
  • Cast of Snowflakes: A lot of the antagonists in Season 2 look vastly diversified, especially when it comes to the Monster of the Week. Even Vlad, Artik, Petrus, and Drakemon—the latter being blatant expies of Kobrax, Gladius, and Neceron—have completely different, detailed designs.
  • Character Development: Vlad stands out as being the only villain who is fully fleshed out over the series. After Neceron tries to force him to kill his former friend Treek, he realizes that Neceron doesn't care about dragons, only about securing his power. He gradually softens up from this point forward, developing his own sense of honor whilst also becoming more reluctant to assist in the villains' schemes because he knows what they're doing is wrong. It's no surprise he has a Heel–Face Turn near the end of Season 2.
  • The Chosen One: The four protagonists, but specifically, Tom. He develops a birthmark on his neck halfway into Season 1, indicating that he will be the one to fight Neceron and save humanity.
  • Damsel in Distress: Sveva, Liaia, and Alice in "Adventure For 6." The second they're accidentally transported into the Dinofroz game, they're nearly killed by a dinosaur and have to be saved by Eric when they almost fall into a river of lava.
  • Devour the Dragon: Neceron drains all of the power from Vlad, Gladius, and Kobrax in the penultimate episode of Season 1. This actually doesn't kill them, even though Neceron said it would.
  • Disappeared Dad: Tom's father, James, went missing prior to the series beginning. Turns out he warped back in time and got stuck in the same age as dragons and dinosaurs.
  • Disney Villain Death: Neceron falls to his death in the Season 1 finale, descending into a giant chasm in the earth. A similar situation happens to Drakemon in the Season 2 finale.
  • The Dragon: Vlad ascends to this in Season 2, where he's Drakemon's most trusted ally. He's also the one who summons each Monster of the Week.
  • Enemy Civil War: Halfway into Season 1, a prisoner named General Treek convinces many of Neceron's dragons that Neceron will lead to their downfall. This evolves into a short subplot where Treek and several rebellious dragons try to take down Neceron and his forces.
  • Enemy Mine: Two-thirds of the way into Season 2, Tom tries to partner up with Drakemon so they can defeat Professor Stroker. He refuses, so Vlad sneaks behind his back to make the alliance.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Vlad is disgusted when a group of dragons try to burn Tom, Bob, and Eric alive and forces them to stop, stating that they should be treated like worthy foes since the Dinofroz bested them in combat repeatedly.
  • Evil Gloating: Exaggerated. Neceron loves to brag about his evil schemes so much that he'll occasionally do it in his lair when no one's around.
  • Expy:
    • Drakemon to Neceron. Both of them are the Big Bad, both of them have distinct, intimidating designs compared to other dragons, both of them want dragons to rule the world, and both of them hardly ever leave their lair and send their minions to do their dirty work.
    • Artik and Petrus are very similar to Kobrax and Gladius. Their primary colors are green and red, they're mook lieutenants, and they're constantly overshadowed by Vlad and try to plot his downfall.
    • Tom's Dino Watch in Season 2 is very similar to the Omnitrix, right down to Tom being able to pick which Dinofroz he wants to turn into before going into battle.
  • Fantastic Racism: Dragons hate all species who aren't other dragons, humans especially. Even Drakemon, who's something of a Well-Intentioned Extremist, hates humanity and has no problem keeping human slaves.
  • Fat Best Friend: Bob, who's noticeably thicker than his three friends.
  • First-Episode Twist: In the Season 2 premiere, we find out that Drakemon, the new major villain, is actually Treek.
  • Flanderization: Bob's knack for being hungry and eating a lot was only mentioned a couple times in Season 1. In Season 2, this is his primary character trait.
  • Garnishing the Story: There is absolutely no reason for this show to have dragons in the prehistoric era besides forcing dinosaurs to fight them to look cool. It works, though.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Vlad ultimately decides to go against Drakemon and help the Dinofroz towards the end of Season 2.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Everytime the Serpent Dragons spit their poison at Tom and his friends while they're wearing anti-poison armor, they spit it right back at the dragons.
  • Hollywood Prehistory: The past in the series has both dinosaurs and primitive men.
  • Innocently Insensitive: In episode 11, Eric, Tom and Bob all think it's cool John lives at a circus and occasionally prod about the skills he learned, unaware that John hates constantly moving to different cities and making and losing friends everytime. They later promise John that they'll always be friends no matter where they are to alleviate his concerns.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: The Shaman has the power to erase humans' memories. He does this multiple times to keep the Dinofroz's identities secret.
  • Leitmotif: Neceron has his own, which also starts whenever the show cuts over to his personal lair and fixates on him and his evil plans.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Subverted with Nelsten. Early on in Season 1, he tells Tom that he's his father. He's not. It was really just a vampire dragon trying to fool Tom into falling into a river of lava.
  • MacGuffin: The Door of Time in the second half of Season 1, a device Neceron is seeking that will take him and his dragons to the present.
  • Merchandise-Driven: The show was created by Giochi Preziosi with collaboration with Mondo TV. Giochi Preziosi is an Italian company that produces toys and owns the Dinofroz and Gormiti franchises. This would explain why almost every Monster of the Week in Season 2 looks so vibrant and distinct from each other, and why there's so many different dragons and Dinofroz compared to Season 1.
  • Monster of the Week: Multiple episodes in Season 2 feature a new monstrous dragon-like foe for Tom and his friends to fight.
  • Mook Lieutenant: Generals Kobrax, Vlad, and Gladius are all of Neceron's top dragons whom always report to him. But none of them have more power or authority than the other and each have about the same about of screentime.
  • Mr. Exposition: The Shaman. He'll show up in an episode—often briefly—and then tell Tom and his team a few bits of information about their quest. Then he'll leave and repeat this process in a different episode.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: Everytime the four pre-teens activate their spin rocks to decide who the Game Master will be, it takes a solid minute or so. During this time, some rocks are just spinning around on the floor bumping into each other, but it's shot like a very tense action sequence.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: This series has Serpent Dragons (part dragon, part snake) and Vampire Dragons (part dragon, part vampire). Season 2 also introduces a dragon that's half frog, and a dragon that's half tortoise.
  • No Name Given: The Shaman is just known as...the Shaman.
  • Non-Action Big Bad: Neceron doesn't engage in combat with any of his foes until the Season 1 finale. And even then, he only faced the Dinofroz after he sucked out all of the power from his three Generals.
  • Orcus on His Throne: Neceron hardly ever leaves his lair. He spends most of Season 1 having his minions do his dirty work while he stays behind scheming.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: Season 2 introduces new draconic villains who, like Drakemon, walk on two legs and appear to be far more humanoid. It's later revealed that they're adolescents Stroker experimented on to give them the ability to turn into bipedal dragons.
  • Put on a Bus: The Shaman disappears after Season 1, and it's never revealed where he went to.
  • Red Shirt Army: The fighter dragons in Season 2. They have no purpose besides showing up, causing a small ruckus, and getting defeated by the heroes. All of them even have red scales.
  • Shout-Out:
    • There is a vampire dragon named Vlad, as well as a professor named St(r)oker.
    • Given that it's far from the first time that Giochi Preziosi and Mondo TV have been unsubtletly inspired by Digimon, this series includes a baddie named Drakemon, which looks even more like a Digimon than the rest of his pals.
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad: There are four Dinofroz, not just one. But in Season 2, Tom is usually the only member of his friends who gets to fight the major baddie each week in Dinofroz form, while his friends just sit back and watch in human form.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: The Shaman has a habit of showing up out of nowhere, giving Tom and his friends valuable information, and then disappearing when they have their backs turned.
  • Taken for Granite: The Dinofroz have a special attack that can temporarily turn their foes into stone.
  • Third-Person Person: Keira always refers to herself by her name.
  • Threatening Shark: The Mouth of the Shark is a giant lake with a massive, hostile shark inhabiting it.
  • Tomato Surprise: Drakemon is Treek. This is revealed at the end of the Season 2 premiere nonchalantly, and the dragons already have known this for a while.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Treek was something of a Well-Intentioned Extremist in Season 1 who wanted to kill Neceron to preserve the dragon race. In Season 2, he's more than happy to let every species on the planet go extinct so long as dragons will reign supreme—which isn't far off from how Neceron behaved.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: In the exact inverse of the example above, Vlad becomes much nicer and a more honorable villain during Season 2 compared to Season 1. It gets to a point where he starts helping the Dinofroz and betrays Drakemon when he sees he's gone too far.
  • Two Lines, No Waiting: Season 1's main plot is about stopping Neceron, and while this is happening, Tom is also trying to find out more about his father's research and what happened to him.
  • Wake Up, Go to School & Save the World: Tom and his friends go to school like normal kids, and they have to balance between their school lives and venturing into the Dinofroz game without anyone knowing.
  • We Used to Be Friends: Vlad and Treek used to be best friends prior to Neceron's uprising. They're both understandably upset when they're forced to fight each other in episode 14.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Subverted with Treek, who shows up in the Season 1 finale after disappearing at the end of episode 15. On top of that, in Season 2, Treek is revealed to be the main villain and has much more screentime.
  • World of Pun: Season 2 drops no less than three puns per episode. Even the villains can't help but deliver cheesy puns to Tom whenever they're fighting him.