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Western Animation / Double Dragon

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The Animated Adaptation of the Double Dragon video game series. It lasted for 26 episodes, running from 1993 to 1994.

Billy and Jimmy Lee are twin brothers who were separated at birth and raised by opposing factions. Billy is raised in the Dragon Dojo by the Eldest Dragon, who trains him in the ways of the Code of the Dragon. The Code's main precepts are not to harm others intentionally and not fight if he can help it. When the Eldest Dragon is gone, Billy becomes the new Dragon Master at the age of 18. Joining forces with policewoman Marian Martin, Billy fights to protect the city from the Shadow Warriors, a criminal organization initially led by the mysterious Shadow Boss, who is revealed to be none other than his long lost twin brother Jimmy. Initially the two brothers oppose each other, but when Jimmy is betrayed by his own men, he abandon his evil ways and join forces to fight the true leader of the Shadow Warriors himself, the Shadow Master, who wishes to engulf the world with the power of the black flame.


The first episode makes a fair adaptation of the first game (at least the NES version, which had Jimmy as the final boss and Willy as his henchman), but the series deviates from Episode 2 and onward. However, a tie-in video game titled Double Dragon V The Shadow Falls was produced by the franchise's U.S. license holder at the time Tradewest, released in late 1994 on the Super NES, Genesis and Jaguar.


Double Dragon includes examples of the following tropes:

  • Adaptation Dye-Job: The Lee brothers are given the different hair colors and hair styles they had in Super Double Dragon (which in turn were based on the designs they had in the NES versions of the original trilogy), but Billy's hair is colored black like on the game's American boxart instead of the reddish brown hair he has in-game and Japanese promo art, which ends up making him look like a poor man's Kenshiro with the ensemble he's given. A coloring mistake in the episode "The Price of Oblivion" ended up inadvertently giving the Lee brothers their arcade colors for one scene, with the dark-haired brother (Billy in this case) being given a red outfit, while the blond-haired brother (Jimmy) being given the blue outfit.
  • And Knowing Is Half the Battle - Every episode, except for the pilot, ended with a public service announcement featuring the heroes teaching some kind of moral to kids, as was standard with most animated shows at the time.
    • The Season 1 PSAs were pretty generic in nature, being nothing more than scenes from the actual show that were clearly redubbed at the last minute to shoehorn a lesson in order to meet the education content quota required for children programming at the time. There were only six PSAs made for the first season, so the show reuses them all for the latter half of the season.
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    • The Season 2 PSAs on the other hand were unique to each episode and had morals that were actually related to the episode's plot. One particularly ironic example is in "Virtual Reality Bytes", which centers around a kid's video game addiction. The moral was essentially "don't play the video games all the damn time"—which, while certainly a good moral, is kind of odd coming from an adaptation of a video game.
  • Arm Cannon: Triggerhappy. The figure of the character carries a BFG instead.
  • Art Evolution: First inverted, then played straight (sort of). While the pilot episodenote  wasn't anything special, it was leaps and bounds better than the rest of Season 1note . Season 2note  was a marked improvement to the first season, but it still looked rather rough in many spots.
  • Battlecry: Both, the Dragons and the Shadows, have one.
    • "Dragons Go!"
    • "The Shadow Falls!"
  • Blind and the Beast: Jawbreaker befriends Samantha (Commissioner Briggs' blind daughter) after kidnapping her under the Shadow Master's orders in "The Sight of Freedom". When Icepick orders him to "eliminate" the girl, Jawbreaker rebels against the Shadow Warriors and rescues her.
  • By the Power of Grayskull!: "For might!" "For right!" "We are Double Dragons!"
  • Canon Foreigner
    • Most of the Dragon Warriors (except for Billy and Jimmy themselves) and the Shadow Warriors (the gang exists in the games, but not this specific roster) were created specifically for the cartoon. Granted, the Shadow Master appears to be loosely based on the nameless final boss from the second NES game.
    • The Shadow Falls fighting game featured a few additional Shadow Warriors who were not in the show. Namely Dominique, Bones, Blade and Sekka. Although Blade and Sekka were just generic Shadow Warrior grunts.
  • Child Soldiers: Shadow Master hires a young street gang to use his new ray guns to attack the Dragon Dojo.
  • Cool Car: the Dragon Cruiser.
  • Color-Coded Secret Identity: For some reason, many of the civilian characters have trouble figuring out that the Lee brothers are actually the Double Dragons, despite the fact that they always carry their swords with them. There's actually not much difference between their civilian clothing and their Dragon Warrior alter-egos, save for the addition of masks, the lack of undershirts (exposing their birthmarks), and the different boots and gloves. Not to mention that Billy was already fighting crime with his birthmark exposed in the first episode.
  • Criminal Amnesiac: Billy becomes the Shadow Boss this way in "Over the Line". However, he recovers at the end of the episode, while Jimmy's former career as Shadow Boss was almost his whole young life.
  • Cut Short: The Lee brothers never get to defeat the Shadow Master, nor are they ever reunited with their missing father. "Daj of the Undertown Dragons" ends with a sequel hook for an unmade third season.
  • Darkest Hour: In "The Abyss". Billy and Jimmy are stranded in the other-dimensional abyss, the Dragon Warriors are trapped in the Shadow Mural, and Shadow Master uses the EMF plant to energize the Black Flame and become all-powerful.
  • Dragons Up the Yin Yang: In addition to the gratuitous dragon imagery from the game, the show added various dragon-themed accessories, such as masks, tattoos, and medallions. A good example would be the Shadow Warriors' insignia, a Yin-Yang with dragons note  instead of the spots.
  • Family-Friendly Firearms: The Lee Brothers' magic swords, that shoot a green flame. Shadow Master has a scythe (that can split into a smaller scythe and a sword) that shoots a black flame.
  • Fantastic Drug: Oblivion and RPM.
  • Faux Action Girl: Marian goes from a Distressed Damsel in the games to a police officer in the TV series. Despite this, she doesn't really do that much to make her into a genuine Action Girl and is practically reduced to a background character by Season 2.
  • Going to Give It More Energy: How Shadow Master is defeated in "The Abyss".
  • Heel–Face Turn: Jimmy Lee after the first episode, and in Season 2, Jawbreaker.
  • In Name Only: The Pilot makes a fair adaptation of the first NES game and even features bad guys from the game (namely Abobo and Willy, though the latter is now a cowboy named "Wild Willy" wielding a pair of laser pistols), but the rest of the series deviates from the games completely, with the Shadow Master being loosely modeled after the unnamed final boss from the second NES game.
    • Metro City itself is also perfectly fine and dandy, with successful businesses and a state of the art power plant, when the original games make it fairly clear the city (all but stated to be New York City) is merely what’s left after the bombs fell during World War III.
  • Kid Sidekick: Michael and most of the Junior Dragons.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: When the brothers meet their mother, she reveals that the Shadow Master is her half-brother, which makes him their uncle.
  • Master of Disguise: Sickle.
  • Merchandise-Driven: When have you seen the Double Dragons drive cars, or wear magical dragon armor? Never? You should watch this show more!
  • Mooks: The generic Shadow Warriors all wore metal mouthplates and were armed with claws. Blade from Double Dragon V was essentially one of them (along with his female counterpart, Sekka).
  • Never Say "Die"
    • The Oldest Dragon is just told to be "gone", while Abobo and Willy are imprisoned forever in a magic wall by the Shadow Master due to their failure.
    • Averted in some subsequent episodes. In "Mistress of Chi", Jimmy asks Su Lien (the titular "mistress") if she killed the Shadow Master she uses her powers to teleport him, while the "Price of Oblivion" explicitly mentions the increasing murder rate that occurred in Metro City due to the sale of a new drug.
  • Next Tier Power-Up: In Season 2, both the Lee brothers and the Shadow Master obtain magic armor in the form of the Dragon Claw Daggers for the Lees and the Shield of the Shadow Khan for Shadow Master. Later, they get "ultimate forms" as well.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: If not because Shadow Master ordered to kill Jimmy, he wouldn't have turned to the side of good.
  • Non-Indicative First Episode: Everything about the first episode, right down to the opening, implies a completely different overall premise to the actual series.
    • The Oldest Dragon's voiceover states 'Billy Lee, You are Dragon Master now' in the opening, when the ACTUAL series opening says, 'Jimmy and Billy Lee, You are Dragon Masters now'.
    • Shadow Master's part in the intro is filled by Shadow Boss.
    • The two sidekicks of Shadow Boss... are used as an example in the second episode, and never seen again.
  • Out of Order: The Season 2 episodes were aired without regard to their actual continuity. Particularly notable with "RPM", the final episode aired, which clearly took place before Jawbreaker's Heel–Face Turn in "The Sight of Freedom". "Daj of the Undertown Dragons" was the last episode made in production order.
  • Phantom Zone Picture: If a villain screws up once too many, the Shadow Master will make him part of his mural, trapped as stone and half merged into the wall. Previous victims are still seen there.
  • Ray Gun: Unlike most versions they are usually BFGs because the can't make them hand gun size. One episode averts this.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Billy: blue, Jimmy: red. Their costumes even match.
  • Schizo Tech: A helicopter with an AI that is actually the spirit of a shattered sword.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Triggerhappy seems to be this for Willy from Episode 2 onwards.
  • Toyless Toyline Character: Despite being a blatantly Merchandise-Driven show, the only characters to get tie-in action figures besides the Lee brothers and the Shadow Master were Vortex, Blaster, Sickle and Trigger Happy. A second wave of figures were planned for the powered up forms of the Lee brothers and the Shadow Master, as well as Kona, but these were not widely released.
  • Un-person: the Shadow Master intends to destroy the Dragon Dojo (the Dragon Warriors have been banished to the Shadow Mural, and the Lees are in another dimension), saying that once it occurs, "it will be as though (the Double Dragons) never existed."

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