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Western Animation / Double Dragon

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"For Might!"
"For Right!"

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.
  • Alternate Continuity: The series is in a different continuity than the game series that it is based on.
  • 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.
    • 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.
  • Battle Cry: Both, the Dragons and the Shadows, have one.
    • "Dragons Go!"
    • "The Shadow Falls!"
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: Despite being kidnapped by Jawbreaker, Samantha is constantly nice to him and even plays a game with him. Jawbreaker is so touched that he attacks Icepick for trying to harm her. This in turn leads to another example; while trying to rescue Samantha, the mutant leader helps save Brix's life, which causes him to re-evaluate his bigoted views on mutants.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: Shadow Master is the fine threat throughout the series, but towards the end of Season 2, Shadow Khan escapes imprisonment and begins launching his own attacks.
  • 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!"
  • Call-Back: In need of someone computer savvy, Billy goes to a judge from "Judgment Day" to get a hacker known as Megabyte released. The judge admits it's unusual but admits he does owe the team one for saving him in his prior appearance.
  • 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.
  • Demoted to Extra: Marian in Season 2.
  • 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.
  • Eviler Than Thou: In Season 2, Shadow Master won't release Shadow Khan from the shield because he is well-aware of this trope. When Countdown is duped into helping free the wizard, Shadow Khan quickly asserts his authority by effortlessly restraining Shadow Master and forcing the underlings to submit. Shadow Master is only able to resume being top villain because Shadow Khan gets distracted facing the Lee brothers.
  • Evolving Credits: The opening for the first few episodes has the Oldest Dragon declaring "You, Billy Lee, are Dragon Master now!" After Jimmy did his Heel–Face Turn this part changed to "Billy and Jimmy Lee, are Dragon Masters now!"
  • Exact Words: Countdown helped free Shadow Khan from the shield, which nearly led to Shadow Master being deposed. When it was over, Shadow Master opted to make Countdown his new right-hand man... by imprisoning him in the shield and wearing it on his right arm.
  • 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!
  • Mission Control: Megabyte in a couple Season 2 episodes involving computers and the brothers entering virtual reality.
  • 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 Learned to Read: Vortex reveals in one episode that he's illiterate and has been bluffing his way through for his entire life.
  • 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.
  • "Not So Different" Remark: When Samantha is kidnapped, the leader of the mutants sympathizes with Brix and offers to help, due to being a father himself.
  • Out of Focus: Of Season 1's Dragon Warriors, Neil McReady/Blaster. His biggest role is his first episode. Afterwards, he appears with the group and occasionally gets dialogue, but he didn't get any focus episodes like Kona, Chop, and Vortex did.
  • 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.
  • "Ray of Hope" Ending: "The Abyss" ends with Shadow Master's biggest plan yet foiled, but he's still out there somewhere and the brothers' mother is again trapped. She promises the whole family will be reunited someday, and Billy agrees.
    Billy: Nothing is lost. Our mother stills lives and now there is light in the heart of the Shadow.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Billy: blue, Jimmy: red. Their costumes even match.
  • The Resenter: According to Marika, Shadow Master resented how John Lee consistently proved more skilled in training and got chosen to be the next Dragon Master. The resentment didn't cause him turn to evil, though; he was always bad (simply wanting to be Dragon Master for the power and prestige it granted) and being outdone by someone else just made him worse.
  • Samus Is a Girl: Megabyte is built up as an infamous and gifted hacker before she's shown to be a young woman. Jimmy is openly surprised, which Marian finds amusing.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Shadow Khan was once a powerful sorcerer, but he was defeated and imprisoned in a shield. The Dragon Claws kept him in stasis, but when they were removed by Danny's dad, he became a Leaking Can of Evil, able to freely talk and use some of his powers but still stuck in this form and at the mercy of Shadow Master.
  • Secret Identity: The wider city is unaware that the Lee brothers are the Dragon Masters. Even the police (barring Marian) are kept in the dark, with only those welcomed into the dojo as Dragon Warriors or other allies being let in on the secret. Of course, the Shadow Warriors know who they really are, though this isn't considered much of a concern since Shadow Master was after them long before they gained these identities.
  • 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."
  • Wham Line: "The Abyss" has two in succession.
    Jimmy: You know who the Shadow Master is?
    Marika: He is my half-brother.

    Jimmy: Are you really Shadow Master's half-sister?
    Marika: Yes, and I'm also your mother.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Shadow Khan can fire energy blasts that force a target to hallucinate their worst fears. For example, Billy sees his father denouncing him as a failure, while Jimmy sees himself as Shadow Boss and is told he'll be that again. Chop is the only one the attack is useless against on the first try, which he chalks up to having already faced his greatest fear (losing an arm).
  • You Have Failed Me: In the second episode, the Shadow Master punished Wild Willy and Abobo for their failures by imprisoning them in the Shadow Mural, which he describes as a testimonial of this trope. He gives Jimmy one more chance, due to his underling not pleading or panicking, and orders him to capture Billy and the sword. Jimmy manages to capture Billy, but the sword is buried in rubble and left behind. As a result, Shadow Master orders Triggerhappy to kill Jimmy along with Billy (much to Triggerhappy and Sickle's surprise).