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Western Animation / Droners

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Left to right : Maroro, Corto, Enki, Mouse, and Oro

Droners is a 2020 French cartoon created by Pierre Cabissole and Sylvain Dos Santos. It could be superficially described as "Pokémon meets Ōban Star-Racers". It airs on Tfou in France and is currently receiving an English dub.

On the Ocean Planet of Terraqua (possibly Earth in a far future), several centuries after a Great Cataclysm and a Great War that changed the face of the world, society thrives again on various archipelagoes. And the biggest one is currently holding the Whale Cup, a Drone racing championship organized by Wyatt Whale, inventor of the environment-friendly technology that powers most drones, called G.En.I.Es. Participants come from far and wide in hopes of winning the first prize, which is to become Wyatt Whale's new apprentice. The story follows the heroic Team Tikis, who hope that winning the race will allow them to save their island, still at risk of sinking under the ocean. But competition is fierce, and not all teams have such noble motivations to win...



  • An Aesop: Several episodes work as a metaphors for such things as performance-enhancing substances and their inherent risks, or internalized racism. Others will simply deliver a Green Aesop of some sort.
  • Animesque: Definitely.
  • Artistic License – Physics: Those drones likely wouldn't fly with such small propellers. Hand-waved through futuristic high technology and energy.
    • In one episode, Maroro is given an Oromos shell armour that makes it sink underwater because it makes it too heavy. However, it has no problem maintaining sationary flight in the air, which should be even harder.
  • The Big Race: A major part of the show's concept.
  • Black Market: Paroa is a major Shorescrubber trade platform, where one can find anything, but where price regulation is virtually nonexistent.
  • Bland-Name Product: A social media site called "Aquagram" (an obvious stand-in for Instagram) is mentioned.
  • Clamshell Currency: "Clams" are used as standard money.
  • Evil Brit: The Sirens wear costumes that evoke modernized Victorian motifs or uniforms that wouldn't be out of place in your average Jules Verne-inspired Steampunk story, and speak with British-sounding accents. They're also among the usual "evil" teams.
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  • The Good Guys Always Win: So far, the Tikis are hardly ever shown losing a single race, barring opponents cheating. However, the championship appears to be a long series of matches in which teams move up and down the scoreboard without ever being eliminated. The Tikis may simply lose offscreen regularly.
  • Imported Alien Phlebotinum: Maroro, Team Tikis' drone, is explicitly said to have been built out of Aqua scrap parts. It makes it very advanced, but also means that broken or malfunctioning parts are extremely hard to replace and impossible to build anew.
  • Local Hangout: Competitors from all teams can be seen relaxing or having drinks by the sea in what seems to be a completely common ground.
  • Lost Technology: Aqua technology is apparently incredibly advanced, but not very well understood. People scavenging it (called Shorescrubbers) seem to contribute for a pretty big part to both the economy and the technology level.
  • Neglectful Precursors: There was a big interspecies war in the past that apparently wiped out one side entirely. A lot of artifacts from that time remain, including many war machines, some of which still work one way or another.
  • No Waterproofing in the Future: Averted, all drones are designed to be amphibious. The Sirens' drone even loses a part at one point, leaving circuitry exposed, but still works quite decently.
  • Pass Through the Rings: Every race includes unmoveable rings through which drones must pass. Apparently, they are worth points, which means that some rings may be skipped at the cost of a penalty.
  • Power Trio: The Tikis are the ¡Three Amigos! subtype, with a touch of Freudian Trio with Corto being The Hero and the Ego (in more senses than one), Enki The Spock and the Superego, and Mouse The McCoy and the Id.
  • Pro Bono Barter: Standardized currency in the form of clam shells is featured, but some goods are more easily obtained with a good old goods-for-goods barter. And then there's Paroan Shorescrubbers' auctions : You break the seller's drone ? You get what they sell. They wreck yours ? Too bad : what's left of it is not yours anymore.
  • Ragnarök Proofing: Since the great war, society had time to collapse and rebuild again. Aqua technology still works champion.
  • Scavenged Punk: The Shorescrubbers in general and the Pirates team in particular heavily use that kind of aesthetics. Other groups will likely use second-hand scavenged technology bought from Shorescrubbers, but are less eager to openly display it.
  • Scavenger World: Technology is usually a mix-and match between crude and advanced, human and Aqua parts. Even human-designed machines are often scavenged from the sea, or built with parts that were.
  • Solar Punk: Solar panels, holographic screens and remote-controlled drones coexist alongside wooden buildings, stone statues, boats made from giant conchs and wind turbines embedded into the scenery. Many characters show strong environmental concern and conflict regularly arises from the fact that some drone manufacturers do not care that they use polluting technology.
  • White-and-Grey Morality: It remains an optimistic children's show at its core, so characters range from heroes with flaws at best to rude or cynical jerks at worst, but nobody appears to be truly malevolent.