Follow TV Tropes


Western Animation / Highlander: The Animated Series

Go To

Seven centuries have passed since the world was plunged into darkness...

A cartoon based on the Cult Classic film Highlander taking place in a post apocalyptic wasteland seven hundred years after a giant asteroid devastated Earth (with a little help from fallout caused by nuclear missiles deployed in a failed attempt to stop it). After "The Great Catastrophe", as it came to be called, the world's immortals banded together to restore the world to its former state. Unfortunately they were betrayed by the evil Immortal known as Lord Kortan, who decided he'd rather have the world stay a miserable ruin because it'd be easier to conquer and rule that way and because the other immortals, now known as Jettetorsnote , took a mystical oath that prevented them from killing another immortal, which meant they were all powerless to stop him. Didn't really think that one through.

Kortan kills the protagonist of the first movie, Connor McLeod, and proceeds to hoard the last of Earth's science and technology for himself in his walled fortress city of Mogonda, which he rules with an iron fist. Now, only the newly awakened immortal Quentin McLeod, born after the others took the oath, can stop Kortan and restore Earth to her former glory. To do this he'll need to track down the other immortals and gain their knowledge and skills. Fortunately for them, a side effect of the oath allows them to perform The Quickening by holding their sword with Quentin instead of getting their heads cut off, though it does cause them to lose their immortality as their power is transferred to Quentin.

The series started in 1994 and lasted for two seasons. There were a total of 40 episodes. Notably, this series does not share continuity with any other version of Highlander. While most sequels and spinoffs, though usually unrelated to each other, at least nominally follow on from the continuity of the first film, in this series Connor dies before the show even starts without ever attaining "The Prize" while Ramirez, conversely, survives and becomes the mentor to the main character.

This series provides examples of:

  • Adaptation Dye-Job: Connor is a redhead unlike his live-action original, to show he's related to Quentin.
  • Adaptation Name Change: Ramirez's given name is Vicente Marino instead of Juan, and he doesn't have the additional surnames of Sanchez Villalobos.
  • AB Negative: When Asklepios is injured and needs a blood transfusion, Valka convince Quentin and Ramirez to donated their blood, since an immortal's blood is universal.
  • After the End: Yup. Is there a future Highlander story where the world hasn't been completely destroyed?
  • Alternate Continuity: This continuity features a far future setting based on a version of Highlander where Connor is defeated by Kortan and fails to win the prize, and Ramirez survives to mentor Quentin.
  • Armor Is Useless: The hunters' armored uniforms routinely do nothing to keep them from being knocked out by blows to the head or staggered by punches to the stomach.
  • Artistic License – Geography: To be able to have Kortan or his armies as a viable menace, every single location in the series seems to be a short-ish drive away from his city. To give you some idea, Quentin's people are indeed based on Scottish clanners and when sent to gather slaves there in the first episode, Arak mentions "the highlands" like it's a location he knows well and probably isn't that far from Kortan's city. Then you have a later episode, "The Price of Freedom," that based on some rather noticeable monuments takes place in the ruins of Paris, and yet Kortan's soldiers have no trouble getting there quickly to menace Quentin and his friends. Even though Scotland and France aren't even on the same landmass.
  • BFS: Kortan wields by far the largest sword among the immortals.
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: The Anomas, giant radioactive ants bred by Lord Kortan.
  • Big "NO!": Kortan emits a bizarrely strangled sounding Big No after Quentin MacLeod is stabbed by one of his henchmen, which activates Quentin's immortality.
  • Black Dude Dies First: At the start of the series, the first Jettator to die at Kortan's hands is Mangus, the architect.
  • Book Burning: One episode features a rogue Hunter who tries to carve out his own empire and decides the best way to keep his people in line would be to restrict their access to knowledge. It should come as no surprise that his number is 451.
  • Bowdlerization: Unlike the movies and live-action shows, nobody "loses their head" onscreen in this series (Immortals who die get a Gory Discretion Shot). The quickening consists simply of two people holding a sword up to the sky while one of them has their knowledge, etc. transferred to the other. Tropes Are Not Bad, however, as this makes the show more accessible to those would never watch the R-rated Highlander moviesnote .
  • Brave Scot: Naturally. In addition to the title character, there's also the people of the Clan Dundee, who raised him. Oddly, while the Dundee speak with Scottish accents, Quentin himself sounds Canadian (maybe he's from Nova Scotia).
  • Bullying a Dragon: Asklepios loves shooting his mouth off at Arak, even though Arak could snap him like a twig, and Kortan ordering them to break it up is the only thing that stops him.
  • But What About the Astronauts?: Done twice. Once with a space station crew who'd been in suspended animation since before the asteroid impact and later an immortal who'd been exploring outer space by himself for the past 700 years returns to Earth.
  • Canon Foreigner: The series introduces Quentin McLeod, Kortan, and a number of supporting characters and creatures.
  • Cargo Cult: The Iron City Raiders, who worship the world's last Browning heavy machine gun, which they refer to as "The Brown".
  • Convection, Schmonvection: In one episode Quentin throws Kortan's sword on the ground and then empties a vat of molten metal over it. Kortan reaches in and pulls his sword out, both himself and his weapon totally undamage.
  • Downer Beginning: As the series begins, the Earth is under the tyrannical rule of Kortan and much of what's left of civilization is in ruins.
  • Drunk on the Dark Side: Quentin does this on two occasions, first when he gets a hold of an ancient machine gun and then when Yoshoda, the Jettetor of Combat gives him his own army to lead as a Secret Test of Character.
  • Faceless Goons: The Hunters. The few who get any characterization, like Arak's right hand man Mer and the rogue Hunter Four Five One have Custom Uniforms that show off the lower half of their faces.
  • Fate Worse than Death: One immortal was afflicted with radiation and waited 700 years for either Quentin or Kortan to release from his horrible pain.
  • Frothy Mugs of Water: In their downtime the bad guys usually hang out in what are plainly bars, but they drink something called "hydro plus". Any implications of that were left out of the English release, at least.
  • Honor Before Reason: Quentin once got hold of Kortan's prized sword and threaten to melt it down if Kortan wouldn't release his friends. After Kortan let them go, Quentin threw Kortan's sword back to him undamaged.
  • Horse of a Different Color: Quentin and Ramirez ride armless, featherless dinosaur-like creatures called Gavors. The Dundees have beasts of burden called Gorans that look like horned sauropods. Hunters are sometimes seen riding giant iguanas when they're not driving tanks, possibly a Shout-Out to the 1990s Star Wars re-release.
  • It's All My Fault: According to one astrophysicist immortal, the Great Catastrophe was all because of his fault. While nukes were ready to be launched against the asteroid, he made a last minute calculation and urgently called the army to stand down as the asteroid was going miss the Earth. The army aborted the launch immediately. However, he realized his mistake when he made another last minute calculation and frantically called the army to launch the missiles at once. Unfortunately, it was already too late as the asteroid has already entered the atmosphere and hit the Earth, setting off the primed nukes. He never got over it and blamed himself for the next 700 years.
  • Katanas Are Just Better: Quentin inherits his ancestor's trademark Japanese blade.
  • Kill It with Fire: Some of the Hunters wield flamethrowers. Ramirez is also fond of homemade incendiary grenades.
  • Loophole Abuse: Like all the other immortals, Cornell took an oath to stop fighting. However, he changed his name to "Orion" so he can challenge Kortan. Same with Matsuda who built a cyborg to fight for him.
  • Mad Bomber: "King" Melvyn the Magnificent.
  • Monster Clown: Malone, Kortan's quirky henchman with black and white make up.
  • Mooks: The Hunters. Likely based on Dune's Sardaukar, as they are all descended from the inmates of an old world penal colony.
  • Mix-and-Match Critters: Gaul is a mutant with the face of an orangutan, the body of a small, fuzzy centaur and the ears of a rabbit.
  • Morality Pet: Clyde is usually the only thing that stops Quentin from going over the deep end when he starts turning to the dark side.
  • Mortality Ensues: As in the original movie mortality is presented as a reward for both the Jettetors after they give the power to Quentin, and eventually Quentin himself one day.
  • Mugged for Disguise: Kortan's soldiers get knocked out and their uniforms stolen by Quentin and Ramirez in a lot of episodes.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Various characters repeatedly refer to Lost Technology from the old world as "a kind of magic".
    • Connor is depicted with a ponytail, which is more akin to Duncan from the live-action TV show (who is not mentioned otherwise).
  • No Ending: Over the course of 40 episodes Quentin manages to gain the power of numerous Jettetors, infiltrates Kortan's fortress numerous times, and survives numerous encounters with Kortan himself, but he never got any closer to that final showdown. The last episode aired had Quentin and Kortan cross swords before Ramirez interrupted the duel, saying Quentin was still not ready.
  • Nuclear Mutant: Lots of strange new animals have been created by nuclear fallout, including giant ants. There's also Promethos, Jettetor of Atomic Power, who is a hideously deformed mass of tumors due to being constantly exposed to radiation and not being able to die from it. Then again, there's also a tribe of mutant Arabs with blue skin and webbed hands.
  • The Oath-Breaker: According to the series' backstory, after the Great Catastrophe (when a meteorite collision nearly wiped out all human civilization after setting off nuclear weapons), all the Immortals took an oath forswearing the Game, vowing not to fight one another and instead to preserve human knowledge and help humanity. One, however, refused and announced his intention to take over the world; when Connor MacLeod took up his sword again and fought Kortan to try and stop his plans, his breaking of the oath led to his death at Kortan's hands.
  • Only One Name: The Jettetors are only ever referred to by one name, even the ones where it sounds like their name is their last name (Fredrickson, Shepard, Cornell...).
  • Psychopathic Manchild: Malone.
  • "Reading Is Cool" Aesop: The episode in which the aptly-named Hunter Four Five One appears, naturally. Unsurprisingly, most people born after the great catastrophe are illiterate and Quentin only learns how to read by absorbing the knowledge of another immortal, though he promises to teach Clyde.
  • Sadist Teacher: Ramirez takes advantage of the fact Quentin is immortal to pull some truly nasty ordeals on him while training him, like setting him on fire or knocking him off the top of a 20 story electrical tower.
  • Shout-Out: One episode features a rogue Hunter who was trying to carve out his own empire and wanted to take an ancient library as his palace and burn all the books. His code? Hunter #451.
  • Super Not-Drowning Skills: In at least one episode it's played up how if you're immortal, you can't drown. You can even talk underwater.
  • Undying Loyalty: Valka loves Asklepios and is extremely loyal to him, even if sometimes he treats her badly.
  • You Are Not Ready: Quentin is constantly reminded of this by Ramirez. Ramirez knows that Quentin needs the Quickenings of a lot more of the immortals, as well as proper training, if he is to stand a chance against Kortan in a proper duel. Numerous episodes teased a fight with Kortan before Ramirez says the trope name verbatim and prevents the two from fighting.
  • You Are Number 6: The Hunters all have numbers instead of names; being promoted to a command position actually seems to carry with it the privilege of having an individual name. Amusingly the aforementioned book burning megalomaniac rogue hunter keeps referring to himself as Four Five One even after parting ways with Lord Kortan.
  • The Worf Effect: Connnor MacLeod shows up in a flashback, just for the sake of showing that Kortan's even tougher than he is.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Arak knocks a woman to her apparent doom in an early episode, just because she's standing in between him and Quentin.