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Western Animation / Kaijudo

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The main cast from left to right: Ray, Gabe, and Allie

Kaijudo: Rise of the Duel Masters is an Animesque Western Animation based on the Duel Masters franchise.

The show's history is as follows: thousands of years ago, numerous creatures roamed the earth, each hailing from one of five Civilizations: Fire, Water, Nature, Darkness, and Light. The various myths of this world were given form due to the aforementioned creatures, from dragons and sea-serpents to even UFOs.

At first, these creatures lived side-by-side with humans and everything was peaceful. Until eventually, certain creatures began to feel that man was growing too powerful too fast and started pulling for them to be enslaved. Thus began the Creature Wars which lasted for centuries. Said wars would understandably mar the present day outlook on the humans side toward creatures.

Seeing the inevitability of the wars tearing the world apart, five shaman warriors joined together. Each representing one of the five Civilizations, they preformed what is called Kaijudo, which means "Way of the Strange Beast/(Creature)". They proceeded to strip the power from the five Creature Rulers and used it to create a parallel dimension know as the Kaiju Realm that is protected from earth by a barrier called the Veil, where creatures reside in to this day.

And, just like that, the Creature Wars ended, and life began to evolve into what it is today.

These five shaman warriors took the near powerless bodies of the Creature Rulers and, putting them into a deep sleep, hid them deep underground. Henceforth, The Order of the Kaijudo Duel Masters began. Their charge was to make sure the Creature Rulers stayed in hibernation and also to guard the Veil, making sure nothing came out and keeping the earth and its people ignorant that such things as "monsters" ever existed.

Fast forward to the present day. The Veil is weakening and creatures are coming through. The current generation of Duel Masters are kept busy sending the wayward beasts back home and sealing the rifts they came through, all the while not aware of what this could possibly foretell…

Our hero is fourteen year-old Raiden 'Ray' Pierce-Okamoto, who, along with his mom and grandpa, has just moved into a new apartment. Somewhat introspective and often bullied for his mixed heritage, he often longs for something more, as if he knows there's another whole world out there. This leads him to be on the "dreamy" side.

On his way home from school with his best friends, Allison 'Allie' Underhill and Gabriel 'Gabe' Wallace, his encounter with some bullies leads him to summon forth a Rumbling Terrasuar like the one he sketched the previous night from out of nowhere just by calling its name that he didn't even know. One thing leads to another, and the group ends up meeting a mysterious young man named Hector Chavez who then proceeds to rescue them by taking them on a short trip to the dangerous Kaiju Realm. This, of course, leads to the kids being shocked and upset when they get out. Chavez decides that the best way to explain would be to invite the kids to where he works, The Temple of the Kaijudo Duel Masters, of which he is one of those Masters.

This in turn leads Ray to his destiny (Gabe and Allie as well, even if they don't realize it yet) and it leads us to this show.

Kaijudo: Rise of The Duel Masters is an In Name Only Continuity Reboot, with nothing in common with the original Japanese franchise (let alone the anime or its Gag Dub of the first series). Well, except for many of the creatures, some of which have a "same creature different look" kinda feel. The worst part? Some creatures were borrowed from the newer Japanese cards.

The tie-in TCG was released around June 2012, under the name of Kaijudo: Rise of the Duel Masters TCG.

When the Hub refused to pick up a third season, Kaijudo ended on an open ending on August 29, 2014, the same day the TCG was discontinued, and the series' website was closed down on December 3, 2014.

This show includes the tropes of:

  • Action Mom: Ray's mom in the last episode (episode 26) of season 1, as well as the middle and end of season 2.
  • Aliens Speaking English: Although not all creatures can speak a language that the humans can understand, many can. One way to tell if a creature has some importance is if they can speak, Squeaky being an exception.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: Averted: it's clearly shown as the series goes on that none of the Civilization is either entirely good or evil, though they tend to have a different system of value than humans.
  • Ancient Artifact: Each of the five civilizations has one powerful artifact, originally owned by the Creature Ruler Kings themselves. They each seem to be some form of Instant Allegiance Artifact and, as one would expect, The Choten's after all of them. They are as follows:
  • Ancient Conspiracy: "The Siphon" reveals The 5 Beast Kings WILLINGLY gave their power to the original masters to power the veil for the sake of BOTH worlds, but for yet-to-be-revealed reasons, the masters backstabbed them, buried them alive, and created a myth of them awakening as Eldritch Abominations that exists to present day.
  • Animesque: Interestingly, the art director, David Coleman, said, among other things, that the main characters were designed with shapes in mind. Triangles for Ray since he's proactive, squares for Gabe since it's balanced like how he prefers things, and circles for Allie with occasional sharp corners to show her general soft and pacifistic nature, unless you get her really mad. Their main creatures, Bob, Gargle, and Squeaky respectively follow the same patterns.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Gabe's younger twin brothers Ronald and Donald constantly give Gabe trouble and almost fit the mold for Big Brother Bully because Gabe is so nonconfrontational.
  • Another Dimension: The Kaiju Realm.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: In spite of being told by the masters that the kaiju are the source of ancient myths and legends, Allie still didn't believe that Bigfoot is real, claiming the video evidence was "a guy in a gorilla suit". Bigfoot later turned out to be a kaiju and the masters had been trying to track down since ancient times.
  • Bad Boss: The Choten. He threw Fingers into the darkness realm and dropped Alakshmi from a high building roof. His treatment of Saguru before he had his memories returned can be counted as well.
  • Batman Gambit: Ray actually pulls off one against The Choten of all people by destroying the portal he's been using to abduct monsters then having Mighty Shouter take a dive in order to abuse his default teleporting back to the Nature Civilization to escape, costing The Choten weeks to repair it. No wonder he's the natural.
  • Berserk Button:
    • The Cyber Lords of the Council of Lagos hate being called "babies".
    • Abusive Parents, especially fathers, really piss Tatsurion off more than he usually is.
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: Like the Ambush Scorpions that Alakshmi is fond of.
  • Big Eater: An Extreme Omnivore creature know as a Burn Belly; it consumes anything flammable than belches fire. After being injected with The Choten's mutagenic serum, any time they belch fire, they multiply. When the gang captures them in a container with a vacuum, one of the Burn Bellies eats the rest and transforms into Om Nom Nom, a giant, ferocious version of the Burn Belly.
    • Midnight Crawler takes the Extreme Omnivore trope to new heights by literally eating everything from plants and other creatures to entire tracts of land.
  • Bizarre Alien Locomotion: Gargle walks bipedally on his forelimbs while using his feet as hands.
  • Black-and-Grey Morality: Downplayed, but this is still visible in the opposition between the two sides; the Duel Masters see the creatures as dangerous weapons and follow a code of conduct when using them. One rule, for example, forbids the duelist from touching a kaiju. Another rule prevents the duelist from befriending the kaiju. (Through their interactions with Ray, Gabe, and Allie, some of Duel Masters have a change of heart.) In any case, the Duel Masters are still better than The Choten, who just wants to control all kaiju to serve his selfish purposes.
    • The kids seem to be moving the Gray towards the White with their surprisingly effective tactic of befriending their kaiju.
  • Bonding over Missing Parents: Ray and Allie bond over Ray's Disappeared Dad and Allie's Missing Mom. That's how their friendship started.
  • Break the Fake: The Choten destroys the fake Helm of Ultimate Technology brought to him by Alakshmi to prove that it is such.
  • Butt-Monkey: Early on, due to her using creatures of types she wasn't experienced with, Allie never seemed to be able to keep a creature summoned for long before it was defeated. This lessens after she partners with Squeaky, but she still does loose her rather quickly at times.
    • Fingers pokes fun at Alakshmi's many recent failures with The Choten showing great displeasure in them.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Trickery and deceit are the ways of darkness and those who are aligned with that realm tend to use such tactics. Whether it's Allie disguising herself as Alakshmi to fool The Choten Choten, Razorkinder Puppet attacking his duelist Alakshmi when her back is turned, Megaria taking on the form of Allie's and Alakshmi's mothers to screw with their heads, or Jaha faking a betrayal just to defeat traitor Master Nigel when his back is turned.
  • Continuity Reboot: For the dub of the original show and the Western franchise as a whole.
  • Cosmopolitan Council: The Order of the Kaijudo Duel Masters.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: Ray's actually called out on this by Brightmore for wanting to summon Tatsurion/Bob for the specifically stealthy capture of a flying monster, Ray gets flustered and does it anyway, goes temporarily blind for it along with Bob, but of course, gets better and more varied in his approach so the lesson sticks.
    • The entire council are guilty of this, relying on one monster above all others. The Choten realizes this, and summons them before summoning the Monarchs.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Though Gabe and Allie do put up the best fight they can, Alakshmi and Razorkinder quite frankly owns them. Ray fairs slightly better, but since he squandered his mana summoning Bob for menial labor, he isn't that useful himself. Razorkinder is defeated eventually, but Alakshmi still gets away with Hissie in the end.
    • Though Hissie is rescued later on and Ray does curb-stomp Alakshmi in "The Siphon" after upgrading his Gauntlet. Its not long after that she falls from The Choten's good graces.
  • Damsel in Distress: Allie ends up playing this in episode 6 when a summoned creature that was defeated grabs her with its tongue as it is transported back to the Fire Civilization. It isn't long before she's sold to Lord Skycrusher as his dinner.
  • Deadly Training Area: The Choten of course has this in his bases.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Several: Ray, Gabe, Allie, Master Chavez, Master Nadia, The Choten, Alakshmi, to name a few.
    The Choten: Yes. A child will defeat an expert warrior who has survived for years in the Nature Realm... What a firm grasp on reality you have.
  • Disappeared Dad: Ray's dad. Who was revealed to be Saguru in "Betrayal".
  • Drama-Preserving Handicap: In spite of the masters having an army of light creatures that can be used as surveillance drones all over the world, somehow, ever since just after the war with the kaiju, they weren't able to find the kaiju that had come to be known as "Bigfoot" until the main characters saw footage on the news. Having not come into proper contact with humans since the war, *he wasn't even aware the war had ended* or that his people were on the other side of the veil, believing himself to be the last of his kind, while also believing what few kaiju are left were enslaved by the practitioners of kaijudo (ironically, The Choten doesn't even show up).
  • Easy Amnesia: Master Nadia's Cyber Viruses, which she uses to control who knows what knowledge. Like erasing memories of the Kaijudo world from people who are no longer potential acolytes…
    • The amnesia is so easy in fact that the good and bad guys both use Cyber Viruses liberally to control who knows what, especially in regards to regular humans as seen when The Choten has Alakshmi and Heller take over the bank to get the Helm of Ultimate Technology. It happens to Heller at the end towards the end of the episode via the Duel Masters. In fact, Master Brightmore threatened to do the same to Ray, Gabe, and Allie during the episode "Night Moves" after their prank against Portia and Maribel go completely awry. Though Gabe points out in a babble that that's no longer possible thanks to the immunity granted to them by the Cyber Lords as reward for saving the Helm of Ultimate Technology in "In the Deep Part II".
    • It turns out that the Choten has access to Saguru's missing memories. He uses them to barter (later blackmail) services from him. Unknown to Saguru, he took them in the first place.
  • Elemental Powers: The five masters of the Kaijudo Order each specializes in creatures from one of the five Civilizations:
  • Elemental Rivalry: The five creature civilizations.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
  • Evil Old Folks: In episode 25, the two oldest masters are the ones who side with the power hungry Choten. Allie even remarks about this. Subverted with Jaha who was faking.
  • Evolving Credits: As much as a 30 something second opening can evolve. Certain scene changes start in episode 6.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Master Nigel (implied) at the end of episode 22 with his suspicious phone call to an unknown source. At the end of episode 23 "Heavenly Creatures," he is confirmed to have called The Choten and has officially joined the villains as well. This betrayal is revealed to the other Duel Masters toward the end of episode 25 "The Rising Part 1". Master Jaha also does this toward the end of episode 25 "The Rising, Part 1" as well only for Jaha to reveal she was faking it.
  • Faeries Don't Believe in Humans, Either: The creatures didn't believe humans were real before meeting them.
  • Fake Defector: Jaha. She pretends to join the Choten and even attacks Master Chavez and Gabe, then later helps them by knocking Master Brightmore, who had fully thought she had actually joined the Choten.
  • Fallen Hero: The Choten, he was Nadia's teacher and Saguru's friend.
    • Masters Nigel and Jaha are this as well as of episode 25 "The Rising, Part 1". Ultimately only Nigel was the fallen hero at the end of "The Rising, Part 2".
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Mighty Shouter's tribe are essentially Magical Native Americans, or at least Thorn-Bringer, and Skycrusher throws Romanesque Gladiator Games.
  • Fictional Counterpart: San Campion is pretty much San Francisco.
  • Fiery Salamander: Most Fire Creatures have reptilian motifs.
  • Frivolous Summoning: In one episode, Ray summons Tatsurion the Unchained to do his chores, much to Tatsurion's chagrin. At the end of the episode, after learning his lesson, Ray summons him again, this time to give him a large slab of meat as an apology.
  • Ghost Extras: In episode 25, "The Rising, Part I," Toji and a few temple acolytes are in a group with the heroes preparing to attack The Choten's base. However, there are no scenes where they actually participate in the battle that ensues (they don't summon anything, they are not being attacked, they don't talk, and nobody speaks to them). However, this group of extras is seen behind the heroes when they are all cornered.
  • Half-Breed Discrimination: Carny doesn't let Ray forget his ancestry. Additionally, Tatsurion is a wanted criminal because of his.
  • Heads I Win, Tails You Lose: Even though Fingers failed to steal the creature tablets, the creatures he set free for the diversion that weren't re-imprisoned are just more creatures The Choten can add to his arsenal.
  • Heroic BSoD: Saguru. End of Episode 24 "Betrayal" after the reveal that he's Ray's dad.
  • He Is Not My Boyfriend: Alakshmi calls Ray Allie's boyfriend. She was about to say that he's not her boyfriend, but Alakshmi doesn't seem to care as she attacks her before Allie could even finish saying this trope.
  • High-Heel–Face Turn: Alakshmi was a female villain in Season 1, but she leaves The Choten's side at the end of Season 1. Eventually in Season 2, through a series of events, she becomes a probationary acolyte with the Duel Masters.
  • Hollywood Tactics: A person with a duel gauntlet and sufficient mana theoretically can summon a creature (kaiju) if he or she knows the creature's name. After The Choten perfects his kaiju mind control collar, why doesn't he just summon and capture all of the Heroes' and Duel Masters' primary creatures instead of waiting until episode 25 to do it? Prior to episode 24, the Heroes' and Duel Masters did not know where The Choten's base was.
    • He probably wanted to wait until they were off-guard or something.
  • Honor Before Reason: The masters' "No Touching the Monsters" rule is such that Jaha chastised Hector for summoning a monster to fly them to rescue the kids in the Fire Civilization as "picking up the kids' bad habits" instead of walking through desert/lava landscape when they were on a tight schedule. Had Hector not done this, they wouldn't have been able to pull a Big Damn Heroes and save the kids from being killed/recaptured.
  • I'm a Doctor, Not a Placeholder: In episode 26, Gargle replies to Gabe, "I'm a mechanic, not a doctor."
  • Interspecies Romance: Gabe, a human, and Sasha, a Light Creature.
  • In Name Only: Has no connection or relation whatsoever with the actual Duel Masters franchise. Both this show, and its tie-in TCG attempt to justify themselves by using a different name, although the "Duel Masters" name is still used, but this time only refers to the main characters of this show.
  • Kick the Dog: Although keeping the Kaijudo world hidden is understandable, Master Nadia's attempt at erasing the group's memories still feels like this.
    • Alakshmi sending Allie's father to the Darkness Civilization.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: The bullies, Carny, Driggs, and the other one who never spoke, gets their minds wiped of Ray summoning the Terrasuar by Nadia, after Gabe points out the unfairness of him, Allie, and Ray getting mind wiped and not the bullies.
  • Mad Scientist: The Choten's ambitions to make creatures stronger through evolution makes him this.
  • Magical Security Cam: Nigel's aptly named "Stalker Spheres" which are totally not spy cameras. Possibly justified by the Stalker Spheres being mobile rather than stationary… They can be hovering anywhere, so what's to say they wouldn't see the same things the audience does?
    • Master Jaha's Ghost Spies serve a similar role.
  • Meaningful Name: Many of the creatures' names as well as nicknames have some kind of meaning behind, obvious or otherwise.
  • Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal: Alakshmi betrays The Choten for finding out The Choten's real plan ( Alakshmi thought The Choten was going to tell the town about his triumph. Instead, The Choten launched Cyber Viruses to brainwash the townspeople and prepare them for the new world order.) and later being hurled off the elevated platform for failing to retrieve the Sword of Fiery Cataclysm from Allie. Being thrown off the elevated platform was the more likely trigger for the betrayal.
    • Moorna, Gatling Dragon bullied Tatsurion all his life and then tricked him into raiding his own mother village and had him arrested for defending his mother. Later, Moorna broke up her engagement with Brutalus after he lost his wings.
  • The Mole: Fingers.
    • Master Brightmore.
  • Monochrome Casting: Averted. The cast, both heroes and villains, are ethnically diverse. It was also brought up as a plot point regarding half-Japanese/half-white main character Ray and a racist bully.
  • Morality Kitchen Sink: There are characters all over the morality spectrum in the series.
  • My Friends... and Zoidberg: "Gargle has air-suits for friends! Friend G-abriel, friend Ray, friend Squeaky, err…Allie."
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Saguru in "Betrayal" where it is revealed through a memory swarm that he is Ray's father. This came right after he A) lured Ray and his friends into an area that weakens creatures under the guise of helping them escape a fire, B) stole the Heart of Light from Sasha, rendering her unresponsive, C) broke Ray's ability to trust in him (though he may not be aware of that) and D) left the kids tied up in the creature realm. Needless to say, after Saguru learned who he really was, he was very...displeased.
  • New Season, New Name: Season one having the subtitle "Rise of the Duel Masters" changed in season two to "Clash of the Duel Masters" which comes from a new booster set from the card game.
  • Power-Upgrading Deformation: The Choten's evolution virus.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Master Chavez and Master Nigel (in that order)
  • The Reveal: Different things, both major and minor, are revealed about both worlds and the characters that inhabit them as time goes on.
  • Secret-Keeper: At the end of "The Rising Part II," the Council offered its condolences to Ray for his father being lost in the creature civilization (and possibly dead, although the last minute of the episode indicates otherwise). Ray's friends asked Ray what he would say to his mother and grandfather. Ray chose to tell them nothing and let them remember his father for who he was.
  • Selective Obliviousness: The Choten forces this on Saguru by picking and choosing which memories he rewards him for his successes. Before long, Saguru becomes more and more devoted to The Choten's Kaijudo world domination schemes because it's necessarily to protect everyone.
  • Ship Tease: Master Nadia to Master Chavez considering the frequent slips of calling him Hector, using his Gilaflame without his awareness/permission and being the one to call him out of his meditation (and catch him afterwards) in "The Siphon." The two get another moment like this later, when Master Chavez tackles Nadia down to save her from an impending attack. Later on, when Nadia needs to take Allie's dad back to Earth, Chavez calls Nadia by her first name.
    • There's Ray and Allie when they go to the school dance and summon creatures from the same civilization simultaneously and remark about it. And they end up rescuing each other from their respective civilizations!
    • Later on, we get the pairing of Gabe and Sasha, Channeler of Light. They go through the tunnel of love together!
    • At the end of episode 26, Master Chavez and Nadia kiss, and Ray and Allie hold hands: a tease no more. At least until the second season where Ray is oblivious to Allie's feelings.
  • Shout-Out: Several of the course of the series (Allie's "Get away from her, you witch!", for example). The school dance in "The Unbearable Being of Lightness" is a massive homage to Carrie. Put together a couple of lines between Allie and Gabe in "Extracurricular Activities" for a shout out to The Subtle Knife.
  • Tagalong Kid: How Gargle comes off towards Gabe when they first met. Additionally, Donald and Ronald are this to Gabe in "A Light in the Darkness" when he ends up essentially baby-sitting them. Never mind the fact that his immature brothers are 1 year older than him.
  • Taking the Bullet: Saguru and Homunculon do this for Bob with disastrous results for them; made worse by the fact that it was in vain.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Nigel and Chavez's relationship seems to be this more often than not. Ray and Carny in episode 21 "Like Father, Like Son" after becoming trapped together in the Fire Civilization and are forced to work together to survive.
  • The Good Guys Always Win: Season 1 ending and most of the episodes had this.
  • There Can Be Only One: Empress Magaria says this word for word to Allie and Alakshmi about who will be her protegee before pitting them against each other.
  • To Be Lawful or Good: The Duel Masters struggle with this, especially Master Nigel.
    • As of episode 25 "The Rising pt 1", Masters Brightmore and Jaha are now Lawful...and on the side of the Choten. Time will only tell what the other Masters choose.
    • As of episode 26, Jaha is still Lawful but was faking her defection as trickery and deceit is the darkness way.
  • Token Trio: Ray (half-white/half-Japanese boy), Gabe (African-American boy), and Allie (white girl).
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Bob (Tatsurion the Unchained) loves bacon.
  • Viewers Are Morons: The only possible explanation for the creation of this franchise instead of bringing back the actual Duel Masters franchise.note 
  • Weakened by the Light: Creatures of the Darkness Civilization.
  • Wealthy Yacht Owner: Arthur Underhill has a yacht named "Piper" after his ex-wife.
  • Wham Episode: "Betrayal". Ray's mom is an ex-Kaijudo duelist, Ray's father was a Duel Master, Ray himself was born in the Kaijudo realm, Saguru obtains the Heart of Light, and to top it all of, he's Ray's father.
    • Quickly followed by episode 25 "The Rising pt 1" where the Choten deprives ALL of the heroes of their signature creatures, Tatsurion is mutated by the Choten and Masters Brightmore and Jaha defect to the Choten. In episode 26, Jaha had faked her defection.
    • In "Unmasked" when Tiera and the Choten kissed and were revealed to be lovers.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Heroes and villains view the kaiju of the creature civilizations differently. The Choten lampshades, where his side sees kaiju as living batteries/slaves/tools to be controlled and used. The Duel Masters take a more naturalist approach, while following a code of conduct when using kaiju. Only Ray and his friends think otherwise, which is becoming a plot point.
  • We Used to Be Friends: Saguru says this to The Choten at the end of episode 24 "Betrayal".
  • World of Badass
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: After one too many failures, The Choten has Fingers tossed into the Darkness Civilization to fetch one of his lost creatures. In episode 26, The Choten throws Alakshmi off the elevated platform where he was summoning the Creature Civilization Kings after she failed to retrieve the Sword of Fiery Cataclysm from Allie.

Alternative Title(s): Kaijudo Rise Of The Duel Masters