A human girl, so far from home,
The flowers are big,
And the bees are weird,
It's dangerous, just like I feared,
On the surface worl—AAH! STAY AWAY!"
Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts is a Netflix original animated series produced by DreamWorks Animation and animated by Studio Mir, created by Radford Sechrist (How to Train Your Dragon 2, Kung Fu Panda 2) with Bill Wolkoff (Once Upon a Time, TRON: Uprising) serving as co-executive producer. The show is based on the short-lived webcomic Kipo created by Sechrist.
The series follows Kipo (Karen Fukuhara), a teenage girl who lives underground with her scientist father over 200 years after the apocalypse. That is, until her community is destroyed, leaving her separated from him and stuck on the fantastical surface world that has become overrun by mutants both intelligent and beastly. With the help of surface-dwelling survivors including the savvy Wolf (Sydney Makayla), the cheerful Benson (Coy Stewart), a talking insect named Dave (Deon Cole), and a mutated pig Mandu (Dee Bradley Baker), Kipo embarks on a journey through this ruthless yet adorable wonderland in order to reunite with her father. Along the way, the group encounters various quirky and dangerous beings, as well as find themselves in the middle of a devious world domination plot wherein Kipo and her people play a vital role.
The first two teaser trailers can be seen here and here, and the season one trailer here. The first season premiered on January 14, 2020. The second season released June 12, 2020, with the teaser viewable here and the trailer here. The third and final season aired October 12, 2020, and the trailer can be watched here.
Kipo and the Age of WonderTropes!
- Accent Upon The Wrong Syllable: Benson pronounces the word “convenience” on a convenience store sign as “convenien-chay”.Benson: I believe it’s Italian for… ”snacks”.
- Adaptation Expansion: The original webcomic abruptly ended after 32 pages that were obviously meant to be the beginning of something bigger. The tv show on the other hand has 30 episodes to expand on the characters and the worldbuilding.
- Adopt the Food: Inverted. Wolf was raised by a pack of Mute wolves. She trains with them and after a year, it appears her adopted siblings and parents have accepted her as one of their own. But then it turns out she was just raised to be a final hunting test for the other pups. One of her adopted siblings hesitates to turn on her, truly considering her a sister, before relenting and saying that "we're wolves, you're a human".
- After the End: Sometime during the 21st century, two hundred years before the start of the series, the Earth was ravaged by an unspecified apocalyptic event that forced mankind underground and resulted in the surface being controlled by warring classes of mutated animals with human-like intelligence.
- Age of Titles: “Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts“
- Alpha and Beta Wolves:
- Justified with the main pack of Newton Wolves, as they're descended from those raised in captivity. They value scientific knowledge above all else, hence why the group tries to pass off Kipo as their leader when forced to interact with them.
- Averted with Wolf's old pack, as they were a traditional family of wolves with parents leading their children. In the third season, her siblings are shown to have left the pack to set out on their own in the years since she escaped.
- Played straight in season three, when the Mega-Dogs are revealed to have an alpha/omega structure. Margot is able to smell which one is the alpha, and Wolf uses that information to become the new Mega-Dog pack leader.
- Amazing Technicolor Population:
- Subverted. While Kipo has an odd pink/purple skin-tone that goes unmentioned by other characters, no other human in the series, not even her father or deceased mother, shares it. Turns out there's a pretty good reason for that. It should also be noted that this is a hold over from the original webcomic, where everyone had bizarre skintones.
- Mandu is also an odd example of this, being a blue pig when every other mutant (sapient or otherwise) has skin or fur colours that are normal for their species. Turns out to be a straight example in Season 2, when we see other Mega Boars with similar bright coloration.
- Artistic License – Biology:
- It would be physically impossible for the megafauna and some of the megaflora to attain such gargantuan sizes (for example, insects can't get that big without their exoskeletons collapsing).
- A Season 2 flashback shows Song performing gene editing by injecting several cells on the same slide with DNA using a syringe and a standard light microscope. Not only is this is not how gene editing is done, but even if it was, having all of them on the same slide would be a great set-up for contamination.
- Averted during another Season 2 flashback to the Oaks' research. When Dr. Emilia asks which formula made Hugo sentient, Lio tells her that it's impossible to know because she forced them to administer so many in such a short time. He's partially stalling for time, but he's absolutely correct that this is a bad way to run an experiment.
- The venom in Wolf's Death Stalker stinger should have dried up long ago, but it still proves highly effective in stunning her opponents. When Dr. Emilia destroys it, it not only appears to have been hollow inside, but Mandu is still able to use the point to knock Emilia out.
- Artistic License – Physics:
- Gold has a melting point of close to 2000 degrees F. It's unclear exactly how Scarlemange managed to heat all that gold up to melting point, keep it that hot(and thus liquid) and somehow not burn down the forest in the process(since trees catch fire around 600 degrees F). It also begs the question how anyone survived being surrounded by molten gold in the season 2 finale.
- And let's not forget how a human can turn into a giant Mega Mute with no explanation as to where the extra mass comes from, and the other way around.
- Aristocrats Are Evil: Scarlemagne and his primate court are this to a T.
- As You Know:Lio: (brings out his guitar) Hey, you know what I used to do to cheer up your mom?Kipo: (laughs) Yes, dad. You’ve played me that song a million times. It worked for me when I was six.
- Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Mega-Mutes are bigger than most buildings and are some of the few animals that still act like animals. They usually have quite a few extra appendages, like leg, ears and/or noses. In the second season, her shorter stature and lack of extra limbs serve as hints that the Mega-Jaguar form Kipo initially takes isn't her final form.
- Scarlemagne claims to only use his Mind Control pheromones on "lower-class primates" (aka, humans) and says "even a monkey needs to have standards" but he's a hypocrite, since he uses a collar full of his pheromones to force a peaceful Mega-Monkey to attack a human burrow, right? Except while he really is more than willing to use his pheromones on non-human primates (it's even how he rose to power to begin with), that instance wasn't him. Season 2 reveals that the Mega-Monkey was under the control of Dr. Emilia, who had a stock of Scarlemagne's pheromones from when he was still a lab animal. The scientist has been searching for Lio and Kipo in order to have the former recreate their Mute research and to use the latter as a superweapon.
- At the end of Season 1, Kipo is taken by the giant flamingoes, who are headed for Charlemagne's palace. Wolf falls to the ground in tears, swearing to get Kipo back, and we Fade to Black, setting up a Sequel Hook for Season 2. Until we suddenly fade back in to Kipo knocking all but one of the birds out of the sky, and riding the last one down to the ground to Wolf and the others, instead turning the Sequel Hook into Kipo and her friends going after Scarlemagne to get Lio back.
- Bilingual Bonus: In Episode 5, there's a snack bag that has the word "감자"note on it, which is Korean for "potato".
- A Birthday, Not a Break: On her thirteenth birthday, Kipo's friends try to make it a fun day, but Scarlemagne's henchmen make even a day at an amusement park a fight for their lives. It's also the day Kipo notices the odd changes her body is having, which began the episode prior.
- Bittersweet Ending: Dr. Emilia is defeated, but several mutes got cured, and Hugo ends up dying to save his sister, never getting to see the statue of himself that he's always wanted.
- Blind Seer: Kipo thinks that Benson is taking them to one at the beginning of “The Astronomers in Turtlenecks”.Kipo: I’ve got it. You’re taking us to a mystical blind woman who lives in the trunk of a spooky old tree and doesn’t need eyes because what she can see is…the future.
- In Season 2, it turns out there are a group of blind goat seers who live in the trunk of a spooky old tree. Kipo's father had met them years prior and later directs Kipo to go visit them.
- Blithe Spirit: Kipo has no idea how dangerous life is for surface-dwelling humans and goes around trying to talk it out and/or help with the various mutes who want to capture or kill her. Her actions are so unlikely and her confidence so assured that this works most of the time. It's also made clear later on that this was her approach to any conflicts back in her community as well.Dr. Emilia: This is clearly a trap. Who throws a party in the middle of a war?
Burrow People: Kipo.
- Bowdlerize: Some of the pre-existing songs implemented into the show are censored in a few places so the show can keep its Y7 rating. For instance, the soundtrack for Season 1 contains a clean version of Dope Saint Jude’s "Grrrl Like", which omits any f-words.
- Brainwashed and Crazy: Scarlemagne uses pheromones to render humans into docile servants for his entertainment (and occasionally Mooks).
- Brainy Pig: Downplayed. Pig mutes are unable to speak, and thus Wolf initially considers them food, but are capable of understanding words and orders. Mandu in particular is shown to be fairly intelligent, if a bit simplistic.
- Cannot Keep a Secret: While she does get better, Kipo starts out as this, which leads to the plot of Season 1 revolving around various mutes learning that she’s a "burrow girl" and could lead them to a human settlement.
- Cats Are Mean: Averted with the Timbercats. They have their callous moments, but they're among the most good-natured mutes, and some of Kipo's staunchest allies for much of the series.
- Central Theme: The world is better than it may appear, so kindness and trust will take you further than prejudice and secrecy.
- Composite Character:
- A possible example with Benson: in the original webcomic, Benson looked nothing like he does in the series, being a tall, bearded, green-skinned adult. However, as seen here, the comic had a separate unnamed character who looks remarkably like the series’ Benson, who may have been designed with that character in mind.
- In the webcomic, Kipo’s mother and the Mega Mute that attacked her home are separate characters. In the series, they’re one and the same.
- Connected All Along:
- The Monkey Mega Mute is actually Song Oak, Kipo's mother.
- In addition, Scarlemagne is Kipo's adoptive older brother, having been raised by Song and Lio in an experiment to figure out what caused the mass mutation 200 years ago. Ironically enough, Scarlemagne had no idea of the former fact.
- Conditioned to Accept Horror: The raccoons are perky, upbeat, and friendly to Kipo's group right away. They are also resigned to the fact that they are preyed upon by a giant two-headed pigeon and any of them could be next at any moment. At least until Kipo's group works out a plan to get rid of the thing.
- Conspicuously Light Patch: Occasionally used, such as an apple and a chunk of rubble in “Explosion Berries”.
- Crazy Enough to Work: Wolf and the others quickly, if somewhat begrudgingly on Wolf's part, come to deem all of Kipo's plans as this after enough of her insane ploys actually manage to succeed.
- Cuteness Proximity: Kipo has to actively resist petting the giant bunnies once she knows that touching them at all can incur the wrath of the mother.
- Darker and Edgier: Season 3 pulls no punches at entering dark territories, such as killing off (both literally and metaphorically) many characters we have seen throughout the series, The Hero even questioning their own motives, and an irredeemable villain who killed their own sibling for daring to befriend their enemy.
- Dark Is Not Evil: The rats have dark-colored fur, Hellish Pupils, and sharp teeth, but they're one of the more egalitarian societies on the surface and they even help save Kipo and Benson from Scarlemagne's forces despite not having a reason to.
- Dark Reprise: A sad piano rendition of Yumyan Hammerpaw's theme plays during his final moments as he is succumbing to the effects Dr. Emilia's cure.
- Dead Guy on Display: The fate of three Mod Frogs that attacked Kipo by way of Scarlemagne turning them into gold statues as part of his Join or Die ultimatum.
- Death of Personality: The fate of Song in the first season and a half, is to be a wild mega-mute monkey with no personality or any form of communication. Later the fate of any mute who is struck by the cure, most notably Yumyum Hammerpaw, Carmille, and Brad, is to become a non mutated animal with average intelligence and no memory or personality of who they used to be.
- Death World: As mentioned above, the surface is practically a death trap. Even those who live on the surface have to stay on their toes.
- Delicious Distraction: Benson breaks out the flapjacks again in Season 2 in order to stall Dr. Emilia's forces. Rather than the food being tampered with, they're so awestruck by having a hot breakfast at all that they have to be practically dragged away from the table.
- Demonization: In "The Ballad of Brunchington Beach", Kipo and her friends come across some otter mutes rehearsing a play that reenacts their encounter with the Newton Wolves. But portraying them as evil villains. Kipo is a dumb crazy girl, Benson is a scrawny coward, Wolf is a vicious mute-killer, and Dave and Mandu are seen as traitors to their kind.
- Disneyfication: The original comic showed that it wasn't uncommon for the Mod Frogs to enslave captured humans before sending them off to... somewherenote , having them pulling their cars with chains instead of the giant dragonflies that we see in the show. They were also seen to be more murderous even for petty reasons, with Kwat attempting to bludgeon a baby Dave with a baseball bat just to get Jamack to stop complaining about the former's crying.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: Kipo begins to notices changes in her body as she becomes a teenager. Though when people start to grow body hair they don't usually mean actual fur.
- Dreadful Dragonfly: Averted; While the dragonfly mutes are the size of cars, they can be pretty gentle and are quite easy to ride on.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: A number of characters are cured into normal animals, and Hugo makes a Heroic Sacrifice to save Kipo, but Dr. Emilia is defeated and the surviving characters are able to build a human-Mute society on the surface.
- Early-Installment Weirdness: In the first season, the venom in the scorpion tail causes Jamack to go unconscious, later waking up with a headache and mild memory loss. Jamack was also able to wake up fairly quickly and move almost right after being hit. In the second season, the venom instead causes one to go limp and makes them unable to move, but they can still be conscious. However, we could assume that the venom works differently on frogs and humans.
- Everything Trying to Kill You: From the intelligent Mutant inhabitants with a bone to pick with humanity, to the mindless Mega-Mutes acting on pure instinct, to even random plants that can kill you on contact, nothing is harmless in this world.
- Evil-Detecting Dog: Mandu's usually the first to sense danger. She also expresses her disapproval when members of the group are behaving badly.
- Extremely Short Timespan: The first two seasons collectively place in just under two weeks. Several episodes even take place over the course of a single day. Kipo even stops in her tracks at one point upon realizing this herself, much to the confusion of the others.Kipo: Do you ever just think about what we do in a day and go, "Whoa?"
- The Extremist Was Right: Hoag may have been unreasonable expecting everyone to obey exactly given the circumstances but it's hard to argue since Lio not following procedure led to Kipo being stranded on the surface, as well as the discovery and destruction of Site B less than a week later.
- Faceless Goons: The Human Resistance is made of people who constantly have their masks on. There are a handful of times where we see them without their masks on though.
- Fantastic Flora: The unspecified event causing the animals to mutate also altered many of the plant life too. There are flowers standing taller than buildings, redwoods that practically touch the sky, and deadly poison ivy that can kill anything with a single touch.
- Fantastic Racism:
- Most mute animals despise humans with pretty open hostility. They are also extremely tribal, with the vast majority outside of rats and raccoons sticking purely to their own kind and showing disdain for others.
- Meanwhile, Wolf hates Mutes right back, in particular wolves, due to having been Raised by Wolves who were actually training her to be suitable prey for their other children. The animal pelt she wears is all but stated to be that of her wolf mother.
- Dr. Emilia hates mutants as much as Scarlemagne hates humans, and her mistreatment of him is a good part of why he hates mankind so badly. She also views Kipo's existence as human/mute hybrid as something that "dilutes humanity".
- Fate Worse than Death: A unique take on it, in that it focuses on those remaining. The curing of a mute is treated as this by their remaining brethren (the Timbercats for Yumyum Hammerpaw, the Umlats for Camille, and Amy for Brad, etc), as their body remains, but devoid of everything that made them who they were, leaving the surivors forced to care for an innocent creature that is a constant reminder of what they lost.
- Ferris Wheel Date Moment: In Episode 6, Benson takes Kipo to Ratland for her birthday to show her a good time. Eventually they take a Ferris wheel ride and, going with the general idea of the trope, Kipo confesses to Benson that she's developing feelings for him while they're riding. The moment is then subverted as Benson reveals that he doesn't feel the exact same way due to being gay. Despite this, the two immediately come to an understanding and continue being simply friends.
- For Science!: Lio and Song were once part of a team researching a way to reverse the mass-mutation of animals so that humans could return to the surface, but they left when they realized they couldn't ethically justify robbing intelligent Mutes of their sentience and society. In fact, they had to flee when their attempt to devise an alternative method was interrupted as the head of the project, Dr. Emilia, would accept no option but returning Mutes to an animalistic state.
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: The main characters resemble the four personality types. Kipo is Phlegmatic, Wolf is Melancholic, Benson is Sanguine, and Dave is Choleric.
- Gang of Hats: Besides being separated by species, the gangs of Las Vistas all have their own theme and musical motifs.
- The primates' (lead by Scarlemagne) theme is classical music and dress in a Georgian-era aristocratic style. This only became their hat after Scarlemagne took over, as before his leadership, the primates' were Goths.
- Raccoons are exercise nuts with their theme being 70s and 80s jazzercise music. They also all have trash-related names because they've got a ritual where they go "discover" their true name in the junkyard.
- Mod Frogs are dressed like professional mobsters, with their musical theme being a bit of an upbeat version of The Godfather, though they're also accompanied by French rap music.
- Alternatively they are based off of Mods, a subculture that originated in Great Britain, with their streamlined suits, dragonfly scooters, and French new wave style.
- Newton Wolves are scientists (specifically astronomers, as the name would suggest) and prefer to rap about everything they know.
- Timber Cats (again as the name suggests) are lumberjacks with a Scandinavian overtone and a huge love of American folk music.
- Umlaut Snakes are rocker girls, whose music preference is pretty obvious.
- There are also the Glam Rock Hamsters which are exactly what it sounds like.
- The rats run an amusement park/neutral ground where they want all creatures to be happy.
- Dubstep Bees. Nuff said.
- The Scooter Skunks are a motorcycle club of female skunks.
- The Humming Bombers are old school WW2 fighter-bomber pilots hummingbirds.
- The Chevre Sisters are three blind goats who somehow use their cheese to tell the future.
- The TheaOtters are a traveling band of bards made of otters.
- The shrimps and their leader Cappuccino work at the restaurant Brunchington Beach.
- Geli and Jibralta are two bats who believe in the aliens' existence and are attracted to everything that they think is "alien-like".
- The K-pop Narwhals are also exactly what it sounds like; a K-pop Boy Band composed entirely of narwhals.
- The Treasure Squirrels are a couple of Forgetful Jones, Treasure Hunter squirrels.
- Gaussian Girl: Genderflipped in the season one finale, with a Burrow-dwelling boy who Benson meets.
- Gentle Giant: Most of the Mega-Mutes are actually rather non-aggressive, with the monkey only attacking the burrow due to mind control. The tortoise didn't have a problem with people riding it and the dogs are as playful as ordinary dogs, although their immense size and power make them a threat to any playmates they have. Even the most dangerous Mega-Mutes, Mega-Bunnies, are only dangerous due to their protective instincts: it will only go after someone if they smell like one of its young, tearing up the environment in order to "bring it back home".
- Getting Smilies Painted on Your Soul: Scarlemagne’s mind control pheromones give his human slaves an exaggerated smile on their face, even when their eyes clearly indicate how uncomfortable they are.
- The Ghost: Hoag mentions a council in "Beyond the Valley of the Dogs" that ensured protocols to keep the burrow people safe. Since Hoag seems to be the leader of the burrow population Kipo is from, the role of this council and their whereabouts are left pretty vague.
- Ghost City: Some areas across the surface world are completely empty towns and cities. Sometimes mutes may pass by, but most of the sapient ones live at places farther away from the city environments.
- Glassy Prison: In the third season, Scarlemagne is imprisoned in a large glass box.
- Gratuitous French: Some of the music that accompanies the Mod Frogs have French lyrics, while the rats of Ratland occasionally use French phrases.
- Gratuitous Spanish: As well as Spanish.
- Groin Attack: Wolf hits Dave in the crotch with a rock during wolf training. He's even seen covering his groin area afterward.
- Grooming the Enemy: Wolf experiences this trope as part of her tragic past. She was raised by a pack of Newton wolves as one of the children of the Pack Mother. She intensely trained with them and, after a year, it appears her adopted siblings and parents have accepted her as one of their own. But then it turns out she was just raised to be a final hunting test for the other pups to test their hunting skills. Only one of her adopted siblings hesitates to turn on her, truly considering her a sister, before relenting and declaring that "we're wolves, you're a human".
- Had to Be Sharp: Wolf, Jamack, and even Scarlemagne respectively say life on the surface demands pragmatism and selfishness to survive and that Kipo doesn't really seem to get it. With their help, she survives anyway, and even finds resolutions that show they don't need to hold so tightly to those standards, which endears them to her.
- Half-Dressed Cartoon Animal: Seems to vary by tribe. The Timbercats, Ratlanders, and Hummingbombers go completely bottomless while both wolf packs seen in the show have Pantsless Males, Fully-Dressed Females. In contrast the Mod Frogs, Fitness Raccoons, Scooter Skunks, and Scarlemagne's Apes are fully dressed, and the Umlaut Snakes can't wear any clothes.
- Hellish Pupils: Most of the Mutes have solid colored eyes with slit pupils. Kipo developing these reveals her condition.
- Humans Are Not the Dominant Species: Humans have been reduced to a minority in this world as most of it is now populated by mutant animals. The few humans left alive live in underground burrows to avoid contact with mutes.
- Hybridization Plot: In the second season, it is revealed that Song and Lio did this when genetically engineering Kipo to be half-Mute. They're a more altruistic version of the usual example for this trope because they wanted to create a hybrid in order to unite and find peace between the humans and Mutes.
- Most of the Mutes hate humans and view them as inferior beings, yet their societies are all based on various human subcultures.
- Scarlemagne claims to only use his Mind Control pheromones on "lower-class primates" (aka humans) and he even says "even a monkey needs to have standards" but there is a possibly sapient Mega-Monkey controlled by a collar full of his own pheromones. Subverted in that it was Dr. Emilia controlling the Mega-Monkey with the pheromones she obtained while Scarlemagne was her test subject, but after the Mega-Monkey breaks free from the collar, Scarlemagne still uses his pheromones to control it after he can't get the Mega-Monkey on his side. It's also shown at the end of Season 2 that he did use his pheromones on Gerard and the monkeys for his initial takeover.
- Dr. Emilia, big time. She wants to "restore" the Mutes to being non-sapient animals again so humanity can reclaim the surface world, but she has no problem using Mutes as super-weapons, even Half-Human Hybrid ones like Kipo and Song. She also sent the mind-controlled Song to attack Kipo's Burrow, putting the humans inside in danger and leading to them being captured by Scarlemagne. And at the end of Season 3, despite exhibiting Fantastic Racism towards Song and Kipo's half-Mute nature, she turns herself into a Mega-Walrus Mute hybrid in order to fight Kipo.
- Hereditary Hairstyle: Kipo’s mom has a very similar hairstyle to her daughter’s, only longer.
- Home Base: In season three, Timbercat Village becomes Kipo's base of operations.
- Immune to Jump Scares: In "To Catch a Deathstalker", while Wolf teaches Kipo how to stay calm to avoid the heartbeat-detecting Deathstalkers, she repeatedly jumpscares her to catch her off guard. After Kipo has spent some time meditating and using the techniques she's learned, though, she becomes completely unfazed by Wolf's jumpscares.
- Impossible Shadow Puppets: A bee uses these to tell Scarlemagne that Jamock let the humans go.
- In Medias Res: The series starts when Kipo is washed onto the surface by an underground river after a disaster. We get a sense of what her life was like underground through flashbacks and occasional dialogue.
- Incompatible Orientation: During their trip to Ratland, Kipo admits to Benson that she has feelings for him, only for Benson to politely turn her down due to the fact that he's gay.
- Insignia Ripoff Ritual: Jamack is subjected to one after returning home as a result of losing the humans. His tie is clipped off by the boss and he is exiled from his home.
- Instrumental Theme Tune: A short, quirky ditty over the title graphic.
- Intelligent Gerbil: All the animals still demonstrate traits of their respective species, such as the frogs living in a river filled with lily pads or the raccoons hoarding trash and living in a landfill. The Timber Cats are arguably the biggest example, residing in trees they've carved to resemble giant cat towers, using a litter box as a prison, and being summoned by opening a can of tuna.
- Internal Reveal: A minor variant. The audience (and Mandu) learns that Kipo has shapeshifting abilities in the fifth episode, but Kipo herself doesn't realize this until the following episode.
- Jitter Cam: Some scenes, especially action scenes, will have a shaky camera. This is mostly used in Season One, as the next two seasons dial the effect down.
- Jukebox Musical: A soundtrack example, with various preexisting rock, pop, and rap songs from numerous artists being littered throughout the soundtrack.
- Just Whistle: Yumyan gives Kipo a can of tuna, telling her to open it should she ever require the help of the Timbercats again.
- Juxtaposed Reflection Poster: The main poster used to advertise Season 3 shows Kipo posing in a pool of water with her Mega Jaguar self as her reflection.
- Killed Off for Real
- In season 2 Mrs. Satori and two Mod Frogs are killed by being dipped in molten gold.
- In season 3 Any mute who is cured. While technically alive, the Death of Personality is treated as a full fledge death or Fate Worse than Death, and there is absolutely no discussion at all about any way of reversing it, fully establishing that this is final.
- Last Episode Theme Reprise: The last song used is an extended, lyrical rendition of the title theme that played during the final scene and over the credits.
- Late-Arrival Spoiler: Kipo's jaguar powers were at the forefront of every piece of advertising for the second season, and it's impossible to describe the overarching plot of said season (or the final one, for that matter) without bringing them up.
- Left the Background Music On: The series seems to like this trope.
- One of the first unusual creatures Kipo encounters on the surface world is what seems to be a car-sized slug-bus hybrid. When it cuts to her taking a ride on it, dubstep music begins to play. When she gets off, it’s revealed that the dubstep was coming from a couple of flashing neon bees that were raving in a flower earlier.
- During the Cold Open of “Twin Beaks”, piano music plays in the background as the Mutes gather to await Scarlemagne. When he arrives, he’s playing piano.
- Lotus-Eater Machine: A hive-mind of tardigrades called Tad Mulholland forces the group into one of these to feed off their brain energy in the seventh episode. Wolf gets a fantasy where she and Kipo are extremely buff Mega-Bunny hunters, Benson and Dave get a poolside mansion where they host dance-offs, Mandu gets an endless supply of cheese puffs, and Kipo reunites with her dead mother, who is also half-Mute.
- Mind-Control Eyes: Anyone under the influence of Scarlemagne's pheromones has severely shrunken iris and pupils. (Also, occasionally, a terrifying rictus smile.)
- Mood Whiplash: In the first episode, Kipo sings a goofy song about how strange and forlorn the surface world is. Just as she's relaxing and about to go into a second verse, she's suddenly attacked by a giant songbird.
- Multiple-Tailed Beast: Many Mega Mutes like the Mega Beaver and Mega Dog have multiple tails. As a Mega Jaguar, Kipo has three long tails.
- Mushroom Samba: Kipo has a particularly notable one from "nectar bombs" during the raid on the second Clover.
- Music Soothes the Savage Beast: Kipo calms the mega-monkey by playing her and her dad's favorite song on the guitar, which ends up revealing a control collar around its neck.
- Season 2 reveals why it worked. The Mega-Mute was actually Song Oak, Kipo's mother. The song helped her recall her true identity and recognize Kipo as her daughter.
- Mutants: The surface is populated largely by "mutes", animals who have various strange characteristics. They are usually larger than normal (sometimes much larger), have extra appendages and other features, and are often, though not universally, sentient. Much of the plant life has mutated as well, with patches of "death ivy" and cacti taller than skyscrapers dotting the landscape.
- My Horse Is a Motorbike: Inverted. Dragonfly mutes have antennae that are shaped like handlebars and can carry three or four human-sized passengers. They're also used as draft beasts for actual cars. The Mod Frogs especially make use of them early in the series.
- My Instincts Are Showing:
- Kipo, once she begins using her powers more, starts indulging in more instinctual jaguar behaviors. It's also the main reason why complete transformation into a Mega-Mute is the last thing they indulge in, as wholly turning into one before learning to reliably rein in their dangerous wild animal tendencies risks them permanently losing their human mind.
- Scarlemagne also indulges in this, howling and screeching like a monkey when excited. This serves as foreshadowing that he was a normal animal transformed into a Mute, rather than a born Mute, as none of the other primates engage in such behavior.
- Mystical Pregnancy: Due to the genetic modifications applied to unborn eggs, Song's pregnancy with Kipo starts out normal before she suffers from Power Incontinence, her arm spontaneously growing and receding fur and her Super Strength breaking things by accident. Even after she gives birth, these characteristics do not go away, Song spending the next 13 years as the mega-monkey before Kipo cures her.
- Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Explosion Berries. Benson threatens to use one against some hostile mutes in his first appearance. (It's actually just the Totally Radical brand name of a type of soda he scavenges.)
- The Neutral Zone: The rat-controlled amusement park is designated as such according to Benson, with the only one not respecting this status being Scarlemagne. So naturally, he destroys it in Season 2.
- Not His Sled: Downplayed. The entirety of the 33-page webcomic is a darker version of the first two episodes of the show with some of the same plot points, but with different circumstances leading up to them. So while those who read the comic would know that the crying infant at the end of the first episode is really Dave, Kipo was trying to rescue the "baby" from being bludgeoned to death by the Mod Frogs, rather than stumbling upon him an abandoned house while trying to hide from them.
- No Longer with Us: When the Timbercats first talk about how they miss Yumyan Hammerpaw, they motion upward towards the forest canopy, causing Kipo and the others to assume that he's dead. It's only later that day, when she's trying to win them over by joining in on a song about how great he was, that they clarify that he's literally somewhere in the forest canopy; it's just that no one has the courage to go up and retrieve him.
- No, Mister Bond, I Expect You To Dine: When Scarlemagne captures Kipo in S2, he gives her the royal treatment — giving her a fancy ballgown, treating her to a sumptuous dinner with himself and Lio, and having a civil chat with her about his ambitions and her place in them... enforced by the balconies lined with crossbow-wielding humans. Kipo makes the best of it and tries to connect with Scarlemagne the same way she has other enemies, but she also keeps another plan up her sleeve in case she can't get through to him — which eventually comes true.
- Non-Indicative Name: The Goth Apes are mostly made up of tarsiers, marmosets, and spider monkeys, with the only true apes being the orangutans.
- Once a Season: Something really dark is revealed in the ninth episode of all three seasons.
- Season 1: "Mute-Eat-Mute World" shows that Wolf was actually raised by a family of Wolf mutes. After she took a series of tests alongside the pups to be fully accepted, it is revealed they only trained her so her pups could have interesting prey to hunt. Even the Wolf pup she had the strongest bond with turned on her. Things get even darker when one realizes that the dead wolf skin Wolf wears resembles Alpha Mother of the pack.
- Season 2: In "All That Glitters", Scarlemagne gilds the three Mod Frogs who attacked Kipo earlier into golden statues that show their terrified faces in their final moments. Kipo and all the other mutes gathered at his coronation are horrified.
- Season 3: "Prahmises" reveals that Dr. Emilia murdered her own brother with a crossbow and told the other burrow people that mutes killed him.
- One-Hit Kill: Once a cute dart hits a mute, they only have seconds to react before turning into a regular animal.
- Placid Plane of Ankle-Deep Water: Humans that have transformed into mega-mutes control their larger bodies from a pool of water while they look out through the creature's eyes. As they start to lose control, however, they start to sink.
- The Power of Rock: Kipo befriends the umlaut snakes of Cactustown by playing an epic guitar solo, at which point they decide that she's way too awesome to eat, deeming her an honorary band member.
- Pun-Based Title: Several of the episode titles, such as "Twin Beaks" and "Benson and the Beast".
- Raised by Wolves: Literally. Wolf was raised by a pack of wolves. It's a touchy subject for her.
- Reclaimed by Nature: The city of Las Vistas still has a few remnants of human society still standing like buildings and freeways, but they are now overgrown with large and exotic plant life poking through their cracks or covering their exteriors.
- Reptiles Are Abhorrent: Initially seems to be played straight, but quickly subverted with the Umlaut snakes. They come across as antagonistic and confrontational at first, but they turn out to have many redeeming qualities. They're also the first mutes apart from the Timbercats to join the HMUFA(Human Mute Ultimate Friendship Alliance).
- Redemption Equals Death: In the series finale, Scarlemagne rams Mega-Mute Dr. Emilia with his flamingo-car to prevent her from finishing off Kipo, and later succumbs to his injuries.Scarlemagne: LEAVE MY SISTER ALONE!!
- Riddle for the Ages: Although the entire series revolves around humans of the future adapting to a world where the animals and plants have drastically mutated and taken over most of the world, there is nothing in the entire series answering what exactly caused the Great Mutant Outbreak. Not even the creators have given a definitive answer.
- Ridiculously Cute Critter: The Mega-bunny babies. Kipo has repeatedly found it difficult in resisting their cuteness.
- Rousseau Was Right: This show practically runs on this trope, as almost every character who has acted as an antagonist is shown to be capable of revealing their good qualities and in some cases redeeming themselves.
- Scarlemagne was once a child who wanted to be a good king, but since he was unintentionally abandoned by Lio and thought he was replaced, he felt the need to force people into giving him attention through power and a little bit of mind control pheromones. Once he realizes there are other alternatives to getting people to side with you, he realizes admiration can be earned and ends up dying a hero.
- Mulholland never realized how messed up it was to treat the victims he would eat to a dreamworld where they would live out their best fantasies before he would feast on their minds. He ultimately decides to do some soul searching after encountering Kipo’s group and later helps them to prove himself a changed man...er... water bear.
- Wolf’s sister Margot was never really evil, but leaving her to fend for herself when the rest of the wolves in her family decided to hunt her down was a move that made Wolf want to distance herself from any further relationships after braving through that night. When Margot shows up a few years later, it becomes very clear she wants to right her wrongs to show how sorry she is to Wolf, but Wolf ultimately decides to not forgive her and Margot gets turned into a non-sapient animal before more could be done.
- Even Dr. Emilia was once a nice well meaning young girl who had a father who made her feel she would never be good enough if she did not reclaim the surface world for humans and get rid of mutes. This ends up being Downplayed as it was still her decision to lean into evil by killing her brother and framing his death on mutes.
- Running Gag:
- Wolf facepalming in reaction to Kipo doing anything risky.
- Wolf's rules of the surface. This dies out after the first two seasons though.
- Running on All Fours: Many mute characters will sometimes run on all four legs to move faster.
- Same Content, Different Rating: Despite being rated TV-Y7-FV in America and similarly elsewhere around the world, the Singaporean version of Netflix gave the show a baffling M18 ratingnote . This is most likely due to Benson saying that he was gay in Episode 6, and his relationship with Troy during the following two seasons.
- Scavenger World: Kipo and her friends are able to find most of what they need foraging the ruins of the city. There is quite a bit of food including soda, chips, and cheese whiz (though not milk) that has lasted considerably beyond its sell-by date.
- Scenery Porn: Unlike most post-apocalyptic settings, the world of Kipo is incredibly vibrant and colorful. Plantlife is thriving and the mutes usually wear bright colors or are just brightly-colored.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here: Benson and Dave spend much of "Cactustown" debating on when to ditch Kipo, having decided that while they like her, hanging out with her is probably a quick way to die. By the end of the episode they've decided against it, go back to help, and apologies to Kipo... who had no idea they were planning to leave.
- Ship Sinking: Kipo develops a crush on Benson during "Ratland", only for him to awkwardly reveal that he's gay, but is glad to have her as a friend.
- Shout-Out: In Wolf's dream in "Mulholland", she and Kipo perform the memetic handshake from Predator.
- Silly Reason for War: Dave ended up being The Last of His Kind because of a war between his people and a group of humans that called themselves the "Fanatics", of which Benson is the last remaining member. Why did they start fighting? Because Dave and some guy refused to share a handheld fan on a hot summer day 200 years ago.
- Sins of Our Fathers: Scarlemagne implies when he's riling up the Mute gangs to search for Kipo that part of the reason so many of the intelligent Mutes hate humanity is because they put their (non-sentient) ancestors in zoos and such, despite the fact that no humans from that time period, which was about 200 years ago, are still around. Scarlemagne has a more recent and personal reason to hate humans, though, as season 2 reveals.
- Skewed Priorities: The rats who help Kipo and Benson escape ask them to fill out a customer satisfaction survey once they're out of the amusement park. They do it.
- Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: Despite the surface becoming a Death World, the series not only sides of idealism but shows cynicism to be dangerous. Kipo's willingness to make friends, even with enemies, is a major contributor to her group's success as it opens up seemingly impossible opportunities. Meanwhile, many of the problems in the series also stem from people making decisions stemming from a cynical mindset, as it not only allows the Cycle of Hatred to continue, but all the evils the protagonists face stem from Dr. Emilia not only rejecting her brother Liam's proposal for humans and Mutes to get along, but killing him so she could use Liam as martyr to her father's desire to reclaim the surface for humanity.
- Stylistic Suck: Happens twice during the final season.
- A variant occurs when trying to get the Dubstep Bees to remove the venom from Kipo that's forcing her to dance until she dies, the others agree to a dance-off in order to gain their favor. What follows is a psychedelic music video sequence that looks very impressive... until we cut back to reality to see that everyone (other than Kipo) is dancing incredibly poorly and awkwardly to the Stunned Silence of the bees.
- When trying to convince the various animal groups to attend Prahm, the humans and the few mutes still siding with Kipo put on a musical act as a show of forgiveness. While we only see the Stunned Silence of the Timbercats, the discussion afterwards reveals that they got the same exact uncomfortable response from everyone they preformed for.
- Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: Scarlemagne's army of humans are kept in line by regular applications of his mind control pheromones. Which he secretes through his sweat and collects in perfume bottles. When he acquires a large number of humans at once he finds that he's going through his current supply faster than he can produce more.Scarlemagne: There's only so much one mandrill can sweat after all.
- Tertiary Sexual Characteristics: The Mod Frogs. While male frogs all seem to have small mustaches, female frogs seem to all have fuller lips. Outside of that, they're all very similar, especially considering they all wear the same outfits.
- This is averted for most other mute factions because many of them dress the same regardless of gender and lack noticeable traits to easily distinguish their genders. The only exceptions are the previously mentioned Mod Frogs, Scarlemagne’s Nobles thanks to their choice in clothing, and the Fitness Raccoons who have more human-like bodies that indicate what gender they are.
- That Man Is Dead: Variation. When Kipo is trying to get through to Scarlemagne, she calls him Hugo. He coldly declares that Hugo will be dead upon his coronation. And since Kipo interfered with the coronation, he later gets an arc rediscovering who he was. As he's dying, he asks Kipo to call him Hugo.
- Theme Tune Extended: The final episode gives the show's 30-second instrumental theme song an extended two-and-a-half minute long, lyrical rendition.
- Time Skip: A few months pass between Seasons 2 and 3, during which the characters have been searching for Dr. Emilia all over the region and laying the groundwork for a human and mute alliance.
- Title-Only Opening: The show's main theme tune starts playing at the end of every Cold Open as something in the environment is shown to form Kipo's name, be it the clouds, a star constellation, or scratches on a tree. At which point it hard cuts to the series logo, followed by the episode title. "Real Cats Wear Plaid" is the only exception to this, in that the title appears after zooming into a Mega-Mute's eye.
- Token Minority Couple: Benson and Troy, and, to a lesser extent, Song and Lio.
- Tomato in the Mirror: Kipo learns in the sixth episode that she's actually half-Mute, with the ability to shapeshift parts of her body into that of a jaguar to allow for night vision, super-strength, and an enhanced sense of smell. She has little control over it until the following season, however.
- Tombstone Teeth: Many characters have their mouths drawn this way when their teeth are exposed, particularly Kipo and Dave.
- Trojan Prisoner: Kipo and Wolf let themselves be captured by the Mod Frogs, but Kipo secretly brings Mega Bunny fur with her to attract the mother to their hideout and cause chaos, so they can escape with Benson and Dave.
- Twofer Token Minority: Benson.
- Unanthropomorphic Transformation: The main antagonist, Dr. Emilia and her resistance, wants to reclaim the Earth for all of humanity by reverting the "mutes," anthropomorphic versions of various animals, back into their old, primitive selves. They're successfully able to "cure" several mutes including Yumyan Hammerpaw, Margot, Rupert, Bad Billions, Brad, Camille, Wheels, Easy, and a Walrus Mega-Mute.
- Underground City: Of the "Apocalypse Bunker" type. Kipo's original home was underneath a cloverleaf highway interchange, with another bunker being located underneath a field of Mega-Dogs.
- Unmoving Plaid: All of the Timber Cats wear flannel shirts with plaid patterns that behave this way.
- Unspecified Apocalypse: Whatever event occurred in the 21st century that resulted in planetary and societal disruption, the appearance of huge or otherwise mutated, sapient animals, and forced the remainder of humanity to either live in sheltered underground communities or as lone survivors on the surface is unknown.
- Uplifted Animal: Whatever created the Mutes rendered a number of them fully sapient and capable of human speech. Scarlemagne/Hugo was uplifted later as part of an experiment to study the process.
- Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Kipo having bright pink skin, hair and eyes is never pointed out to any of the other characters as being in any way strange. This is meant to only be noticed by the viewer as Foreshadowing for her Mute-genes.
- Villains Blend in Better: Dr. Emilia and her followers have apparently been living on the surface world for years and have managed to remain undetected by most of the mute population.
- Vomit Indiscretion Shot: When Kipo let Scarlemagne/Hugo out of his cage, the cat that didn't flee immediately threw up.
- Wham Episode: The "Fun Gus" two-parter is the source of many reveals, with the biggest ones being that there exists a method of reversing the genetic mutations on animals that was found by Kipo's parents, but they kept it a secret due to the horrifying ethical implications and that her mother Song is the Mega Monkey, having contracted the mutation during pregnancy.
- Wham Shot:
- Scarlemagne taking off a dancer’s mask to reveal that he’s human.
- In a family photo found in her parents' original burrow, it's shown that Kipo's mother, Song Oak, was also half-Mute by the fur on her arm... but its brown instead of purple.
- Scarlemagne reveals that the Mod Frogs who attacked Kipo in his palace have been turned into statues by covering them in molten gold. It's the first time anyone has been explicitly killed on the show.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Unlike the other mute gangs, we never get to see the fate of the Mod Frogs after the death of their leader, Mrs. Sartori. Apart from a few stragglers in Brunchington Beach and some tadpoles, it's unknown if they've ever rebuilt their home that was ravaged by the Mega Bunny incident, relocated, or scattered.
- "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: The show ends on one that takes place five years after the group stops Dr. Emilia. Las Vistas is now a community of humans and mutes peacefully co-existing, Lio and Song work alongside the Newton Wolves doing research work and teaching human children and mute children, Benson owns a restaurant, Wolf continues to care for the Mega-Mute dogs, and Kipo has a cool leather jacket.
- Who Would Be Stupid Enough?: As stated above, in the later seasons one mute or human would go "Who does something like that?!?" "Kipo" as such Kipo has become a Phrase Catcher for a person who would be idealistic and naive enough to pull some of the stunts she pulls.
- Who Would Want to Watch Us?: Kipo's group runs into a band of "Thea-otters" who are off to stage a production about... Kipo's group. Being by mutes and for mutes, it casts Kipo as a ruthless villain out to beat up mutes, and Benson takes exception to the depiction of "Benjamin" as a Lovable Coward. They wind up sneaking into Brunchington Beach by wearing the large paper-mache costumes of themselves and assisting in the play anyway.
- Won't Take "Yes" for an Answer: When Scarlemagne leaves to murder Dr. Emelia before P.R.A.H.M., he assumes Wolf is coming to try to talk him out of it, despite her repeatedly telling him that she doesn't oppose his plan.
- Worf Effect: Stalky is a mighty weapon that Wolf has used to defeat several large mutes with, and is more than strong enough to pick up, hold, and throw Kipo and other characters multiple times. Dr. Emilia smashes it as if it was made out of porcelain.
- Worthless Yellow Rocks: After the fall of human civilization, gold became this, and there is tons of it untouched in old bank vaults. Scarlemagne's interest in it in Season 2 is really only superficial as well, only wanting it because the old stories that inspired his image says that having gold is a mark of prestige.
- You Can't Go Home Again:
- The Clover bunker was destroyed by a monkey Mega-Mute, while Clover Site B was destroyed by Scarlemagne's forces.
- The bunker that Lio, Song, and Hugo/Scarlemagne originated from was destroyed by that same Mega-Mute, and even if it wasn't they had planned to escape due to Dr. Emilia's plans, anyway. The fact that it is currently taken over by a possessive fungus mute further solidifies this.
- You Dirty Rat!: Surprisingly averted. The rats are actually one of the friendlier and more welcoming of the Mutes, with their territory actually being a safe zone. As mentioned above, they even lack the disdain for humans that many of the other Mutes possess.
- Your Size May Vary: The sizes of of creatures and mega mutes vary wildly depending on the framing. Creatures noted to be 100-300 feet and 1000 tons in some scenes may dwarf the main cast in order to drive a joke. However, more often than not, the creatures are seen fitting comfortably through small dilapidated streets. The size of the creatures can also change if the characters are face-to-face, the heads of the creatures looking 2 or 3 times smaller when compared to wider shots.