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Western Animation / Mighty Ducks: The Animated Series

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The Mighty Ducks animated series was, to put it gently, rather a surprise for viewers expecting a comedy series about misfit kids playing hockey. This animated series lasted from September, 1996 to January, 1997 on ABC (during their transition to Disney ownership — the season after this brought in One Saturday Morning), and also aired in First-Run Syndication (as part of the remnants of what was The Disney Afternoon).

It was instead about a team of anthropomorphic duck superheroes descended from alien dinosaurs who fight aliens with hockey-themed gadgets. Oh, and somewhere in space there were two dinosaur-derived races: the race descended from Ceratopsians, led by Lord Dragaunus, were evil and the Therapod (more specifically, duck) descended race was good. By an incredible coincidence, the Ducks' entire culture was based upon hockey.


When the Ducks pursue Lord Dragaunus to Earth (more specifically Anaheim, Southern California), the Ducks form an NHL team where they can hide in plain sight. Their arena, known only as "The Pond," has a hockey rink that doubles as a landing pad for the Aerowing above and has an HQ below. The Ducks and Dragaunus continue their fight, although there are other villains who sometimes challenge the Ducks.

Compare Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Dinosaucers.

Despite being ducks created by Disney, they are not part of the Disney Duck Canon. One would be intrigued to see Scrooge's reaction to these guys...note 


This series contains examples of:

  • Abnormal Ammo: The heroes use Explosive hockey pucks for everything; Guns, Launchers, Tanks, you name it.
  • The Ace: The Ducks' original leader, Canard, to some extent; though even he can't get a puck past Wildwing the goalie.
  • Adaptational Badass: Wildwing was based on the actual NHL team's costumed mascot Wild Wing. Wildwing (the cartoon character) was the badass leader of the squad; Wild Wing (the mascot) was best known at that point for failing to clear a fire pit in a pre-game jump, and for being featured on a notoriously short-lived alternate jersey.
  • Aliens Speaking English: The language of Puckworld and Anaheim is the same - which can only be excused if like Duckworld, Puckworld was just a parallel Earth, only one where mankind was a duckkind.
  • All Planets Are Earth-Like: Puckworld is much like Earth, only much colder.
  • All There in the Manual: Save for Mallory and Duke, none of the Ducks' last names are ever mentioned in the show itself. So how are they all around and 100% canon? They were provided by the writer, David Wise, specifically for the fanbase to use.
  • Aluminum Christmas Trees: The Anaheim Mighty Frogs. Not quite 100%, but the Anaheim Bullfrogs were a local inline roller hockey team that were founded shortly before the cartoon began to air and also played their games in the Arrowhead Pond.
  • Ambiguously Jewish: Tai Quack Do, Grin's mentor.
  • Animal Superheroes: The heroes are ducks.
  • Animated Adaptation: Though it seems to be more an adaptation of the name, with the only other tie to the original movies being the hockey theme.
  • Another Dimension:
    • Both the ducks and the bad guys come from another dimension.
    • The Heroic Fantasy-ish version of Anaheim seen in "Dungeons and Ducks" and "The Return of Asteroth" is another another dimension.
  • Artistic License – Sports: Although hockey is accurately portrayed, the Ducks don't respect a few prerequisites for a team...
  • Atlantis: Plays a part in the episode "The Final Face Off."
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Dragaunus loves using his DNA Accelerator to create giant-sized monsters.
  • Badass Bookworm: Tanya. How many tech experts do you know that can also hold their own in a hockey ring and on the battlefield?
    • Or pick up a fellow duck with only one hand? See "Monster Rally."
  • Bad Future: In "Beak to the Future."
  • Big Brother Worship: Nosedive displays this on occasion towards his older brother, Wildwing.
  • Big, Thin, Short Trio: Siege is big, Wraith is skinny, and Chameleon is short.
  • Bond Villain Stupidity: Dragaunus has proven himself more than a match for most of the ducks in hand-to-hand combat, yet on many occasions he puts them in an over the top Death Trap that they'll be able to escape fairly easily. And he's not the only villain guilty of this either.
  • Bratty Half-Pint: Buzz Blitzman, though in all fairness, he's a Child Prodigy without a family who's pretty much forced to invent stuff for people who won't even let him see hockey games when he wants.
  • By-the-Book Cop: Captain Klegghorn, a police officer for Anaheim who initially doesn't trust the ducks.
  • The Cameo: Actual Mighty Ducks of Anaheim goalie Guy Hebert shows up in the series.
  • Cassandra Truth: Klegghorn knows that the Mighty Ducks aren't human. It's the story Phil tells him in "The First Face-Off", of how they came to Earth and their fight with Dragaunus, that he finds ridiculous.
  • Celebrity Paradox: When Phil first met the Ducks, he dismisses them with "The theme park is across the freeway, fellas!" , implying Disneyland still exists. There is at least a Hand Wave as for why the local arena was already known as "Anaheim Pond" (a nickname bestowed by Disney because the Ducks would play there) by showing that The Mighty Frogs used to play in the city.
  • City of Adventure: Almost everything that happens to the ducks, happens in Anaheim. Justified in the fact that Lord Dragaunus landed there first, and is hiding out.
  • Clear My Name: This happened to the ducks in "Puck Fiction." It was up to Nosedive and Grin to save the others in jail.
  • Comm Links: The ducks use wrist communicators. The Saurians have them too, but theirs double as teleportation devices.
  • Compilation Movie: Mighty Ducks the Movie: The First Face-Off is a compilation movie made of "The First Face-Off" parts 1 & 2 and "Duck Hard".
  • Conspicuous CG: Some parts of the opening and the sequences where The Pond's launchpad appears have 3D computer graphics that are not Cel Shaded enough to blend with the regular animation.
  • Cool Car: The Migrator, borderline Base on Wheels.
  • Cool Plane: The last of the military's Aerowings.
  • Cool Bike: Enough for each Duck.
  • Cool Boat: The Duckfoil, used at least once.
  • Continuity Nod: In "Return of Asteroth" the ducks start the show by looking over a bunch of items they picked up in previous episodes, one of which is reused as the plot device of that one. As a nod within a nod, at the end they put the new plot resolution item they used in that episode in their collection at the end.
  • Cool Old Guy: Hockey Master, Tai Quack Do.
  • Cool Starship: The Raptor, which is a giant jet-like ship equipped with a cloaking device that can make it look like anything from a tower the size of itself to a standard-sized camper van.
  • Creator Provincialism: It is set in the same Anaheim of Disneyland. Justified by the existence of the real life Mighty Ducks of Anaheim (current Anaheim Ducks).
  • Cybernetics Eat Your Soul: Inverted in the case of Dr. Droid, who is implied to have been mentally unbalanced before he started replacing his body parts with machinery.
  • Didn't Think This Through: After Dragaunus believes Lucretia DeCoy may have been responsible for what he believed to be a fake Proteus Chip blowing up, he has Siege check to see if she had the real one. After Siege finds it and suspects her of betraying his boss, Lucretia tries to explain what happened, only for Dragaunus to be too angry to listen to her excuses and sends her to Dimensional Limbo.
  • Donut Mess with a Cop: During "Duck Hard," Klegghorn is knocked out. As the villains take out the ducks, a box of doughnuts falls to the floor, with one rolling right past Klegghorn's nose. Klegghorn quickly revives, and holds the baddies at gun point.
  • Dinosaurs Are Dragons: Writ large (look at the Big Bad's name), at least for all the dinosaurs who aren't hockey playing ducks.
  • Doesn't Like Guns: Grin.
  • The Dog Bites Back: Happens to Dragaunus in "Bringing Down Baby" and "Jurassic Puck."
  • Drama-Preserving Handicap:
    • Mainly for the benefit of the Ducks, as damage inflicted on the Raptor early in the series leaves Dragaunus forced to focus more effort on finding a new source of power for his ship than actually conquering the planet.
    • A more distinct example occurred in the episode "The Human Factor", when damage to the Mask forced the Ducks to rely on more conventional detective work to investigate odd events in a small town when the Mask would have quickly revealed that everyone in that town had been replaced by robots; when Wildwing observed at the end that recent events would have been easier with the Mask, Tanya noted that it would have made for a much shorter episode.
  • Drowning Pit: In the third episode, the Ducks are trapped in a Death Trap that gets filled with water.
  • Elaborate Underground Base: The Ducks' contract allowed them to build a headquarters under the hockey rink. You shoulda seen the fine print on that one.
  • Everything Sensor: The Mask of Drake Ducaine is an example of this; as well as being the sign of leadership, the Mask is also the only way to see through the personal shields of the Saurian Empire, as well as acting as a 'conventional' X-ray machine and able to see through other disguises. Quite a few plots rely on the Mask being the only way to see through certain disguises or deceptions, with one episode involving the Mask being damaged early on solely so that the subsequent plot would take longer (as the Mask would have quickly revealed that the town the Ducks were visiting was populated entirely by robots rather than people as part of a complex trap).
  • Evil Sounds Deep: With the exception of the squeaky-voiced Chameleon, the Saurians have impressively baritone voices (courtesy of Tim Curry, Tony Jay, and Clancy Brown).
  • Evil Sorcerer: There are two, Wraith and Asteroth.
  • Fake Defector: Duke in "To Catch a Duck."
  • Fake Ultimate Hero: The Superman Substitute Mondo-Man.
  • Family-Friendly Firearms: For some reason, the local donut-loving Cowboy Cop Klegghorn also has a blaster pistol.
  • Femme Fatale: Lucretia DeCoy in "A Traitor Among Us."
  • The Final Temptation: Dragaunus eventually gets tired of the Ducks constantly thwarting his schemes and offers them the means to go back to Puckworld, leaving Earth to him. His henchmen were ready with a bazooka in case they refused the offer. The Bad Future seen in that episode is the result of the Ducks accepting the offer.
  • The Genie Knows Jack Nicholson: Chameleon frequently makes references to Earth pop culture.
  • Hard Head: Nosedive in "Phil in the Blank." Guy gets a concussion but wakes up and proceeds to drive to the rocket and then later jumps out of it to land in Wildwing's borrowed jet, all with no side effects.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Duke l'Orange started out as a Gentleman Thief before using his skills for good.
  • Head-Turning Beauty:
    • This was pretty much the reaction Lucretia DeCoy got when she showed up. Even Phil seemed to think she was hot, which he lampshaded by saying "and I'm not even a duck!". (Of course, he also planned on making money off said hotness.)
    • Mallory got this same reaction at the end of the same episode after changing from her hockey uniform into a little red dress.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: In the pilot, Canard Thunderbeak, the Ducks' original leader, throws himself into an inter-dimensional vortex to save the rest of the team.
    • The fact that it was a Disney Death is relevant in at least one episode, where the idea of said leader returning was toyed with.
  • Heroes With Bad Publicity: Klegghorn would always tell the ducks they were a menace, regardless of the evidence to the contrary.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: In the episode “Zap Attack”, after dealing with the energy creature sent by Lord Dragaunus to take control of anything whether it’s the Ducks’s modes of transportation or inanimate objects such as a TV, the ducks decide to send it back to Dragaunus’s lair by the episode’s end for the purpose of having it mess with Dragaunus and just get into mischief in general.
  • Honey Trap: Lucretia DeCoy, a very attractive duck who is actually working for the Saurians. Only Tanya knew her previously, and got tied to the rafters to keep that traitor nature from being revealed.
  • Hope Spot: In "Take Me To Your Leader", the Ducks get a message some Canard that he arrived on Earth. It turns out to be a trap by Chameleon to steal their Migrator ship. It also damages Wildwing's confidence as leader for a while.
  • Hunting the Most Dangerous Game: "The Most Dangerous Duck Hunt"; an eccentric and rich hunter working with Dragaunus ends up hunting Wildwing, Duke and Tanya on his own private island.
  • In Name Only: This series might be called The Mighty Ducks, but don't expect any connection at all to the live-action films outside of the hockey theme.
  • I Know Madden Kombat: The ducks and their hockey based combat.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: Dragaunus' troops almost never hit what they aim at.
  • Incredible Shrinking Man: "Microducks"; Dr. Droid's first appearance involved a shrink ray.
  • Jerkass: Phil Palmfeather, the Ducks' money-grubbing manager.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: Despite not caring about the well being of Wildwing and Grin, Limpy Lombago takes his defeat well while being hauled off to jail by Klegghorn for aiding Dragaunus, Wraith, Chameleon, and Seige.
  • Lack of Empathy: Limpy Lombago, after pulling a I Lied on Grin and Nosedive by revealing he was secretly in leagues with Dragaunus and his Saurian underlings Wraith, Seige, and Chameleon.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Nosedive is the king of talking to the audience or mentioning the episode's plot. His teammates aren't above it, either.
  • Left Hanging: They set things up so another season was possible (Nosedive even breaks the fourth wall about it). One never came (likely due to the deterioration of what had been The Disney Afternoon- where the show had aired in syndication- and the establishment of One Saturday Morning, which was pretty much all E/I shows to comply with FCC regulations).
  • Mage Species: The Saurians used to be the race that specialized in magic, even though the only one who still does by the time of the show is Wraith. All the others favor technology.
  • Magic Versus Science: Wraith the warlock doesn't think too highly of the technology that Dragaunus has embraced, even if it did free them from the dimensional limbo and allow them to conquer Puckworld.
  • Mask of Power: The mask of Drake DuCaine, with the power to see through invisibility cloaks and possessed X-Ray Vision, which can see through any kind of disguise.
  • Mecha-Mooks: Dragaunus' basic foot soldiers.
  • Mind Control: The episode "Phil in the Blank", where Wraith casts a mind control spell on Phil.
  • No Fourth Wall: Frequent, usually by Nosedive. A particular example is "Puck Fiction", where Nosedive pulls out the episode's script, and in another scene asks why the gangster parody has suddenly become a damsel-in-distress one.
  • Non-Mammal Mammaries: Despite being birds, all the female ducks that appear have breasts.
  • Non-Mammalian Hair: All of the ducks in the series, one could make the case for Canard, Wildwing, and Duke’s just being feathers stylized into different styles. Mallory, Tanya, Nosedive, Grin and Lucretia’s though...
  • Off-Model: This is a mid-Nineties Disney Cartoon after all. And five of the animation studios note  used to work on Gargoyles too. This was also Plus One Animation's first Disney series as well.
  • Police Code for Everything:
    Mallory: I don't know what bothers me more: the fact that we're being attacked by a dinosaur or the fact that you've got a category for it.
  • Power-Up Letdown: One episode's about the ducks unveiling the next generation of their armored truck. Except none of its weapons work, and they go back to the old one at the end of the episode.
  • Pretentious Pronunciation: The unscrupulous scientist, Dr. Swindle, insists that his name is pronounced "Swin-del."
  • Pun-Based Title: Mostly related to ducks ("Beak To The Future", "The Iced Ducks Cometh") or hockey ("Power Play", "Jurassic Puck"), if not both ("Mad Quacks Beyond Hockeydome") or neither ("Phil In the Blank").
  • Punny Name: Most of the Ducks' names have puns relating to birds in general or ducks specifically.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Two sets in the team.
    • Nosedive and Grin.
    • Mallory and Tanya.
  • La Résistance: The Mighty Ducks, after Dragaunus took over Puckworld and before everyone came to Earth.
  • Sacrificial Lion: Canard Thunderbeak, although he's not dead, just trapped in Another Dimension.
  • Serious Business: Puckworld's entire culture is based around hockey, if it wasn't obvious from the name. Though the Ducks don't have much trouble fitting in on Earth after a while.
    • Just in case any of the viewers missed it from the premise and name, there is a field of puck-shaped asteroids near it, along with a nebula shaped like a hockey mask.
    • Apparently it is in our universe too; one episode has the Ducks captured to participate in an intergalactic bloodsport version of hockey.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Speech Impediment: Tanya stutters pretty badly, and tries to switch from Technobabble to Layman's Terms mid-sentence. It's said she does so because her brain moves faster than she speaks.
  • Squishy Wizard: One of Dragaunus' two Squishy minions is a conventional version of this. The other is a tiny Shapeshifting creature who, of course, turns into a big scary guy during combat. Rounding out the Four Bad Band is... Another Big Scary Guy.
  • Status Quo Is God: There are too many opportunities where either side could have just ended the conflict permanently (like the time the Ducks ended up grabbing a Saurian comm, or the various petty uses of the dimensional gateway), but they don't bother.
  • Surrounded by Idiots: Dragaunus says so in no uncertain terms very often.
  • Take Up My Sword: Right before he lets himself fall into dimensional Limbo, Canard tells Wildwing to take the mask of Drake DuCaine and with it the position of resistance leader. Wildwing only does so at the end of the pilot after overcoming his feelings of guilt and inadequacy.
  • Taken for Granite: Once happened to Phil in "Return of Asteroth". Mallory thought he'd make a good lawn ornament.
  • Talking the Monster to Death: In Power Play Grin resolves to see the best in the transformed Monster of the Week and seeks to reach out to him against all reason aside the fact that the ducks couldn't match him physically.
  • The Team: In this case, a six-anthropomorphic duck hockey team.
    • The Leader: Wildwing is the team leader both in the hockey team and the superhero team, "Team Captain".
    • The Lancer: Two of them.
      • Duke was not a hero or a solider but a thief pre-series. This sets quite a contrast to the noble Wildwing, who was a civilian.
      • Nosedive is Wildwing's little brother, and so the contrast between them is also played up. On the ice, he is also better at scoring while his brother is the goalie.
    • The Smart Guy: Tanya maintains all their gear and innovates new stuff.
    • The Big Guy: Two of them.
      • Grin is the biggest, tallest and broadest of the ducks.
      • Unlike the rest of the team, Mallory was actually part of Puckworld's military and well-versed in both hand-to-hand and puckblasters.
  • Teenage Mutant Samurai Wombats: Although the only actual teenager is Nosedive.
  • Teleport Interdiction: The Ducks have a defense shield over the Pond that keeps the Saurians from teleporting into their base, but it's of limited usefulness the one time they just walk in.
  • Teleport Spam: Averted; while the Saurians do teleport a lot, it's more to run back to the Raptor than any real advantage in combat.
  • Theme Naming: The ducks are, of course, named after birds and duck related foods. The most obvious being Duke's name. Which is, of course a pun on the dish "Duck à l'Orange."
  • Toothy Bird: It's not that noticeable, but it briefly shows up on a few episodes. Dungeons and Ducks, however, goes totally nuts with it; throughout the episode, many characters' facial expressions pretty much explode, giving us more than a couple clear views at the Ducks' teeth.
  • Town with a Dark Secret: Featured in "The Human Factor", in which the town's entire population has been replaced by robots.
  • Toyless Toyline Character: Here's another cartoon that was affected by The Smurfette Principle. There were 5 lines of action figures. How many lines did Mallory make it into? Just two. Also, her action figures are extremely rare. Why? There was only one of her per case. And Tanya? She never had an action figure at all, although Mattel did make her as part of a line of small, non-articulated figures.
    • In a case that doesn't involve the principle, Canard and Wraith were never made into action figures either.
  • Underdogs Never Lose: The Ducks only lose one hockey game and only because Nosedive failed to make the winning goal in time.
  • Use Your Head: Grin in the episode "Puck Fiction" after problem solving by using his feet to grab a steel beam to jam the gears on the conveyor belt Limpy left him for near death on.
  • Villain Teleportation: Done to ridiculous extremes; the villains tend to teleport away when things go bad.
  • Void Between the Worlds: Dimensional Limbo, a swirling purple void always seen whenever there's an active dimensional gateway.
  • We Need a Distraction: This is one of the Saurians' primary tactics, keeping the ducks busy while they are working on a scheme (commonly involving recharging the Raptor). Despite this, the ducks still manage to foil them.
  • Weapon Specialization: Each Duck (and each of the villains) has their own personal weapon. Wildwing has his explosive puck launcher (essentially a grenade launcher,) Duke l'Orange uses a laser sword, Tanya has various gadgets on her wrist device including a small chainsaw, Grin fights with his fists, and the rest of the ducks mostly use pistols.
  • Writing Around Trademarks: The Ducks are stated to be a major league team and the Stanley Cup is mentioned. But specifically saying NHL is never done, nor are the opposing teams representations of it. Strangely enough, the NHL is mentioned in the end credits.
    • For similar reasons, the Ducks' arena is only known as "The Pond", or the "Anaheim Pond"; at the time the show was made it was called the "Arrowhead Pond", as the naming rights were sold to a regional bottled water company (these days, it's the Honda Center, sometimes dubbed the "Ponda").

Alternative Title(s): The Mighty Ducks