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Western Animation / Mummies Alive!

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Ja-Kal's brother is apparently more important than the fourth member of the mummies.
"A little boy named Presley found a secret out this year.
That he was once a pharaoh when Egyptians ruled the world.
Now a sorcerer named Scarab tries to get him day and night.
But Presley has four guardians to protect his very life."
— The series' Expository Theme Tune

Mummies Alive! is a 1997 animated series by DiC Entertainment that aired for one season, consisting of forty two episodes.

Presley Carnavon, a boy from San Francisco, discovers that he's the reincarnation of Prince Rapses. As such, he inherits four mummy bodyguards who defend him from the evil sorcerer Scarab, who's constantly trying to use the boy's soul to become immortal.

The mummies also have to contend with many gods and spirits from Egyptian myth summoned to the modern world, including Anubis, Set, Apep, Bastet, Sekhmet, and many others, who are usually a part of one of Scarab's schemes.


  • Aborted Arc: Season 1 ends with the implication that Scarab and Heka are still on the loose and that something important will have to happen in the far future to defeat him for good, things that are never resolved due to the series' cancellation.
  • Adaptational Villainy: Various gods, such as Anubis and Bastet, are portrayed as malicious, when they were benevolent figures in Egyptian Mythology. Even Ammut was originally a neutral force who was harmless to people who were good in life.
  • Affably Evil: Anubis, Nuhn, Geb, Bes, the list goes on.
  • Agent Mulder: Joe the cop is a believer in aliens and other such things; he's even a treasurer in a local chapter of a club full of other believers. His subplot in "A Dark and Shrieky Night" is his desperate attempt to have a close encounter since he's the only one of his pals who hasn't had one yet. In other episodes, he expresses certainty of various government cover-ups.
  • Agent Scully: Bob often listens to Joe's conspiracy theories and just as often rolls his eyes.
  • Aliens Speaking English: It's amazing how four people from another country, who have been dead for thousands of years, manage to speak perfect English the moment they wake up in modern day America.
  • All Animals Are Dogs: Ammut, Devourer of Souls! Lion + hippo + crocodile averages out to dog.
  • Alternative Foreign Theme Song: Like with most DiC shows, the series aired on a Mediaset-owned network (Italia 1) and so it got its own theme over there sung by Enzo Draghi, and a pretty catchy one at that. The Super 3 and Planet Kids re-airings, however, used the regular English theme.
  • Ancient Egypt: It is featured once in Presley's vision of the past, as well as some flashbacks.
  • Ancient Tomb: It is mentioned in a flashback.
  • And I Must Scream: Before the start of the series, Scarab was sealed in a tomb for 3500 years as punishment for killing Rapses to obtain immortality. Scarab apparently has recurring nightmares of the day he was sealed, and admits to Heka that his imprisonment was beyond horrific.
  • Animal Motifs: There's Ja-Kal the falcon, Armon the ram, Rath the snake, Nefetina the cat, and Scarab the scarab.
  • Animal-Themed Superbeing: The mummies and Scarab's transformed appearances.
  • Animation Bump: While the series is pretty decently animated for DIC standards, the transformation sequence is still notably better animated than the rest of the series itself.
  • Another Dimension: The Western Gate leads to one.
  • Arc Number: 3500 - years, usually.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: In "The Face in the Mirror", Anubis gets possessed by the Eye of Darkness and gains immense knowledge, but he has other things concerning his mind:
    Anubis: Hey, I know everything. Dead languages, subatomic things... The origin of mayonnaise.
  • Artistic License Biology: While acknowledging on occasion that the mummies are technically dead- such as them being the only beings immune when the Tree of Life was damaged and everything else began to age rapidly- their need for food appears genuine rather than purely psychological, as Rath and Armon are legitimately shown as being hungry when they swap bodies in "Who's Who?" (Armon-in-Rath feeling full while Rath-in Armon feels Armon's hunger pains, neither of which would apply if they just ate because they wanted to rather than because they had to).
  • Artistic License History: This series takes a few liberties with the history and mythology of Egypt.
  • Artistic License Religion: Many Egyptian gods are different from their Real Life counterparts. Here are a few examples:
    • Seth and Anubis are companions. This didn't happen in the actual myths as Anubis opposed Seth for killing Osiris and helped Isis in resurrecting him. Seth's appearance is also a little different. Here he's a full-blown dog, while the real one was more a mishmash.
    • Bastet was by all means a benevolent, if a relatively minor goddess compared to the more popular gods like Ra and Isis. Here she is a narcissistic jerk who think she is the grandest goddess for all of mankind and wants everyone to worship her.
    • Sekhmet was a lioness-headed war goddess who was also involved with pestilence. Here diseases are her main aspect and she morphs into a vulture-like creature.
    • Egyptians are portrayed as believing in reincarnation, which was not a part of their mythology.
  • Artistic License Space: Neither solar eclipses nor planetary alignments actually occur in a 3500-year cycle.
  • Back from the Dead: There is quite a bit of this, understandably of course, since the main characters are undead mummies.
  • Battle Boomerang: The Boome-Ra, a star shaped weapon which is thrown like a boomerang. It is used by Ja-Kal and occasionally Presley.
  • Beast Man: Apep, though he is more snake than man. There is also Bastet, the Cat Lady.
  • Big Bad: Scarab.
  • Body Swap: Happens in the episode "Who's Who?" involving all major characters.
  • Bond Villain Stupidity: Scarab proves himself a match for the mummies in armed combat, yet on many occasions when confronted, he escapes. He is not the only villain to fall into this habit.
  • Boy Meets Ghoul: In "True Believer", Nefertina goes on a date with a living human.
  • Brains Versus Brawn: In "Paws", Nefer-Tina is Brainwashed by the cat goddess Bastet who makes her abduct Presley. Ja-Kal and Rath clash over how to resolve the situation; Rath wants to use a spell to free Nefer-Tina and save Presley while Ja-Kal thinks they have no choice but to kill Nefer-Tina. Ja-Kal accuses Rath of being weak and indecisive while Rath berates Ja-Kal for relying too much on brute force.
  • Brought Down to Normal: If the mummies don't sleep in their sarcophagi regularly they become depowered, basically amounting to the power source for their amulets running dry; at least one episode saw Rath express concern that they could 'die' for good if they didn't get back to The Sphinx in time after a particular battle saw their sacred bandages suffering water damage.
    • Several episodes depicted the aftermath of the typical "End of episode" battle, with the Mummies depowered and having to make their way back to their home base on their own. Hijinks typically ensued.
  • Buried Alive: Scarab's punishment for murdering the Pharaoh's son. Since he is immortal, he spent millennia trapped in his tomb, only being released an unspecified time before the series began when his tomb was discovered. Early episodes had him still suffering nightmares as a result of his ordeal.
  • Butt-Monkey: Joe and Bob, the cops that often spot the Mummies driving over the speed limit usually end up being scared off.
  • By the Power of Grayskull!: The mummies saying "With the strength of Ra!" whenever they transform.
  • Cain and Abel: Arakh and Ja-Kal.
  • Catchphrase: "Let's kick Tut!" for the mummies.
  • Cat Girl: Bastet, Nefertina's patron goddess. Nefertina herself becomes one when Bastet transforms her into one.
  • Cats Are Magic: Bastet.
  • City of Adventure: The city of San Francisco.
  • Clip Show: The Series Finale.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Nuhn, to an insane degree.
  • Color-Coded Characters:
    • Ja-Kal: Blue.
    • Armon: Purple
    • Rath: Green
    • Nefertina: Red.
  • Conspicuous Trenchcoat: Rath wears one in the episode "Dead Man Walking".
  • Cool Airship: The Jetcycle and the Skycophagus.
  • Cool Big Sis: Nefertina to Presley.
  • Cool Car: The Hot-Ra.
  • Dating Catwoman: Nefertina and Apep (although morally inverted, as in this case the 'Catwoman' is the hero while the other partner in the relationship is the villain).
  • A Day in the Limelight: Joe the police officer is the star of the series' finale, which is actually a Clip Show.
  • Deadpan Snarker:
    • Mostly Rath, although everyone gets one in every other episode.
    • On the villain side, Heka never stops snarking.
  • Demon Head: The mummies when they are furious.
  • Duck Season, Rabbit Season: Brains vs. Brawn.
  • Dumb Muscle: Armon is not the sharpest knife in the drawer.
  • Elite Four: The eponymous mummies are four warriors from Ancient Egypt who in life were guardians of the young Prince Rapses. In the modern day, they serve as guardians to Presley, the current incarnation of their original charge.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Scarab is genuinely surprised that his servant Arakh is willing to risk his own son to get revenge on his brother Ja-Kal.
  • Everybody Hates Hades: Anubis is a rather stupid villain in the series, when he was a benevolent deity in charge of protecting the dead in Egyptian mythology. He is associated with Set, who disowned Anubis in the myths for choosing to side with Horus.
  • Everybody Was Kung-Fu Fighting: The mummies know "egyptsu", which appears to be a blend of snake-style kung fu and aikido. Interestingly, there actually was an ancient Egyptian martial art, though it was certainly not called that and resembled boxing more.
  • Evil Is Not a Toy: Practically a Running Gag in this series; at several occasions Scarab tries summoning powerful being to help him get Rapses' soul, only for these beings to escape in control, forcing him to step back and let the mummies clean his mess.
  • Expository Theme Tune: The page quote is part of it:
    A little boy named Presley found a secret out this year
    That he was once a Pharaoh when Egyptians ruled the world
    And now some sorcerer named Scarab tries to get him day and night
    But Presley has four guardians to protect his very life!
    He has the Mummies! From 1525 BC!
    He has the Mummies! Protection for the new Rapses!
    He has the Mummies! They're hanging by the 'Frisco Bay!
    He has the Mummies! Protectors of the world today!
    He has the Mummies! From 1525 BC!
    He has the Mummies! Protection for the Pharaoh teen!
    He has the Mummies! They're hanging by the Western Gate!
    He has the Mummies
    They're gonna save the world today
    The Egyptian way
    They're Mummies Alive!
  • Expy: Nuhn is very much like Genie, being a wisecracking, hyperactive blue guy prone to celebrity impressions. The main differences are that he's not a genie and that he can be quite villainous.
  • Eye of Horus Means Egypt: Presley has it on his amulet, which makes sense since he's the reincarnation of a Egyptian prince.
  • Fantastic Fighting Style: Egyptsu.
  • Fish out of Temporal Water: Ancient Egypt, San Francisco is not. The Mummies have just awaken after millennia of death and initially have trouble acclimating to modern technology, such as refrigerators, televisions, and automobiles. Scarab has no such problem as he was awoken far earlier and had time to adapt.
  • For Halloween, I Am Going as Myself: One episode actually has the mummies go to a Halloween party without costumes, though they managed to ruin the party for Presley anyway.
  • Formula-Breaking Episode: "A Dark and Shrieky Night" is unlike other episodes, as the villainous plot and main action are over in the first scenes. We then see what comes afterwards: the mummies get stranded far from the sphinx, so they have to hoof it home, unintentionally scaring those they encounter and getting dogged by police along the way. Presley also doesn't appear.
  • Frothy Mugs of Water: Averted in Episode 26. The mummies are struggling to get back to base with their powers depleted, and spot someone trying to get into his car while clearly drunk. Ja-Kal uses his Demon Head to terrify him into running off.
  • Henshin Hero: The mummies.
  • Hollywood Density: A lot of the time the series isn't too bad about the weight Armon's golden arm should have. He is The Big Guy, and presumably has some degree of Super-Strength while he is armored up which is the only time it is around. But in one episode where the mummies are trying to catch a group of Gold Rush prospector ghosts, he and Presley are both lifting it and tossing it around like it is made out of plastic.
  • Home Base: The Sphinx.
  • Hypnotic Eyes: One of the sorceress Chontra's abilities.
  • Idiosyncratic Wipe: Scene changes are done by having a plate with the series logo do stuff.
  • Immortality Immorality: Scarab killed a young prince to gain immorality, though he appears to still age. Thousand of years later he intends to repeat the process with the reincarnation of the same prince to attain eternal youth.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: Scarab's army of Shabti.
  • Impossibly Cool Clothes: The mummies and Scarab's armor.
  • Incredible Shrinking Man: In one episode.
  • Interspecies Romance: On a few occasions. For instance, the couple of episodes about the relationship between Nefertina (an undead human mummy) and Apep (a human who's actually a giant snake demon).
  • Law of Chromatic Superiority: With a twist. As the leader of the mummies, Ja-Kal wears blue instead of the usual red.
  • Living Statue: Scarab's Shabti minions. Also, Talos, the giant bronze man from Greek mythology.
  • Loophole Abuse: "Sleight of Hand" had the mummies and Scarab participating in a contest where magic is forbidden (beyond their armor and personal weapons). Scarab uses technology to gain the upper hand over the mummies and came dangerously close to winning, defeating three of the mummies and nearly beating Ja-Kal before Presley was able to point out the holographic projectors Scarab was using and advise Ja-Kal to destroy them.
  • Magitek:
    • One episode has Rath replace the radio aerial in Presley's science-project radio with an obelisk, which makes it powerful enough to communicate with the beings Beyond the Western Gate.
    • Another lampshades this:
    "I am trying to teach you science. Now, do you want to learn how to turn a staff into a serpent or not?"
  • Merlin and Nimue: Rath and his student Chantra.
  • Merchandise-Driven: It may not seem like that, but the series existed for the purpose to sell toys. Hasbro, who produced them, were also involved in the show's actual production, with the company suggesting what could make the show marketable for the toyrange. They are the reason why the Hot-Ra is like a dragster.
  • Mistaken for Aliens: The mummies get this in "A Dark and Shrieky Night" from Joe. He's actually quite ecstatic about it, as he wants a close encounter to tell his buddies about and hopes to help bridge the gap between worlds. Ja-Kal indulges this just so he can claim the air is bad for him and run off.
  • Mooks: Scarab has a neverending supply of clay minions to send at the mummies. They shatter when they are hit by pretty much anything. They seem to be unable to speak, and it is unclear whether they are sentient at all.
  • Motive Decay: Scarab. At first, he tries to take the immortal soul of Prince Rapses. By the last episode, he's stolen the youth of homeless people, set Ja-Kal and his brother against each other, and tries to sell overpriced stolen water in a bottle.
  • Mummy: Unlike mummies that appear in many other works of fiction, Presley's four guardians act perfectly friendly towards most everyone.
  • Nightmare Face: Each of the mummies can do this, usually to scare an obnoxious person silly or to create a distraction to slip away.
  • Non-Lethal Warfare: The combat featured in the series.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise:
    • Nefertina when she was alive; her "disguise" apparently consisted of little more than a hat to hide her hair, and didn't obviously hide her narrow waist and chest.
    • The mummies often walk around in San Francisco wearing civilian clothes, with their bandages and gray skin still on display. The regular people never even bat an eyelid at this. Even in Presley's mother's cafe, all one person had to say was that "they must really be starving!"
  • Past-Life Memories: In the second episode, Presley experiences the memories of Rapses just before he died. It turns out, they're being caused by one of Scarab's spells.
  • Powered Armor: The mummies gain armor when they use the phrase "With the strength of Ra!" to help them fight. Complete with stock transformation sequences.
  • Punny Name: When Armon transforms, he puts his arm on.
  • Recap Episode: The only noteworthy one being the series finale, which features a compilation of clips from the entire series.
  • Refuge in Audacity: Based on the relative simplicity of her disguise as "Nefer", it would appear that Nefertina's disguise when she was alive mainly succeeded because nobody thought of it as an explanation.
  • Right Hand Versus Left Hand: Sometimes Presley and the mummies survive only because of bickering and backstabbing on the villains' side.
  • Sadly Mythtaken: Sekhmet as a vulture.
  • Samus Is a Girl: The other three mummies didn't actually know that Nefertina was a girl at first.
  • Science Wizard: Rath. He is the Mummies' magic expert and also built the team's vehicles.
  • Seductive Mummy: Nefertina, especially in "True Believer".
  • Serpent Staff:
    • Scarab's snake Familiar Heka can transform into a snake staff capable of firing energy blasts.
    • "Sleep Walk Like An Egyptian" has Presley in a dream state where he relives his past life as an Egyptian prince. One of his experiences is being taught how to transform sticks into snakes by Rath. Presley repeating the incantation for this spell in the physical world causes his teacher's pointer stick to transform into a snake.
  • Sins of the Father: Apep in "Desert Chic". He wants revenge on Presley for his previous incarnation's grandfather driving him into the desert.
  • Subways Suck: On one occasion where the mummies take the subway, Rath takes one look at the subway map and thinks it is the first sign of actual intelligence in the modern world.
  • Sweet Polly Oliver: Nefertina. In ancient Egypt, she pretended to be a boy so she could drive chariots.
  • Teenage Mutant Samurai Wombats: The mummies run around San Francisco with all sorts of magic, monsters, cool cars and gods completely unnoticed.
  • Thememobile: All of the mummies' vehicles have an Egyptian theme going on, especially the Hot-Ra.
  • Those Two Guys: Joe and Bob, the cops that often spot the mummies driving over the speed limit, usually end up being scared off.
  • Through Her Stomach: At one point, Armon advises Presley to win his Love Interest this way.
    Armon: Starve a cold, feed a female.
  • Transformation Sequence: Every time the mummies suit up With the strength of Ra!
  • Trapped in Another World: One episode has Presley's science teacher trapped beyond the Western Gate by a Magitek-enhanced radio.
  • Treacherous Advisor: Scarab. He started out as the trusted advisor of a Pharaoh, but had plans to take the throne in his own right, to the point of killing the Pharaoh's son to further his own agenda.
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Geb the earth spirit, and his wife Net the air spirit.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: In "Brother's Keeper", Ja-Kal saved his brother Arakh from getting mauled by a lion. Arakh tells him he could have handled it, and accuse him of always wanting him to fail.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: The mummies are gray-skinned and covered in bandages, but this barely registers with those they encounter. At most, they're treated as quirky or odd but otherwise not worth worrying about. Nefertina has even been approached for dates multiple times. "A Dark and Shrieky Night" is one of the rare aversions, as civilians on the street are openly scared to see them and call the police.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Scarab masquerades as a respectable businessman, but it doesn't particularly impede the mummies. Then again, "Scarab" technically has no publicity whatsoever among civilians since the "respectable businessman" is an alter ego the mummies have no clue to.
  • Villain Team-Up: Happened fairly often.
  • Villainous Crush: Strangely enough, the metal giant Talos once fell for San Francisco's Statue of Victory.
  • Warrior Undead: The titular Mummies are four ancient Egyptians who served as the bodyguards and instructors to the young prince Rapses XII and are resurrected to protect his modern-day incarnation. Each Mummy is a master of Egypt-Tsu, has a suit of mystical armor modeled after a specific animal and wields their own preferred weapon.
  • Warrior vs. Sorcerer:
    • The main heroes are warriors from Ancient Egypt who uses mystical weapons and armor to fight an evil magician.
    • Rath vs Enchantra is a Magic Knight vs Squishy Wizard/Lady of Black Magic example. Rath fights with a sword and is the sole magician of the mummies. Enchantra relies solely on magic and is Rath's Pupil Turned Evil.
  • White Hair, Black Heart: Net, to a certain degree.
  • Wise Serpent:
  • World's Most Beautiful Woman: Nefertina becomes this once effected by Scarab's beauty potion by accident, going from nobody to celebrity model overnight. Of course, she looks the same as always except her skin tone and hair color are back to what she looked like when she was alive.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Scarab is more than willing to kill a child to get him immortality.
  • You're Not My Father: During the Father's Day episode "Reunion," Presley says this to Ja-Kal when he offers to take the boy fishing since his real father is in Memphis. It comes off particularly harsh when you take in the fact that Ja-Kal never got to see his own son grow up. Not to mention he has a nephew who was also like a son to him, and his father is Ja-Kal's evil brother.


Video Example(s):


The Mummies Alive!

There's Ja-Kal the falcon, Armon the ram, Rath the snake, and Nefetina the cat.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / TransformationSequence

Media sources: