2 to inspire us...
3 to define us...
4 to teach us...
5 to guide us...
6 to lead us...
7 to defend us...
8 to guard us...
9 to save us.
The title 9 refers to two computer-animated movies, both directed by Shane Acker:
- The Academy Award-nominated short, released in 2005.
- The adult computer-animated movie, produced by Tim Burton (who saw the original short and loved it), released on 9th September 2009. Note, however, that Acker designed, directed and co-wrote both films, with Burton providing the financing. You can see the trailer here.
The main characters are tiny, sentient, animate constructs designed after sackdolls, or ragdolls depending on who you ask, though two of them are made from garden gloves. The creator, Shane Acker, has officially dubbed them "stitchpunks". This has generally become the term for them in fandom.
In both cases, the plot largely follows one such stitchpunk, simply known by the number 9 painted onto his back, as he attempts to survive in an Alternate Universe where all life on Earth has been wiped out.
The short was released first, and chronicles 9's attempts to defeat an unnamed mechanical creature, who destroyed 5, his one-eyed mentor, and the other robots, and retrieve the machine's soul-stealing device. The film, while ambiguous about the setting, was praised for its storyline and plot.
The movie expands on the short considerably; 9 awakens alone in a burned-out house in the ruins of a city, with no clue to his origins except a mysterious talisman. He begins to explore the wasteland and quickly encounters both the Cat-Beast and his own numbered compatriots (each of whom is more fully fleshed out as a character). Soon, they are drawn into an exploration of both humanity's destruction and their ultimate purpose as a terrible enemy hunts them down to consume their souls.
Not to be confused with the musical adaptation of 8½, Nine (Musical), or of District 9.
These films contain examples of:
- Adorable Abomination: Some of the stitchpunks.
- After the End: The movie and short both take place after humanity has apparently been destroyed by machines.
- Apocalypse How: At least a Class 3a extinction but possibly ranging up from a Class 4 extinction event to a Class 5 as the planet appears to be devoid of any life whatsoever besides the dolls and the machines. However, whether the entire planet is like this or just the small portion where the movie takes place is unknown. The ending seems to suggest heavily Class 5. What with all of the dolls except 9, 7, 3, & 4 gone, and as the dead ones ascend into the sky, it starts raining, showing a close-up of some sort of microorganisms in said raindrop.
- Cats Are Mean: The Cat Beast in both incarnations, with the movie version's savagery being upped to eleven.
- Cue the Sun: Both films end at dawn.
- Glowing Eyes of Doom: The Cat Beast has a glowing cybernetic red left eye as well as flashlight installed in its right eye socket.
- Golem: The sackdolls are artificial creatures given life.
- Gory Discretion Shot: To a point.
- Mechanical Lifeforms: The dolls are actually small robots made out of scrap, possess some form of "soul" and look like they could, say, repair themselves with anything to hand. The machines that hunt them incorporate non-standard building materials, like animal skulls.
- The method of their creation seems to point towards their being some manner of primitive Homunculi.
- Punk Punk: The movie, thanks to Shane Acker and The Steampunk Bible, technically coined a subgenre in Steampunk called Stitchpunk.
- Right Behind Me: In abundance in the film, but prominently featured in the original short: as 5 is looking around for the Machine, the camera shifts to show his front and the Machine behind him readying its claws with Audible Sharpness. 5's eye gets wide and he assumes an expression we all know.
- Scenery Gorn: Multiple buildings reduced to rubble.
- Skull for a Head: The Cat Beast's head incorporates an actual cat skull.
- You Are Number 6: Even though the characters all had distinct personalities.
- Bittersweet Ending: 9 has finally killed the Machine and saved the souls of his friends, but they are still dead, and 9 is now the last of his kind and is left to wander a lifeless world, alone.
- Chekhov's Gun: The intro sequence shows 9 setting up the trap that will later kill the Machine.
- No-Dialogue Episode: In contrast to the later movie, the short is entirely unvoiced.
- The '40s: In an alternate universe, at least, given the date on the newspaper clippings (1930) and the old-fashioned record player playing Somewhere Over the Rainbow (recorded in 1939). Not that it's really important, though, since most human concepts of time have probably been eliminated. A Mark I tank (1916) can be seen sticking out of the ground at one point, but it's a blink-and-you'll miss it scene, so the 40s have much more evidence going for them.
- Absurdly Sharp Blade: A subtle example, but all of the stitchpunks' weapons seem remarkably sharp, especially considering that most of them are scavenged tools or kitchen implements. During the fight with the Winged Beast, a kitchen knife and a rusty sewing needle both go straight into the metal hull of a crashed fighter plane, rather than snapping on impact.
- Action Girl: 7, for a given value of "girl". The action part is most definitely inarguable, though.
- Action Survivor: Everyone aside from 7 and 8. 9 and 5 especially.
- Adaptation Expansion: The original short, which has a single mechanical beast collecting the souls for who-knows-what with a talisman and the silent 5 and 9 out to avenge their friends, is expanded to a voiced feature in which that beast is but a minion planning to use that talisman to revive something much worse, and all nine stitchpunks dealing with it.
- Agony of the Feet: 2 hops around holding one foot after kicking the Beast that 7 killed.
- A Head at Each End: A big part of why the Seamstress is so horrifying is that she's got a soul-drained stitchpunk body with Hypnotic Eyes for a tail.
- A.I. Getting High: Number 8 (a.k.a. The Big Guy) puts his magnet close to his head in order to enter a state of bliss.
- A.I. Is a Crapshoot: The Fabrication Machine. Justified: The Fabrication Machine's AI was made to be as human-like as possible, so when the Chancellor forced it to work too hard for too long, it did what any human would have done: it snapped.
- Alchemy Is Magic: Quite possibly what the Scientist used to create the stitchpunks. In the Magic from Technology or Magitek sense, of course.
- Ambiguous Gender: 3 and 4 never speak and have no Tertiary Sexual Characteristics like 7, so it's up for debate what gender they are. Word of God eventually confirmed that they are Non-binary.
- All There in the Manual: A lot of backstory and other details are found in the Scientist's journal and Facebook page.
- Alternate History: According to the director, the film takes place in a world where the Industrial Revolution never ended, with machines becoming more advanced earlier than our timeline.
- And I Must Scream: Whenever a stichpunk has their soul consumed, we see brief shots of said souls inside the fabrication machine.
- Anti-Hero: 1 and 8 both have shades of this. 1 is the Well-Intentioned Extremist, while 8 is a jerk and a bully but also unabashedly heroic and kicks a ton of ass.
- Anyone Can Die: All the stitchpunks but 9, 7, 3, and 4 die.
- Apocalyptic Log: The video feed 9 comes across in the Scientist's room.
- Arc Words:
- "Sometimes, one must be sacrificed."
- "Go back to the source!"
- Art Evolution: In-universe. From 1 to 9, you can see that the Scientist improved his doll-making style. Lampshaded by 2.
- Automatic Crossbows: 5's weapon of choice, which also becomes a Grappling-Hook Pistol when he fires a fishing hook.
- Badass Bookworm: 5 is the second-smartest of the Stitchpunks, after 2, and he's clever enough to come up with several quick plans on the fly, including jump-starting the airplane's propeller to shred the winged beast.
- Beauty Equals Goodness: Played with, in that 1, aka the biggest jerk out of all of the stitchpunks, has the crudest and most primitive, ugly design. A justified example, in that he was the first created, and the quality of the Scientist's craftsmanship visibly improves over time, culminating in 9.
- BFG: The old artillery gun uses shells larger than the sackdolls themselves.
- BFS: 8's got two; a carving knife and half of a pair of scissors (they're big to him).
- Big Bad: The Fabrication Machine.
- Big Damn Heroes: 9 and others are cornered by a beast twice with no apparent way out, when 7 suddenly appears out of nowhere to save the day. (Although the second time this was attempted 7 ended up with a harpoon in her leg.)"Let me try that again."
- Big Good: The Scientist, the one who created the stitchpunks to deal with the machine army.
- Bittersweet Ending: The machine is defeated, but the world is still no better than before and 1, 2, 5, 6, and 8 have all passed on. 9's narration says that he has no idea what is left...except that the world now belongs to the few sackdolls that remain. Except for the somethings seen dividing in the raindrops hitting the camera at the end...implying that they've restored life to the world. Or something.
- The freed souls of the dead sackdolls mixed with primordial ooze in the atmosphere and created new organic life.
- And apparently it's up to 9, 7, 3 and 4 to oversee this new life.
- Blatant Lies: "It will create new machines of peace!", said while said machines tentatively spin their new miniguns.
- Blinded by the Light: 9 temporarily blinds the Winged Beast by using a piece of roofing to reflect sunlight at it.
- Bodyguard Crush: To some extent, 8 for 1. (But of course, much of this is fan-related.)
- Break the Cutie: 5. In his blog, The Scientist talks about how pure and trusting 5 is... then he loses an eye in an explosion, his best friend gets kidnapped, said friend dies before his eyes minutes after getting rescued due to idiocy on the part of the hero, and when he finally learns to stand up for himself and enjoy life, he dies. He's happy at the end of the movie, but, still...
- Break the Haughty: 1 might be an imperious coward, but he gets absolutely put through the wringer, losing his home, his symbols of authority, his actual authority, and finally his life.
- Cain and Abel: 1 felt very threatened by 2's curiosity and feared that he might be overthrown, which is why he sent 2 out into the Emptiness to die. (It may not be as violent, but it gets the job done). 1 and 2 are also widely considered as brothers in the fandom.
- Chekhov's Gun:
- Did you forget about the little box under the scientist's hand with the "9" tag on it? And 9's half of the talisman?
- And also the big puddle of oil/petrol that 5 and 9 hop across when in the factory.
- In a rather gruesome example, 2's corpse later becomes part of the Seamstress.
- In a deleted scene, the key around 6's neck was used to open the box at the end.
- The propeller of the aeroplane that's lodged in the church roof.
- Cloudcuckoolander: 6, when not drawing out his visions or being chased, seems to be off in his own little world or acting silly. The twins, 3 and 4, may also count. 6 is also an example of The Cuckoolander Was Right.
- Conflict Ball: 1 starts out opposing everything 9 suggests. Then everyone else starts opposing 9's ideas as well near the end, when they try to destroy the Machine but he doesn't want to. 1 even refuses at first to take off his cape to save his life, for no clear reason. (It could have been symbolic of his authority over the stitchpunks, and losing it would mean losing the very thing that defined him (besides his dogged stubbornness). or it could also foreshadow his eventual Heroic Sacrifice later in the movie. First, a lost cape, next, Soul Theft, or he could have just not wanted to loosen his desperate grip so as to free a hand for taking the cape off. Then again, 1 never actually refused, or said "no," he said "I can't." He could have been afraid he'd fall if he freed one hand, but he still may not have been flat-out opposing 9.)
- Cool Old Guy: 2 is the second-oldest of the stitchpunks, and he's a wise and compassionate teacher.
- Corrupt Church: 1's hiding place is a cathedral, he wears a tall mitre and cape and has a staff like a shepherd's crook, he scolds 9 for looking up magick, has 2 killed for being too inquisitive....
- Cover Innocent Eyes and Ears: 7 hastily turns the twins' faces towards her to stop them seeing 5's corpse.
- Cowardice Callout: 1 is on the receiving end twice over the course of the movie.
- The first time, 9 decides he's had enough of 1's highly-dogmatic behavior, unwillingness to answer or do more than scarcely address buried secrets he knows about (which could tell them how to take the fight to the reawakened Fabrication Machine), and his preference towards strategic withdrawal above all else; declaring that 1 is "nothing but a coward". 1's brute 8 promptly moves to his master's defence, before an enraged 1 attempts to verbally shoot down 9's challenge to his leadership by himself, only for 9 to add on that 1 is "a blind man, guided by fear".
- The second time, when 1 admits that he deliberately sent 2, a member of the group he claims to protect, out to his death for being "old" and "weak" and justified it as looking out for The Needs of the Many, an enraged 7 calls 1 a coward for the act and holds a blade to his throat. This time, 1 just glares back at her with a look that says "I did what I had to do".
- Creating Life: The first time the Scientist did this backfired, so he had to try again with the stitchpunks.
- Creator Thumbprint: 6 is an eerie outcast with a liberally quirky design focused on black and white patterns. Unsurprisingly, he was not present in the pre-Burton short film, though this was a tribute to him rather than an input from Tim himself.
- Creepy Children: The twins could be interpreted this way. It bears mentioning that some of the older concept art◊ for them was less cutesy. Though very awesome.
- Creepy Twins: 3 and 4 (particularly in their beta designs).
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: 8 appears to be little more than a dumb brute who enforces 1's will, but when the Winged Beast attacks he manages to nail it with a thrown scissor directly into its spinning rotor, crippling it.
- Crucified Hero Shot: Interestingly, signifying the creation of the main character (whose tagline, as seen above, is 'To Save Us') rather than a Heroic Sacrifice.
- Curiosity Killed the Cast: 9's curiosity causes a lot of trouble. See Nice Job Breaking It, Hero.
- Death of a Child: 9 finds the corpses of a mother and infant in a car.
- Decomposite Character: 5 from the short film had his role split between 2 and 5 in the Burton-produced film.
- Demoted to Extra: The Cat Beast was the main villain in the short and was implied to have hunted and killed every single stitchpunk, save 9, who defeats the creature. In the film it only shows up for two sequences before being swiftly killed by 7 and doesn't cause the deaths of anyone.
- Diesel Punk: Despite the (somewhat unjustifiable) association with Steampunk, a good amount of the world pre-Machine War can count pretty well. It was the 1940s, metal and electricity were the norm, the Fabrication Machine was created by an eccentric scientist and it was all happening in a country greatly resembling Germany.
- The flags have angular black-on-white drawings that really scream "nazi", the main human baddie is called "Chancellor" and there are various writings in German. It's heavily implied it is Germany, with the nazi having corrupted the AI and started the war.
- Died Happily Ever After: All the stitchpunks who died return for one final farewell to the survivors before dissipating.
- Dies Wide Open: Any doll who dies in the movie dies with their eyes and mouths wide open. Wide open.
- Dirty Coward: 1. In his defense, there's a reason this film has a Nightmare Fuel entry. "Sometimes fear is the appropriate response," indeed.
- Disney Death: 9 at the end. The other deaths, however, are permanent.
- Dissonant Serenity: Other than shouting at 9, 6 was awfully calm before his death.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: Sometime pre-storyline, the unidentified country of setting was ruled by a dark-haired, stony-faced Evil Chancellor who plasters cities with flags displaying his red, black & white symbol, promises "the dawn of a NEW ERA! " seems to have a decent amount of Mooks in his employ, and is ultimately responsible for many, many horrific deaths.
- Also, the scene where 8... ahem, pleasures himself by magnetizing his eyes right before the new 2 appears... no less, this took place in a courtyard of giant female statues!
- 8's "magnet abuse" could also be interpreted as a Fantastic Drug. Using a mundane object, like a magnet, while sitting in a park bears strong similarities to sniffing glue. Could also explain 8's below average intelligence.
- Don't Touch It, You Idiot!: When 9 awakens the machine that kills the majority of the cast.
- Doomed by Canon: To anyone who's seen the short film it's a forgone conclusion that most of the stitchpunks will be dead by the end.
- Dumb Muscle: 8 is big and burly, but none too bright.
- Dwindling Party: We start off with nine stitchpunks. We end off with four stitchpunks.
- Esoteric Motifs: The pseudo-alchemical glyphs of the Talisman crop up repeatedly throughout the film, largely thanks to 6 and his obsessive drawing. The Paracelsus text that briefly appears tells the observant viewer that the three main ones apparently represent 'Spiritus' (spirit), 'Animus' (mind) and 'Corpus' (body).
- Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": The Scientist and the Chancellor are only ever referred to by their occupational titles.
- Expy: The machines are based off mythological beasts. Makes it a lot easier to describe the Seamstress as a Medusa than all the bits and pieces that make it up.
- Eye Scream: Though it's not a human eye, and therefore less creepy, the scene of 5 losing his eye is still pretty cringe-worthy. There were frayed wires and sparks coming from his empty socket, fer crissakes! The fact that the souls get sucked out through the eyes and mouth, which shatters the glass in the optics (Or, in 5's case, burns a hole through his patch) counts too.
- 7 smashes one of the Cat Beast's eyes before finishing it off.
- An original design shows that the scientist and the chancellor fought to the death, and the chancellor has a quill stuck through his eye socket. Not kidding◊.
- Also applies to when (5 shoots The Seamstress in the eye with his crossbow when it restrains 7.)
- Face Death with Dignity:
- If 1's death isn't Redemption Equals Death, then it is this.
- 6's death as well. He had time to struggle and scream, but he never did. Also counts as Dissonant Serenity.
- Right before it absorbs his soul, 8 stops struggling and growls at the machine.
- Facepalm: 1 does something like this when 8 fails to understand what he meant by "subjugate".
- Falling into His Arms: Used when 9 rescues 7. In a nod to the physics of the situation, the sudden weight knocks him off his feet.
- Family-Unfriendly Death: The Stitchpunks' deaths. They have their souls ripped from their body, whilst screaming and flailing about.
- Fantastic Drug: While on guard duty, 8 pulls out a horseshoe magnet and holds it over his head. He starts guffawing like an idiot and bubbling can be heard. (By the way, the movie rating got marked up for drug use.)
- Fingore: Like with 5's eye, it isn't as bad since it's not a human hand, but 1's hand gets mangled in an explosion near the end.
- There was a little bit of foreshadowing for 9's disastrous curiosity: 2 has to stop him messing around with a bullet while he fixes his voicebox. See here.
- 8's design has several vertical lines over his mouth, which look like, say, stitches... Later on 8 has his Mouth Stitched Shut.
- Then there's the line: "Sometimes, one must be sacrificed..."
- Freeze-Frame Bonus: Sort of. It's on screen for a few seconds, but is almost unnoticeable unless its been pointed out. A deleted scene has the characters open the music box/projector with 6's key, and we see there's a word inscribed inside. While the finished product didn't focus too much on this, the word is still there. The word is "hope". Pandora's Box reference?
- In the beginning after 9 awakens, he passes a body. This body stands out because it is the only dead human body where the face is shown. This body has been confirmed to be the chancellor, having the same face and uniform.
- Another little thing: In the background while 8's investigating outside the library, there's a sign which reads "Every evil and every good is a shadow which we cast", which is a bit hard to make out due to the light.
- The book the Twins open to find the markings that 6 has been drawing and that 9 saw on the machine can just be glimpsed as a treatise by Paracelsus, lending strong credence to an alchemical magic used to create the stitchpunks.
- There are symbols carved into the Cat Beast's skull, just above its left eye socket.
- Freudian Excuse: Watch the Fabrication Machine in the flashback where the scientist creates it. It appears to flail around when the scientist is dragged away from it, almost as if it's trying to reach out to him. After that is when it starts throttling Mooks.
- From Bad to Worse: All the time. After 7 kills the Beast, 9 awakens the Fabrication Machine. After they kill the Winged Beast, Mr. Fab sends the Seamstress. When they kill the Seamstress, Mr. Fab sends his spider robot mook things. When they blow the factory up, Mr. Fab pulls a Disney Death, kills 5 and 6, and then kills 1 before they finally kill it. The poor sackdolls just can't catch a break.
- Fun with Acronyms: Binary Reactive Artificially Intelligent Neurocircuit.
- Gadgeteer Genius: 2 and The Scientist who created the sackdolls. The Fabrication Machine has this in its job description, and can create Killer Robots from pretty much anything that's lying around. This is because it has the Scientist's intelligence.
- 9, when he uses the remains of 2's hat after The Beast kidnaps him. 5 even mentions it by saying, "2 would be impressed." to make the lightbulb staff. He later uses it as a decoy in a plan to kill The Seamstress and succeeds.
- Gaia's Lament: There's no life on Earth, at all, and rainfall is extremely rare, if at all. Both change at the end.
- Gainax Ending: The end is left absolutely open to interpretation as to the future of the world.
- Giving Them the Strip: 1 must shed his cape to avoid being dragged to his death by the bird-machine.
- The Gloves Come Off: 1's response to 6's death is to commandeer a cannon and use it against the Fabrication Machine.
- Gone Horribly Right: From the Scientist's perspective: The Fabrication Machine is a bit too good in building stuff.
- Gone Horribly Wrong: From the Chancellor's perspective: A sentient fabrication machine created in a time of war? There's no chance it'll turn against us.
- Greater-Scope Villain: The Chancellor who knowingly made BRAIN evil.
- Grumpy Old Man: 1 is the meanest stitchpunk by far, and he dislikes 9 almost from the moment they meet. He comes around by the end.
- Guile Hero: 9. No, really. Fair enough, he does make a pretty big mistake, but he does have a manipulative streak as well (as shown when speaking to 5 in the watch tower, and acknowledged in the DVD commentary) and makes good use of his wits when he actually gets into the action (case in point, killing the Seamstress). Not bad for a little guy.
- Hard Head: 2 gets smacked in the head by 9 with a monkey wrench. Despite how old he seems, he walks around with little trouble after 9 helps him stand. If you listen, you can hear glass break when 9 swings the wrench. This suggests that 2 had the eyeglass-lens visor of his hat down in front of his face when he got ambushed; it's broken after the attack.
- He is wearing it. You have to pay close attention, since the scene goes by so fast, but it's possible to briefly see 2's face, complete with visor, just before he's hit.
- Hearing Voices: Though it is only slightly hinted at in the viral sites (and almost not in the movie) many fans believe that 6 hears voices in his head. However, in a deleted scene, it is heavily implied as 6 appears to talk back.
- "Huh? 2?...2 is...coming?"
- Helicopter Blender: The bird-machine's harpoon-cord is tangled in the prop of a crashed airplane, which 5 manages to activate and chop it to fragments.
- Hero of Another Story: There are hints of a doomed human resistance going on in the background of the scenes set before the end of humanity. The newsreel about the last days of humanity show a civilian with a Molotov cocktail standing next to a poster advocating revolt against the dictatorship and its war machines. In the flashback of the older stitchpunks fleeing the laboratory, another civilian with a Molotov cocktail is shot after he tries to fight one of the robots.
- Heroic BSoD: 9 visibly goes through a miniature one following 5's death and has to be dragged away by 1.
- Heroic Sacrifice: 1. 9 attempted it right before that too.1: "Sometimes one must be sacrificed for the good of many."
- This is also a case of Foreshadowing, because when 1 originally said it, he was talking about how he sent 2 off.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: 5 and 2. The former is especially heartbroken by the death of the latter.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: The Chancellor. He got his war machine, all right, and it was so good at its job that it wiped out all of humanity, including him.
- Hope Spot: The Stitchpunks seemingly take out the Fabrication Machine, along with its factory. Hooray! But as they begin to celebrate, 5 starts to see movement in the smoke... followed by the Machine's malevolent red eye.
- Humanity's Wake: The world is a tombstone for humanity.
- Hurt Foot Hop: 2 kicks the Cat Beast's corpse in a sort of "Ha-ha, take that!"/celebratory manner, and then hops around holding his foot.
- Hypnotic Eyes: The Seamstress's tail, made from the upper body of 2, has a flashing version.
- Idiot Ball: At first, the Talisman seems to be a physical manifestation of this at times. First of all, when 2 has it, he makes 9 hide from the Beast, but makes no attempt to do the same. And then when 9 has it... see Too Dumb to Live.
- Idiot Hero: 9. All of the stitchpunks who get killed die as a direct result of him reactivating the Fabrication Machine.
- Impairment Shot: Used when 9 wakes up in the infirmary, and again when 1 awakens from his Seamstress-induced hypnosis.
- Implacable Man: The Fabrication Machine; justified given its size compared to the stitchpunks and its history.
- Improbable Infant Survival: Played straight in that 3 and 4, the most childlike of the bunch, surviving the ending.
- Ironic Echo: "Sometimes, one must be sacrificed for the good of many..."
- Irony: By the start of the movie, 1 has already listed 3, 4, and 7 as lost due to them having set off on their own, considering them as good as dead and encouraging the others to do the same. Besides 9, those are the only survivors at the end of the movie.
- Jerkass: 1 and 8. The former is an imperious bully, and the latter is his attack dog.
- Jerkass Has a Point: When 1 tells 9 "Ever since you got here, things have been unraveling!" Well, yes.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: 1 and 8 both show a few signs of being this, but they're pretty good at hiding it until the very end.
- Kill the Cutie: There are quite a few characters who'd fit the bill as "cutie." And since Anyone Can Die...
- Life Energy: Some people think that souls are essentially this in this universe.
- Love at First Sight: 9 appeared to have this for 7.
- Machine Worship: Not outright stated, but there are definite hints of it in the newsreel that introduces the Fabrication Machine.The Chancellor: We must praise this new technology! ... It will create new machines in its own image!
- Mad Artist: 6 spends most of his time drawing. On the other hand, he keeps drawing the same thing over and over again, so it's not really artistic creation. He certainly is mad though.
- Mad Eye: 6's left eye is slightly larger than his right.
- Made of Explodium: The oil-drums, in addition to the factory they blow up. The Fabrication Machine, not so much....
- Magic-Powered Pseudoscience: The technology that built the Mechanical Lifeforms is actually ancient alchemy for creating homonculi.
- Magitek: The dolls and Fabrication Machine. Also a case of Magic from Technology, possibly.
- Meaningful Echo: The words "Sometimes one must be sacrificed" are said by 1 twice in the movie. The first time, it's his attempt to justify sending 2 to his death; the full quote is "Sometimes one must be sacrificed for the good of the many." The second time, near the end of the movie, it's literally referring to 1 sacrificing himself to save 9.
- Meaningful Name: Brain - as in Brain-Child. Considering the Freudian Excuse above, this has even greater implications.
- Then there's 1.1: They've left us nothing. Nothing. Why do we have to right their wrongs? Sometimes, one must be sacrificed.
- Then there's 1.
- Mentor Occupational Hazard: Both 2 and 5 this time.
- Mood Whiplash: The "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" scene. Yay, the Fabrication Machine has been destroyed! And all the stitchpunks are celebrating by enjoying the music on a record player! And then 5 sees the Machine dragging itself out of the pit straight towards him, while Judy Garland continues singing...
- Mordor: The wasteland has some serious Passchendaele◊ vibes going on.
- Mouth Stitched Shut: How the Seamstress silences 8 when she captures him.
- Mr. Fixit: 2, who manages to construct a working voice box for 9 out of seemingly random scraps.
- My Greatest Failure: 9 feels responsible for everyone's death, but 5's hit him the hardest. At the climax, he mournfully looks at 5's grave before activating the artifact.
- A Nazi by Any Other Name: The Chancellor, of course. Heck, the news video clipping showing him in his car is really Hitler styled especially when it opens with his arm already in mid-air, making it look like he's doing the Nazi salute. Of course, he doesn't technically do it and just goes into a wave.
- Negated Moment of Awesome: 9, 8, and 1 are cornered by the Winged Beast when 7 flips into view behind it, charging up a slope and taking a running leap at it. She reaches the peak of her jump, silhouetted by the sun, weapon poised to strike with Audible Sharpness, the music swelling... and the Winged Beast looks back at her and deflects her with a wing, sending her sliding along the ground until she hits the wall behind the others with a thump. She gets up and tries charging it head-on, only for it to fire its harpoon this time, hitting her leg and throwing her back against the wall again.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: The first chance he gets, 9 sticks the talisman into an outlet without thinking about it at all. This not only kills 2 but wakes up the Fabrication Machine. As 1 points out, and not inaccurately, "Ever since you got here, things have been unraveling!"
- Though it is interesting to note that if 9 had listened to 1, B.R.A.I.N. would have been activated without anyone knowing about it until it was too late
- Non-Action Guy: 9 is mostly pulled along by 7 during the action sequences. This ceases to be the case when 9 kills the Seamstress - though even then, 7 very much takes over the job of getting them back out of the factory.
- No Sense of Personal Space: The twins, 3 and 4. But 5 and 2 get pretty touchy-feely too. 5 also gets more and more touchy-feely with 9 as the film progresses.
- Numerological Motif: The number 9 shows up a lot, understandably enough.
- Oh, Crap!: Mostly 5 and 9, but everyone gets their moment. Mr. Fab has one when the Stitchpunks's barrel ignites the chemicals in the factory.
- Ominous Latin Chanting: Briefly plays when 9 and 7 are running through the tunnel to escape the factory.
- Our Homunculi Are Different: The Scientist's soul-transfer device is shown to be based on the alchemist Paracelsus's creation of a homunculus.
- Our Souls Are Different: All the stitchpunks contain a piece of the Scientist's soul, and the Fabrication Machine went mad because it was built without one (and lacked any kind of human empathy as a result.)
- Out of the Inferno: The Fabrication Machine, post-explosion.
- Outrun the Fireball: At least twice.
- Le Parkour: According to DVD commentary, 7's fighting style was largely based on this and skateboarding moves.
- Parrot Expo-WHAT?: When told by 1 to "subjugate [9 and 5]", 8 responds with "subje- what?"
- Pet the Dog: When they're walking away from the burning church, 8 sees his boss gazing at it sadly and gives him a comforting pat on the back.
- Plummet Perspective: A chess piece falling from the bell tower, minus anyone hanging off a ledge.
- Psychic Powers: 6 has both precognition and postcognition, turning the visions into drawings.
- Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: 1, after finding out 9 woke up the worst machine possible.You. Awakened. WHAT?
- Putting on the Reich: The Chancellor. And try to tell me those machines' heads aren't modeled after Stahlhelms.
- The Quiet One: 6 and 8. You can count all of 6's lines on one hand, and on the other hand you can count the number of words 8 says. Both of them have more dialogue in deleted scenes than they do in the movie, indicating that their quietness was unintentional.
- Record Needle Scratch: An actual record needle scratching on an actual record.
- Redemption Equals Death: 1 sacrifices himself to give the remaining heroes a chance to remove the talisman.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: The Fabrication Machine and its offspring.
- Red Herring: The key that 6 carries. 9's box has a keyhole. Does This Remind You of Anything? might be more appropriate. Confirmed by an alternate ending/scrabbed sub-plot from the DVD extras where 6's key opens a second chamber in the box, which contains a mirror and the enscription "Hope" - which goes with a piece of paper in 9's zipper-pouch that reads "The Last."
- Reflective Eyes:
- 6's death is seen in 9's optics.
- 6 also seeing 5's soul in the Machine's optic.
- Requisite Royal Regalia: 1's getup seems to be leaning toward this.
- Ridiculously Human Robot: Well, less "robot" and more "rag doll", but the stitchpunks qualify.
- Robo Cam: The shots from the Fab Machine's perspective.
- Room Full of Crazy: 6 fills up a wall of the church attic with scribblings of the talisman. This is ostensibly his purpose, as all his fingers are fountain pen nibs.
- Rule of Symbolism: When we first see 1, the leader of the group, he has a cape with a jewel on it, a staff, and a headgear resembling a bishop's miter. Over the course of the film, he loses them one by one, as 9 starts taking more charge than him and the others listen to 9 instead. The icing on the cake, the last part of his outfit that needs removing, he removes himself.
- The above makes this deleted scene pretty interesting...the last part of 1's outfit to be removed falls off after he speaks with and finally accepts 9.
- Before the scene with the Winged Beast, 8 knocks 9 away and causes him to send a king chess piece falling down below, hinting not only 1's loss of leadership but his eventual death.
- Sacrificial Lamb: 2, who shows up, gives 9 a voice, is attacked and kidnapped by a cat-monster, and then kicks it minutes after his rescue due to some phenomenal stupidity on 9's part.
- Scary Stitches: Invoked with the ragdoll-like characters, dark atmosphere, and the Seamstress.
- Scavenged Punk: The film takes it to new and beautiful extremes. Almost everything, including the characters, is built out of human materials left over. The amount of beautiful background detail makes Scavenged Punk into truly amazing Scenery Porn. Specific cool examples include character made out of gloves, a staff with a lightbulb head, and a candle hat.
- Scenery Gorn: Probably the best in animated film history.
- Schizo Tech: The newspapers from "before" list dates in the 1930s, but Over The Rainbow was not released until '39, and the B.R.A.I.N and other machines make it even more confusing. Being in an alternate reality though, it can easily be hand waved.
- DVD extras also have people pointing out how the lightbulb staff is made from a battery that looks like it came from a watch made in '75
- Science Is Bad: Subverted. Although "Science has turned against us!" is a prominent line, the guy who says it is actually the totalitarian dictator who's really to blame for the whole mess. When 9 finds the Scientist's video message, he learns the Fabrication Machine is simply a neutral technology that was easily corruptible. That said, every other word out of 1's mouth is some condemnation of human science. And regardless of what set it off, the villain is still technological progress. There is also another subversion in that the stitchpunks themselves were created thanks to science.
- Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: 9 and 7. And 5, sort of. We later found out 2 was, too.
- Security Cling: 5. All the time. 3 and 4 do this a few times as well.
- Sequel Hook: Not one in the film itself, but on January 20th, 2017, the Scientist's Facebook page, which had been inactive since 2009, was updated with a mysterious new message."The light has faintly flickered on again beneath the ashes and I have begun the long awaited search for hope... I must find 9."
- Shrinking Violet: 5 seems to have certain characteristics of this at the beginning of the movie. Which of course only adds to his status as The Woobie.
- Slouch of Villainy: 1 isn't an outright villain, but he does one of these at the end of his introduction.
- The Smurfette Principle: 7 is the only female ragdoll. The twins 3 and 4 never talk, so their gender is ambiguous, but that's still a 1/2/6 ratio. On the other hand, only 7 is a fighter or independent by nature. Justified; they all seem to stem from the Scientist's soul, so odds of his soul containing a lot of feminine qualities are very low.
- Soul Jar: The Talisman.
- Soundtrack Dissonance: Deliberate. "Over the Rainbow" plays as the Fabrication Machine pulls a Disney Death and pursues, and then captures/kills 5. Justified as they were playing the track a scene earlier, on a record player.
- Although it could be interpreted as forshadowing, because despite the 'happy' tone of the song, the lyrics talk about failed dreams and disappointing events. And they were disappointed
- In fact, even the happy tone of the song is unintentional. It was meant to be a thoroughly sad song, but the actress sang it too convincingly, bursting into tears in the original takes, so it had to be changed.
- Spared by the Adaptation: Everyone except 9 died in the original short. In the full-length movie, he, 7, 3 & 4 all make it out alive.
- The Speechless: 3 and 4 never speak, using lights and film to communicate with each other and others respectively. Also, 9 at the beginning. It's worth noting that 9 can't speak until about ten minutes into the movie. The original short, which had no dialogue at all, was also ten minutes long.
- Stab the Salad: 9 first meets 5 when the latter lunges at him with a pair of scissors... to trim the thread he used to sew up 9's injured shoulder, but 9 didn't know that.
- Sticks to the Back: 8 uses a magnet hung on his back, in order to carry around his weapons. He also uses it to get high.
- The Stoner. 8 is implied as getting high... on magnets.
- Stupid Jetpack Hitler: The Chancellor, and his "machines of peace and prosperity"...
- Team Mom: 7 seems to be this to 3 and 4, if not to the rest of the group. The DVD commentary refers to 5 as the 'group mom', too.
- Thank the Maker: The scene when the Seamstress presents 8 to the Fabrication Machine REEKS of this.
- "Go back to the Source!"
- Three-Point Landing: 7 does one after beheading the Cat Beast. It's on her character poster and everything.
- Throwing Your Sword Always Works: Bringing down a mechanical pterodactyl creature in flight with a thrown kitchen knife? Not bad, 8.
- Trailers Always Spoil: In some cases it's "blink and you'll miss it," but some of the trailers and TV spots actually reveal that some of the main characters will die, and even show which ones.
- Troubled Fetal Position: After the death of 2 5 is sitting in this position while hiding, even rocking back and forth slightly.
- Unspecified Apocalypse: It is heavily implied some sort of war in an Alternate Earth wiped out humanity, leaving our creations to inherit the Earth.
- Waif Prophet: 6 gives off a general impression of being childlike, and is the shortest stitchpunk according to the heights in the scientist's facebook posts; he also doesn't seem to be entirely sane, given the obsessive talisman-drawing and the way he blurts out what his powers tell him without any attempt to explain what he's talking about.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: 1 argues that he had to send 2 out to die because sometimes "one must be sacrificed for the good of many." He has the chance to put his money where his mouth is at the end.
- What Were You Thinking?: Asked verbatim of 9 after he awakens the Machine and gets 2 killed. Good question, 7. Very good question. (He doesn't answer.)
- Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: The Fabrication Machine. A sapient robot who was worked to the point a human would die... and it didn't. No wonder the thing's insane.
- You Fool!: Said by 1 to 9, after 9 accidentally awakens the Fabrication Machine. He also says it to 5, when the latter is trying to stop him from setting fire to the factory before 9 and 7 can escape.
- Your Soul Is Mine!: The Fabrication Machine kills Stichpunks by extracting their souls into itself.
- Zeppelins from Another World: Reconnaissance and recovery robot airships.