Follow TV Tropes


Western Animation / Plasmo

Go To

Plasmo is an Australian children's Science Fiction Claymation series that aired repeatedly throughout 1997. Created entirely by an aspiring animator named Anthony Lawrence, it began as two short films he created in college, followed by a half-hour film called "Happy Hatchday for Plasmo" in 1988, before ultimately turning into a series of 13 five-minute episodes.

Plasmo charts the misadventures of the titular alien, a 3-year-old shapeshifting "polybop" stranded since he was an egg on the barren world of Pynco, as he strives to adventure into space and find out the secrets of his origins. Aiding him in his quest are his surrogate sister, Parsty, their best friend Nik-Nik, and the inept alien adventurers Coredor and Brucho.

The series' creator has placed the entire series online for public viewing.

Plasmo provides examples of:

  • 24-Hour Armor: Brucho is constantly in his armor, from sleeping in it to wearing his helmet while in the bath.
  • Adipose Rex: The Librarian of the Monjotroldeclip'doc library, as seen in episode 7, is so fat that he relies on a hovechair to get around. He also doubles as Big Fun, as he is very understanding and quick to forgive the "book worm" for its misdeeds in the library.
  • Adorably Precocious Child: Plasmo and Parsty's dialogue and plans can be so mature it's hard to remember they're only three and a half years old.
  • All Love Is Unrequited: The major reason Joyce wants them to stay on the planet? She has a crush on Coredor, which he does not reciprocate. In fact, he finds her outright repulsive.
  • Alternate Continuity: The series is this to the original "Happy Hatchday for Plasmo" film, with its depiction of Pynco as a barren world and the first episode involving the first meeting between the polybops, Coredor and Brucho
  • Ambiguous Gender: Sparky is referred to as female in the show, yet male in various supplemental materials.
  • Apocalypse How:
    • Zigzagged Class 6 for Monjotroldeclip'doc; the initial impact of Kila Wami wiped out all life on the planet the first time, but alien tourists promptly recolonized the planet. Plus, it turns out that the chunk of Monjotroldeclip'doc stuck on Kila Wami still retains samples of the original life that inhabited the world before the comet struck.
    • Also, Class X is threatened during the final episode, when Kila Wami comes back and, according to Professor Sashimi's calculations, will smash the planet into rubble on this strike.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: Whilst not officially an aristocrat, Reguggee, the lead metal merchant does give off this vibe with his elegant, robe-like outfit and perpetual sniffing at a handkerchief.
  • Artistic License – Physics: No matter how big and fast it was, no comet would simply punch a spherical hole clean through a planet. Likewise, a planet would not remain intact after having a hole punched through it.
  • Attention Whore: Coredor is quite an egomaniac, and always wants to feel special. This often backfires on him.
  • Bizarre Alien Biology: The polybops are shapeshifters and color-changers. Coredor's species only ever has one eye at a time, but it slowly switches over from one side of their face to the other every seven years.
  • Bizarre Taste in Food: Coredor enjoys salt in his tea, as shown in episode five. Much to the dismay of Professor Sashimi, who accidentally takes his cup instead of her own.
  • Bookshelf Dominoes: In episode seven, after climbing the shelves in an forgotten part of the library, they cause the shelves to fall over, knocking over all the shelves through the entire library.
  • Bounty Hunter: Coredor and Brucho met at Bounty Hunter's school... they only managed to study there for two years before they flunked out, though.
  • Call-Back: The Overly Long Gag of everyone saying goodnight to each other over and over again in episode three is a longer version of the "everyone says hello" gag from the first episode.
  • The Cloud Cuckoolander Was Right: Plasmo's initial plan of building a tower of junk to reach the moon seems like a idea doomed to failure. It turns out that the "moon" in the tundra is actually a long-dormant spaceship.
  • Continuity Cavalcade: Every character seen on Monjotroldeclip'doc reappears in the penultimate episode for the party to celebrate Plasmo and company's imminent departure. Weirdly, even the metal merchants return, despite being the show's only true antagonists at that point!
  • Disaster Dominoes: In episode two, Coredor and Brucho go to pull out what looks like a tiny strut of alien metal from Plasmo's tower in the second episode. It turns out to be a protrusion from a much larger piece of machinery and ends up toppling the tower and crushing their own ship.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Coredor deeply loves his mother, and always regrets the feeling that he was never able to properly bond with her due to spending the first six weeks of his life on an artificial life support due to being born premature. It's telling that, in episode five, he'd rather watch a slideshow of his mother than look as Professor Sashimi's flying research vessel passes through the Abyss — the hole in Monjotroldeclip'doc — and the alien Crater City that's grown up in the canyons leading to it.
  • Expressive Mask: The visor on Brucho's helmet lifts and drops to express emotions.
  • The Faceless: Brucho wears his helmet everywhere. Even in the bath! Much to Coredor's irritated disbelief.
  • Fearless Fool: More "innocent" than "fearless", but Plasmo is completely unfazed when confronted with the ghosts in episode six.
  • Foreshadowing: Coredor has a horrific nightmare about accidentally crashing their spaceship into the "wall at the end of the universe" whilst everyone else is asleep. In the next episode, they crash on Monjotroldeclip'doc and become stranded.
  • Freudian Excuse: Coredor's aversion to water and claustrophobia is explained as this; born six weeks premature, he had to spend his earliest weeks contained in an aquatic humidity crib to give his lungs a chance to develop properly. The memories still haunt him whenever he's cooped up or sees a lot of water.
  • Gone Horribly Wrong: Coredor showing off his own "body-warping" tricks in episode four unwittingly convinces Professor Sashimi that he's convulsing and may be infected with some horrible alien virus, causing her to put him into quarantine.
  • Gonky Femme: Joyce is easily mistaken for male thanks to a short and odd appearance, along with a male voice actor. However, supplemental material reveals her as female, and she wears a dress under her labcoat and also has a deep infatuation with Coredor.
  • How Do I Shot Web?: In episode six, Plasmo needs to point out to the ghosts haunting the old observatory that as ghosts, they can travel anywhere they like under their own power, rather than needing a spaceship to visit other worlds.
  • The Igor: Professor Sashimi's assistant, Joyce, acts and even looks the part. In an interesting twist, she's one of the few females to fill this trope.
  • Insistent Terminology: Monjotroldeclip'doc is always pronounced with a distinct "click" noise between "clip" and "doc", with the latter also being given a hard clicking end.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: Plasmo's kind and innocent personality makes it easy for him to make friends, which quickly includes the adult Coredor and Brucho.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Coredor's morality may be somewhat inept and he's definitely not very good with people, but he still cares, in his own gruff way, about the rest of the group and his friendship with Plasmo clearly grows over the series.
  • Karmic Jackpot: The end result of chapter eleven; by protecting Sparky from the metal merchants who want to scrap her for her golden chassis, the gang are rewarded when she uses her built-in fusion welding gear to finish repairing their spaceship, which they couldn't achieve on their own.
  • Lampshade Hanging: In the final episode, Coredor comments to Brucho that Plasmo's apparent Heroic Sacrifice to deflect Kila Wami is the sort of thing you'd only expect to see in a cartoon.
  • Literal Bookworm: The aptly titled episode "Plasmo and the Bookworm" features a large bookworm that has bored through various books at the library, in an attempt to gain their knowledge. All he's gained instead is a bad case of indigestion, and has trouble using the books to learn how to read, as he's now forced to used "the abridged version".
  • Literal-Minded: The "villain" of episode seven is an alien worm that took the saying about "digesting knowledge" too literally and is now eating is way through the contents of the library. He is more than relieved to find out he was mistaken and to apologetically devote himself to learning to read after corrected on his mistake.
  • Meaningful Name: Sparky the robot turns out to be a construction droid specialised in fusion welding.
  • My Brain Is Big: Professor Sashimi's high-stretched head is a clear shorthand for how intelligent she is.
  • Never Bareheaded: Brucho refuses to remove his face-covering helmet, to the point of even wearing it in the bathtub. According to him, an alien woman once called him ugly, so he's kept the helmet on ever since.
  • No One Could Survive That!: Invoked no less than three times during the course of the series:
    • In the second episode, after the tower falls over, Plasmo is believed killed in the crash. It turns out he managed to leap into the "moon-ship".
    • In episode four, Professor Sashimi and Joyce initially presume that the crew of the crashed ship were killed in the impact. Seconds later, it turns out they're all safely contained in life-support chambers.
    • In episode thirteen, Plasmo is believed dead after sacrificing their ship to divert Kila Wami. He actually managed to escape the ship by faxing himself back to Monjotroldeclip'doc.
  • No Endor Holocaust: In episode 13, what happened to Crater City after the planet chunk passed through the hole and settled at the far end? Did the tourists evacuate before Kila Wami arrive? This is somewhat lessened when you remember that Crater City is built in the canyons leading into the Abyss and not in the Abyss proper, but not by much.
  • No Name Given: The Metal Merchants are never referred to by names in the series. Supplemental material however reveals them as Reguggee (the taller one) and Dumquo (the shorter one).
  • Oh, Crap!: Coredor's response when he learns that the Kila Wami comet will return and hit Monjotroldeclip'doc in only half an hour.
  • Pink Is Feminine: About the only way you can differentiate between Plasmo and Parsty is that the latter is a vibrant pink to the former's dull red.
  • Pokémon Speak: Nik-Nik can only speak using the word "Nik" in a barking method. However, there's various inflections to express separate words.
  • Premature Birth Drama: Coredor was born six weeks prematurely, forcing him to spend his earliest weeks alive in a aquatic humidity crib just so his lungs could properly develop. This caused him to have a fear of water (despite his species being amphibian in their genetic makeup) and also have claustrophobia, along with him feeling like he was never able to connect with his mother as well as he wanted to, due to the lack of physical connection.
  • Red Ones Go Faster: Storyboards of a deleted episode has Brucho painting the rocket car he and Plasmo are using bright red. Plasmo thinks Brucho did it in honor of himself, though Brucho points out it's only because "the red ones are faster".
  • Retractable Appendages: Plasmo and Parsty are able to pull their arms in and out of their body. They often default to having them kept inside when not in use.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The sled that Plasmo, Parsty, and Nik-Nik use for scrap salvage help on Pynco has a license plate reading "Rosebud" on it.
    • In episode 2, Coredor points out that the "moon" that Plasmo reaches is "no moon", but rather a spaceship.
  • Single-Biome Planet:
    • Averted with Pynco, where Plasmo and Parsty go from a desert to salvage the ruins of the spaceship that crashed there and stranded them to an artic region, where they're building their tower.
    • Played straight with Monjotroldeclip'doc, which was all lush rainforests and oceans before Kila Wami and is now lifeless, barren deserts after having a hole punched through it and enduring a centuries-long ice age. Weirdly, it does still have water, it's just that there's no native vegetation or animals anymore.
  • Speech Impediment: Brucho has a very thick lateral lisp, which heavily contrasts his tough armor.
  • That's No Moon: The "moon" that Plasmo tries to reach in the beginning of the series is actually a dormant spaceship.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass:
    • Invoked and discussed; in episode nine, Coredor tries to teach Plasmo to become more assertive and aggressive, because he feels the polybop is too nice and easily taken advantage of.
    • Joyce in episode eleven; she deliberately gives Professor Sashimi a plastic bottle to christen the rebuilt spaceship, and looks delighted at the possibility she may have accidentally caused Plasmo and his friends to be stranded on Monjotroldeclip'doc permanently. However, this is primarily because she is fully infatuated with Coredor, and wants to "study" him even more.
  • Vocal Dissonance: Brucho's lateral lisp and high-pitched voice heavily contrasts the armor that he always wears.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: The polybops have a natural affinity for this, although Parsty notes that Plasmo is a lot better at it than she is. It actually comes to the point that they are more like Blob Monsters with a more coherent base-form than anything else.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: Despite being an amphibian from a water world, Coredor hates water. He justifies it as a result of childhood trauma.
  • Worthless Yellow Rocks: Invoked in episode eleven; Sparky hails from a world of robots where gold is the most common metal, meaning she's built entirely of gold. Of course, this makes her immensely valuable to more unscrupulous hunters from the rest of the galaxy.