Powerbirds is an American animated series aimed at preschool audiences that premiered on Universal Kids on January 19, 2020. The brainchild of nationally syndicated editorial cartoonist and children's author Steve Breen, the show is based on a series of kids' books he wrote.
Ace (voice of Cory Doran) and Polly (voice of Tara Strong) are two parakeets owned by a six-year-old boy named Max who loves superheroes. Whenever Max is busy for the day however, the two birds are living out their own lives as the Powerbirds, two pint-sized superheroes who battle villainous animals to protect their neighborhood.
Powerbirds contains examples of:
- Anthropomorphic Shift: Whenever Ace and Polly become the Powerbirds, they gain more humanoid bodies, with their wings and claws being converted to hands and feet. Additionally, the villains are always visible at the start of an episode in non-anthropomorphic form, suggesting they can perform some kind of similar transformation.
- Art Shift: The show's artstyle changes from a traditional modern thin-line animation style to a retro-looking thick-line comic book style whenever Ace and Polly become the Powerbirds.
- Badass Adorable: Ace and Polly are two cute little budgies who become superpowered crimefighters whenever their owner isn't looking.
- Bad Butt: Due to the fact the show is made for very young children, the conflicts between the Powerbirds and their enemies are non-violent and have very low stakes, with the villains' evil schemes usually being more inconvenient than dangerous for others.
- Big Book Of Everything: Ace and Polly always rely on Max's Superhero Handbook to guide them in being heroes and fighting the villains.
- Calling Your Attacks: The Powerbirds always announce the name of the superpower they will use before activating it.
- Catchphrase: The show has a few examples.
- Max always tells Ace and Polly, "When I'm away, keep saving the day!" before leaving them to do their usual superhero business. Once he leaves, Polly will then say "Ace, you heard what Max said.", with Ace then responding with "Let's check for danger", cuing them to head to their secret lair and become the Powerbirds.
- The Powerbirds always shout "With the flap of our feathers, we'll do this together!" whenever they head out to fight crime.
- Cats Are Mean: One of the Powerbirds' main foes is Clawdette, Max's cat who hates the Powerbirds and seeks to get rid of them so she can become Max's favorite pet.
- Cat Ninja: Clawdette is a cat who always boasts about having "serious ninja cat skills" and dresses the part as well.
- Civilized Animal: All of the show's animal characters can speak, walk, and behave like people, but they still have relatively animal-like lifestyles, such as being the pets of humans or living in the neighborhood's trees.
- Expository Theme Tune: The Theme Tune explains that Max loves comic books, and when he leaves for the day, Ace and Polly become the Powerbirds, fighting crime.
- Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: One of the show's villains, Asher Stasher, frequently mentions his mother and calls her every day, making it clear that he's very close to her.
- Evil vs. Evil: Some episodes feature the Powerbirds having to battle more than one villain, with said villains squabbling with each other. For example, in "Clash of the Critters", Ace and Polly have to deal with Clawdette and Scrapper fight each other over a trash can, having to stop the pair's argument.
- Feather Fingers: Like many cartoon birds, the Powerbirds, as well as Minerva, use their wing feathers like fingers. This is more prominent in their more anthropomorphized forms, where the characters' wings are effectively transformed into true arms.
- It's All About Me: Nibbles' villainous motivations are based entirely in this, as he will do anything to be the center of attention.
- The Narrator: The series has one during the scenes of Ace and Polly as the Powerbirds who acts a lot like a typical comic book narrator.
- Ominous Owl: Minerva, one of the Powerbirds' enemies, is an owl who wants to become the smartest person in the world and does so by using various gadgets to cause trouble for people.
- Rascally Raccoon: Scrapper, one of the Powerbirds' foes, is a raccoon who uses all manner of mischief and trickery to steal food from people.
- Rogues Gallery: Ace and Polly have five different villains they deal with in every episode — Nibbles, Clawdette, Scrapper, Minerva, and Asher Stasher.
- Sibling Team: Ace and Polly are brother and sister, and always work together as a team against the villains.
- Strictly Formula: Every episode has certain beats and patterns. It always begins with an outside shot of Max's house, where the episode's villain can be seen in their non-anthropomorphic form. Max will be playing in his room with Ace and Polly before having to leave for the day, upon which Ace and Polly transform into the Powerbirds and go to their hideout, where they use their Neighborhood Scanner to find villains and then head out to thwart them. After the bad guy is stopped, the Powerbirds return home, and Max shares with them what he was doing and begins to play with them again.
- Title Theme Tune: "Powerbirds! / Super courageous and two of a kind / Powerbirds! / Saving the day one page at a time"
- Trademark Favorite Food: Scrapper and Ace are both consistently shown to be huge pizza lovers; the former frequently tries to steal them while the latter often daydreams about them.
- Villain Team-Up: Some episodes feature the Powerbirds having to fight more than one member of their Rogues Gallery. For example, "Birdy Guards" has Asher Stasher and Clawdette team up to steal a wrestling championship belt, while all five of the show's villains join forces together in "Villain-Palooza" to defeat the Powerbirds once and for all.