Follow TV Tropes


Western Animation / Primal (2019)
aka: Primal

Go To
Hunt. Kill. Survive.

"All Earth was but one thought — and that was death."

Genndy Tartakovsky's Primal, also known simply as Primal, is a ten-episode action-adventure mini series produced by Cartoon Network Studios for [adult swim]. It is Tartakovsky's second series created for the station (following the 2017 revival of Samurai Jack) and his fourth overall.

The limited series follows Spear, a caveman at the dawn of evolution, and Fang, a tyrannosaur on the brink of extinction. Bonded by similar tragedy, the duo form an unlikely friendship that becomes their only mutual hope of survival in a violent, primordial world.

While Tartakovsky's work is famous for being light on dialogue, this series is notably his first project to not to have any dialogue whatsoever, the only human vocalizations being animalistic grunts and yells.

The first trailer was released on May 14th, 2019, while the second was showcased on August 27th. The first five episodes of the series ran from October 7th to October 11th, 2019, and were later repackaged into a theatrical film entitled Genndy Tartakovsky’s Primal — Tales of Savagery. A second batch of episodes are scheduled to air in 2020.


Not to be confused with the video game of the same name.


  • 1 Million B.C.: The show's setting is "the dawn of evolution". Cenozoic creatures like cavemen, ape-men and a woolly mammoths exists alongside Mesozoic animals such as theropod dinosaurs and pterosaurs, as well as fantasy creatures like giant spiders.
  • Absurdly Sharp Blade: Spear's... spear, which is seemingly just a regular chiseled rock tied to a normal stick, but always cuts cleanly through all meat and bone with little effort (in the first episode it pierces straight through an entire tyrannosaur) and even after all its use, apparently never dulls.
    • Fang's... fangs are also astonishingly sharp, enabling her to bite clean through snakes as thick as tree trunks, cleave through heads of bats bigger than she is, or even just tear chunks out of a mammoth's leg with zero resistance. If she can get her jaws around it, it will come loose.
      • It probably has more to do with her incredible jaw strength as a T. rex rather than the sharpness of her teeth.
  • Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene: Between the gory fight scenes, the show has several quiet and somber moments. The first episode has one where Spear stands on the edge of a cliff, contemplating suicide, and one where Fang, after losing her family, follows Spear on a beach for comfort.
  • Advertisement:
  • All Cavemen Were Neanderthals: Spear, the show's protagonist is a stereotypical neanderthal-like caveman with a bulky physique, hunched posture, thick arms and enormous fists, as well as thick brows and a flat forehead. He also seems to have Super Strength, considering that he fights animals far larger than him with his bare hands.
  • All There in the Manual: Since the show has no dialogue, the names of the characters are only known from the episode titles and supplementary materials.
  • Amazing Technicolor Wildlife: The giant bats Spear fights in "Terror Under the Blood Moon" are blood-red.
  • Androcles' Lion: In "Terror of the Blood Moon", an ape man carrying food breaks his leg and is vulnerable to the giant bats that prey on them. Spear runs out and manages to carry the ape man and his food back to the safety of the rocks, albeit forgetting his spear. At the end of the episode, the rescued ape man had taken in the weapon and gives it back to Spear while he and Fang flee from the bats.
  • Animals Not to Scale: The show features some animals far larger than in real-life, including woolly mammoths twice the size of African elephants, bats larger than humans and a Giant Spider that can toss a Tyrannosaurus aside like a ragdoll. Zig-Zagged with the large snake in the second episode which is about the correct length for the extinct species Titanoboa, but its width makes it much bigger than the ancient snake, considering Fang bites onto it and only seems able to grab about a third of its neck. Averted with the horned Tyrannosaurus in the first episode which are accurately sized, but played straight with the alpha who is about the size of a sauropod; it's so big you would be forgiven if you thought the smaller T. rex were its children. Justified with the King Kong-sized ape monster in the 5th episode as he is under the effect of a magic potion that increases his size and strength. Without the potion, he's more or less the correct size for a Gigantopithecus.
  • Anti-Hero: The main hero, Spear, brutally kills his opponents, but considering that this is a dog-eat-dog world where our moral standards don't exist yet, it's justified for his situation. Spear is even shown preparing to attack Fang and her family before being interrupted by the horned tyrannosaurs.
  • Anti-Villain: The mammoths in episode three attack Spear and Fang remorselessly, but its only because they ate one of their own and took away its tusk. Once they're given it, they retreat to ceremonial grounds.
  • Artistic License – Biology:
    • The show depicts many overly aggressive animals fighting to the death when in reality the opposite is true. Animals in real life will actively avoid fights because even if they win any major injury will almost certainly kill them.
    • Even if you ignore the fact that a Giant Spider would be impossible due to the Square-Cube Law (the long, spindly, spread-out legs wouldn't be able to carry such a bulky body), the spider has a toothy lower jaw under its chelicerae, and its silk glands in its mouth rather than at the end of its abdomen.
  • Artistic License – Paleontology: From the outset Primal makes no bones about it being fantasy, not fact:
    • Dinosaurs are shown living alongside Cenozoic mammals.
    • Although Spear and his family seem to be neanderthals, his wife is slender and has the general body proportions of a modern Homo sapiens. In her brief appearance she also seems to be a meek and stay at home type, when hunter-gatherer societies are known to be more egalitarian.
    • The generic pterosaur in Episode 1 is a weirdly mixed bag. It launches bipedally, lacks a fuzzy covering of pycnofibers, bipedal launching, has four digits excluding the wing finger including the wing finger and seems to have a good sense of smell. note , not to mention resembling a mix-match of different genera. That said, it is a quadrupedal walker, is hunting terrestrially as many larger pterosaurs did and has correct non-columnar forelimbs.
    • Dinosaurs have pronated hands.
    • The raptors are oversized and featherless, although the creators confirmed they wanted to put feathers, but had difficulty with it.
    • Woolly mammoths, a species which was smaller than the modern African elephant, dwarf Fang.
    • Three of the enemy Tyrannosaurus rex in the first episode have enlarged horns similar to rhinoceroses or Ceratosaurus. The last one, however, looks more like a real tyrannosaur (specifically Alioramus) with smaller hornlets on the snout.
    • The snakes in Episode 2 appear to be Titanoboa due to their size, but they have fangs similar to a venomous snake. And yet, they seem to be non-venomous like the real Titanoboa.
    • The bats featured in Episode 4 are orders of magnitude larger than the biggest species in the fossil record.
    • The large bug that Spear eats in Episode 2 resembles a trilobite in size and general body shape (including the large number of legs), but trilobites were strictly marine creatures with no terrestrial species known (not to mention they went extinct long before either dinosaurs or cavemen walked the Earth), though to be fair there are terrestrial trackways of trilobites indicating they might have come ashore occasionally like crabs.
  • Attack! Attack! Attack!: Both Spear and the various animals tend to keep attacking and fighting even when they suffer serious injuries and it would make sense for them to back down.
  • Badass Normal: Spear, who is just a caveman who can fight and win battles against prehistoric beasts several times his size. If he isn't using a stone spear, he is bashing them to death with a rock or just his fists.
  • Barbarian Longhair: Spear sports shoulder-long black hair, and he's a powerful, savage hunter struggling to survive in a primordial world.
  • Bat Out of Hell: Spear fights a flock of gigantic red bats in "Terror Under the Blood Moon".
  • Beastly Bloodsports: The ape-men release Fang into an arena to fight their champion one-on-one as the other ape-men cheer him on, which is reminiscent of gladiatoral games.
  • Behemoth Battle: The series features brutal fights between giant beasts at least Once an Episode, with Fang usually being one of the battlers. In the first five episodes, Fang gets to fight a horned tyrannosaur, a giant snake, a few mammoths, a Giant Spider and a giant Killer Gorilla. The fifth episode also features Spear turning into a monstrous giant and fighting said Killer Gorilla.
  • Bloodier and Gorier: Compared to Genndy's other works. Just to show how violent the series will be, a sneak peek of the series shows Fang killing another tyrannosaur by gnawing its upper jaw off. This even shows up casually, such as a moment in "Rage of the Ape-Men" where Spear takes a bite from a live fish with a surprising amount of bright red blood resulting.
  • Charles Atlas Superpower:
    • Spear demonstrates almost superhuman-level feats of strength at times. Probably the most prominent example in the very first episode is when he throws his spear straight through a fully-grown T. rex like a bullet.
    • Spear's wife, who looks more human-like than Spear, for the briefest moment she's seen is shown throwing small boulders at the T. rex so strongly it shatters on impact.
  • Cliffhanger: Episode 5 ends with Spear and Fang bleeding and on the verge of death, leaving their fates ambiguous.
  • Cue the Sun: "Terror Under the Blood Moon", appropriately, ends this way, with Spear and Fang running towards the sunrise after surviving the night.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle:
    • Fang's fight against the Giant Spider in Episode 4 plays out like this. The dinosaur has little chance against the monstrous arachnid until Spear interferes, driving a Triceratops horn through the spider's head.
    • Fang becomes the victim of this again in Episode 5, against the ape-man champion who has been physically enhanced by the black serum. She seemingly dies from the fight.
    • The tables then get turned on the gorilla champion in his fight against Spear, who has also been physically enhanced. It is so one-sided in Spear's favour it actually comes across as darkly humorous.
  • Darker and Edgier: Compared to many previous works from Genndy note . Primal is the darkest of his projects to date, taking place in a primordial Death World, being excessively gory, and centering around the tragedy of a man losing his family (including his children).
  • Dark Is Not Evil: The gangly, albino cave-dwellers seen in episode 4 are very much team players, giving Spear back his spear when he and Fang evade the furious bats.
  • Death of a Child: Spear's children get devoured along with his wife in the first episode. Fang's children don't fare much better.
  • Death World: The second trailer begins with a quote from Lord Byron, saying that this is a time of death, where all living things are struggling to survive and will do so at almost any cost. Mercy to the enemy can mean suicide.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Happens to Spear in the first half of episode 1; His wife and two children are devoured by a group of tyrannosaurs. He climbs a large rock and stands at the edge, clearly about to commit suicide because he has lost everything. He manages to bounce back after seeing a vision of his wife and children in the rising sun, motivating him to continue living.
  • Dire Beast: Many animals in the series, such as the crocodile or the snakes, fit this trope, being larger and more monstrous than their modern-day equivalent. The ones that absolutely take the cake are the bats from "Terror Under The Blood Moon", being similar in size to the largest pterosaurs. Also, the horned tyrannosaurs (especially their leader) can be considered "dire" versions of a T. rex.
  • Driven to Suicide: After losing his wife and kids to a pack of horned T. rex, Spear climbs a tall cliff and ponders whether or not he should just step off of it. He ultimately doesn't go through, but he did spend many hours at the edge of the cliff thinking if he should.
  • Elephant Graveyard: One appears in the third episode. The mammoths take the tusk of their fallen herd member there and perform a funeral-like ritual for him.
  • Establishing Series Moment: Spear coming home to witness his family being devoured by tyrannosaurs sets up the kind of setting the series takes place in.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: Technically a case of everything trying to kill everything. The world of Primal can't be a nice place to live if even the predators hunt each other.
  • Evil Is Bigger:
    • Fang, the sympathetic Tyrannosaurus, when shown side-by-side with the human Spear, appears to be around 8 meters long, which is relatively small for her species. The antagonistic (although more "predatory" than "evil") horned tyrannosaurs are slightly bigger and their leader is humongous with a body length between 20 and 30 meters.
    • The elite warriors of the villainous ape-men are huge gorilla-like people a lot larger than the heroic caveman Spear. The black potion their champion drinks turns him even bigger and even more evil.
  • Evil Tower of Ominousness: In the 4th episode, the bats carry Spear to the prehistoric equivalent of this trope, a cave on top of a tall stone spire. It is the home of a Giant Spider who seems to control the bats.
  • Eye Scream: In "A Cold Death," Spear uses a rock to smash the eye of a woolly mammoth into a bloody pulp. Subverted in the show proper where it turns out the eye was left intact.
    • In "Wrath of the Ape-Men", he similarly plunges his fist into the eye socket of the Ape champion's skull helmet. Despite the spray of blood, moments later we see he still has both eyes.
  • Fantastic Racism: Briefly. Spear is willing to kill Fang and her family, not because she's a threat but because she's a similar dinosaur to the ones that took his loved ones away.
  • Frazetta Man: Beside Spear's species, who looks like a neanderthal, there are at least two other, more primitive type of hominids that both fit this trope. One is a tribe of sparsely haired, pale, cave-dwelling people (listed as "monkeys" in the end credits) that show up in the 4th episode, the other is a tribe of hairier, even more ape-like people that are the main antagonists of Episode 5.
  • Genre Shift: The first three episodes, despite all the Artistic License – Paleontology (creatures from vastly different time periods living together and having inaccurate size or features), are relatively grounded in reality. The fourth episode introduces absolutely unrealistic animals such as monstrous bats and a Giant Spider who seems to rule over the bats, and the fifth episode features explicit magic (or mutagenic science) in the form of a Super Serum that increases size and aggression.
  • Giant Flyer: Both the pterosaur in episode 1 and the monster bats from episode 4 fall under this trope, with the latter being strong enough to carry off full grown dinosaurs in pairs. (The former's case is justified as real-life pterosaurs really did get that big).
  • Giant Spider: The main antagonist of episode 4 is a spider that's similar in size to a sauropod, towering over Fang.
  • Gorn: While every episode has lots of blood and graphic injuries, the last act of the final episode really takes it Up to Eleven, when Spear takes a Psycho Serum, turning into a hulking beast that reduces dozens of monkey-men into Ludicrous Gibs with his bare hands onscreen.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: Spear does this to several of the ape-men in different ways, up to punching them or throwing some against a rock hard enough.
  • Heel Realization:
    • After losing his family to three T. rex, Spear is ready to go in for the kill when he spots Fang near a river. Following her to her home, he sees her children and after a moments pause is driven into a seeming infantacidal rage. Before he can act, the dinosaurs that killed his family attack Fang. Spear very quickly sees the parallels.
    • Similarly, when Spear and Fang are attacked by the mammoths, Spear realizes that they are after the tusk of their fallen herd member that he has taken with him. Once Spear returns the tusk, the mammoths leave in peace.
  • Hidden Depths: Spear is a powerful warrior with a tenacious will to survive. In quiet moments, he tends to enjoy cave painting and shadow puppetry.
  • Honorable Elephant: The mammoths are presented as particularly intelligent prehistoric beasts who mourn for their dead.
  • Hope Spot: After a long and perilous journey, Spear and Fang find a seemingly safe oasis in Episode 5, where there's plenty of fish to eat and no dangerous predators. Then the ape-men show up and kidnap them.
  • Horns of Villainy:
    • The Tyrannosaurus that kill Spear's family have Ceratosaurus-like horns, which the more sympathetic Tyrannosaurus Fang lacks.
    • Krog, the ape-man champion, wears a Triceratops skull as helmet.
  • Horrifying the Horror: When Spear and Fang are cornered by a large pack of raptors in the fourth episode, the rise of the blood moon causes the raptors to scatter, as it means the giant bats are out to hunt.
  • Hulking Out: The Super Serum used by the ape-man tribe turns the person drinking it into super-strong, mindlessly aggressive giant. First, their champion Krog drinks a single drop from it, turning into a King Kong-like monster that easily defeats Fang. Then Spear drinks the whole bowl, becoming a prehistoric version of The Incredible Hulk, curb-stomping Krog and the entire ape-man tribe.
  • Inevitable Waterfall: While struggling against a flood filled with horde of snakes in the second episode, Spear quickly sees a waterfall with much sharp rocks at the bottom.
  • Informed Species: The Ceratosaurus-like theropods from the first episode are identified as T. rex by the animatic. Somewhat downplayed in that they do possess the general body size, proportions, and two-fingered hands of Tyrannosaurus - and their alpha easily dwarfs Giganotosaurus and Spinosaurus.
  • Interspecies Friendship: Between Spear, a neanderthal-like caveman and Fang, a tyrannosaur.
  • Kill Steal: A major plot point in the second episode. Spear and Fang try to hunt together, but each time they find prey, the Tyrannosaurus takes all of it, leaving nothing for the caveman. For example, when Spear successfully kills a warthog by throwing his spear, the dinosaur gets there first and eats the warthog whole before the caveman can get a piece of it. Initially it's Played for Laughs, but soon it turns more serious and almost drives the duo apart.
  • Killer Gorilla: The strongest warriors of the ape-man tribe resemble enormous gorillas. The Super Serum that their champion drinks makes him bigger and more aggressive, turning him into a King Kong-like monster.
  • Light Is Good: In a rather beautiful sequence Spear sees his wife and children in the rising sun, inspiring him to not commit suicide.
  • Loincloth: The only piece of clothing Spear wears (except in the third episode where he crafts a vest out of mammoth fur to avoid getting Exposed to the Elements). The hairless cave-dwellers also wear loincloths, but the ape-men don't, as they are covered by their own fur.
  • Made of Iron: Spear and Fang both qualify for this. Each of them endure ungodly amounts of punishment over the course of the series; particularly noteworthy is episode four, in which the Giant Spider throws Fang around like a rag doll yet she doesn't seem to suffer any long term effects afterwards. Averted after her savage beating at the hands of Krog, the ape-man champion. He visibly breaks her leg, and it's left up in the air if she's even alive at the end of the episode.
  • Made of Plasticine: As typical for a gory series, making the mooks into paste seems very easy. The crowning example is Spear throwing a spear through a horned tyrannosaur torso like a bullet.
  • Mama Bear: Fang fights tooth and claw to save her children. When both she and Spear ultimately fail, she launches herself at a monster ten times her size without hesitation.
  • Metronomic Man Mashing: Or rather dinosaur-mashing. The Giant Spider grabs Fang by the tail and bashes her to the wall of its lair several times.
  • Might Makes Right: Since the series takes place at the very dawn of human sapience, everything living follows the instinctual imperative of survival of the fittest. And then this gets Subverted when we see the first instance of an interspecies bond that transcends the rule of "eat or be eaten".
  • Mime and Music-Only Cartoon: Despite its overall Darker and Edgier feel, it fits the bill. The show features no dialogue from either the caveman or the animals, only grunts, roars and other animalistic sounds. All emotions are conveyed through the characters' expressions and body language as well as the background music.
  • Mix-and-Match Critter:
    • The first episode feature a pack of T. rex with horns like rhinoceroses, Ceratosaurus, or Alioramus.
    • The pterosaur from the first episode looks like a cross between Pteranodon, Pterodactylus, and Quetzalcoatlus.
    • The third episode features wolves with Smilodon-like saber teeth.
  • Monster Is a Mommy: Spear thinks Fang is a predatory dinosaur similar to the ones that killed his family. Then he discovers she has two nestlings which she also tries to protect from predators.
  • Monstrous Cannibalism: The horned tyrannosaurs are either the same species as Fang, or at least a closely related species. This does not stop them from seeing Fang's offspring as prey.
  • Mood Whiplash: The show can quickly switch from a quiet and calm moment to a brutal, violent one and back.
  • Mook Horror Show: The climax of "Rage of the Ape-Men". Spear gulps down the mystical elixir that the ape-men created, which turns him into a giant monstrosity comparable to the Incredible Hulk. The ape-men attempt to Zerg Rush Spear, but he is not affected the slightest, and slaughters the ape-men left and right, tearing them in half and crushing their heads with his bare hands. The scene ends with the surviving ape-men running for their lives, with Spear ruthlessly chasing down and killing those that attempt to flee.
  • More Predators Than Prey: In "Terror Under the Blood Moon", the only living creatures Spear and Fang encounter (the raptors, the primitive men, the bats and the Giant Spider) are all carnivores, and the only prey are the boar carried by one of the primitive men and the piles of corpses in the spider's lair. The trope may be justified by the bats overhunting the savannah to feed the spider, which also explains why the raptors are so desperately ravenous and why the primitive men are so thin and sickly.
  • Never Smile at a Crocodile: A gigantic crocodile, possibly a Deinosuchus, attacks Spear in the beginning of the first episode.
  • Noisy Nature: All the characters and animals roar and screech very often, up to and including the human character Spear, often just because. In an early scene in the first episode, Spear is menaced by a large pterosaur, and just as it takes off it screams loudly at nothing in particular before it does so.
  • Non-Malicious Monster: As usual, predatory animals are just that. However, the T. rex Spear injures does bear a grudge against him.
  • Not So Different: Ultimately why Spear helps Fang. Just like him, she just wants to protect her children. Also just like him, she is ultimately unable to.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Both Spear and Fang sport a look that personifies this when they see a wall of giant snakes right next to where they are fighting in the second episode.
    • The monkey-men in the last episode all have this expression at once when they see how brutally a mutated Spear is tearing through all of them.
  • Only a Flesh Wound: Spear bashes one of the horned tyrannosaurs' legs in with a rock, resulting in a compound fracture, but after a few seconds of screaming it just snaps the leg back into place and keeps attacking like nothing happened, though it does seem to have a limp for the short period it survives after fixing its leg.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: The various monsters that cross Spear and Fang's path usually end up brutally slaughtered. The crowning example of this is in Episode 5, where, upon seeing the ape-men kill Fang, Spear drinks their Psycho Serum and goes on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge, tearing them to pieces.
  • Playing Possum: In Episode 4, after Fang is unable to climb up to the rock spire where the bats took Spear, she pretends to be dead so that the bats carry her up onto the spire as well.
  • Prehistoric Monster: Most animals appearing in the show are exaggerated in size and are given monstrous features. The first episode alone gives us a giant crocodile, a large and toothy pterosaur and a pack of Tyrannosaurus rex with Ceratosaurus-like horns. The show also contains mammoths twice the size of African elephants, human-sized bats, saber-toothed wolves, vicious ape-men, and a Giant Spider as large as a sauropod dinosaur.
  • Pretty Butterflies: Spear and Fang encounter a swarm of butterflies in Episode 5. They are among the few animals in the show that are not monstrous, and their presence indicates the peaceful nature of the oasis.
  • Primal Chest-Pound: Pun not intended. In episode 4, an ape-man pounds his chest while screaming as he charges to the rescue of a tribe-mate. One of the gorilla-like ape-man warriors in episode 5 also does it before clashing with the other combatants.
  • Primal Stance: Pun, again, not intended. Spear has a somewhat hunched posture stereotypically associated with neanderthals, and occasionally uses his hands during locomotion when charging into a fight. The more primitive hominids appearing in episode 4 move pretty much constantly like this.
  • Primate Versus Reptile: Episode 5 has a fight between the ape-man warrior Krog who is under the effect of a strength-inducing serum and the tyrannosaurus Fang. The roles are very much inverted, as Fang is sympathetic and one of the protagonists, whereas Krog is the cruel champion of the evil ape-men.
  • Psycho Serum: The Ape-men in Episode 5 keep a black goo they use to ritually enhance the strength and ferocity to incredible levels. The Ape Champion drinks a single drop and gains enough strength to easily beat Fang in a fight. Spear in turn downs the whole bowl and he turns into a murderous prehistoric version of the Incredible Hulk who can literally rip the apes limb from limb.
  • Ptero Soarer: A pterosaur (called a "Pterodactyl" in the animatic) appears in the first episode. It can stand bipedally and is five-fingered (it has an additional thumb along with the wing finger and three small fingers).
  • Raptor Attack: A pack of Jurassic Park-styled dromaeosaurids appear in the fourth episode.
  • Rated M for Manly: This is a Bloodier and Gorier show about a muscular caveman fighting Prehistoric Monsters.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • Spear and Fang seem to be good terms, but as mentioned in Kill Steal above, Fang is still a much larger dinosaur and would definitely need to eat more, even if that meant Spear wouldn't get any share of a kill.
    • In the second episode, Spear's attempts at using a snake's body to hold him and Fang atop a waterfall quickly fails due to Fang's heavy weight pulling Spear's grip off the body.
  • Red and Black and Evil All Over: The horned tyrannosaurs that eat Spear's family and later Fang's are a dark shade of red with prominent black stripes. Of course, they're just predators targeting what they think are prey.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: After someone drinks the Psycho Serum in Episode 5, their eyes become completely red (among other changes), signifying that they are now filled with unrelenting bloodlust.
  • Reused Character Design: Spear looks almost identical to the caveman in the Dexter's Laboratory episode "Old Flame", which was also directed by Genndy Tartakovsky. Cue the "This is him now. Feel old yet?" memes.
  • Roar Before Beating: Happens a lot, and it often ends up being a fatal mistake for the Monster of the Week as it gives Spear or Fang an opportunity to get a hit in.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: With the "roaring" often being literal.
    • In the first episode, after Spear's family is devoured by the horned tyrannosaurs, the caveman follows Fang with the intent to avenge their deaths (despite Fang not being involved in his family's death). Then the horned tyrannosaurs attack Fang and her offspring, and Spear joins the fight slaying two of the tyrannosaurs.
    • In the third episode Spear and Fang end up on the receiving end of this after they kill an elderly mammoth for food. The mammoths almost crush Fang to death, but when Spear gives back the old mammoth's tusk to their matriarch, they stop attacking.
    • In the fourth episode, after the giant bats see that their Giant Spider leader has been killed by Spear and Fang, the entire horde immediately sets off after them.
    • In the fifth episode, after the ape-man champion appears to kill Fang, Spear drinks the ape-man shaman's potion, turns into a Hulk-like monstrosity and slaughters not only the champion, but dozens of the smaller ape-men as well, even when they turn around and start fleeing.
  • Scenery Porn: The oasis that Spear and Fang find themselves in at the beginning of the fifth episode is absolutely beautiful.
  • Seldom-Seen Species: Credit is due where credit is due, this might be the only animated work to feature Syndyoceras. Also, the giant bats may be Necromantis (although it was nowhere near the size of the bats in the show). The giant crocodile may be Deinosuchus, and the giant aquatic snakes can be either Titanoboa or Palaeophis (their large size fits the former whereas their aquatic habits fit the latter). Elasmotherium, Synthetoceras, a Thylacine and what appears to be a chalicothere are among the dead animals in the giant spider's nest.
  • Set a Mook to Kill a Mook: Chased by a horde of bloodthirsty giant bats in Episode 4, Spear and Fang lead them into the tall grass where they are set upon by the raptor pack that had been menacing them in the beginning of the episode.
  • Shadow Discretion Shot: While the show seldom censors any violence, the horned tyrannosaurs eating Spear's wife and children is only shown in shadows.
  • Silence Is Golden: Tartakovsky has described it as being his first completely dialogue-free series. Through the series, there is no dialogue, only feral shrieks, grunts, and roars. Makes sense, since there's only one human character of note.
  • Skeleton Motif: In the 4th episode, Spear and Fang come across a stone pillar with carvings resembling human skulls. They were presumably made by the primitive albino hominids that dwell in the area.
  • Snakes Are Sinister: Giant snakes, likely Titanoboa, are the main antagonists of Episode 2.
  • Stuffed in the Fridge: Spear's wife and children get eaten by dinosaurs in the first episode.
  • Super-Persistent Predator: Every predator that menaces the duo will put their bloodlust over self-preservation every time. Those that attack in groups (such as the raptors in giant bats in Episode 4) will keep on attacking no matter how many of their horde is slaughtered.
  • Theme Naming: Spear and Fang are both named after their primary weapons.
  • Thick-Line Animation: The animation has thick black outlines.
  • Tyrannosaurus rex: Fang, the show's deuteragonist is a Tyrannosaurus with one particularly large lower fang, which provides her name. The antagonists of the first episode are a pack of T. rex with horns.
  • Weak, but Skilled: Spear is an ordinary human and is able to take on dinosaurs, mammoths, and other dangerous creatures due to his tool making and cunning.
  • The Worf Effect: Fang is established in the first few episodes as a formidable fighter who can kill beasts larger than herself. So when she's easily beaten by the mammoths in "A Cold Death", the spider in "Terror Under the Blood Moon" and the ape champion in "Rage of the Ape-Men", it demonstrates how powerful and dangerous these opponents are.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Almost drowning and being eaten by snakes in "River of Snakes" has left Fang with a pathological fear of anything that even resembles a snake. Even a worm, to Spear's bemusement.
  • Your Size May Vary: There are some inconsistencies about the size of a characters. Fang, in particular, can sometimes appear only 5-6 meters long, while sometimes she's as big as a fully-grown Tyrannosaurus rex.

Alternative Title(s): Primal, Genndy Tartakovskys Primal


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: