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Western Animation / Robotix

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Robotix is a 1985 animated series based on the Milton Bradley/Hasbro toy of the same name. The original toy was of the construction type, similar to the Erector Set and K’Nex, that included motors, wheels, and pincers.

The series follows the conflict between the peaceful Protectons and the warmongering Terrakors on the alien world of Skalorr, and a group of humans who get caught up in the conflict. It was produced by Sunbow Entertainment and Marvel Productions, and was animated in Japan by Toei Animation, which also animated other cartoons featured on the Super Sunday block.

Unlike most animated shows, Robotix was not a 22-minute cartoon, but was rather a series of fifteen six-minute shorts that aired as part of the Super Sunday half-hour with other animated shows, including Jem and the Holograms, Inhumanoids and Bigfoot and the Muscle Machines. While Jem and Inhumanoids had enough success to be turned into full-fledged series, Robotix was cancelled after its debut season (as was Bigfoot).

Marvel Comics also produced a single-issue comic book in February 1986, which roughly followed the storyline of the first three episodes of the series.

Years later, the Transformers feature "Ask Vector Prime" would establish that the world of the Robotix is, in fact, a universe within the Transformers multiverse, and that the Protectons and Terrakors were distant dimensional analogues of the familiar Autobots and Decepticons. The Robotix got their long-awaited due shortly afterwards, starting in a short crossover adventure with the then-concurrent feature "Spacewarp's Log".


  • Always Chaotic Evil: All of the Terrakors are bad guys.
  • Aliens Speaking English: None of the human characters stop even for a second to think how is it possible that the alien robots they encounter speak perfect American English. And that's even before the point at which Translator Microbes become a possible explanation.
  • An Arm and a Leg: The Robotix lose their body parts on a regular basis, either by fighting each other or in natural / industrial accidents. However, being living machines, they often quickly repair each other.
  • And the Adventure Continues: After the Terrastar is destroyed, the humans decide to stay on Skalorr to help the Protectons rebuild. However, Nemesis is still online...
  • Animation Bump: Some of the fight sequences between the Robotix are much more dynamic and detailed than the rest of the show, which is fairly standard in comparison.
  • Big Bad: Nemesis is the leader of the war-loving Terrakors and tries to prevent the Protectons from restoring Skalorr on their terms.
  • Big Good: Argus leads the Protectons in their battles against the evil Terrakors.
  • Brain Uploading: When the Protectons and the Terrakors are put into stasis, some of them end up having their minds transferred into Robotix bodies.
  • The Complainer Is Always Wrong: Kanawk. Despite him being absolutely correct that the alien battleship will destroy them (they get shot down), the ship can't be fixed (it can't, at least, not without the help of the locals), and that they shouldn't get involved in the fight between the Terrakors and the Protectons (which they do, leading the Terrakors to take an interest in the human survivors), his concerns are generally ignored.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Terrakors' machines are all purple. Protectons' are white/silver.
  • Crazy-Prepared: For some reason, the designers of the Robotix decided that they needed huge weapons and armor, not to mention the ability to fuse with alien life forms to enhance their capabilities... when they were stated to be construction robots. Also, they can transform.
  • Cyborg: The main characters got their minds transferred into Humongous Mecha without their consent.
  • Disney Death: At one point, Nemesis erases Argus' mind from his Robotix body and replaces it with the mind of another Terrakor named Terragar. Fortunately, the humans and the other Protectons are able to bring Argus back when Compucore reveals that a backup copy of Argus' mind exists.
  • Do-Anything Robot: There is no defined limit to what each Robotix unit is capable of and most of the time, if a certain function is needed to perform a task, it simply manifests, no matter if the said task involves transportation, construction, combat, etc. The only restriction to this is that the function can be only accessed during interface with an organic pilot sitting in the cockpit; without them the Robotix can only move their bodies in the most basic way because they were never designed to be autonomous.
  • Dumb Muscle: Goon is a complete moron, which leads to him being subjected to disparaging remarks about his lack of intelligence from the other Terrakors.
    • Boltar is this for the Protectons.
  • Easily Forgiven: Nemesis forgets all about how Tyrannix betrayed him and briefly took over the Terrakors.
  • Emergency Transformation: The Protectons and Terrakors intend to survive a solar flare's devastation by going into suspended animation deep underground. Afterward though, their central computer decides there is no way for them to survive on the devastated world after all, and transfers the minds of a few of them into giant construction robots called "robotix." Upon awakening, they don't take it well.
    Argus: "What has happened? I have become a Robotix! NOOOOOOOOO!!!"
  • Failed a Spot Check: two humans fail to somehow notice the ten-story tall bipedal Terrakors walking up behind them.
  • Fembot: Completely averted with Nara; as a literal face-equipped hockey puck on four legs, she inhabits one of the least humanoid, not to mention feminine, Robotix units in the story.
  • Fragile Speedster: Jerrak, who is by far the fastest and most maneuverable off the Robotix but isn't as strong or tough as the others.
  • Galactic Conqueror: Nemesis' goal is to conquer every race that opposes him.
  • Jerkass: Kanawk. Not only does he side with the Terrakors and coerces a couple of other humans to join him, but he also steals the already scarce amount of food from the humans allied with the Protectons just to spite them.
  • Killer Robot: All cast members with mechanical bodies have a potential of becoming this; Terrakors by default, but a sufficiently upset or excited Protecton can also pose a lethal threat both to humans and Skallorians; as Boltar's, aka. One Robot Army, hero-saving rampage during the factory scene shows.
    Boltar: "Terrakors! Now you die!"
  • Left Hanging: At the end, Nemesis was presumed deceased, but the last moments of the series revealed that he was still alive in space. If the episodes had been picked up as a full series, he and the other Terrakors would have most likely returned to Skalorr to get revenge on the Protectons.
  • Merchandise-Driven: Being a cartoon based on a toyline, this is unavoidable.
  • No-Sell: When the Terrakors steal the food from the human ship, one crew member tries to defend it by smacking the Terrakor with a frying pan. For some reason, this fails to have any meaningful effect on the war robot the size of an office building.
  • Not Quite Dead: The series ends with Nemesis being revealed to have survived the destruction of the Terror Star.
  • One-Man Army: While nearly all Robotix units display great combat abilities depending on the circumstances, Boltar is the definite champion of this trope, as he single-handedly rescues the Protectons from certain death when they visit a booby-traped factory controlled by Terrakors. This involves destroying several traps and then severely beating the Terrakors who would all most likely end up as dead scrapmetal if it wasn't for the plot needing them alive later. This is especially noteworthy as A): it is stated several times that Boltar's frame is incomplete when compared to the intended design due to lack of necessary parts, and B) at that time his interface partner is Zaru, a child with no combat training.
  • One-Word Title: Just "Robotix".
  • Outside-Context Problem: When the human characters first appear, they're being pursued by a "battle cruiser" and left for dead on Skalorr. It wasn't explained why they were chasing the humans, or even who they were; they're quickly forgotten about as the Robotix appear.
    • The comic adaptation says they are the "Ejoornians", and the human ship wandered into their territory when their navigation system malfunctioned. They are described as "tend to shoot first, then shoot again, and ask no questions later". Supposedly Skalorr is in free space and the cruiser should not have followed them so far, but they apparently don't care.
  • Realpolitik: The Protectons and Terrakors don't like each other in the slightest, but if they wish to continue surviving, they have to put aside their differences and go into the stasis chambers to survive the Nova of their star.
    • Kanawk and Nemesis openly state that they don't trust one another, but their goals align- the humans can boost Terrakor abilities, granting them an edge in their fight, and the humans want access to the spaceship to get them off of the planet.
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: Downplayed. The Terrakors are the bad guys, and they're (well, originally) reptiles. Protectons were ape-like in appearance, but also had some reptilian features.
  • Ridiculously Human Robots: Subverted, as all robotic cast members are actually organic, sentient aliens with their minds forcefully uploaded into mechanical bodies that weren't even meant for this kind of procedure in the first place.
  • Telescoping Robot: Many characters do this, varying from expanding limbs to producing tons of weapons from inside their bodies. Bront takes this tropes to the extreme, once fashioning peg legs longer than his own height to cross an acid lake and on another occasion transforming into a very long ladder to allow his teammates avoiding a deathtrap.
  • The Smurfette Principle: Nara is the only female Protecton in the series as well as the only female character in general.
  • The Starscream: At one point, Nemesis' minion Tyrannix tries to usurp his position as leader of the Terrakors.
  • Translator Microbes: When humans enter the cockpits of the Robotix units, their displayed console interface is in English. This may be a result of the cockpit first neuro-linking with the pilot before starting up said interface and downloading data on the users preferred language to make operating it easier. Why the aforementioned console has buttons using Arabic numeric system is another matter, though.
  • True Neutral: Compucore will work with either Protectons or Terrakors, regardless of who claims her or issues the order. This is why Protectons do their best to keep her out of Terrakors' hands, as they plan to use her to power the Terrastar battleship and wage war against the galaxy. Possibly justified by Compucore being a very rudimentary AI following specific protocols, without regard of whether it's morally right or wrong.
  • Uncertain Doom: During the fight on the Terrastar, Kanawk is hurled into a wall by Argus but it's unknown if this killed him or if he and his human comrades survived the Terrastar's destruction.
  • Villain Has a Point: Kanawk points out that there's no guarantee that the Protectons can fix their ship, their ship is most likely damaged beyond repair, and that they don't really have an obligation to help the Protectons other than altruism. To make matters worse, the food on Skalorr is toxic to humans, and they only have a few days' worth of it. Does it make sense to try to fix a broken starship, wasting valuable resources while they starve to death, or is it better to go to the Terrakors, who do have a working ship ready to go, and might prove more amenable to their needs?
  • You Didn't Ask: Compucore uses the "You didn't ask me about it" excuse twice when asked by Exeter's crew why she didn't explain something to them before.