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Western Animation / Starchaser: The Legend of Orin

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Starchaser: The Legend of Orin is a 1985 animated Space Opera film. The story follows Orin, an escaped slave who must free his people from the Dark Lord after being chosen by a Magic Sword. Helping him along the way are a cigar-chewing smuggler, his neurotic Robot Buddy, a sassy fembot, a governer's daughter and a Fairy Companion.

Just from that synopsis one would think that this has something to do with a certain famous and successful space saga. Indeed, this film is very similar in terms of story and design, but has since become a Cult Classic.


Tropes that appear in this film:

  • Absurdly Sharp Blade: The blade that belongs on the Hilt, which cuts through everything in those moments when it actually appears. And when Orin finally understands what it means that there never was a blade.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: The man-droids are a bunch of bickering, barely organized scavengers. This works against them.
  • Bald of Evil: Zygon's more humanlike Mooks are all entirely bald.
  • Bare Your Midriff:
    • Elan and most of the female slaves on Trinia.
    • Later Orin himself.
  • Black Humour: There's a lot of this in the film. Really, what can you say when one of the funniest scenes is an analogy to rape?
  • Body Horror: The man-droids are cyborgs composed of robot and human body parts. Rotten human body parts, which must be constantly replaced.
  • Book-Ends:
    • The film begins with the Furnace of Life (actually the entrance to Zygon's fortress) opening and shows it again in the climax of the film.
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    • On a similar note, Zygon wears his helmet in both the beginning and climax of the film, until it gets destroyed by Orin.
  • Captain Ersatz: This may take a while:
  • Cigar Chomper: Dagg.
  • Cool Sword: Orin's sword. The blade is either invisible, can only cut the villains, or is a part of Orin.
  • Cyborg: The Man-Droids
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: This film is very dark and violent, even by 80’s cartoon standards. An old man is being killed by burn damage from a lightwhip, a slave is crushed by a cave in, and a young woman is strangled partly on screen, the man-droids end up bisected, impaled and shot in half, desert men being nuked and so on and so on.
  • Fantastic Racism: This film has at least Arab and gypsy stereotypes.
    • Dagg's mocking response to the desert people he's selling the stolen crystals too: "You have ze crrrystal?" - "You have ze moneh?"
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar:
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: The fate of a lot of the villains, particularly Zygon who is cut in half and falls into lava.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: Zygon's guards can't hit anything.
  • Jerkass: Dagg, and how! He softens a bit during the movie though.
  • Kick Them While They Are Down: Dagg does this to Orin when they meet.
  • The Legend of X
  • Mecha-Mooks: Zygon's entire robot army.
  • Nightmare Face:
    • The leader of the man-droids has a skull like face with large red eyes
    • The last man-droid Dagg kills has a skeletal face with sunken-in, barely visible eyes.
  • Oral Fixation: Does Dagg ever finish his cigar?
  • Plot Hole: The crystals are very volatile and ignite by laser fire, and yet the slaves mine them with powerful laser jackhammers.
    • Orin reacts at one point like if he knows what vacuum is. How would he know if he’s been a slave in a subterranean world all his life?
  • Replacement Love Interest: Elan is somewhat-shockingly killed near the start of the movie. She's soon replaced by Aviana who has a similar design and the same voice actress.
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized: The slaves push all of the minemasters into the lava when rebelling at the end. Note that this happens after Zygon has been killed, so there was arguably no need to do this to them. However, considering the generations of torment these people endured, their actions are understandable if not justifiable.
    • On the villains' side of things, Zygon is attempting to start his own revolution of sorts, and is perfectly prepared to kill, maim and torture in order to get his way, and has kept the entire population of a planet enslaved for thousands of years because of his dislike for humans.
  • Robotic Reveal: When Orin slashes Zygon's cheek with the sword.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: It's an obvious ripoff of Star Wars. There are a few changes that separate this from Star Wars. However, the characters, the plot (sorta), the locations and some sequences have been ripped off. Hell, even some of the sound effects are sampled from Star Wars.
    • To some extent, the movie also seems to want to follow in Heavy Metal's footsteps.
  • Swamps Are Evil: The man-droids live there, so this trope is in full action.
  • A Taste of the Lash / Whip It Good: The minemasters really love using their laser whips against underperforming slaves.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Zygon gets bisected and falls in lava. The lava is boiling for several seconds as if to make sure that he's gone for good.
  • Thrown Out the Airlock: Orin accidentally opens a hangar's airlock, sucking out all the robots.
  • To the Pain: The laser torture is described in such terms:
    Zygon (to Dag): "Try to imagine a needle, the thickness of a human hair, slowly thrust between your eyes and penetrating your skull."
  • Villain with Good Publicity: When Aviana and Orin arrive at the mines again, she greets Zygon as the facility's administrator when he meets them at the hangar, and doesn't believe Orin's claims about the miners. It's not until Orin slashes his face with the Sword and reveals he's a robot that she realizes he was telling the truth.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Silica is reprogrammed without her consent, and the heroes sure do kill off Zygon's Mecha-Mooks rather wantonly, despite them having distinct personalities and sentience. No wonder Zygon hates humans so much!