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Western Animation / Street Sharks

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"They fight, they bite, they kick some serious fin!"

Street Sharks (1994-1997) was an animated series about four teenage boys whose father is kidnapped by a rival scientist named Dr. Paradigm and transformed into a monster. When they attempt to rescue him, Dr. Paradigm transforms them into anthropomorphic sharks. In their first battle, Dr. Paradigm is injected with the same chemical mixture intended for the sharks' kooky-but-genius sidekick, giving him the ability to transform into a piranha monster when angry. It causes severe drama, because the sharks are then painted as the villains and the villain made the city hero, whose dream it is to mutate everyone into fish people.

Think Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles minus the actual ninjas and the turtles replaced by sharks.

Discotek Media (yup, the same one that licences retro anime) has licensed this show for an SD Blu-Ray release, which came out in April 2022. So jawsome.

The Street Sharks are:

Their allies:

  • Lena and Bends: their friends from college.
  • Moby Lick (former name Jets Taylor): a friend from high school who was turned into an orca whale.
  • Rox (former name Melvin Kresnik): a rock musician who was turned into a mako shark after eating popcorn spiked with mutagen.
  • Mantaman (former name Dr. Terrence Morton): a scientist and astronaut who was turned into a manta ray (with some alien DNA thrown in as well).
  • El Swordo: A circus performer who was fused with his pet marlin Spike.

Street Sharks has examples of:

  • And Your Reward Is Edible: In the episode "First Shark", the Sharks save President David Horne from being gene-washed by Dr. Paradigm. Due to a combination of factors (including Paradigm having previously gene-washed the vice-president and another member of the White House staff, and making it look like the Sharks were the ones to try and gene-wash President Horne), he can't publicly show them any sympathy or give them the reward he really wants without getting kicked out of office (and apologizes for not being able to do so). So instead, he brings them a briefcase full of Humongo-Burgers, which they very much appreciate.
  • Animal Stereotypes: The citizens of Fission City are sheep, going along with whatever anti-Shark propaganda Paradigm and Guy-in-the-Sky feed them.
  • Apathetic Citizens: The residents of Fission City seem weirdly... undisturbed, considering that they've got multiple large mutants (and, later, dinosaur-shaped aliens) running around their city. On the other hand, very few seem smart to begin with...
  • Artistic License Biology:
    • There's a reason why they are called whale sharks. Whale Sharks are shrimp-eating, filter-feeding, peaceful creatures that do not have giant sharp teeth and are not dangerous to anything larger than a tiny fish. Although the show at least remembered that they're gentle giants.
    • The stereotype that sharks can eat anything is taken to its logical extreme, with the Street Sharks being capable of chowing down on just about anything.
    • "Fresh Water Sharks" has an incident where the Sharks are confronted by tear gas and are unaffected, with Ripster claiming it was "nothing our shark gills won't filter out". Gills don't work that way — they filter oxygen from water and are just as vulnerable to toxins and irritants as our lungs are. The sharks ought to have been screaming in pain as their gills were burned out by the gas.
  • Artistic License Physics: How in the world can the sharks swim through concrete? They eat it.
  • Bald of Evil: Dr. Paradigm is bald, bad, and has a temper to match.
  • Become a Real Boy: One of the main goals of the protagonists is to get turned back to humans, though this tends to take a backseat, since they're better-equipped to fight the villain and his mutant underlings with mutant powers themselves than without.
  • Berserk Button: As seen in "The Sharkfather", Maximillian Greco hates it when people refer to him supposedly being dead.
  • Body Horror: The consequences of gene-slamming, especially on Dr. Bolton. He's never seen on-screen after his transformation, but from the looks of his shadow and the gurgling noises made whenever he appeared, Dr. Bolton became something truly grotesque.
  • The Boxing Episode: Shark Fight builds up to a boxing match between Big Slammu and Killamari.
  • Catchphrase: The Street Sharks have several punny ones, including "Shark Attack!" and "Jawesome!"
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Slash and Slobster disappear after episode 13, along with SharkBot. In a similar vein, Killamari and Repteel vanish during the "Dino-Vengers" episodes, with Shrimp Louie and Tentakill appearing early on, then following suit.
  • Create Your Own Hero: In gene-slamming the Bolton family, Paradigm created the very heroes who would constantly thwart his plans.
  • Creepy Good: The Street Sharks are anthropomorphic sharks, but are unquestionably on the side of good.
  • Crossover: The Extreme Dinosaurs make appearances in the last season, though with a different name (Dino-Vengers) and backstory.
  • Cut Lex Luthor a Check: It's subtly shown that, if it weren't for his obsession with using it to reshape humanity into his genetically-altered slave race, Paradigm's genetic tinkering technology could change the world. Most obviously, in season 3's "The Sharkfather", an aged crimeboss named Maximillian Greco spots Piranoid's Seaviates and follows them to Paradigm's lab, blackmailing him into using his technology to "fix" the withered, aging-crippled former gangster. Paradigm splices him with a subtle mix of desert tortoise and rhino genes, causing Greco to become a physical powerhouse who looks half his former age and without turning him into an obvious mutant.
    Dr. Paradigm: Hmmm... Rhino for brute strength and a little desert tortoise DNA for longevity seems to have helped a little.
    Greco: A little?! This is wonderful! Nothing wrong with being old when you're in this kind of shape!
  • Destructive Saviour: It's not uncommon for the Street Sharks to cause some severe property damage whenever they save the day, such as destroying the eponymous streets by swimming through the solid concrete. On the other hand, when they level buildings and such, it's usually in an effort to prevent worse disasters, like sinking a parking garage to avoid flooding the city with nuclear fallout.
  • Disappeared Dad: After showing up once in the pilot and being turned into a monster offscreen, the Sharks never meet their dad in person again. His absence is the main concern of the heroes and finding him is usually their first priority. He sometimes appears in shadows, or as a 'just missed' character, making him a major plot element nevertheless. The season 1 finale "Shark Source" sees him confronting and speaking to Dr. Piranoid, tearing apart Piranoid's armor and sending a piece of it to his sons as a trophy afterward, but they don't get to see him in person.
  • Does Not Like Spam: As established in the opening three-parter, the Street Sharks don't like pizza.
  • Dream Intro: Season 3's episode "First Shark" starts with Big Slammu having a dream about being president of the United States (with Ripster as his vice-President, Streex as Press Secretary and Jab as Security Director), which gets interrupted by Piranoid attacking, and then Jab waking him up to watch a news broadcast about Dr. Paradigm being in Washington D.C. for a meeting.
  • Engineered Public Confession: In "Shark Jacked", the Street Sharks trick Paradigm into agreeing to a live television interview, then push him into revealing his Piranoid form to the world.
  • Evil vs. Evil: In "Card Sharks", Paradigm seeks revenge on Maximillian Greco, trying to ruin his casino in retaliation for Greco basically blackmailing him into gene-slamming Greco and his dogs.
  • Evolving Credits: The opening credits change in episode 4.
  • Exact Words: Paradigm's "Genesis Satellite" was intended to turn the entire population of Earth into gene-slammed mutants. He told the public that it would "usher in a whole new era for mankind" and that the human race would never suffer from disease, or "any other human frailties."
  • Extreme Omnivore: The Street Sharks can and do eat just about everything from hamburgers to steel girders and concrete without indigestion. Just don't offer them pizza.
  • Eyepatch of Power: Dr. Piranoid wears a metal eyepatch on his right eye.
  • Find the Cure!: "Jungle Sharks" revolves around the Dino-Vengers suddenly getting sick, and T-Bone, Bends and the Street Sharks have to travel to the Amazon rainforest to find a mushroom that will cure it, while Bad Rap and his two goons try to find and destroy it first.
  • Hero of Another Story: Doctor Bolton just keeps on pulling Offscreen Moments of Awesome, working behind the scenes to foil Paradigm's plans.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: Paradigm could blame the Sharks for anything and the citizens of Fission City would accept without question. It's taken to such extremes that one of their friends has to explicitly tell the police that, if they really were guilty of one of the crimes they were accused of, they'd have to be in two places at once.
  • Horrifying Hero: Granted, the Street Sharks are actually pretty nice, but they still look like oversized, very threatening sharks on legs who can eat steel and concrete, are superhumanly strong, and have some anger issues, so they tend to scare everyone in sight. Really, it's not that surprising Paradigm has so little trouble convincing people they are a threat.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: The word "shark" is in every title.
  • Idiot Ball: Yes, Doctor Bolton, we're sure you're a brilliant man. Perhaps confronting a Mad Scientist in an abandoned laboratory over illegal experiments at night, without telling anyone else about this, wasn't the best idea though.
  • I Hate Past Me: In "Shark Wars", a future version of Dr. Paradigm arrives in the present, and immediately showcases his disdain for his past self for struggling with the airborne gene-slamming formula he himself cracked in the interim.
    Paradigm: You're me. Me from the future!
    Future Paradigm: Comparing you to me would be like comparing a caveman to Einstein.
  • Interspecies Romance: At least once, it was shown that there were girls who found the sharks — in particular Streex — attractive.
  • It Can Think: Tentakill is usually depicted as a savage beast, but in "First Shark", it pushed a button that activated a Death Trap, showing it possesses some level of intelligence.
  • Karmic Transformation: Dr. Paradigm to Dr. Piranoid. In the season three episode "Sand Sharks", his attempt to splice himself with the Raptors' DNA turns him into an iguana hybrid, and he is redubbed "Dr. Iguanoid".
  • Merchandise-Driven: The toys and toy commercials debuted before the actual show.
  • Missing Mom: Their mom is virtually nonexistent and is only mentioned once in the pilot, when it is revealed that she once gave their dad a watch, and it was implied that she was dead.
  • Obviously Evil: Dr. Paradigm. True, giant shark-men aren't exactly going to inspire confidence, but does that really mean that you should trust a man who has an eyepatch and an indeterminately European accent who goes around town in a giant, heavily armed diving suit? Of course he'd still set off villain alarms in civilian garb. Paradigm tries to subvert it by claiming that the suit's main purpose is a life-support system, after a run-in with the Street Sharks.
  • Open Secret: Theoretically, the Street Sharks are fugitives from justice... but they very rarely make any effort at all to hide themselves, and walk around openly in public...
  • Overly-Long Tongue: Moby Lick has a long, prehensile tongue.
  • Painful Transformation: Every transformation includes a lot of screaming.
  • Playing with Syringes: The gene slamming tends to happen through Dr. Paradigm injecting his target with a proto-viral concoction of DNA.
  • Poorly-Disguised Pilot: The last EIGHT episodes are taken up by a long one, introducing the heroic Dino Vengers and the evil Raptors, dinosaur-like aliens from outer space. The opening sequence was actually changed to call the show Dino Vengers Featuring Street Sharks. One year later, the "Dino Vengers", having been heavily re-tooled to cut all continuity with this cartoon, got their own show in the form of Extreme Dinosaurs.
  • Power-Upgrading Deformation: The gene splicing everyone goes through turns them into grotesque anthropomorphic animals. Subverted with Maximillian Greco and his dogs Zeus and Apollo though, the former of whom regains his youth and all three of whom are considerably bulked up by the gene-slamming process, but could be otherwise be mistaken for normal beings, unlike everyone else who was gene-slammed.
  • Proscenium Reveal: "Card Sharks" starts with the sharks fighting off an alien invasion, until we hear a cry of "Cut!", and it turns out they're taking part in a movie shoot.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: In one episode, the mutated Doctor Bolton single handedly defeats Dr. Paradigm's forces to rescue a mutant. He tears off Paradigm's suit, revealing his grotesque Piranoid form, and mocks the cowering villain, claiming that he has become something far less than human.
  • Remember the New Guy?: In season three, Paradigm gets a new minion, Shrimp Louie, from out of nowhere, with no explanation for how he came to be. And the Street Sharks seem to already be aware of him, meaning he was already around for a while in-universe.
  • Shark Man: The Street Sharks and Rox are anthropomorphic sharks.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Several of the titles are puns on various other works.
    • When Slammu is mind-controlled by Doctor Paradigm in "Shark Quest", his screams are mixed with the shark roar from Jaws: The Revenge.
  • Stealth Pun: Fission City. Fish-ion City?
  • Stock Sound Effect: The shark roar from Jaws: The Revenge was frequently utilized, alongside other stock monster sound effects, like Sharptooth's roar from The Land Before Time.
  • Strapped to an Operating Table: Happens to the heroes in the pilot, when they are being turned into sharks.
  • Take That!: Quite blatant one to the Jurassic Park toys, on the back of the "Big Hand Puppet" toy box. There was a small picture of one of said puppets, smacking one of the T-Rex toys from said rival toyline. Surprisingly, no lawsuit was filed.
    • Also a blatant shot at the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles when, during an early episode, the four were disgusted at the idea of eating pizza. This also might count as Biting-the-Hand Humor, as Surge Licensing, the company that licensed the Street Sharks property, was also behind the licensing of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
  • Title Montage: The opening to the first three episodes consists entirely of episode clips from the respective episodes. The opening to the rest of the series uses various episode clips from the first series.
  • Teenage Mutant Samurai Wombats: They're teenagers who were mutated into sharks.
  • They Would Cut You Up: Justified, since the pilot has a part where all four are re-captured, and Slammu is very narrowly forced to undergo "exploratory surgery". He's saved, and the others are tempted to try the same surgery on the doctor.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Hot dogs and hamburgers for the Street Sharks, though they're capable of eating almost anything. In a reference to the Ninja Turtles, though, they all hate pizza.
  • Tunnel King: The eponymous characters can swim through solid concrete and dirt by eating the ground in front of them.
  • Unreliable Illustrator: A Dic Entertainment series, so it's to be expected. More evident after the first three episodes thanks to the use of multiple animation studios working on the show. "Shark Source" being a huge offender with it's innumerable moments of choppy or even unfinished animation and layering issues.
  • Villain Team-Up: Paradigm allies himself with the Raptors in season three.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Paradigm, to the point at which he's able to blame the sharks for virtually everything. He finally loses this in "Shark Jacked", after being publicly exposed by the Street Sharks, Manta-Man and President Horne.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: The Street Sharks never wear a shirt. Moby Lick, Mantaman, and Killamari also go shirtless.
  • Was Once a Man: The four Street Sharks and a handful of other mutated humans. Until they underwent a genetic experiment, that is.
    • The Seaviates, with the exception of Repteel, subvert this by being Uplifted Animals instead.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Literal example: Ripster had a pet mouse when he was still human. After the pilot, she is never seen again.
  • X-Ray Sparks: Slash and Slobster get electrocuted in one episode, showing their skeletons.


Video Example(s):


Street Sharks

Street Sharks (1994-1997) was an animated series about four teenage boys whose father is kidnapped by a rival scientist named Dr. Paradigm and transformed into a monster. When they attempt to rescue him, Dr. Paradigm transforms them into anthropomorphic sharks. In their first battle, Dr. Paradigm is injected with the same chemical mixture intended for the sharks' kooky-but-genius sidekick, giving him the ability to transform into a piranha monster when angry. It causes severe drama, because the sharks are then painted as the villains and the villain made the city hero, whose dream it is to mutate everyone into fish people.

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Example of:

Main / SharkMan

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