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Western Animation / The Bots Master

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As deadly on the mic as they are in a fight, so don't be hatin'.note 

"It's Laser Time, Boyzz!"

The Bots Master (1993-1994) was an early 1990s French/American/Canadian animated sci-fi/action series created by Jean Chalopin and Avi Arad set in the year 2025 about a guy that creates a multitude of robots, each with their own distinct personality and appearance, skills, and uses them as his team to take on the evil corporation he used to work for.

This show focused on the exploits of Ziv Zulander (no, the name was not coined by Ben Stiller) and his sister Blitzy. Ziv works for the RM Corporation, run by Sir Lewis Leon Paradim. It was responsible for all the technological robotic advancements of that time, partly thanks to Ziv's inventive streak. Life was good for the two siblings, however LLP, as he was referred to, decided that being the owner of the wealthiest conglomerate in existence just wasn't enough, and that ruling the planet was much more in line with what he wanted. He decides to utilize the robotic creations sold by the company to secretly lay the foundations for a coup d'état of the world, and wants everyone in the company on the team. Ziv is obviously shocked at this, and wants no part in it. This in turn makes him the prime enemy of the entire Corp, and he goes on the lam with his sister, converts his family's old fallout shelter into a secret base, and retools his own group of robots, known as the BOYZZ, to assist in the battle to save the world from RM Corp's sinister schemes.

Notable for being one of the few western shows about mecha not coming from Japan.note  The show was really intended to be Merchandise-Driven due to its 3-D gimmick. During each episode's big action scene, someone would shout "Laser Time!" cuing the viewer to put on 3-D glasses that you could only get by buying one of the toys. However the toyline failed and became one of the reasons the series didn't last longer.

The rights to the show have been owned by Disney, out of all people, since 2001.

The Bots Master contains examples of:

  • Action Duo: Ziv and Blitzy, although usually not until things are completely FUBAR.
  • Action Girl: Blitzy, albeit as a back-line commander rather than the front-line attacker ZZ tends to act as. But what did you expect from someone with a name like that?
  • Actually a Doombot: In "Rock the Corp", when the Boyzz Brigade seems to have Paradim surrounded, his skin melts off to reveal he's actually an exploding robot double.
  • Alliterative Name: Ziv Zulander.
  • Alphabet Architecture: RM Corp has two positively massive skyscrapers side-by-side in the shape of an R and an M.
  • Always Someone Better: ZZ is this to Dr. Hiss. That said, even ZZ himself respects Dr. Hiss's genius.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: "The call came from Venezuela. It also came from Cathmandu, Montevideo, Paris and a shoe store in Ohio."
  • Artistic License – Biology: It's never explained how Ziv is able to scan holograms of deceased historical figures to obtain DNA scans, or why DNA would contain their personality, memories and skills.
  • Badass Adorable:
    • Swang. She took down a small army of greenbots, securitybots, and TANKS, BY HERSELF. And all she did was hop around taking spy pictures. Either that or those bots just suck really bad to be taken down by one robotic hopping bug that didn't even lay a finger on them.
    • Same with Birden, who caused a small bot army to accidentally destroy each other AND a world leader's private plane simply by flying around haphazardly.
  • Badass Bookworm: Considering that his main purpose is to provide medical care, Watzon is surprisingly ready to risk his neck to help the rest of the team out. Applies to the rest of the non-combat Boyzz as well, to varying degrees of willingness.
  • Badass Crew: The Boyzz Brigade.
  • Bald of Evil: Both Paradim and Dr. Hisss are bald.
  • Bash Brothers: The Street and Sports BOYZZ almost always fight with their respective teams.
  • Berserk Button: Don't call the Boyzz "bots".
  • Betty and Veronica: Alicia and Lady Frenzy, respectively.
  • Big Red Button: Batzz presses one that ejects him out of his vehicle.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: RM Corp is offering free processor upgrades to all owners of the Triple-A bot models without telling their customers that the upgrade will push their bots into this trope as part of their Take Over the World scheme. It's kind of surprising that no one seems to be alerting the media about this since the crazy behavior starts immediately after every individual upgrade rather than waiting for all Triple-As worldwide to be upgraded and activating them all at once.
  • Bratty Half-Pint: Not Blitzy (who also subverts or averts Scrappy tropes in general), but Kiddie. In fact, it's not totally clear what his purpose is, as he's basically just this trope in Boyzz form.
  • Brother–Sister Team: ZZ & Blitzy, of course.
  • Butt-Monkey: D'Nerd not only gets captured and prominently tortured in one episode (something that doesn't happen to the other Boyzz), he also gets ignored and bullied by his fellow Boyzz and ZZ, including Watzzon and Genesix using him for an experiment and ZZ ignoring his cries for help when he tries to escape the two, and a scene where the Sport Boyzz seem to be throwing one of his books around. It's also unclear if D'Nerd simply can't help stating the dictionary definition of words, which is the reason people find him annoying - a glance into his mind in one of said experiments revealed his entire programming is like that. Genesix especially seems to dislike him, hell, their entire sequence in the opening together has Genesix pushing a confused D'Nerd out of the way.
  • Combining Mecha: Several - ZZ's car and Twig is the first one we see, followed by the Splitvan and then their ultimate weapon, the giant Jungle Fiver.
  • Cool Car: ZZ has one that can sprout wings and fly, or transform into a humanoid form. It consists of two parts - the car itself, and Twig, a large humanoid Boyzz who combines with it and provides the mind to drive/fly/move it. Let's also not forget Splitvan, which is several vehicles in one.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: LLP and, by extension, all his chief executives.
  • Cut Short: The last episode had Ziv exposing RM Corp's plot to the world and being hailed as a hero, while Paradim finally gets his hands on the secret of creating sentient robots of his own, and announces to his underlings that a new day is dawning for RM Corp. And that's where the story ends.
  • Cyber Cyclops: Several of the RM Corp's 3As have this look, most notably their Greenbots.
  • Cyber Ninja: Ninjzz the robot ninja.
  • Cybernetics Eat Your Soul: In "Block 93" we are introduced to RM Corp's Humabot Lab, where volunteer humans are granted implants due to the person's obsession with becoming stronger. Body Horror is in full effect, one Humabot has an empty space between her pelvis and lower chest due to having a robotic lower half. Another cyborg has an exposed brain covered by a dome. For a kids show, these cyborgs look like they are out of a story from a dark Cyberpunk story rather than an action show targeted towards kids.
    • Dr. Hiss himself technically fits the definition of a Humabot, though the reason for his implants is not made known. In "Block 93," it is made clear by Hiss that the Humabot Lab may also serve as a way to dispose of undesirables or enemies of RM Corp.
  • Dance Battler: The Street BOYZZ are also accomplished street dancers. At one point, they evaded laser fire by breakdancing.
  • Dating Catwoman: There's a lot of Unresolved Sexual Tension going on between Ziv and Lady Frenzy. It isn't lost on the bots: in one episode, they kidnap her while she's sleeping because they think she'd make the perfect birthday present (he's mortified when he finds out, and she never wakes up to discover what happened).
  • A Day in the Limelight: "Lost" is one for Batzz, and he's the only one of the Sports BOYZZ (who, as a group of four, don't really get much of a chance to shine as an individuals) to get one.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Everyone's got a bit of snark in them.
  • Death Trap: The Corp trick ZZ and the BOYZZ on an empty cruise ship that completely seals them in. Worse, they’re also trapped with a large rampaging powerbot that seems to be immune to whatever attacks they throw at it, oh, and it’s also set to blow...
  • Depth Deception: The 3D effect is driven by the Pulfrich effect. When viewing footage with elements horizontally moving while one eye is behind a dark lens, the eye that's covered lags a bit in its perception. This gives enough of a perspective shift that the brain thinks its seeing 3D.
  • Distinctive Appearances: The show is made of it - the Boyzz particularly are designed asymmetrically (with the exception of Batz and All Ball), and can be recognized from their silhouettes.
    • Conversely, while the Boyzz are painted in such a way as to imply that they were built out of spare parts, there's not much explanation or reason (other than this trope) for the RM 'bots to have the varying, often jarring color schemes they do.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: The Humabots are very obviously meant to represent steroid addicts.
  • Enemy Without: In "The Bad Boyzz are Among Us", Genesix splits himself into his good and bad halves, with the bad half, dubbed "Negatone", knocking out Genesix and attempting to betray the Boyzz Brigade to R.M. Corp. In the end, Negatone goes through a Heel–Face Turn and re-merges himself with a critically injured Genesix to save the both of them.
  • Enter Eponymous: The second episode, "Enter the Ninjzz". Flipped for the first episode, "Adios... ZZ".
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Lady Frenzy is NOT happy about Paradim having the president's daughter kidnapped.
  • Evil Twin: Genesix creates one of himself in "The Bad Boyzz Are Among Us".
  • Evolving Credits: There are actually two versions of the credits. The first used scenes from the show itself (mostly episodes 2 and 3). The second was made scratch, and looks far more polished - AND it opens with a Street Boyzz high-five.
  • Exact Words: D'Nerd - in SPADES. Ask an innocent question and he might respond with a dictionary or encyclopedic definition, even if the question wasn't directed at him.
    • This is also the main problem for every bot that's not a BOYZZ as they take orders right to the letter.
  • Expository Theme Tune and Theme Tune Rap: "GREETINGS FROM THE STREET BOYZZ!"
  • Expy: Admit it, LLP really stands for Lex Luthor Pastiche.
    • There's also Jungle Fiver, which is a group of 5 giant robots that can combine to form one big robot. Hmm... Megazord, much?
  • Feed the Mole: When Paradigm found out a mole planted by The Hero, he used it to give Zulander misleading information.
  • Femme Fatale: Lady Frenzy
  • Fiery Redhead: Blitzy Zulander
  • Find the Cure!: This become a plot when RM Corp infect the BOYZZ with a computer virus. Of course, Dr. Hiss has the only copy of the anti-virus. This is also a plot when RM Corp infect ZZ and Blitzy with a powdered substance they are highly allergic to, putting them both into comas. This leaves the BOYZZ alone to deal with the CORP and to try and find a way to detox the Zulander siblings.
  • Fun with Acronyms: BOYZZ = Brain-Operated Young Zygoetopicnote  Zoids. Also, Momzz = Maxi-Organized Mature Zygoetopic Zoid.
  • Genetic Memory: It's implied that the secret behind many of the BOYZZ's skills is scanning the DNA/memories of talented individuals, as Ninjzz's ninjutsu prowess was given to him via a DNA scan of a great ninja warriornote . Battz in particular has the skills of numerous famous baseball players.
    Larry: What are you?
    Batzz: Joe DiMaggio. Babe Ruth. Mickey Mantle. Ted Williams. [...] Ty Cobb. Reggie Jackson. Lou Gehrig. Carl Yastrzemski...
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: Ziv has been branded a terrorist by the RM Corp.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Jammerzz and Toolzz.
  • Hopping Machine: Swang the bug BOYZZ.
  • Humongous Mecha:
  • Hypno Trinket: The BOYZZ Brigade give Lady Frenzy a hypnotizing necklace in "Present for Frenzy".
  • I Know Madden Kombat: The Sports Boyzz. Most of their actual attacks, however, are explosives in the shapes of various sports balls, delivered via expert sports skill (kicking, batting, golfing, serving...). They can still smash the Corp's robots in melee the same way, though.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: The Boyzz Brigade typically comes back without receiving much damage in combat due to this.
    • Also played with, as there aren't many laser weapons amongst the Boyzz Brigade, who generally rely on either melee combat (Ninjzz, Street Boyzz) or indirect fire (the Sports Boyzz, themselves very accurate with their own sports-themed weapons - which mostly act like explosives rather than projectiles).
  • Insistent Terminology: They're not bots, they're BOYZZ, and don't you forget it!
  • It Can Think: In the final episode, Paradim and Lady Frenzy are shocked to learn that a Greenbot has gained sentience due to Dr. Hiss finally cracking the code to create thinking bots for the Corp.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Genesix tends to be kind of self-centered and is easily peeved, but he does genuinely want to help people with his inventions. This comes back to bite him in the butt later when he accidentally uses a device which splits the good side and the evil side of a person note .His evil side is surprisingly strong and even poses a threat to ZZ and his Boyzz by trying to sell them out to the Corp.
  • Jive Turkey: The Street Boyzz. To a lesser extent, Ninjzz.
  • Laser Blade: Ninjzz comes equipped with a laser katana as one of his go-to weapons.
  • Laughing Mad: At least one of the Talking Heads, especially T2.
  • Living Legend: In episode "ZZ Come Home", Ziv Zulander's sister used the expression "living legend" to describe him.
  • Logic Bomb: Done rather humorously. Dr. Hisss ordered all his bots to fire at Jungle Fiver while commanding the others to aim at ZZ and the others and wait for his command. Ninjzz hits Dr. Hisss with a sleeper device, putting him to sleep. Jungle Fiver leaves, but the bots ordered to shoot at it was not shooting at an unpresent target while the bots aiming at ZZ and the BOYZZ on the ground just stood there awaiting commands which won't come on account of Hisss being asleep. ZZ and the BOYZZ simply walked out of the battlezone unscathed.
  • Loophole Abuse: In one episode Batzz loses his memory and falls in with the members of a little league team. Officials protest when they have him play since teams are allowed to own a bot but it's supposed to carry their gear and stuff. But the rule only says they're allowed to own a bot, so Batzz gets to play.
  • Mad Scientist: Dr. Hisss
  • Mama Bear: Momzz.
  • Mecha-Mooks: Very common adversaries, especially the generic security-bots.
  • MegaCorp: RM Corp, which even has its own private city (appropriately named RM Corp City).
  • Merchandise-Driven
  • The Napoleon: Momzz. It was inevitable, given that her personality template was the short guy himself, Ziv lampshades it when he figures out this important detail.
  • Non-Action Guy: The Street BOYZZ, Sports BOYZZ, Ninjzz, and Twig are the resident combat bots. The rest, not so much. Though they occasionally get their moments to save the day, even the Talking Heads.
  • Non-Lethal Warfare: ZZ is adamant about this, and tries to avoid casualties. To that end, the Boyzz are unarmed (Science Boyzz), technically unarmed (Sports Boyzz, Twig), or melee-armed (Ninjazz). The Street Boyzz do have built-in laser weapons, but generally prefer melee combat.
  • An Offer You Can't Refuse: Said almost verbatim.
  • Once per Episode: The 3D action sequence, which always starts with someone saying "Laser time, boys!" and ends with that person saying "Game over, boys!"
  • Parental Abandonment: Ziv and Blitzy's parents are never seen and are dead.
  • Personality Chip: Ziv's bots have them, and RM Corp's trying (and mostly failing) to replicate his success.
  • Pet the Dog: In "Friendly Enemy," Paradim gives Dr. Hiss an Implied Death Threat upon learning that Krang Ore dissolves in water. When it turns out that Krang Ore will only dissolve if placed thirty five thousand feet below the ocean, Paradim has the decency to admit that he owes Hiss an apology.
  • Phone-Trace Race: RM Corp initially tries to find out where Ziv's hiding by keeping him on the phone while they trace the call, but since he bounces the signal all over the world, it doesn't do any good. They still make the attempt each time they deal with him over the phone in later episodes, just as a matter of course, but they never really expect to get anything back apart from a random list of cities.
  • Pretty Fly for a White Guy: Hoo boy. Ziv is obviously hit with this pretty hard, considering that the Boyzz are all his inventions. The black street culture vibe starts with the name (they're "his Boyzz, yo"), and just takes off from there. The whole series was clearly going for some form of this, from the rap theme tune to the way the characters talk.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: The Boyzz; Ziv had built them for other purposes before taking on RM Corp; his first combat robot, Ninjzz was built after starting his campaign.
  • Rank Scales with Asskicking: LLP may be an Orcus on His Throne for most of the series, but when he steps into battle personally, he is a surprisingly dangerous opponent. Case in point, LLP takes on Ninjzz, the one BOYZZ who was designed specifically for combat (and is, you know, a robot while LLP is a mere human), and soundly defeats him in a brutal Curb-Stomp Battle.
  • Red Right Hand: Dr. Hisss's deformities and tubing, verging on Obviously Evil.
  • Rhymes on a Dime: Jammerz tends to rap everything he says.
  • Ridiculously Human Robots:
    • The Boyzz are very obviously mechanical, but have wildly differing personalities whilst displaying self-initiative and emotions (and, in at least one case, amnesia). The 3M-produced robots avert this most of the time, uniformly speaking with a "Steven Hawkings-voice" and demonstrating no personalities or sentience: one of the RM Corp's goals is figuring out how Ziv made his robots so human. One episode revolved around ZZ trying to sell the secret to a rival of RM Corp, who was The Mole.
    • In another sub-type of this trope, there are at least two episodes with robotic body doubles of main characters used by the RM Corp. Even then, however, they lack the level of personality or inflection of the real deals.
  • Robot Kid: Kiddie.
  • Robot Master: Ziv Zulander, the show's title is only missing two letters.
  • Rollerblade Good: Jammerz, Toolz, and Ninjazz are the only BOYZZ with rollerblades built into their feet, which they use to great efficiency.
  • Save the Villain: Invoked in "Friendly Enemy" - in order to get information on where the Corp's newest load of Krang Ore is being stored, ZZ and the BOYZZ trick Hiss into thinking that Paradim wants him eliminated so that they can swoop in and "rescue" him, then talk him into helping them find it.
  • Schmuck Bait: The plot in about two of three episodes.
  • Science Is Bad: Played straight by the RM Corp who wants to use it to take over the world. Inverted with ZZ and his BOYZZ.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: In one episode, ZZ isn't getting enough intel on RM Corp activities, so he resorts to planting a hidden mic in one of Paradim's teeth. Unfortunately, the device is malfunctioning, so he and the Boyzz break into Paradim's mansion at night to repair it while Paradim is sleeping. Next day, Paradim accidentally breaks his tooth while eating. It happens to be the tooth with the hidden mic, which ends up been crushed, rendering ZZ's little escapade pointless. On the plus side, Paradim doesn't find out about the mic.
  • Shout-Out: In "Bloc 93", when the BOYZZ Brigade has to wade through an Absurdly Spacious Sewer, ZZ is naturally disgusted and asks Toolzz if he could imagine living in such a place. To which the latter jokes, "Only if I was a turtle."
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: Ziv and Blitzy, naturally. They agree on the goal (stop LLP and co.), but generally take different steps towards it. ZZ prefers surgical strikes as part of a guerrilla war (less chance of civilian deaths/injuries); Blitzy leans towards full assaults and a hot war (it'll end sooner that way).
  • The Smurfette Principle: Swang is the only female BOYZZ.
  • Sophisticated as Hell: Ninjzz is portrayed as a mature BOYZZ, but he has his moments of being Not So Above It All.
    Ninjzz: A ninja is judged by his acts, not on his words... bozos.
  • Spanner in the Works:
    • In "Dome of Doom", Hiss's plan to destroy ZZ and all the BOYZZ once and for all is derailed when Cook refuses to accompany the others on the mission (due to being angry at everyone for insulting his cooking), thus enabling him to help the Talking Heads activate Jungle Fiver and save everyone.
    • In "Blitzy's Army", Blitzy assembles an armada just to stop the Corp's seemingly innocuous plan to upgrade a few lifeguard bots, inadvertently managing to foil the real evil plan (to use the upgraded lifeguard bots to assassinate President Bando and Make It Look Like an Accident) along the way.
      Dr. Hiss: How did they know? How could they know? How? How? Hoooow?
  • Spoiler Opening: The first opening, culled from in-show scenes, has this effect. Of course, the theme tune itself also reveals Ninjzz, before he was built in the second episode.
  • Spotting the Thread: Genesix create Spybot who look exactly like an ordinary Securitybot. Unfortunately, it get discovered very quickly by RM Corp because of his programming behavior.
  • Spy Cam: The heroes have limited surveillance of the villains thanks to a hidden camera placed in Lady Frenzy's office, which is often how ZZ discovers the evil plot of the week.
  • Sssssnake Talk: Dr. Hisss.
  • Stinky Flower: One episode has Ninjzz acquire a "love flower", which looks nice but smells horrible, and can be used to make a equally smelly perfume that causes people it's applied to to turn into lovesick fools.
  • Synthetic Voice Actor: All of the RM Corp 3A bots, with the exception of those made to serve as duplicates of humans, are voiced by Dr. Sbaitso.
  • Take Over the World: It's what the RM Corp wants to do. In particular, Paradim's plan involves becoming a legitimate political figure as World President, which the Corp tries to accomplish via illegitimate means, such as rigging the polls or taking out LLP's political rivals.
  • Team Chef: Cook, of course. Given the mostly robot cast, he just cooks for ZZ and Blitzy.
  • Team Pet: Swang and Birden.
  • Theme Music Power-Up: The instrumental version of the theme song plays during the episode's climatic action scene.
  • Three-Dimensional Episode: Each episode had a short action sequence (almost always a laser shoot-out with the RM Corp bots) with motion designed for Pulfrich Effect-style glasses (ie, one darkened lens), announced by ZZ shouting "it's laser time!" Thankfully they never lasted long and nothing really pivotal happened during them. Also, the sequences were in normal color and a single image.
  • Title Drop: While trying to get MomZZ to respect him, Ziv Zulander tells her he's The BOTS Master
  • Unwilling Roboticisation: Threatened fate for a Damsel in Distress. Averted with one man who wanted to take over an island country and willingly undergoes robot enhancement to get the strength to do it.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Sir Paradim and RM Corp as a whole. As far as most of the world's concerned, they're the heroes whose robotic inventions revolutionized the world, and Ziv's a luddite terrorist.
  • Villainesses Want Heroes: Lady Frenzy, for ZZ.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: At one point the RM Corp robots switch to a highly advanced, laserproof alloy for their armor plating that the Boyzz have trouble cutting through. Until they discover that the alloy's chemical weakness is citric acid. As in, lemon juice.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Toolzz is terribly afraid of heights.
  • Would Hurt a Child: The Corp set a trap for ZZ and the BOYZZ, feeding false information of creating a krang ore refining accelerator in a certain building, which prompts ZZ to launch an all-out attack on said building. What the Corp REALLY does is set up a class of elementary school students and their teacher there in the building in order to trick ZZ into unknowingly killing them. All just to frame him and further convince the world he is a heartless terrorist. Unfortunately for them, ZZ is very cautious about his attacks and makes sure the building has what it's supposed to have before blowing it up. He was naturally disgusted when he found out about the trap, that the Corp was willing to have a bunch of kids killed just to paint ZZ as a villain.
  • Xtreme Kool Letterz: Substituting two Zs to the end of every word which might end in an "ess" sound.

"Game Over, Boyzz!"