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Western Animation / Toxic Crusaders

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An Animated Adaptation of The Toxic Avenger film series by Troma, which originally ran from 1990 to 1991.

After a freak accident involving toxic waste turns one Melvin Junko into a hideously deformed creature of super-human size and strength, he becomes a superhero known as Toxie, who is able to sense and thwart evil wherever it turns up. He is soon joined by like-minded freaks as he defends his hometown Tromaville from the nefarious schemes of Dr. Killemoff.

A new video game in the form of a side-scrolling Beat 'em Up, Toxic Crusaders, was announced in 2023, to be developed by Retroware.

We are the toxic — examples! We are the toxic — examples!

  • Abbey Road Crossing: The gang are doing it on the DVD cover.
  • Adaptation Distillation: The Comic-Book Adaptation by Marvel Comics streamlines the formation of the team by adapting the cartoon's first episode in the first issue and having Headbanger and Junkyard appear with Major Disaster and Nozone rather than introduce them individually in later installments.
  • Adaptation Name Change: Downplayed. Instead of the Toxic Avenger, Toxie's full designation is Toxic Crusader.
  • Adaptational Heroism:
    • This version of Toxie is content with just beating up the bad guys, instead of mutilating, disemboweling and otherwise killing them in horrifying ways like in the movies.
    • An example pertaining to the show's comic book tie-in by Marvel Comics has Headbanger among the mutant heroes wanting to join forces with Toxie in the first issue, which was an adaptation of the cartoon's first episode. Here in the original cartoon, Bender and Fender started out as henchmen of Dr. Killemoff before joining the Toxic Crusaders.
  • Attractive Bent-Gender: When Nozone sees Psycho disguised as a woman in "A Site for Sore Eyes!", he instantly falls in love with "her", and spends the rest of the episode lovesick.
  • Bait-and-Switch: The first time Yvonne sees Toxie while wearing her glasses, she screams bloody murder. A depressed Toxie says he knew she'd be turned off by his looks, but she says it's the goofy tie he put on for their date that she considers ugly.
  • Bait-and-Switch Comparison: In "Toxie Ties the Knot", after hearing that Toxie has been coerced into marrying Gerba to prevent the Smogulans from dumping trash all over Tromaville, he informs his secretary that Toxie's going to marry an overweight cockroach. The secretary remarks that this is disgusting, with Mayor Grody replying "Yeah, you'd think a cockroach would have better tastes."
  • Banana Peel: In "The Snail Must Go Through!", race car driver Crash Shelby falls out of a bridge due to a banana peel getting under one of his tires. He falls on a barge filled with snails, which combined with his car's motor oil, turns him into the mutant superhero Snailman.
  • Barefoot Cartoon Animal: Junkyard, the humanoid mutant dog, doesn't wear shoes.
  • Battle Cry: Parodied, then played straight. Toxie's original battle cry is "I hope I don't get hurt!", but he later changes it to "It's clean-up time!"
  • Big Bad: Dr. Killemoff, who seeks to pollute Tromaville to the point that it can be invaded by his fellow bug-people from the planet Smogula.
  • The Cassandra: Dr. Killemoff's flunkie Psycho is this in a nutshell: his entire purpose is to point out to his boss how his latest plan can go wrong, usually involving really unlikely circumstances that nevertheless always end up happening and yet Dr. Killemoff never listens to him, despite his predictions having always been right.
  • Comic-Book Adaptation;
    • Marvel Comics published a comic book based on the cartoon that lasted eight issues.
    • British company Fleetway did a ten-issue adaptation.
  • Compilation Movie: Several episodes were edited together to create Toxic Crusaders: The Movie that was released on video in 1997.
  • Cruella to Animals: In "A Sight for Sore Eyes", Mayor Grody mentions that he wears shoes made from endangered species.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Psycho tends to make snide remarks about Bonehead's stupidity and Dr. Killemoff's continued refusal to heed his predictions of how the Toxic Crusaders will ruin their schemes.
  • Donut Mess with a Cop: In the episode "A Sight for Sore Eyes", Mayor Grody is forced to sleep on a bench in the park due to loaning his home to the Toxic Crusaders as part of a scheme to keep the heroes from their toxic dump home. When a police officer tells him it's against the law to sleep in the park, Mayor Grody tries to invoke that he can't get arrested for breaking a law he invented. The police officer snaps back that he also made it illegal for cops to eat donuts while on duty.
  • Dreadful Musician: Toxie's girlfriend Yvonne often comes up with a ditty with her accordion, which is only enjoyed by her boyfriend.
  • Dumb Muscle: Guest hero Mr. Earth, who turns out to be even stronger than Toxie but tends to destroy everything in sight in trying to help people who weren't even in trouble.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Toxie's mother is called Mom by Toxie, and "Toxie's Mom" by everyone else.
  • Evil, Inc.: Apocalypse Inc., run by over-polluting Dr. Killemoff for the behalf of his alien brethren.
  • Expy: Some of the characters in the animated series are loosely based on characters from the movies.
    • Yvonne fulfills Sara/Claire's role as Toxie's blonde love interest, though she's near-sighted instead of blind.
    • Bonehead is based on Bozo and Slug from the first film and even looks like the latter prior to his mutation.
    • Mayor Max Grody is similar to Mayor Belgoody from the first movie due to both being the fat corrupt mayors of Tromaville.
  • Exact Words: In one episode, the Crusaders try to turn off a smog-making machine inside a building Killemoff initially claimed was a recycling plant. Toxie suggests that Major Disaster teleport it away, but Major Disaster responds that he can only control plants. This is when Junkyard reminds him that this is indeed a Recycling PLANT, so he should be able to control it. Due to this show being what it is... it works.
  • Fat Bastard: Grody, the overweight and corrupt mayor of Tromaville, who is in cahoots with Apocalypse Inc. Killemoff's henchman Psycho is also fairly obese.
  • "Freaky Friday" Flip: "That's No Villain, That's My Mom" had Dr. Killemoff switch minds with Toxie's Mom.
  • Glad I Thought of It: In the episode "Club Fred", Psycho sarcastically suggests that they prevent the Toxic Crusaders from interfering with their plan by sending them on a tropical vacation. Dr. Killemoff seriously considers the idea and takes full credit for it.
  • Glass-Shattering Sound: Yvonne's dreadful musicianship extends to breaking glass with her singing when she's heart-broken about Toxie marrying someone else in "Toxie Ties The Knot!".
  • Gone Horribly Right: Pretty much all of the Toxic Crusaders' inventions to help clean up Tromaville in "Pollution Solution" has some unexpected side effect. For instance, Headbanger's graffiti remover also removes the print from newspapers and No-Zone's aluminum detector mistakenly attracts an old man's canned groceries and the empty cans used on the limo of some newlyweds.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: The Smogulan leader Czar Zosta, who is Dr. Killemoff's boss and the reason he's trying to pollute Earth to make it fit for Smogulans to inhabit.
  • Green Aesop: The Toxic Crusaders fight against Apocalypse Inc. and their plans for polluting the Earth.
  • Green Thumb: Major Disaster could not only control plants of the organism variety, but, in "Pollution Solution", power plants as well.
  • Harmless Villain: Killemoff is absurdly ineffective in just about every evil action he takes due to a combination of bad luck, his own arrogance, and poorly thought-out plans. When Czar Zosta relieves him of duty in "Invasion of the Biddy Snatchers", Killemoff's replacement immediately proves himself a much greater threat.
  • Heroes Want Redheads: The episode "Tree Trouble" had Major Disaster fall for a red-haired tree surgeon.
  • Hologram: Dr. Killemoff and his boss Czar Zosta often have discussions through holographic projections, which can sometimes do even physical stuff.
  • Insistent Terminology: Instead of "mutant", pretty much every individual mutated by toxic waste in this series is described as "a hideously deformed creature of superhuman size and strength".
  • I Want Grandkids: Toxie's mother mentions that she wants to have grandchildren in "Toxie Ties the Knot".
  • I Warned You: Psycho, the minion Seer of Dr. Killemoff, usually says this after his Cassandra Truth gets blown off by him as ridiculous and the good guys win.
  • Island Base: Dr. Killemoff's base of operations, the ever-polluted and contaminated Island City.
  • Jumping Out of a Cake: Yvonne jumps out of a cake prepared by Toxie's mother in "A Sight for Sore Eyes".
  • Lawful Stupid: All the Crusaders suffer from this, causing a lot of the show's gags, as they are unwilling to break even the most menial law even while fighting the bad guys. Dr. Killemoff and Mayor Grody tend to use this against them, such as in "Mr. Earth - Superhero" when they introduce a legal Superhero License that they then refuse to give them.
  • Lighter and Softer: Being a children's cartoon based on an R-rated film series, a lot of details obviously had to be watered down and censored. Most notably, Toxie doesn't kill any of the bad guys this time.
  • Live-Action Adaptation: Troma were in talks with New Line Cinema to make a alive action movie but it fell through.
    • Bit of a story to this one actually: supposedly New Line never had any intention of making the movie, and only used it as leverage/bribery material when discussing further production of the live action Ninja Turtles films. Troma was understandably ticked, and sued New Line for damages, eventually winning.
  • Living Weapon: The incident that turned Toxie the superhero he is now also turned his trusty mop into a living thing, which doesn't just clean the floor by itself, it also helps in fights.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Bonehead's mutation gives him a skeletal appearance. He also isn't very bright.
    • Psycho is a combination of this and Ironic Name: while he's the Only Sane Man of Apocalypse Inc., he's also "psychic" in that he's able to accurately predict future events.
    • Bimbette, Bonehead's girlfriend is both attractive and unintelligent and for added measure talks like a Valley Girl (though looks more like a tough street punk.)
  • Medium Awareness: Much like another lighthearted cartoon adaptation by Murakami-Wolf-Swenson, there are a lot of jokes involving the characters breaking the fourth wall and being aware that they're in a cartoon, like when Toxie notices that the background music has changed in the first episode.
  • Merchandise-Driven: The Toxic Avenger creator, Lloyd Kaufman said Playmates Toys approached him for the show because they wanted to recreate their success selling action figures like they did with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
  • Mooks: Dr. Killemoff's Radiation Rangers, who all wear yellow hazmat suits (even though they're all apparently robots).
  • Morton's Fork: While only done as a quick gag, Junkyard unknowingly inflicts one on the dogs of Tromaville in "Pollution Solution". He does his part in making Tromaville more ecologically sound by appearing on a PSA where he tells dogs not to hike their legs when they feel the urge. Since dogs pretty much pee anywhere when not reprimanded by their owners, the only alternative would be for the dogs to suffer from being forced to hold it all the time and risk getting bladder infections and other serious health problems.
    • Well, he is a recently Uplifted Animal and thus wouldn't know how biology works, he is the only crusader in that episode to not use technology he build for cleaning implying he is not smart enough to make one. Plus the dogs could use the toilet, if they understand junkyard, he could fix his mistake by telling them to use the toilet.
  • Multiarmed And Dangerous: Dr. Killemoff, even in his disguise, has two sets of arms, a trait shared by the rest of his fellow Smogulans.
  • Multiple Head Case: Headbanger. He's a mutated freak with two heads who each control their side of the body. One head's a hideous Mad Scientist; the other's an oafish Surfer Dude. The body itself is kinda lopsided since the surfer's half of the body is rippling with muscle, whereas the scientist's is shriveled and emaciated.
  • Mutants: The titular Crusaders and several one-shot characters were mutated by exposure to toxic waste.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Main villain's name comes from the phrase "kill 'em off", what more there is to say?
  • Narration Echo: Inverted in "Club Fred"; Toxie, in his role as the narrator, keeps repeating everything Dr. Killemoff says until he's told to shut up.
    Dr. Killemoff: Soon, hordes of pollution-breathing aliens from the planet Smogula will be arriving to take over Tromaville!
    Narrator: Soon, hordes of pollution-breathing aliens from the planet Smogula would be arriving to take over Tromaville!
    Dr. Killemoff: (angrily, towards the camera) IS THERE AN ECHO IN HERE?!
  • No Fourth Wall: Psycho always pointing out what happens that episode is the least obvious example. Sometimes Toxie will narrate Dr. Killemoff's scene and the doctor will hear him, sometimes the characters will flat-out say they're on a TV show.
  • Non-Mammal Mammaries: It is shown in the episode "Toxie ties the Knot" that female members of the insectoid Smogulan race have breasts.
  • Not That Kind of Doctor: Dr. Killemoff in "Mr. Earth - Superhero!" yells this at the eponymous hero of the episode when he asks him if he could look into his neck-pains.
  • Once per Episode: Every episode features a bit where Dr. Killemoff describes his Evil Plan of the week, prompting his mook Psycho to always respond with "But what if [describes what happens in the rest of the episode]?" "Ridiculous! That could never happen!"
  • Only Sane Man: Psycho is frequently this in comparison to Killemoff and Bonehead. Czar Zosta is this when dealing with Killemoff.
  • Parody: Given that this is a Troma creation turned into a PG-rated cartoon, it's no surprise that it would take the piss out of Merchandise-Driven and environment-based cartoons.
  • Prank Date: Bonehead's girl Bimbette lures Melvin into one during the first episode, asking for him to meet her later in a pink tutu. It's all just a ruse to lure Melvin into being mocked by a bunch of other people. And then comes the accident that turns him into Toxie.
  • Radiation-Induced Superpowers: Some of the main characters became super-powerful (as well as hideously deformed) when they were exposed to radioactive waste in separate unlikely accidents.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: The Crusaders definitely qualify, as they're random individuals from various walks of life who all somehow got mutated and banded together to fight evil.
  • Rapid Aging: "This Spud's For You" has one of Killemoff's minions place chemicals in a fast food joint's french fries that causes anyone who eats it to rapidly grow old. However, it turns out that putting pepper on the chemical turns it into bubble gum, rendering it harmless.
  • Save the Villain: Toxie does this with Czar Zosta after an assassination attempt from Killemoff in "Toxie Ties The Knot". Zosta returns the favor by putting off his own plan to pollute Tromaville.
  • Shear Menace: The incident that turned Mowerman into a mutant gave his right hand a pair of permanent garden shears. This leads to show's heroes calling him a mutant of "shear size and strength".
  • Shout-Out:
  • Slime, Snails, and Mutant Tails: Hideous mutants and toxic waste is used to try and appeal to kids.
  • Standardized Leader: Toxie is turned into this. He is big, strong, ugly, and has a sort of spider-sense. All the other Crusaders are also big, strong, and ugly, plus they have quirky, unique, useful powers.
  • The Starscream: Killemoff attempts this on Czar Zosta in "Toxie Ties the Knot". Naturally, Toxie intervenes.
  • Super-Strength: Turns out that the bumbling superhero-wannabe Mr. Earth does have a super power, his strength (though he'd prefer x-ray vision).
    Mr. Earth: I told you I was strong!
    Nozone: But not superhumanly strong!
  • Surfer Dude: Fender talks like a California surfer and even wears swimming trunks and sunglasses.
  • Take That!: The sixth issue of the comic book by Marvel Comics had the Toxic Crusaders encounter Corporal Globe and the Globiteers, unflattering parodies of Captain Planet and the Planeteers. The ersatz Planeteers in particular are shown on one page annoying the citizens of Tromaville by scolding them for doing environmentally unfriendly things. After Dr. Killemoff defeats Corporal Globe and the Globiteers mention that they are powerless while Corporal Globe is present, the citizens of Tromaville then prepare to beat the stuffing out of the Globiteers with glee. Hell, the cover even has Toxie refer to the Globiteers as "brats" and ask why their show hasn't been cancelled yet.
  • Teenage Mutant Samurai Wombats: The show was made to recreate the success of selling Turtles action figures.
  • They Call Me MISTER Tibbs!: Dr. Killemoff insists that everyone refrain from addressing him without the "Dr." in front of his surname.
  • Title Drop: "Invasion of the Biddy Snatchers" has General GarBage and Toxie both mention the episode's title, complete with the title appearing onscreen as they say it.
  • Toxic, Inc.: Apocalypse Incorporated's only purpose is to pollute.
  • Toxic Waste Can Do Anything: Toxic waste not only provides Toxie with his powers, but perfectly fuses a man and a dog into a hybrid were-creature-like being (that being Junkyard: the rest of Toxie's companions were changed by exposure to radioactive materials), and then going even further by empowering a buried junked car(!) and a mop (!!).
  • Toyless Toyline Character: Several of the characters that appear in the show didn't get planned action figures, including Yvonne, Mrs. Junko, Polluto, Mayor Grody, Czar Zosta, and one-shot character Snailman.
  • Two Beings, One Body:
    • Surf-dude delivery boy "Fender" and mad scientist "Dr. Bender" accidentally fuse together forming the new hero... Headbanger.
    • Junkyard also qualifies: a homeless man who takes shelter with a junkyard dog whose kennel was covered in toxic waste. Add one bolt of lightning, and their molecules merged into a humanoid dog, though the dog's consciousness is the only surviving facet of their minds.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: In the first episode Bonehead has a punk girlfriend named Bimbette who is just as nasty and dimwitted as him. Despite having a memorable character design and voice and playing an important part in the episode as the one who directly if accidently leads to Melvin falling into toxic she disappears completely after this and is never seen or mentioned again.
  • Why Waste a Wedding?: "Toxie Ties the Knot" subverts this, much to Yvonne's disappointment. After Toxie is off the hook for marrying Zosta's daughter, Yvonne drops hints about the wedding cake providing certain ideas and how it'd be a shame for it to go to waste. Toxie says he agrees with her completely and invites the other Crusaders to chow down on the cake.

We are the toxic game — examples! We are the toxic game — examples!

  • Adaptational Attractiveness: Downplayed with Junkyard. While he's the least ugly, he had aggressive-looking designs with a prominent jawline for his toy and the cartoon. Here, the promotional artwork, in-game graphics and cutscenes seen via the reveal trailer show him with softened, rounder, cartoonier features that highlight his handsomer qualities.
  • Adaptational Badass: Yvonne and Mrs. Junko (Toxie's mom) are normally non-active allies for the Toxic Crusaders. This time around, they join them and are able to fight just as well.
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: The announcement trailer shows that one stage involves defending the Crusaders' toxic dump home base from Apocalypse Inc. goons.
  • Casual Danger Dialogue: As highlighted by the playable Steam demo, the Crusaders engage in witty banter as they fight off Apocalypse Inc. during the gameplay, such as Junkyard getting annoyed about the villains marking their territory in a way that "isn't cute", Dr. Bender showing concern about what people think of his mental state in his given profession, and the guys making food/meal analogies for their beatings.
  • Evil Overlooker: Dr. Killemoff is seen doing this above the Toxic Crusaders, on the main key art. Made all the more effective since he has four arms.
  • Improvised Weapon: As shown in the announcement trailer, players can pick up various objects to throw them at enemies ala River City Ransom, from small (e.g. fire hydrants) to big (e.g. entire cars).
  • Intercontinuity Crossover: Downplayed with the characters from other Troma properties. Besides Toxic Crusaders obviously being the dominant focus of the 2023 game, the other Troma characters are stated to make various cameo appearances throughout.
  • Mirrored Confrontation Shot: One of the promo illustrations has a confrontational setup that's similar to Shredder's Revenge, with the Toxic Crusaders on the left side and Apocalypse Inc. on the right side.
  • Musical Assassin: As seen in the announcement trailer, Yvonne can assault enemies with her accordion and (terrible) singing.
  • Mythology Gag: The first level goes through the Mexican restaurant from The Toxic Avenger, with Frank, the gang leader that Toxie rips the arm off of, showing up as a miniboss (and just like the original film, he only fights with the one arm while the other dangles completely limp).
  • Team Member in the Adaptation: Yvonne and Mrs. Junko are Crusaders in this game.
  • Two Girls to a Team: Yvonne and Mrs. Junko serve as this for the playable roster.
  • Ultimate Universe: Of a sort. The 2023 game involves cameos from other Troma properties, such as Class of Nuke 'Em High, Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead, and Sgt. Kabukiman N.Y.P.D., all redesigned to cohesively fit into the Toxic Crusaders cartoon universe.