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Fan art of the main cast by Leanne Hannah.

"It is a time where magic is more powerful than science, and only those who control the magic control destiny. They are the Visionaries."
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Visionaries: Knights of the Magical Light is an Animated Series from 1987 co-produced by Hasbro, Sunbow Entertainment and TMS Entertainment. Originally conceived as an action figure toyline, the franchise had both a cartoon and a tie-in comic book to help promote it. Unfortunately, the show only lasted thirteen episodes and the comic series was cut off mid-storyline.

Visionaries is set on the planet of Prysmos, where its three blazing suns have recently gone into convergence — signaling the end of the Age of Science and the rebirth of the Age of Magic. As all their previous technology has now gone dead, its people quickly revert into a feudalistic medieval lifestyle. Shortly thereafter, the wizard Merklynn announces a challenge: all those who can reach his shrine will be granted powers of transformation and other magical powers. The show follows the fourteen successful characters: the good Spectral Knights and the evil Darkling Lords.

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December 2015 saw Hasbro and Paramount announcing a shared Hasbro cinematic universe (with the recent G.I. Joe movies as the start), which will include reimagined versions of this show, M.A.S.K., the Micronauts and ROM. 2017 saw the announcement of a Visionaries comic from IDW Publishing to be set in the Hasbro Comic Universe, with a brand-new Leoric figure included as part of a Revolution-themed set of figures.

In 2018, the characters appeared in an IDW mini-series comic book called Transformers vs. Visionaries, in which they underwent many changes.


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Tropes of the Magical Light:

  • 10-Minute Retirement: Feryl briefly leaves the Spectral Knights in "Feryl Steps Out".
  • Above Good and Evil: Merklynn's only desire is to see magic restored to its former prominence. As such, he doesn't care one way or the other about whether or not his agents are good or evil, so long as they perform the tasks he gives them. At the start of the series, he also bails out whichever side needs his aid in order to keep his agents in play (setting captured Darkling Lords free, for example). However, after one too many attempts by Darkstorm to steal his power, Merklynn decides to start letting the Darkling Lords get themselves out of trouble. He also becomes friendlier to the Spectral Knights over time, and takes action against legitimately evil sorcerers.
  • Action Figure File Card: The toys had them.
  • Action-Hogging Opening
  • Alien Sky: Prysmos' three suns.
  • An Aesop: Quite a few:
    • We are stronger together as a team than on our own.
    • Slavery is wrong.
    • Aging isn't bad and gives you wisdom.
    • You are not worthless, despite what you think.
    • Not all Magic Users are bad.
    • Help others and show kindness, and they will help you.
    • Be Yourself.
    • Good and Evil must put aside their differences to battle Greater Evil (or Greater Chaos).
  • An Axe to Grind: Weapon of Choice for Darkstorm, Cravex and Virulina.
  • Androcles' Lion: Arzon and Witterquick are tasked to find a dragon's claw, which Merklynn needs to cure the Magical Plague which threatens to wipe the Visionaries out. When a winged dragon is injured, Arzon stitches its wounds rather than killing it, much to Witterquick's exasperation. The winged dragon then helps the duo find a claw and flies them to Merklynn's Shrine.
  • Animal Motifs: All the characters (both Spectral Knights and Darkling Lords) have an animal symbol (called a "totem") that grants them their powers. They also represent the emotions of the users.
    • Additionally, the staves had dual-image holograms (one image unique to each staff representing its power and the other representing the owner's affiliation). The Spectral Knights' staves had a unicorn, while those of the Darkling Lords had a dragon.
  • Animation Bump: Compared to either The Transformers or My Little Pony 'n Friends (both also Sunbow produced); or any action cartoon at that timenote . It still holds up fairly well too.
  • Animorphism: While the staves had limited charges (and could only be recharged by Merklynn directly, usually in return for doing a quest for him), the Knights and Lords seemed to have unlimited use of the ability to transform into their totem animal. The animal they turn into is the same color as the totem itself (blue for the Spectral Knights, green for the Darkling Lords).
  • Anti-Villain: Cindarr has many traits of anti-villainy. He refuses to kill small animals and thinks it's wrong to break a promise. When Darkstorm wants to reward him with superior intelligence and slaves, a genius!Cindarr says that slavery is morally wrong and free slaves are more productive. He only serves Darkstorm because of the oath of loyalty he was forced to make.
  • Apocalypse How: What Darkstorm inadvertently invokes by casting a spell of ultimate power when his ego gets the best of him. It turns out to be a spectacular Batman Gambit to send him running to undo his earlier betrayal of Merklynn. The plagues of ruin all undo themselves as soon as Merklynn regains his orb, and the whole thing was banking on someone foolish enough to usurp his power and being enough of an egomaniac that they couldn't resist casting the spell, then come running to Merklynn to fix their mess for them when it looked like they'd triggered the end of the world.
  • Arch-Nemesis: Cryotek and Cindarr. Galadria and Virulina. Ectar and Reekon. They all knew each other before joining their respective factions.
  • Are We There Yet?: Witterquick pops the question in "The Power of the Wise" during the Spectral Knights' lengthy trek on foot to the fountain of youth they hope will restore a rapidly aged Leoric to his normal state.
  • Aside Glance: In "Dawn of the Sun Imps", the Hair Imp makes an OK gesture with his fingers toward the camera. He then opens the tomb where his fellow Imps are imprisoned. Merklynn shuts him inside the tomb and locks it, then turns to the camera, makes the same gesture, and winks.
  • Ask a Stupid Question...: When Merklynn briefs the Spectral Knights on a trio of rogue wizards who are believed to be en route to a mysterious location called the Lost Shrine:
    Feryl: The Lost Shrine? Where is that?
    Merklynn: Young one, if I knew where the Lost Shrine was, it would not be the Lost Shrine, now, would it?
  • The Babies of the Bunch: Arzon and Feryl. As the two youngest members of the main cast, they are portrayed as being more impulsive and idealistic than the other characters, and are often seen paired together in the series.
    • In "The Price of Freedom", Cryotek informs Leoric that Arzon and Feryl have not returned from their patrol. Leoric suggests that, knowing their personalities, they were probably taking the Capture Chariotnote  for a joyride.
    • When Arzon agrees to assist Ectar in "Honor Among Thieves", he amiably accepts his part in the mission and the hazards involved, causing Ectar to good-naturedly muse, "Oh, to be young and foolish again."
  • Backstab Backfire: While waiting for Arzon and Witterquick to return to Merklynn's shrine with their required ingredient — a dragon's claw — to cure a magical plague, Lexor suggests to Cindarr that they kill them and steal the cure for themselves. However, he is instantly terrified at the sight of an approaching flying dragon that is transporting the two knights to the shrine, which prompts a bit of mockery from Merklynn while Cindarr instead takes the claw and gives it to the wizard.
    Merklynn: Pity your bit of planned villainy goes awry, eh, Lexor?
  • Bad Boss: Darkstorm mistreats and yells at his underlings. He even refused to share the spoils of war after taking over the Spectral Knights. Mortdredd, his most loyal servant, receive most of the abuse. However, in one episode, Darkstorm has the ultimate power and wants to reward his most loyal subjects: Mortdredd with servants, Cindarr with superior intelligence, and Cravex with serenity. Of course, that didn't stop him from punishing Virulina, Reekon and Lexor just because they felt Darkstorm hasn't compensated them enough.
  • Bad Guys Do the Dirty Work: Merklynn's reason for allowing the power of the Visionaries to anyone who managed to make it to his summit regardless of morality. While those akin to the Spectral Knights can be counted on to be honourable and valiant, there are times when the wizard requires less reputable strengths to see his tasks fulfilled, even though the Darkling Lords themselves are awfully treacherous.
  • Bad Powers, Bad People: The Darkling Lords all have totems based on creatures that, In-Universe, seem to have unpleasant symbolism at best (their leader becomes a slimy giant mollusk, and the others can transform into a treacherous lizard, a servile beetle, an alien flying scavenger, a simple-minded Killer Gorilla, a cowardly armadillo, and a predatory shark). Beyond that, their power staffs consist of three based on Destruction, Decay and Fear, and Lexor's power of Invulnerability, which is implied to have been granted based on his cowardice. In comparison, the Spectral Knights have noble animal totems (their leader is a wise lion, and other animals include an idealistic wolf, a quick-witted fox, a paternal bear, a clever eagle, a speedy cheetah, and a playful dolphin), and far more benevolent-themed power staffs: Knowledge, Wisdom, Strength, and Lightspeed.
  • Bar Brawl: There's one in "Feryl Steps Out". Having learned that Feryl has left the Spectral Knights, Darkstorm (with Mortdredd in tow) approaches him at a tavern and tries to recruit him as a Darkling Lord. But Feryl immediately makes it clear that he will not betray Leoric and, when Darkstorm tells him he will be forced to join the Darkling Lords if he won't do so willingly, responds by telling Darkstorm and Mortdredd they will have to capture him first. This inevitably leads to a fight — complete with table flip and chair throw — between the three knights as the tavern's owner looks on in horror.
  • Barrier Warrior: Lexor's Invulnerability power staff allows him to erect an impenetrable protective barrier.
  • Batman Gambit: Double-subversion. After Darkstorm says he won't share the spoils of victory with the rest of the Darkling Lords, Lexor attempts to provoke Cravex into attacking Darkstorm. However, Cravex sees right through Lexor's scheme and attacks him...and then everybody else, including Darkstorm.
  • Bears Are Bad News: Cryotek's totem enables him to turn into a bear. Subversion in that he's a good guy.
  • Beard of Evil: All the male Darkling Lords have one. In contrast, Leoric is the only Spectral Knight to have any kind of facial hair (a mustache).
  • Berserk Button:
    • For Cravex, pretty much everything.
    • Also, Mortdredd may seem like a cowardly sycophant, but do not insult his boss.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: The Sun Imps, who certainly don't look like the massive evil Merklynn tried to warn the knights about to make sure they don't escape. The imps prove to have extremely troublesome magic powers once they escape, though.
  • Blue Is Heroic: Leoric, Ectar, Arzon, Cryotek, and Galadria all have blue among their armor colors.
  • Boisterous Bruiser: Cryotek is a big and strong guy who is good-natured.
  • Brought Down to Normal: The Darkling Lords' most powerful vehicle, the Dagger Assault, has a compartment (called the "Magical Dungeon") that can either remove – or restore – a Visionary's totem.
    • Hoist by His Own Petard: At the conclusion of "The Power of the Wise", Feryl knocks Darkstorm into said compartment and threatens to remove his totem if he does not restore the rapidly-aged Leoric with his Decay staff. Darkstorm (very reluctantly) gives in and returns Leoric to normal.
  • Butt-Monkey:
    • Mortdredd just can't catch a break. Even his totem sucks.
    • Lexor as well. Whenever he isn't running away, he never wins a fight and his weapon (a double hook) is lame, while none of his schemes ever work.
  • By the Power of Grayskull!: The characters used rhyming couplets to activate their staff or shield spells. Each vehicle's toy packaging listed a similar incantation for that vehicle's most prominent magical power, but in the show they simply worked by a staffless Visionary operating the controls.
  • Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp": Cravex's "Phylot" totem is a draconic-looking pteranodon.
  • Call a Smeerp a "Rabbit": Darkstorm's "Mollusk" totem resembles a man-sized dragon-snail out of somebody's fevered nightmare, with a distinctly reptilian head, a mouth full of fangs and slavering tongue, a spiky shell, and spindly arms ending in claw-tipped hands. It even fires an explosive projectile from its mouth.
  • Carry a Big Stick: Cindarr uses a huge mace, and Arzon some type of flanged mace.
  • Catchphrase: The Spectral Knights' rallying cry of "May the Light shine forever!"
  • Chairman of the Brawl: Cravex to Lexor during the fight among the Darkling Lords in "Quest for the Dragon's Eye".
  • Color-Coded Armies:
    • The knights' alignments are evident based on their armor colors. Bright primaries combined with white for the Spectral Knights, and black among darker variations of red, blue and purple for the Darkling Lords.
    • Additionally, the totem animal images on their chests; the Spectral Knights had blue images and the Darkling Lords green.
    • The Spectral Knights' weapons and staffs are silver, and the Darkling Lords' are gold.
  • Comic-Book Adaptation: There was a comic book tie-in published by Star Comics (a kid-oriented imprint of Marvel Comics) that lasted six issues.
  • Compulsive Liar: Lexor. He's even punished for his disloyalty by Darkstorm in "The Overthrow of Merklynn" with a magical clone created of him that "translates" his lies. However, Lexor's "gift" proves useful in another episode as it helps the Darkling Lords locate a hidden shrine.
  • Conspicuous Trenchcoat: The "Cloak of Concealment" Reekon wears resembles an ordinary jacket that someone mistakes for the fan-wear of a sports team. However, Ectar wastes no time in recognizing him.
  • Continuity Nod/Running Gag: The Botanical Garden Committee. Other lesser examples include the barracks zoning problems and the farmers from "Quest for the Dragon's Eye" being accused of "unfair competition".
  • Cool Bike: The Lancer Cycle, an enclosed motorcycle-like vehicle driven by Ectar. It's armed with a battering lance, a photon cannon, and a magical force field.
  • Cryptically Unhelpful Answer: Unlike Arzon's Knowledge Staff, which is used mainly for exposition but can at least be counted on to give a straight answer, Leoric's Wisdom Staff will give an extremely vague answer when called upon. This does usually end up helping even if it takes them a while to figure out what the heck it means, but not always. For example, in "Feryl Steps Out", Darkstorm activates the stolen staff to see if his plans to invade New Valarak will succeed, but the Owl of Wisdom states only that a group of warriors will be defeated. While most arrogant '80s cartoon villains would assume victory is subsequently guaranteed, Darkstorm is instead left guessing as to whom the staff meant.
  • Crystal Spires and Togas: What Prysmos looked like during the Age of Science.
  • Cunning Like a Fox: Ectar's cleverness earns him the Fox totem.
  • Cut Short: The comic book tie-in ended at issue six in the middle of a story arc where the Spectral Knights and Darkling Lords were tasked by Merklynn to find four magic jewels themed after the elements of nature, the wizard withholding from both groups that he needs the jewels to prevent his death. By the end of the issue, only half of the jewels have been recovered and the last page bluntly addresses that the story will never be resolved because of the comic's cancellation.
  • The Cutie: Leoric's love interest, Fletchen, is a sweet-natured young woman who cares deeply for others. They first meet when Fletchen and her people come to New Valarak to seek Leoric's help in dealing with a monster they believe is threatening their village. note 
    Fletchen: Anything that leaves children hungry and homeless is evil. We have heard how you champion justice, Leoric. Please save us from this beast.
    Leoric: How could any knight refuse such a request from such a charming lady?
  • Deadpan Snarker: Witterquick mocks Cryotek's oft-repeated toast during a party by telling Galadria, "I bet I already know what he's going to say." In another episode, he makes a snide remark to Arzon that invokes the latter's totem ("Remember, not everyone has eagle eyes").
  • Designated Girl Fight: Galadria, the female Spectral Knight, is able to turn into a dolphin. The only member of the Darkling Lords she can fight happens to be Virulina, the woman who turns into a shark. Both do get into a few fights with the male Visionaries — Galadria in the comic, Virulina in the series — and hold their own fairly well.
  • Dirty Coward: Lexor.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Played with in "Feryl Steps Out". After quitting the Spectral Knights because he feels useless to them, a depressed Feryl is later seen drinking alone in a tavern. However, since this is a toyline cartoon, it's not described what he's drinking, nor is he intoxicated.note 
  • Dumb Muscle: Cindarr is strong but equally slow-witted most of the time, complete with Simpleton Voice.
    • In "Horn of Unicorn, Claw of Dragon," Cindarr is able to explain why he needs a unicorn horn to the Wood Nymphs protecting a herd of unicorns, and receives an item crafted from a unicorn horn to help him (as he needs the horn to make medicine for the Visionaries affected by a magic plague).
  • End-of-Series Awareness: The final issue of the comic tie-in was direct about the fact that it was the last issue, right down to the ending page acknowledging that the comic's cancellation meant that there would never be a proper conclusion to the current story arc.
  • Enemy Mine: The Sun Imps represent such a dangerous and chaotic force that the Spectral Knights and Darkling Lords are forced to team up to subdue them.
  • Epic Flail: Cryotek's signature weapon.
  • Ethical Hedonism: Arzon and Witterquick's quest in "Horn of Unicorn, Claw of Dragon" touches on the topic of deontology versus utilitarianism. A dragon's claw is needed for a cure to a magical plague that has gravely sickened their fellow Spectral Knights. Arzon considers it immoral to kill a living creature just for a single potion ingredient, but Witterquick believes the action is justified as the lives of their friends take precedence over that of a dragon.
  • Everything's Even Worse with Sharks: Virulina's totem.
  • Evil Is Angular: The designs of the Darkling Lords' magical vehicles — the Dagger Assault and the Sky Claw — contain triangular edges and sharp corners. In contrast, the Spectral Knights' vehicles (the Capture Chariot and Lancer Cycle) feature friendlier rounded shapes.
  • Evil Is Easy: Invoked by Darkstorm in the first episode.
  • Evil Overlord: Darkstorm.
  • Expository Theme Tune
  • Fatal Flaw: When told the Crystal of Detection could be fooled with anyone wearing a garment with the material known as "polyester" from the Age of Science; Merklynn admits he should have studied more of the textile advancements of the Age to overcome the flaw.
  • Feudal Future: What Prysmos looks like during the Age of Magic.
  • Flying Seafood Special: Merklynn occasionally conjures ghostly airborne fish simply to display his magical powers.
  • Forgot About His Powers: In "The Power of the Wise", the Spectral Knights are racing to find a fountain of youth before the Darkling Lords reach it, which perhaps would have been resolved had Witterquick used his Lightspeed power staff to get there first. However, since his staff only goes one way, it would have possibly left him stranded at the fountain waiting for the other Knights to arrive (and, worse, risking being attacked by the Lords in the process).
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: In a flashback, you can see Virulina working as a newscaster and Cindarr as a construction worker.
  • Friend to All Living Things: Played on both sides.
    • Cindarr stops fighting to free a cat from a pile of rubble, attempts to take a small scorpion creature back to its nest, and refuses to kill a baby unicorn to take its horn. (Its horn was also much too small for his needs.)
    • Arzon is against hunting and killing animals "for sport." He is also hesitant to kill a dragon for a single claw despite its requirement for concocting a cure for a magical plague, and even tends its wounds when it is injured. In another episode, he (along with Cryotek) travels outside New Valarak to remove heavy spires that fell onto an eagle nest.
  • Fusion Dance: Cryotek ends up absorbing Cravex's totem along with his own in one episode. Bad things happen.
  • Gentle Giant: Cindarr.
  • Getting Eaten Is Harmless: During their search for the Lost Shrine in "The Trail of Three Wizards", the Spectral Knights are swallowed alive by a massive sentient Blob Monster but regurgitated minutes later after relentlessly pummeling the creature's insides.
  • The Gimmick: One major selling point for the Visionaries toy range was that each figure and vehicle used at least one holographic sticker to represent its magical powers. Unfortunately, the holograms wound up dooming the line; they were expensive to make and easily damaged, and the toys didn't sell well enough to compensate for this.
  • Good Powers, Bad People: Erecting an invulnerable barrier might normally be a good power, but it's awarded to Lexor based solely on his cowardice. To his credit, though, he often uses it to counter Cryotek's Strength staff or to protect the Dagger Assault in battle. Twice he has to shield himself and his fellow Darkling Lords from Cindarr's out-of-control Destruction power.
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy: Darkstorm's guards are terribly bad. They fail to recognize the Spectral Knights as escaped prisoners until after the fact. The Spectral Knights' guards aren't any better: none of them were present when the Darkling Lords made their escape. Twice. And if that wasn't enough, they are seen playing cards while on duty, allowing Reekon to waltz into New Valarak undetected and failing to recognize Ectar — their boss, mind you — in his Fox form.
  • Helmets Are Hardly Heroic: Played with. Most of the characters on both sides spend as much time with their helmets on as with them off. All the Spectral Knights save for Witterquick have open-faced helmets, while all the Darkling Lords except Virulina have face-concealing ones.
  • Heroes Prefer Swords: Downplayed. Of all the seven Spectral Knights, only Galadria uses a sword. The other character carrying a sword is Reekon and he's a Darkling Lord.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Leoric and Feryl, notably in "Feryl Steps Out" and "The Power of the Wise".
  • Honor Before Reason:
    • Arzon. He turns himself in to Darkstorm to be enslaved so his fellow knights won't be sentenced to hard labor in the mines.
    • "Horn of Unicorn, Claw of Dragon" has him and (grudgingly) Witterquick let Lexor and Cindarr go "with respect and thanks" after both sides deliver crucial ingredients to Merklynn for magic that cures the Visionaries of a magical plague. Arzon reasons that the two Lords delivered on their end of the bargain, so why not?
  • Hour of Power: The knights' staffs. They're incredibly potent but last a brief amount of time and are good for only a single use.
  • Human Chess: Seen in "Honor Among Thieves" as Darkstorm plays it. The chessboard's trapdoors play an important part in resolving the episode by Ectar throwing the Crystal of Detection to Arzon, who gets sent out of the Darkling Lords' castle by a trapdoor, and then Mortdredd, Cravex and Darkstorm himself sent down them too.
  • Hypocritical Humor: In "Lion Hunt", Leoric is Mode Locked in lion form with a red Palette Swap thanks to a magic potion, but he is hunted by peasants who are tricked by Darkstorm into believing he had earlier destroyed their village. The Spectral Knights learn the truth only after accidentally snaring Leoric in a trap and coming dangerously close to killing him. In response to the peasants' fear of magic, Cryotek remarks that he and his fellow knights aren't superstitious and don't lash out at things they don't understand. Leoric's response to his statement is a rather sarcastic growl.
  • I'm a Doctor, Not a Placeholder: "Honor Among Thieves" has Darkstorm needing to pay a butcher 3,000 gold for a rush order of beef and sauces for a sentient carnivorous plant. When Reekon is hit up for the payment, he declares to Darkstorm, "I'm a mercenary, not a banker!"
    • Poverty Food: Darkstorm does pay the meat vendor, but at the end of the episode the Lords are eating "pea soup, turnip stew and cabbage souffle".note  Darkstorm blames this new vegan diet on the increased market price of beef now being too high for him to afford.
  • In Another Man's Shoes: "Honor Among Thieves" has Reekon sneak into the Spectral Knights' base to steal a Crystal of Detection (which was how the Knights could foil evil until it was taken) with a "Cloak of Concealment" that was the old world's "polyester". Ectar must try to get it back from the Darkling Lords' base, and Reekon realizes "Ectar and I have reversed our roles."
    Ectar: Now I am the thief...
    Reekon: ...and I am the detective.
  • Instant Awesome: Just Add Dragons!: Several dragons: a mechanical one; a two headed, four-legged one; and a winged one.
  • Instant Illness: The Magical Plague from "Horn of Unicorn, Claw of Dragon". In the first few minutes of the episode, three Spectral Knights collapse from it in relatively quick succession despite appearing completely healthy just moments before.
  • Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: Ectar manhandles two unsavory past acquaintances from his police days — a dwarf stoolie and a conman — to extract urgent information on the whereabouts of three rogue wizards whom Merklynn has ordered the Spectral Knights to capture.
  • Jerkass: Merklynn is a complete and total asshole. Right after empowering the newly minted Visionaries with magic, he summons a whirlpool that flushes them through the floor of his shrine and back outside Iron Mountain, all while he points and laughs purely for his own amusement. At one point he threatens to blight the heroes' kingdoms if they don't obey him.
  • Killer Gorilla: Cindarr's totem is a gorilla.
  • King of Beasts: Leoric's lion form represents his role as leader of the Spectral Knights.
  • Left Hanging: Some elements. Such as how the end of "The Trail of Three Wizards" heavily implies that the wizard Bogavas was not as innocent as he let on, and by letting him go, Merklynn and the knights will be in for some serious trouble down the road. Never followed up on.
  • Living Crashpad: Lexor in "The Price of Freedom". Leoric lands on him after falling from the Sky Claw during a fight between the Spectral Knights and Darkling Lords inside New Valarak.
  • Magical Incantation: The Power Staffs are activated with a rhyming couplet.
    • Wisdom: "Whispered secrets of a shattered Age, I summon you: renew this sage!"
    • Knowledge: "A whim, a thought, and more is sought; awake my mind, thy will be wrought!"
    • Strength: "Three suns aligned, pour forth their light, and fill the archer's bow with might!"
    • Lightspeed: "Sheathe these feet in the driving gale, make swift these legs, o'er land I sail!"
    • Decay: "By what creeps, what crawls, by what does not; let all that grows recede and rot!" (This is Darkstorm's primary staff power as it contained two functions instead of one.)
    • Decay Reversal: "Power of rot, obscuring truth: what once was old, restore to youth!" (Darkstorm's secondary staff power, which was rarely used.)
    • Invulnerability: "The arrows turn, the swords rebelnote ; may nothing pierce this mortal shell!"
    • Destruction: "By nature's hand, by craft, by art; what once was one, now fly apart!"
    • Fear: "Oh mist-filled pits, dark, dank, unclear; touch all before me with frost-fingered fear!"
  • Magic Knight: Almost all the major characters except for Merklynn.
  • Magic Versus Science: The reason why Prysmos is divided into distinct Ages of Magic and Science is because magic actively suppresses science; it's only when the three suns disalign and magic becomes weak that technology can function at all. When the Age of Magic begins, pretty much all of Prysmos' tech stops working, although some magic spells allow characters to control vehicles. This is why Prysmos went from Crystal Spires and Togas to Days of Future Past, and it's shown in several episodes that the population is still struggling to adjust with the loss of their former technology.
  • Magitek: Some of the Spectral Knights and Darkling Lords have the power to magically control vehicles.
  • Man-Eating Plant: The Meatius Chompiti in "Honor Among Thieves" is a sentient plant that likes to eat living things.
  • The Magic Comes Back: It is revealed that a previous Age of Magic had preceded the Age of Technology, which itself lasted for over 7,000 years before giving way to the current Age of Magic.
  • Master of Disguise:
    • A female mannequin is shown on display at an exhibition decked out in jewelry. When Reekon attempts to steal the jewelry, the mannequin snares him — and is revealed as Ectar in disguise.
    • Virulina dresses up as a fair maiden and even Feryl — right down to his totem — in separate Darkling Lord plots to capture members of the Spectral Knights.
  • Merchandise-Driven: This was yet another cartoon made to promote a Hasbro toyline.
  • Minion with an F in Evil: Cindarr, whose animal totem and power staff make him the character capable of the most raw destruction, but he's too gentle at heart to really do much with them. In "Horn of Unicorn, Claw of Dragon", after he and Lexor have wasted their staffs trying to get a unicorn horn through brute force, he saves a baby unicorn in trouble and then gets what they came for just by explaining the nature of their problem.
  • Mr. Exposition: Arzon's aptly-named Bearer of Knowledge sometimes provides information necessary to move the plot forward, most prominently explaining the key to defeating the Sun Imps in "Dawn of the Sun Imps".
  • Monochrome Casting: The entirety of the cast is made up of Caucasians — the only people of any other race are seen in background group shots. Even the cancelled second set of toys featured exclusively white guys.
  • Multiple Head Case: There's a two-headed dragon in one episode.
  • Mystical Plague: The Magical Plague in "Horn of Unicorn, Claw of Dragon", as its name indicates, affects only magic users.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Darkstorm. Mortdredd sounds like a combination of mort (French for "dead") and dread. It's also very close to the name of the best-known treacherous knight: Mordred.
  • Nature Spirit: The Wood Nymphs that protect the unicorns from harm.
  • Never Say "Die": While "destroy" is used, "slay" is also fairly common. Very averted, however, in "Lion Hunt", in which every Spectral Knight says "Dead?!" unbelievingly, after being told of Leoric's supposed death.
  • No Escape but Down: In "Feryl Steps Out", while Feryl and Leoric are attempting to break out of Darkstorm's castle, they find themselves outside on a high tower ledge with the Darkling Lords in hot pursuit. Spotting the Dagger Assault parked below in the courtyard, they take the plunge and successfully land in the vehicle, shaken up but unharmed.
    Reekon: That has to be the stupidest stunt I've ever seen!
  • No One Could Survive That!: Leoric and Feryl again, this time in "The Power of the Wise". They fall off the edge of a cliff but survive by catching hold of a conveniently placed ledge. However, Cravex, having seen the two Spectral Knights fall, automatically assumes they're dead and later takes a sadistic delight in telling their comrades:
    Don't feel too bad; Leoric and Feryl took a little dive off the edge of the mountain. I've got a feeling neither one of them will ever be thirsty again!
  • Noodle Incident:
    • Near the beginning of "Lion Hunt", it's mentioned that Darkstorm once tried to use something called "the Fish Spell of Cassoria" on Leoric. However, all we are told about this is that it "didn't work".
    • "Honor Among Thieves" opens with Merklynn giving the Spectral Knights the Crystal of Detection as a reward for completing a mission. What that mission was is never revealed.
  • Number Two: Ectar to Leoric.
  • Only in It for the Money: Reekon only serves Darkstorm because Darkstorm pays him. At one point, he even mutters to himself that he'd willingly serve Leoric if the Spectral Knights made him a better offer.
  • Origins Episode: "Honor Among Thieves" explains the history between Ectar and Reekon. Back in the Age of Science, Reekon was a crook who sold security systems that he knew how to bypass, and Ectar the detective who brought him down. In the Age of Magic, they end up reversing their roles in that same episode after Reekon steals a magic Crystal of Detection.
  • The Owl-Knowing One: Leoric's Staff of Wisdom.
  • Pain to the Ass: Reekon, twice. He first gets the boot from Cryotek in the series premiere after trying to steal Witterquick's staff, and then in a later episode suffers a case of Rump Roast (along with Mortdredd) courtesy of a fire-breathing dragon.
  • Produce Pelting: During the brawl amongst the Darkling Lords in "Quest for the Dragon's Eye", Mortdredd gets a tomato to the face while he (what else?) sings the praises of Darkstorm.
  • Psycho for Hire: Cravex.
  • Ptero Soarer: The Phylot (Cravex's totem animal) is similar to a pterosaur.
  • Punny Name: Virulina is a play on the word "virulent". Fittingly, she possesses the shield power of Disease.
  • Red Ones Go Faster: Witterquick, the fastest of the Spectral Knights, has red as his main armor color.
  • Reset Button: When Darkstorm overthrows Merklynn and steals his magic orb, he unleashes a doomsday spell that will destroy Prysmos with earthquakes, a rain of fire, monsters, tsunamis, and eternal darkness. Darkstorm then races to free Merklynn so he can undo all the damage, as the planet is being ravaged by the plagues. Merklynn reveals there is no plague of eternal darkness; the doomsday spell was a failsafe designed to scare anyone who stole the orb into returning it. He then undoes all the plagues and everything goes back to normal.
  • Rich Language, Poor Language: The Spectral Knights are all well-spoken, with Leoric and Arzon in particular sporting upper-class accents. A subplot in "Quest for the Dragon's Eye" has a group of poor farmers seeking the Knights' help in reviving their dying crops, while speaking in a range of stereotypical working-class accents.
  • Reverse Polarity: In the episode "Sorcery Squared," Cryotek is captured and thrown into the Dagger Assault's Magical Dungeon to have his totem removed, but he pulls Cravex inside with him before the process is completed. Darkstorm orders to Reekon, "Reverse polarity!"
  • Rope Bridge: During Merklynn's magic challenge inside Iron Mountain in the first episode, Darkstorm, Reekon and Mortdredd cross a rope bridge and then cut it, sending a trailing group of knights plunging into the chasm below.
    • This scene also introduces Arzon. While hanging from a branch, he constructs makeshift wings from giant leaves and uses them to soar across the crevasse to a ledge on the other side. This action ultimately earns him his Eagle totem.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Leoric (Prince of New Valarak) and Cryotek (King of Northalia). On the Darkling Lords' side we have Darkstorm (Lord of the Veldt, King of the Cliffs, Baron of the Bogmarsh).
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: The Sun Imps were sealed inside a crypt that was buried underground before Cindarr is tricked into using his Destruction power to bust them out, though sealed chaos in a can might be slightly more accurate.
  • Serrated Blade of Pain: Reekon's sword.
  • Shapeshifter Mode Lock: Happens to Leoric in "Lion Hunt", in which he becomes trapped in his animal form.
  • Ship Out of Water: The opening scene of "Feryl Steps Out" features a pirate ship that travels on land.
    • Complete, of course, with pirates who talk and dress as such, and who try to plunder a village. They attack Feryl before Leoric singlehandedly wipes the floor with them, which sets up the episode's plot.
  • Smug Snake: Darkstorm.
  • Spoiler Title: Quite a few.
  • Stealth Insult: Merklynn and the Visionaries are discussing how to get rid of the Sun Imps, during which we get this exchange:
    Merklynn: Without the sun, they will quickly become powerless.
    Cindarr: They are Sun Imps. So they need the sun.
    Cravex: You're very quick, Cindarr. Very quick.
  • The Smurfette Principle: Galadria and Virulina. They're also the only two who have aquatic animal forms. That said, they sometimes did fight the male cast members, and didn't do a half-bad job.
  • Solitary Sorceress: Heskedor, the aged witch who brews the potion that traps Leoric in his Lion form, lives in an isolated cave atop a single tall peak described as being situated "seven leaguesnote  beyond Cape Terror".
  • Super Drowning Skills: Darkstorm can't swim. Virulina saves him once from drowning by swallowing him in shark form. In another instance, he panics after falling into his own moat but Mortdredd points out that the water therein is only waist-deep.
  • Super Senses: Feryl's acute sense of smell that earns him the Wolf totem for his "amazing tracking skills". It enables him to locate the exit of a complex labyrinth by detecting fresh air, and while searching the jungle for a lost city, he picks up the scent of rusted metal.
  • Super Speed: Witterquick's staff power is Lightspeed.
  • Sycophantic Servant: Mortdredd to Darkstorm.
  • Taken for Granite: Darkstorm's favorite spell after he gains Merklynn's orb. He uses it on the Spectral Knights and his less loyal subjects: Virulina, Reekon, and Lexor.
  • Technopath: If a Visionary didn't have a staff, they gained the ability to power certain magical vehicles.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: "Horn of Unicorn, Claw of Dragon" has a plague affecting both factions of the Visionaries. The four knights not immediately affected by it are Arzon, Witterquick, Cindarr, and Lexor. Merklynn tells them that the only cure requires a unicorn's horn and a dragon's claw. Lexor and Cindarr go after the horn while Arzon and Witterquick go after the claw. The mission is successful and the disease is eradicated, after which both sides go their separate ways without incident as all were grateful for their part of the bargain. Therefore, a cured Leoric later includes Cindarr and Lexor in a toast to Arzon and Witterquick ("To the heroes of the quest").
  • Tempting Fate: The Darkling Lords reach the prison where Merklynn is being held. Mortdredd congratulates his master: "Thanks to you, Lord Darkstorm, we made it." Cue a giant tidal wave swallowing them whole.
  • Thought You Were Dead: Leoric in "Lion Hunt". He alone sets out from New Valarak to investigate a report of an unidentified monster that destroyed a village, but does not return and is instead forced to flee for his life after being Mode Locked as a red lion by Darkstorm, who has hoodwinked the villagers into believing that the lion is the monster that has also killed Leoric. The vengeful Spectral Knights prepare to slay the unseen beast by catching it in a pit trap, and are about to exact their revenge...until they open the trap and make their discovery.note 
  • Too Dumb to Live: Lexor asking Cindarr to unleash the power of Destruction, while he and the Darkling Lords are still inside Darkstorm's castle.
  • Too Fast to Stop: While the Spectral Knights are meeting with the zoning committee, Witterquick rushes to the conference room to inform Leoric of an approaching Darkling Lord invasion, but his momentum sends him crashing through the door and going down with it.
  • Toyless Toyline Character:
    • Again, Galadria and Virulina. They weren't even included in the canceled second series of action figures.
    • Merklynn didn't get a figure either, though Hasbro had planned to include a holographic image of him in the unproduced Iron Mountain playset.
  • Transformation Conventions: Justified. Merklynn awards each knight their animal totems based on the abilities and personality traits they displayed during his quest.
  • Trash Landing: In the first episode, Mortdredd reports to Darkstorm that Leoric plans on participating in Merklynn's magic challenge at Iron Mountain. He's thanked for this information by being dropped through the floor down a trash chute, and moments later is covered in a fresh layer of refuse.
  • 24-Hour Armor: The knights are rarely shown outside of their armor.
  • Unicorns Are Sacred: In "Horn of Unicorn, Claw of Dragon", Lexor and Cindarr are seeking a unicorn horn as an ingredient for a cure against a plague that affects magic users, but the Wood Nymphs who protect the unicorns hinder their efforts. However, after they later witness Cindarr freeing a trapped baby unicorn, followed by his explanation that they aren't hunting for sport but to save lives, the nymphs give him the horn of a deceased elder unicorn.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Poor Cindarr. Because of his low intelligence, he's the constant victim of people's Batman Gambits, Lexor in particular.
  • Vancian Magic: The Visionaries' magical staffs each only have one fairly limited function, and can only be used once before requiring a recharge in Merklynn's magical pool.
  • Villain Episode: "The Overthrow of Merklynn" centers mostly on Darkstorm and his quest to take over Merklynn's power.
  • Villainous Glutton: The Sun Imp Gorge really likes to eat, which proves to be his undoing when the Spectral Knights and Darkling Lords capture him by presenting him with a gigantic cake and stuffing him in a trunk after devouring the cake makes him too obese to move.
  • Villainous Widow's Peak: Reekon.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: The knights' totems enable them to turn into animals.
  • What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?: Of all the totems Merklynn could have chosen for Galadria and Virulina, they get stuck with aquatic animals. They also do not have staffs of their own (until the comic book series) nor vehicle-based powers.note 
    • Also invoked in-show by Ectar, when he compares Leoric's Staff of Wisdom to Cindarr's Staff of Destruction.note 
    • Late in the comic series, Galadria and Virulina received, after a well-deserved dressing-down of Merklynn for shortchanging them, magical shields with the powers of Healing and Disease, respectively.
  • We Will Use Manual Labor in the Future: One episode revolves around a settlement that depended on robot slaves to perform physical labor during the last Age of Science, and which is now desperate since the Age of Magic rendered their robots inoperative. The Darkling Lords are able to temporarily lure them into servitude by promising to give them the denizens of New Valarak as human slaves, although by the episode's ends they've come to their senses.
  • Whip It Good: Leoric's weapon of choice is a whip.
  • Wig, Dress, Accent: Virulina disguises herself as a fair maiden in attempt to trap Arzon, who takes the bait and activates his Staff of Knowledge simply to show off his magic powers, which results in her cover being blown. He is nonetheless ambushed and captured by the Darkling Lords.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: When Cryotek accidentally has Cravex's Phylot totem absorbed into his Bear one, he goes Ax-Crazy.
  • Wizard Beard: Merklynn sports a particularly fine example.
  • Wizards Live Longer: Merklynn. He was a prominent figure during the first Age of Magic...which was over 7,000 years ago as the series begins.
    • Heskedor, the old witch, claims to have been around for 10,000 years.
  • Worthy Opponent: Ectar and Reekon see each other as worthy adversaries, the greatest policeman and the greatest thief on Prysmos respectively. Their rivalry dates all the back in the Age of Science. In the climax of "Honor Among Thieves", they believe their fight has ended in a draw, so Reekon lets Ectar leave unscathed.
  • Wrench Wench: Galadria performs maintenance on the Capture Chariot in the beginning of "Horn of Unicorn, Claw of Dragon".
  • Yes-Man: Mortdredd.

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