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YMMV / Primal (2019)

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  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • The identities of the two cavemen in the flashback scene in "A Cold Death" are subjects to two different interpretations. The more obvious one is that it's Spear teaching his son how to hunt. The other is that Spear is the kid, and the older caveman is his father who has Strong Family Resemblance. Supporters of the latter idea point to slight design differences: the adult caveman looks slightly hairier than Spear, and the boy looks a bit older than the one who gets killed in "Spear and Fang". The editing does not indicate which interpretation is the correct one.
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    • In "Plague Of Madness", the infected Argentinosaurus starts banging its head against the chasm walls after getting temporarily stuck. Is it doing this because it's a mindless creature letting out a rage because its predicament stops it from pursuing Spear and Fang? Or is it because it managed to gain a semblance of control and tried to kill itself to end its misery?
  • Animation Age Ghetto: If this site had such a thing as "Greatest Aversion", Primal might be it for this trope. Not only is it not an Animated Shock Comedy, instead being a genuinely dark and dramatic adult animated series, but it has won critical acclaim and has been renewed for a second season— something unheard of for an American adult animated drama.
  • Awesome Art: Second only to Samurai Jack, this is Genndy Tartakovsky's best-looking show, with a visceral, "pulpy" aesthetic, some incredible character designs (some courtesy of Ren & Stimpy co-creator Bob Camp) and incredibly fluid animation.
    • "Plague of Madness", for all its nightmarish horror, is a particularly good example of this with the motions and movements of the infected sauropod as it massacres its herd and chases after Spear and Fang—that titanic mobile corpse looks incredible.
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  • Cry for the Devil: The infected Argentinosaurus from "Plague Of Madness". The poor thing wasn't even malicious to begin with; it was just a peaceful herbivore who got bitten by an infected dinosaur and turned into an Ax-Crazy monster as a result. Unlike the viewer, Spear doesn't get to see it living peacefully among its herd, but still comes to the same conclusion nonetheless and looks genuinely saddened by the monster's death. The somber music that plays as it the lava flames char it out of its misery only makes it more pitiable.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Several of the creatures that appear for one episode have gained some popularity. Such as the pterosaur from Episode 1, the saber-toothed wolves from Episode 3, and the raptors from Episode 4.
  • Friendly Fandoms: Naturally other fans of Genndy Tartakovsky's work such as Dexter's Laboratory and Samurai Jack are also fans of or at least get along nicely with Primal fans, especially with the former thanks to Spear's Reused Character Design.
  • Genius Bonus:
    • The horned Humanoid Abomination that leads the Coven in episode 8 is clearly modeled on "The Sorcerer", a famously enigmatic cave painting speculated by some to be a representation of a prehistoric, animistic deity.
    • The effects of the titular disease in "The Plague of Madness" causes the infected Argentinosaurus's head to take on a more skeletal appearance, resembling older depictions of sauropods that had less soft tissue, an artistic meme paleontologists informally refer to as "shrinkwrapping" - this image is a good comparison. In contrast, the uninfected Argentinosauruses have more modern-looking heads.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: Thanks to his Reused Character Design, fans joked that the series would end with Spear time-warping into Dexter's Laboratory in a recreation of "Old Flame". One of [adult swim]'s 2020 bumpers showed him doing exactly that, though Dexter's sadly not there to see it.
  • Memetic Mutation: "I think Jack went too far back to the past", doubly hilarious since both shows share a creator and the main characters of both shows look quite similar.
  • Narm:
    • The over the top brutality at times is unintentionally ridiculous like the sheer beat down Spear delivers on a single Tyrannosaurus that culminates in throwing a spear like a bullet through its torso.
    • In the fourth episode, as the bats attack, Fang jumps on the head of three of them in a row, which looks like a side-scroller video game. Only the Goomba Stomp sound effects are missing.
    • In the fifth episode the ape-man champion invokes the infamous Naruto run for a fairly long shot.
    • The wide, arm-swinging run that Spear uses in "Plague of Madness" is a little hard to take seriously. He's never run in this way before. Then again, considering what's chasing him in this episode, maybe he just lost his composure?
    • As unpleasant as the plague was on the argentinosaur? The sight of it just VOMITING blood in the lake as two sauropods give it a look that screams "Dude, we DRINK from there!" Kills the dramatic mood.
  • Nausea Fuel: Some of the symptoms of the eponymous plague in "Plague of Madness" are as disgusting as they are horrifying. These include flesh rotting green and dripping off the bones, pulsating pustules, and extensive vomiting of blood. Even worse, we're treated to a close-up of its flesh when Spear and Fang sneak past the infected sauropod while it's dormant.
  • Nightmare Fuel: See here.
  • One-Scene Wonder: Some of the creatures with cool and interesting designs have only very short screentime, after which they disappear from the show altogether. Prime examples are the Deinosuchus and the pterosaur, who both appear in the first episode before the tragedy that kicks off the plot and the saber-toothed wolves from the third episode.
  • Ugly Cute: Fang might be a fearsome Tyrannosaurus, but during her more humorous and giddy moments, she can come out as downright adorable, like an oversized dog. The enlarged snaggletooth definitely helps add to her charm.
  • Viewer Species Confusion:
    • Viewers thought the theropods from the pilot were Ceratosaurus due to their horns. The animatics, however, call them Horned Tyrannosaurus.
    • The sauropods in episode 7 were initially identified by fans as Camarasaurus, due to the shape of their heads. The animatic simply calls them sauropods. According to episode writer David Krentz, they are Argentinosaurus.
    • The wild dogs in episode 6 are easy to mistake for hyenas because of the shape of their heads, their sloping backs, and some of their vocalizations.