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An All CGI Cartoon from Mainframe Entertainment, makers of Re Boot. Shadow Raiders tells the story of a quartet of planets divided by war for generations as they band together to defend from The Beast. Princess Tekla, not just the last survivor of her kind but her solar system, flees along with the Beast armada to warn the people of planets Fire, Bone, Rock and Ice about the coming threat. In an Enemy Mine situation, Graveheart of planet Rock, King Cryos of Ice and Princess Tekla fight off her pursuers and band together. From there, the story chronicles the struggles to form an Alliance against the Beast; battling prejudice, hatred, and suicidal pigheadedness. And that's just among each other!

The main cast includes:

  • Graveheart"I'm just a miner." Not just a big hero, but also The Heart who keeps the warring temperaments of the Alliance to working together. Surprisingly humble, open, and level headed.
  • Princess Tekla — The brain of the group, she's sensitive and somewhat haunted by the death of her planet. She's a silver Robot Girl who is somewhat naive about who to trust, though she gets better about it.
  • King CryosThe Stoic king of Ice, the personification of Reasonable Authority Figure. Also an incredibly Overprotective Dad to Lady Zera.
  • JadeThe Lancer to Graveheart, she's a proud warrior to Graveheart's humble miner. Distrustful and somewhat disdainful of others, undeservedly (at least when not talking about Femur).
  • Prince Pyrus"I'm the Prince, I get to do what I want" Hot-Blooded child prince of Fire, he chafed under the role of leader but was often assertive and responsible. Despite his quote, he wasn't so much a brat as unchained by "tradition", especially when it was xenophobic. His trust in Femur was one of the things that helped the latter be somewhat less jerky.
  • Femur — The Token Evil Teammate, a greedy, slimy, cowardly, sexist, lecherous, vainglorious lizard who was not above selling out the Alliance. Would alternate being unexpectedly wise and suicidally dumb.
  • Lady Zera — The spitfire Tagalong Kid, and haughty princess of planet Ice.
  • Zuma — A late addition, a psychic woolly being who is wise and contemplative ... yeah, she got maybe two episodes tops, and not very deep ones either.

With the enemy, you have three characters, which are technically (if not actually) part of The Beast Planet, a single organism.

  • General Blokk — Short tempered and violent. Prefers to deal with problems via brute force.
  • General Lampray-- Manipulative and scheming. Takes a more subtle approach favouring deception and subterfuge.
  • General Voyd-- The Voiceless.

Remarkable for having a solid continuity between episodes and a lot of Character Development. Though it follows most animated show conventions regarding onscreen violence (no one is seen to die, those killed go up in a burst of light without any blood) it started becoming increasingly dark in its second season, with the destruction of several planets. There was going to be a third season, that was going to give some of the Beast background, but you know.

There's also a dos game based on the toy line: 'War Planets: Age of Chaos'

Tropes used in Shadow Raiders include:

  • Abdicate the Throne: King Cryos does this at one point after becoming worried that he's letting personal priorities interfere with his duty.
    • His successor later abdicates in favour of returning the throne to Cryos.
  • A Child Shall Lead Them: Prince Pyrus.
  • Action Girl: Jade. Emphasis on the "action."
  • Aliens Speaking English: For some reason (possibly Precursor involvement), everyone, including aliens from different solar systems, all speak the same language.
  • All CGI Cartoon
  • Ape Shall Never Kill Ape: One of the reasons Jade, as an offworlder, is immediately suspected in the murder-mystery seventh episode. "We of Fire never kill our own!"
  • Apocalypse How: the basis of the series. The Beast Planet is a Planet Eater, and its combination of ability to travel between galaxies and actively seeking out "prey" could bump it to a Class X-2 threat.
  • Bar Brawl: When the girls have a night out, they have fun...
  • The Baroness: General Lampray.
  • Battle Couple: Official Couple Graveheart and Jade definitely qualify.
  • Battle in the Center of the Mind: Tekla vs. Lampray.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Graveheart. Usually the compassionate and mild-mannered leader of the Alliance... but keep in mind that this is also the same man who snapped like a twig and took out most of Fire's aerial fleet by himself after his brother was killed right in front of him. In other words, not someone you want to piss off.
  • BFG: The Sonic Cannons.
    • The main batteries of Remora and the Beast Planet also qualify. Especially the latter, given that even one of those guns can destroy a planet from half a system away.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Every Damn Episode
  • Book Ends: "Planet X: On Doomsday".
  • Bowdlerise: But not so much as to stop this series from being very adult at times.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Of all the characters the audience could be addressed by, it would be Femur.
  • The Brute: General Blokk. Thick as one too, most of the time.
  • Cain and Abel: Femur and Sternum.
  • Catch Phrase: Graveheart's "I'm just a miner."
  • Camp Gay: Pelvis.
  • Cosmic Horror Story: Take a look at the impending doom and monstrous Planet Eater, then try to dispute this.
  • Clip Show: The episode Graveheart has a crisis in his leadership role.
  • Daddy's Girl: Zera. So much so that her dad abdicates the throne because he realises that she'll always come first, even over his duty.
  • Darker and Edgier: The Prison Planet arc. Though the series was already fairly dark and edgy by 90's Saturday morning standards, the arc was considerably much grittier than the episodes that preceded it.
  • Dead Little Brother: The clip show episode reveals that part of the reason why Graveheart is so humble is because his kid brother died in a raid on Planet Fire that Graveheart was leading.
  • Debut Queue: One character per episode for the first five or so.
  • Depraved Bisexual: Jewelia could be considered this. She spends most of her screentime hitting on Graveheart (and arguably Cryos) in the creepiest manner she can, and then does it to Jade when they finally duke it out in "The Long Road Home":

  Jewelia: Oh, you play rough. And here I thought you weren't my type...

  • Easily Forgiven: Femur, and depending on your viewpoint, Jade and Tekla.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The unstoppable Beast Planet and its demonic extensions. It doesn't spread madness, but no matter what happens, nothing can harm it.
  • Et Tu, Brute?: Jade gets mixed up in a particularly cruel case of betrayal, when the group's survival depends on a reluctant king. She ends up giving a valuable tool to the power hungry King of Rock to ensure his co-operation. Her position as his Captain of the Guard doesn't help, and when she chooses loyalty to her king, she ends up betraying her friends
  • Evil Chancellor: Averted with the Vizier. Despite displaying outright contempt for the other members of the alliance, he admits that he does respect them. Played straight later on when an evil duplicate of him turns up.
  • Eviler Than Thou
  • Faceless Masses: Just about every soldier in the four planets. And they were the good guys!. Taken to its literal extreme by the Beast Planet, whose soldiers are actually called drones and are literally nothing but mindless extensions of the Beast Planet itself.
    • Somewhat subverted in the second season, as you get to see the faces of a few troopers and the ones from Rock and Fire do indeed have unique faces. Played straight with Bone and Ice however, since the former never shows the common trooper without their "smart suits", and the latter all resemble their king down to the mandibles.
  • Fantastic Racism: all of the races hate all of the other races, mainly due to the history of mutual raiding. This really causes trouble in the series, particularly when the people of Fire lose their planet and must emigrate to the moons of Rock. Comes with Fantastic Slurs as a matter of course.
  • Five-Man Band
  • Fling a Light Into the Future: Princess Tekla
  • Funetik Aksent: Both of the Beast 'generals' who can speak, with thick Russian or Eastern European accents.
  • Gentleman Snarker: Cryos.
  • Get It Over With
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Sometimes they did not even bother with the radar: King Cryos actually says that Graveheart's companions damn him to death. He uses the word "damn!" When they at least acknowledged the radar they still had more blatant sexual innuendo than many prime-time shows of the time. In an early episode, Graveheart asks Jade if she "remember(s) that tunnel?" in a moment of high tension. Jade stares at him and wants to know how he can think of that now. In the second series, a slightly tipsy Jade tells Tekla that Graveheart came out of the tunnel "wearing nothing but a salute!" Either that was one hell of a game of truth or dare or the show's Official Couple were pretty wild back in the day...
    • Jade once says "I'd rather nurse a beast drone".
  • Girls Night Out Episode: In Girl's Night Out, the girls (And Pelvis, for whatever that means) head out to a bar and have fun...
  • Hot Amazon: Jade is even called an Amazon, which is especially notable considering humanity has never even appeared in the show.
  • Interspecies Romance: Femur has a real thing for women who are not from his planet. He hits on Lamprey in his introductory episode (until she reveals her true nature as his enemy), and then flirts with the "reactivated" Tekla up until it is revealed she is being possessed by Lamprey. His steadiest "crush" is Jade, blunt-spoken warrior-woman of Rock, whom he flirts with through the entire series. His brother also seems attracted to her when they meet in the final episodes, and there seems to be something between Graveheart and Tekla throughout the series. And then there is Pyrus and Zera, despite the complications of a fire/ice romance...
  • I'm Not A Hero. I'm just a miner.
  • Implacable Man: Er, Implacable Planet. The Beast Planet shrugs off everything in the series, including being hit with another planet!
    • This, surprisingly, also goes for it's troops. Beast Drones, due to being composed of null matter, can and will shrug off all attacks made on them unless it hits the containment unit. It's also their way of psychologically attacking enemies, since rarely do their prey know where to hit, and fruitlessly aim at their stomachs and heads. Hilariously they turn into Glass Cannons if you know where to aim, since Zera once killed a drone by flinging rocks at it.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: Let's face it, the accuracy of the Beast Drones drops measurably when firing at heroes when compared to firing at the RedShirts. Unlike your typical kids cartoon though, a lot of those get atomized onscreen.
    • Hilariously used in one episode. Whereas normal troopers will explode with their ship if it's even grazed by a Drone's attack, the heroes' ship (which is the exact same ship used by their mooks) survives two or three direct hits and the only thing knocked out was the engines.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: The heroes have an amazing knack for hitting the tiny containment unit of the Beast Drones when not using the heavy sonic cannons.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Arguably Femur, almost certainly Sternum and Jade.
  • The Juggernaut: While the heroes destroy the Beast Drones by truckloads, the Beast itself shrugs off all attempt to stop it, including ramming a planet into it, detonating a planet turned into a bomb inside it, and teleporting it to unknown parts of the universe. The last one only forces it to shift targets.
  • Jumped At the Call: King Cryos. "You can count on Ice to be the first to stand at your side."
  • Karma Houdini: Femur, who stole the Battle Moons and got a good many people killed while they stole them back, and then he turned and fled in the battle of Remora, actually calling Lamprey and begging for a deal to sell out the other members of The Alliance. Of course, his own people threatened revolt afterwards so he had to make amends or be executed by his own race, but he still ends the series as Emperor of Bone, even after his bigger, stronger and smarter brother returns from his forced exile.
    • Then again, Femur did legitimately take the throne, according to the screwed up priorities of the planet.
    • The Beast. The very last shot of the series is the Beast eating another planet, unimpeded and unopposed.
  • Kill Sat: Planet Rock's Battle Moons. Emphasis on Satellite.
  • Knight in Sour Armor: Jade. Buried underneath the cynicism and hair-trigger temper is a honorable woman who genuinely wants to protect people.
  • Kuudere: Jade is a Type 2. Her "dere" side comes out most frequently around Graveheart, but as the series progresses we see her gradually warming up to other Alliance members as well.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Apparently, Graveheart's "I'm just a miner annoys Jade even more than the audience. Femur has been known to do this as well.
  • Market-Based Title: It was called "Shadow Raiders" in Canada because Canadian kid's TV shows can not have the word "war" in the title. For this reason, another Merchandise-Driven show by Mainframe was named "Beasties" in Canada...
  • Merchandise-Driven: Based on "War Planets", a toy line of planetoids with various gadgets that popped out.
  • Moment Killer: Femur's bad timing almost gets him throttled by Jade.
  • Moral Guardians: Well, kind of. Girls' Night Out was not shown in the U.K. by Sky, supposedly due to strobe lighting, but attention has been drawn to the fact that GNO saw a lot of sexual innuendo and featured the female characters trashing a bar in a brawl. The problem is that a lot of later events do not make sense if you have not watched a key scene in this episode.
  • Morality Pet: Pyrus seems to be something of this to Femur, as the otherwise amoral and treacherous ruler of Bone has a definite soft spot for the young prince of Fire. In a more literal fashion, the seedling of Planet Jungle that Femur is charged with tending could be seen this way.
  • Never Accepted in His Hometown: Graveheart. Until the series final, that is.
  • Never Say "Die": Averted all to hell and back. One episode, "J'Accuse," seems devoted to doing nothing but saying variations on the words murder, kill, and the titular die as often as possible. Fitting, considering it is about a murder case.
  • No Flow in CGI
  • No Sympathy: Empathy is not Jade's strong point...
  • Official Couple: Graveheart and Jade, second season. Although it's not known what effect Jade's promotion to Queen of Planet Rock will have on things.
  • Organic Technology: Planet Bone's ships and other things. Technically more "Cyborg Technology"- organic tech as a base, but supplemented with actual machines, like Femur's (ill-fitting) Powered Armour.
  • Pet the Dog: Femur with the last remaining growth of Planet Jungle.
  • Pigeonholed Voice Actor
  • Planet Eater: The Beast
  • Planetville: Amazingly averted with planet Sand. When the Sun People representative encountered the Alliance representatives, the guy assumed the new people were from some other province instead of being aliens.
  • Precursors: The builders of the world engines. They seem to have been on every planet encountered by the main characters, and they might even have been more advanced than we believe with the teleportation engines of the prison planet, but who and what they are is still a mystery. Presumably the third season would have dealt with them, as it was intended to deal with the origin of the Beat, but now we will never know.
  • Production Throwback: The show mirrors catch phrases from the other Mainframe produced shows. "By the Matrix..." and "Stay Frosty".
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: While the Bones respect treacherous ambition and Femur himself is something of a coward, the people of Bone love a good a fight and consider it quite dishonorable to flee one. What prompts Femur to try and patch things up with the Alliance is the fact that his own people started trying to kill him for fleeing the fight against the Beast Planet.
  • Power of Trust
  • Pursued Protagonist: Princess Tekla
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: Miners, soldiers, royalty and refugees and do not like, trust or cooperate with each other? Of course they are the heroes.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Vizier, to a degree. While never being evil or doing anything overtly bad, he'd maintained a hostile and suspicious attitude towards the alliance as a whole and its leaders in particular. After secretly watching them try and fail to save Planet Fire from the coming Beast and witnessing their distress upon realizing the hopelessness, he opts to remain on Planet Fire for its final moments while informing Pyrus that he'd been wrong.
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: The reptilian representatives of the Alliance are treacherous, cowardly, disgusting, and fulfill the Token Evil Teammate quota. Their entire ruling class promotes backstabbing as a way of life. They even get a pretty vicious Take That, as the final victim of the the Beast is Planet Reptizar.
  • Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale: A lot. Distances and sizes are probably the most egregious. Well, it's a cartoon)
    • Case in point: they've managed to get from one end of their system to the other in a matter of hours.
  • Senseless Sacrifice: Planet Fire, Planet Jungle, and the Prison Planet.
  • Serkis Folk
  • Single Biome Planet: Each of the planets are defined by a single geographical type (Usually whatever their name is): Ice - ice, Rock - rocks, Fire - volcanoes, Bone - swamps, Jungle- jungles, Sand - sand. This is one of the few justified examples, as virtually all of the planets seen are artificial.
  • Shout-Out: There are a number of scenes in the first season that heavily mirror sequences from Star Wars.
  • Taking You with Me: When Planet Fire's World Engines fail, and it falls so far behind the rest of the Cluster that it will be inevitably devoured by the Beast, the Grand Vizier orders it evacuated. Then he deliberately turns it around and rams the Beast with Planet Fire.
    • The self-destruct of Planet Jungle is also a variant of this, since its World Engines were inoperative and it was going to be eaten anyway.
  • The Evil Prince: Femur had a brother whose throne he usurped and sent to the Prison Planet. Although he was Femur's exact opposite when we meet him (refined, noble, tall, and muscular), flashbacks indicate that he was having Femur disposed of but Femur managed to turn the tables.
  • The Starscream: Pelvis, Femur's slightly smarter but equally cowardly Evil Chancellor. Constantly trying to invoke...
  • You Kill It, You Bought It: "You snag the throne, you rule on Bone, the guy that dies is food for flies."
  • Tsundere: Zera, who's pretty fiery for an ice maiden.
  • Twist Ending: A really dark one, by the standards of a children's show. See Book Ends above.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The show never clarified what happened to the Battle Moons and, more importantly, the remains of Planet Fire civilisation after the assault on the Beast Planet in Death of a King.
  • Unstoppable Rage: Graveheart had an experience of this when his little brother was killed on planet fire.
  • The Voiceless: General Voyd, who often acts as a tiebreaker between Generals Blokk and Lampray. Possibly the direct representation of the Beast's judgement.
  • Wave Motion Gun: In the episode where Tekla and Graveheart try to persuade Lord Mantle to join their alliance, Vox plays a recording of the last stand of planet Water from Tekla's home solar system. The inhabitants of Planet Water turned their entire world into a wave motion gun to try and destroy the Beast. The result was less than impressive. The battle moons also use these as their main weapon.
    • Of course, Lord Mantle was more than confident that planet Rock would do fine by itself and defeat the Beast with the use of the three remaining Battlemoons. Needless to say, when he betrays the Alliance to prove just that they don't even slow it down.
  • Working Class Hero: As Graveheart often reminds us, he's just a miner, but he's a very capable leader. This instance of this trope isn't used to cast any disparagement on upper-class or educated people, though, as royalty like Prince Pyrus and King Cryos are shown to be just as heroic.