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Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors is a French/North American animated TV show which first aired on September 16, 1985. It was produced by DiC Entertainment (originally distributed for syndication by SFM Entertainment), and animated by Japanese animation studios KK C&D Asia, Sunrise, Studio Shaft (Yes, that Studio Shaft), Studio Giants, Studio Look and Swan Production. The show was a Sixty Five Episode Cartoon, created to support Mattel's toy line (which was called simply Wheeled Warriors). The show features an ongoing plot; however, like many shows made at the time, it does not have a series finale, and thus the plot was left unresolved. Although a movie was intended to close out the plotlines, it never came to be. J. Michael Straczynski has claimed that his script for the film, completely written, remains with him.
The show featured two dueling forces. The "good guys" are humans, called the Lightning League. They drive white and silver vehicles with assorted weaponry, and are led by Jayce. The "bad guys" are organic green vegetable-based creatures called the Monster Minds, who tend to take the shape of black and green vehicles. They travel via large green organic vines which can grow in and across interstellar space, that sprout seeds that rapidly grow into further Monster Minds. They are led by Saw Boss.
Jayce's father, Audric, is a galactically famous scientist whose greatest project was to produce a miracle crop to end hunger. Unfortunately for him a solar flare released radiation that mutated his plant (and several others around his lab) into evil sentient creatures called the Monster Minds. Audric created a magic root that could destroy the Monster Minds, but was forced to flee before he could join the two halves. He gave one to his servant, a living suit of armor named Oon, to give to Jayce. Jayce and his friends form the Lightning League who travel the galaxy battling the Monster Minds and searching for Audric to unite the root and destroy the Monster Minds once and for all.
The Root is a comprehensive fansite.
- Alien Kudzu: The Monster Mind's vines.
- Amazon Brigade: Morganna and her all-female group of space pirates.
- Artifact of Doom: The magical root that can destroy Saw Boss and the Monster Minds. In a subversion, the artifact is a threat to the villains instead of the heroes. There is also the Helmet of Valroth which eventually possesses Jayce.
- Big Bad: Saw Boss
- Brainwashed and Crazy: Technically Jayce in "Steel Against Shadow" as a result of the Helmet of Valroth compelling him before the Demonic Possession trope takes full effect.
- Compelling Voice: The Helmet of Valroth uses this on Jayce in "Steel Against Shadow".
- Cool Old Guy: Gillian
- Dark Lord: Saw Boss
- Deadpan Snarker: Herc, on occasion. When Flora shushes him in "Steel Against Shadow", he responds: "Pardon me. I think I'll just go out back and stick my face in the starboard engine."
- Demonic Possession: Along with an Artifact of Doom it happens to Jayce in "Steel Against Shadow".
- Disappeared Dad: Audric, Jayce's father. Jayce and the Lightning League spend much of the series searching for him.
- Expy: Herc Stormsailor is pretty much Han Solo with the serial numbers filed off. Other members of the Lightning League also have clear Star Wars parallels (see Follow the Leader below), but Herc is without competition the most blatant one.
- Five-Man Band: One of the classic versions.
- Follow the Leader: Star Wars seems to be a major influence on the series, especially most of the Five-Man Band. Jayce=Luke Skywalker, Herc=Han Solo, Gillian=Obi-Wan Kenobi and Oon=a combination of C3PO and R2D2.
- There's even a junked robot resembling C3PO in the episode "Vase of Xiang."
- Green Lantern Ring: Jayce's Ring of Light, AKA The Ring Of Plot Resolution. However, he can't simply command it to One-Hit Kill Saw Boss and save everyone a lot of running around; it's implied the ring only works in situations where there's no other way out. In one episode ("Bloodstone") you can see a face in the ring's light, further implying the ring is alive and decides when its help is and isn't necessary. Although Jayce was too much of a righteous dude to ask for its help when he didn't absolutely need it anyway.
- I Know You Are in There Somewhere Fight: Jayce in "Steel Against Shadow".
- Informed Ability: Oon's (allegedly) magic lance. In this case, however, Oon is the only one who believes it's magic.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Herc
- J. Michael Straczynski: One of the writers for the TV show; also wrote The Movie, as noted above.
- Left Hanging: We never got to see Saw Boss' defeat.
- Lovable Coward: Oon
- Lovable Rogue: Again, Herc.
- Market-Based Title: A number of dubbed versions are known by some name that isn't "Wheeled Warriors". Examples include "Jayce et les Conquerants de la Lumière" ("...and the Warriors of Light"; French), and "...e os Guerreiros do Espaço" (...and the Warriors of Space; Brazil), although the Spanish dub was called "...y los Guerreros Rodantes", which is similar to the English name.
- Merchandise-Driven: Early on, this results in a few weird, out-of-place bits of dialogue, such as Gillian annoucing he's installed "stack and attack mode" in the vehicles. The toy line didn't do very well when it debuted, and the writers didn't work around those constraints.
- Opening Narration: "Thundering across the stars to save the universe from the Monster Minds..."
- However, the French dub (Jayce et Les Conquerants de la Lumiere; lit., Jayce and Warriors of Light) has its own version.
- Plant Aliens: Perhaps the only series with plant alien CYBORG VEHICLES.
- The Resolution Will Not Be Televised: The show would have been wrapped up in a televised movie that sadly never happened. The creator has indicated what would have happened in it as mentioned on The Other Wiki.
- Robot Buddy/Small Annoying Creature: Oon
- Science Fantasy: The Star Wars roots aren't exactly subtle here.
- Signature Move: Whenever Armed Force (Jayce's preferred vehicle of choice) comes across a plant vehicle with a wrecking ball, it merely grabs the ball and tosses the vehicle over his head.
- Sixty Five Episode Cartoon
- Skunk Stripe: Jayce and Audric.
- Space Pirates: An all-female crew appear in one epsiode.
- Teleporters and Transporters/Villain Teleportation: Saw Boss uses "the power of the black light" to teleport his headquarters from place to place.
- Wizards from Outer Space: Gillian, Jayce's mentor.