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Magi-Nation was (or is--it gets complicated) a Collectible Card Game produced by a company called Interactive Imagination. The Framing Device of the game was this: In a far-off world called the Moonlands (so called because it was located on the moon of a larger planet), people called Magi used their energies and the powers of a stone called Animite to cast spells, forge powerful relics, and--of course--to summon up enormous creatures called Dream Creatures with which to do work--and battle. Players of the game took place in those battles, using Magi cards, Spells, Relics, and the all-important Creatures. The goal of the game was to defeat your opponent's three Magi cards by reducing his energy to 0 while he had no Creatures in play. It had a small but devoted fanbase, but little funding; like so many good things, it faded into the ether. Over its full run, it produced six complete sets (one went unreleased, but significant portions of it can be found online), numerous promo cards and two Game Boy pseudo-Mons RPGs.
This is where things start to get a little strange.
After the game ended its run in the USA, it continued to be released in Japan for two full years after the final set's release in the United States. The second RPG video game, released on the Game Boy Advance, came out only in Japan, and was heavily connected to a manga based on the series--with a wildly different art style from the rest of the series. (Compare this promo of the hero from the first RPG with this promo of the hero of the second game.) The video game was actually a remake of the first Game Boy Color game with the American intelligent Deadpan Snarker Tony Jones swapped out for a Japanese hyperactive Idiot Hero named Dan and with better graphics. The official U.S. site teased that the sixth set would be released to coincide with a CGI Animated Series that was currently being developed, based somewhat off the Game Boy game. Unfortunately, said cartoon also seemed to be trapped in Development Hell. Fans began to lose hope.
Cut to six years later.
The cartoon finally releases! Now it's traditionally animated with an Animesque style, but at least it's out, right? Even if most of its target demographic will have no idea what it's based on. So what if Tony suddenly has black hair, Magi are summoning creatures with chunks of raw Animate, which is supposed to be next to impossible, creatures are switching types all over the place, and... ...WHAT HAVE YOU DONE WITH MY CHILDHOOD?! Needless to say, many fans were disappointed, especially now that it seemed as if the old card game had finally died and been replaced with an online MMORPG. Except that--no! There were new preview cards! In... a completely new format, with a new art style, new card backs and--is this even related to the old game at all?
Magi-Nation has been described as "The Firefly of Collectible Card Games"; considering the heavy amounts of Executive Meddling involved in the fates of both, this may be an apt metaphor in more than one sense. Whether the poor, battered franchise is finally put out of its misery or ignobly resurrected remains to be seen. There is, perhaps, a sliver of hope that the Revival goes well yet...
Tropes common to the franchise as a whole include:
- Amazing Technicolor Population: Paradans tend to be green, the people of Nar are frequently blue, and Bograthians come in a whole range of sort of sickly-looking hues. And Core Magi just get weirder...
- Anachronism Stew: Being that it's a fantasy world, probably justified--but why are these people from a fantastic realm eating jellybeans and quoting The Princess Bride?
- Badass Grandpa: Many of the Magi. Being an elder in the Magi-Nation universe is essentially a one-way ticket to Badass land.
- Big Bad: Agram.
- Brains and Brawn: Korg and Zet. To quote a Let's Play of the GB game: "They're like Pinky and The Brain. In that order."
- Zet's shortness and inferiority complex also makes him somewhat of a Napoleon.
- Bubbly Clouds: Arderial
- Bubblegloop Swamp: Bograth
- Cast From Hit Points: Both the card game and video game merge HP and MP into one resource; casting a 5-point spell or summoning a 5-point monster means 5 points less damage that you can take. But both Magi and monsters generate some energy every turn.
- The Corruption: The Core.
- The Dark Side: Shadow Magi are "normal" magi who have started using Core power.
- Death Mountain: Kybar's Teeth
- The Dragon: Morag, to Agram.
- Dumb Muscle: Many, but Korg is the standout example.
- Fungus Humongous: Underneath. The Ormagon. There's a reason a quote from this game is on that page.
- Guide Dang It: Shadow hold. Come on...try getting through it without a guide. We're here waiting.
- Hobbits: The Eliwan as a whole. Although they do possess magic, they are small, non-threatening, unambitious, and perpetually look like young children until they get really old. The Naroom and Weave people hew the closest to the trope.
- Jungle Japes: Paradwyn, and perhaps Bograth to an extent.
- Kid Hero:
- In America, Tony Jones, a Deadpan Snarker who also has some aspects of The Snark Knight.
- In Japan, this was changed into Dan, an Idiot Hero with tons of fighting spirit who rarely thinks things through.
- This probably says something fairly deep about the cultural differences between Japan and America, but I'll be damned if I know what it is.
- Kill It with Fire: Zig-zagged! While the Cald region does get a number of damaging and destructive abilities, they're also big on healing and rejuvenating abilities, providing the warmth of life.
- Lethal Lava Land: Cald
- The Lost Woods: Naroom
- Mons: The Dream Creatures
- Our Dragons Are Different: The Hyren.
- Punctuation Shaker
- Sealed Evil in a Can: The Shadow Geysers, and Agram.
- Seashell Bra: Many of the female Orothans wear this kind of attire.
- Shifting Sand Land: The aptly-named Sands of d'Resh.
- Slippy-Slidey Ice World: Nar
- Trademark Favorite Food: Evu and jellybeans. There's even a relic in the card game named "Evu's Jellybeans."
- Underground Level: The Underneath
- Under the Sea: Orothe
Tropes found in the card game include:
- Art Evolution: Compare this card, from the first set, to this card from the last one.
- The Caligula: Korg, after declaring himself All-High King of Bograth.
- Early-Bird Cameo: One of the earliest Shadow Magi was a d'Resh shadow magi, three full sets before any other d'Resh cards came out. Bograth, the Weave, and Paradwyn were also mentioned on cards before any cards from those regions were released. Pre-errata'd for your convenience!
- Many cards actually referenced specific nonexistent cards planned for future expansions. Unfortunately, the card game was cancelled before some of these cards were printed, so there are currently some cards which reference cards that probably never will exist.
- Hurricane of Puns
- Infinity+1 Element: Universal spells, creatures, and relics, which can be used without penalty by any magi.
- Late to The Punchline: Many of the Shout Outs on the cards won't make sense to a little kid. Then you grow up, and suddenly, seeing the random nod to a Frank Zappa song on the Snow Hyren is the funniest thing ever.
- Mineral MacGuffin: The Heart of Paradise.
- Non-Lethal Warfare: Characters do die, but very rarely, probably because all of them feature on their own cards. For example, during the wars between Bograth and Paradwyn, as well between Orothe and Cald, not a single named Magi dies during either battle. This is often explained by defeated Magi simply losing consciousness since they rely on bodily energy in order to fight, and it seems universally standard to capture defeated opponents rather than kill them. Granted, this only applies to named characters (those that appear on official cards) who are more or less implied to be the most noteworthy magi in each region. The rest of the nameless magi could theoretically be dropping dead left and right.
- In fact, the characters are horrified when they accidentally kill a nameless magi in the storyline.
- Puni Plush: Straight lines? Angles? Never heard of 'em.
- Shout-Out: Many, from the generically nerdy (Such as The Princess Bride) to the more obscure. And, for some reason, lots to the Disney Animated Canon.
- Stripperiffic: Just check out the costumes on some of those female Magi. Erm, wow. This is a kid's game?
- This Is Your Brain on Evil: Shadow magi--"normal" magi who use Core power--usually.
Tropes found in the video game include:
- Bonus Boss: Ormagon
- And end-game Salafy.
- Chekhov's Gunman: Warrada. You first see her in the third shadow geyser, apparently being a mini-boss. You beat her and she seems to vanish...odd...But then in the fourth Shadow Geyser, she appears to be the boss. However, she gives you the option to actually skip her if you agree to leave Magi Nation alone. If you take her up on that offer, then in the Fifth Shadow Geyser, she'll show up in the middle of nowhere and say, "I thought you were going to LEAVE!" then fights you, with a stronger team than she would have had otherwise.
- Technically, the team is statistically the same. However, in the case of accepting Warrada's offer, you have to fight her in the Arderial Geyser and then fight an even tougher boss soon after.
- Death Is Cheap: Three of the killed off characters are later shown to be alive, but turned to stone and sent to the Core.
- Tryn's cousins can be added to the lot, bringing the total up to a possible five. That's also not to mention pretty much everyone in Underneath town, who are assumed to be dead for most of the game.
- Disc One Nuke / Game Breaker: If you can get ANY kind of Hyren early on, you're basically set for the rest of the game. (If you can find one, and kill enough of them for their animite.)
- Finding one isn't the hard part. Not getting maimed by them is.
- Disc One Final Dungeon: Several, actually:
- The fourth Shadow Geyser appears to be the final dungeon, because once you got all those core stones...you can go home. The End - or Is It?
- Then you get the Fifth shadow geyser in the Arderial region.
- Doomed Hometown: The Underneath is completely destroyed after Tony takes care of the shadow geyser there.
- Downer Ending: If Tony Jones decides to take Agram's offer up - and apparently just wordlessly looks back.
- Dummied Out: The thunder and core hyrens...unless that is, there's a way to actually obtain them. (If there is, it's very well hidden - because most people on Game FAQs haven't even found it!)
- I can answer this one; the missing regional hyrens are in the game, but were never added to the encounter tables in their areas; this is why they're completely accessible with Game Genie-like devices. It was a simple programming oversight caused by a rush to wrap up the final areas and get the game out as part of a multi-front marketing push when the MN property launched.
- It's likely that there were plenty of dungeons and backgrounds that were dummied out of the game, since you can explore tunnels and rooms that don't seem to be there for any reason other than to look pretty.
- Core Hyrens are actually not hard to find (A few bosses use them) but you need Thunder Hyren animite to make one, and, yeah.
- Everything Fades: Technically most bosses do this off screen, but you actually get to see Morag vanish after killing him near the end of the game.
- Guide Dang It: Other than Ormagon, did you know that you had to go through places on the world map before Orothan F showed up? Didja? Nope. What about the Hyrens? Uh...probably not. And how about finding the Cloud Frond? I don't know a single person who knew how to get that on their first try. Or the Lightning Spell?
- Got Volunteered: The story kicks off when
FoneyTony gets 'volunteered' to go spelunking for a cave treasure, by two guys who tried and failed to foist the task upon one of their younger brothers.
- Fail O'Suckyname: The kids in Tavel Gorge declare Tony's name to be this, so they nickname him "Foney Bones". To earn the right to be called by his real name, he enters the cave to find the crystal.
- Hand Wave: Why exactly Korg's creatures always take longer to summon than normal is explained by Zet as Korg just being an idiot.
- The Heavy: Morag is The Dragon, but presents a much more common villainous role compared to Agram, who only appears twice in the game.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Gorgor, off screen, that is..
- Hopeless Boss Fight: The first fight against Morag. Even at max level, with the strongest Hyrens at your command, all you can do is struggle helplessly as he summons increasingly stronger monsters till you are beaten.
- It is possible to defeat him legitimately if you have at least four maxed-out creatures with the ability "Consume." Since Consume absorbs another creature's energy (and may terminate a creature), you don't have to summon your creatures as often. With a Gameshark, you can acquire the "Court" spells (Judge, Jury, Executioner) and using these makes all of your potentially terminating attacks actually terminate 100% of the time. However, you would have to cast Jury and Executioner on every new Borgor. Obviously, this is a very long and arduous process, and winning doesn't give you anything but some experience and animite. The story and dialog stay the same.
- Infinity-1 Sword: Ormagon is the best Dream Creature, but finding any of the Hyrens will let you muscle your way through the game with ease.
- Infinity+1 Sword: Ormagon, again.
- Kleptomaniac Hero: Lampshaded; At one point Tony complains about going through all the trouble to break into strangers' houses and not finding any valuables half the time.
- At another point you get this gem:
Tony: Ooh, a diary! I'll just take a quick...
Ulk: No you won't!
Tony: No I won't.
- Knight Templar: Agram seems to really believe he's just doing his duty as an Ancient by keeping the knowledge of the Magi out of the hands of the inhabitants of the Moonlands.
- Magikarp Power: Weebos, which start out one of the weakest dream creatures of the bunch, learn Wreck, a rare move which makes them a harbinger of death. Of course, it takes quite a bit of training to get them there. Made somewhat easier by how common they are in the beginning, and how easy it is to forge their level up. Could potentially become a Disc One Nuke or Game Breaker if someone was willing to grind like crazy.
- Quite honestly, it's pretty much impossible to get a Wreck Weebo without cheating or being Salafy. Weebo learns Wreck at level 99. Considering that the end-game expected level is around 50, it's absolutely ludicrous to even consider legitimately raising a Dream Creature all the way to 99. Perhaps a case of Awesome but Impractical.
- Money Spider: Defeating monsters nets you Animite, the game's Global Currency.
- New Game+: Perhaps the only way to get some dream creatures. (Namely the core ones, which you should have a lot of animite for by that point)
- Power Floats: Morag seems to lack his lower body, and levitates in midair at all times.
- Scenery Porn: The battle backgrounds are bleh, but some of the backgrounds in other areas are actually quite detailed, especially given the Game Boy Colour's limited palette.
- Shout-Out: When first meeting Gogor, you try to introduce yourself only to be cut off to the mantra of "IT DOESN'T MATTER WHAT YOUR NAME IS!"
- The Chosen One: Deconstructed a tad, The prophecy of Magus Kyros? It's actually a warning - Magus Kyros isn't great, he'll DESTROY Magi Nation! It's a little clear that Tony is not Magus Kyros, but actually, the reason the world is at stake anyways! In order to create all the shadow geysers, Tony Jones is the catalyst.
- The Rival: Salafy. An optional rival to be sure, but still basically a rival. She can always be found training in one area, and can be fought throughout the game, growing stronger to match Tony's power as he levels up... well, relatively--that is, until near the end of the game when she suddenly gains a team of Wreck Weebos that could basically show up the final boss one on one, skyrocketing in power from a non-threat to a Bonus Boss.
- Warmup Boss: Korg as the first boss of the game, who only summons one Dream Creature, which comes out with a summoning length penalty. However...
- Wake Up Call Boss: Togoth as the second boss of the game, a much more competent threat. Not only does he summon multiple different Core Creatures, he'll heal his own and hurt yours with a better offensive spell than you have access to at that point.
- Word Salad: Before eating some Translator Seeds, the speech of Moonlands people sounds to Tony like random strings of nonsense: "Exploding sock puppet!"
- See Crowning Moment of Funny, up top.
- You All Look Familiar: Averted--almost every NPC you will encounter in the game has an actual counterpart in the card game. Well, if you've got Loads and Loads of Characters, you might as well use 'em, right?
Tropes found in the cartoon include:
- Adaptation Dye Job: Formerly blond Tony now has black hair.
- Ugger got some combination of this and Race Lift. Originally a very ugly Core creature, it was turned into a (debatably) cute Naroom plant beast.
- Anime Hair: Edyn just has improbably long hair and bangs. Strag, on the other hard, looks almost as if he's got a starfish sitting on his head.
- The Underneathians all have fungus in their hair, hence they all have hairstyles like Strag's.
- Calling Your Attacks: I cast X Spell!
- Also used for all the dream creatures' attacks, by their partners.
- Catch Phrase: Each of the three main Dream Creatures has one.
- The Chosen One: Tony is assumed to be the Final Dreamer. Actually, it turns out all three main characters together are the Final Dreamer.
- Cool Old Guy: Tony's Grandpa, the former champion of the Moonlands.
- Edutainment Show: The show certainly isn't entirely edutainment, but every episode will have at least one moment where the characters discuss some random bit of educational matter for the viewers to learn. Depending on the episode, this can seem completely natural (before going into the desert, the characters discuss Real Life desert survival techniques), a little forced (describing ecosystems with the mad zookeeper), to totally anvillicious (discussing what shooting stars and supernovae actually are while watching a magic astrological event).
- Fiery Redhead: Edyn
- Hero with Bad Publicity: The heroes in the second season
- Magical Native American: Strag has shades of this, especially his clairvoyant "Moonsense".
- Mentor: Orwin
- Mordor: The Core
- Olympus Mons: The Guardian Hyrens.
- Power Trio: Tony, Edyn, and Strag
- Saturday Morning Cartoon
- Screw the Rules I Have Plot
- Secret Test of Character: Standard among the Guardian Hyrens.
- Snark Knight: Tony, but even moreso for Edyn.
- Summon Magic
- Three Amigos