"I come from the Net. Through systems, people, and cities, to this place - Mainframe. My format, Guardian: To mend and defend. To defend my new found friends, their hopes and dreams, and to defend them from their enemies. They say The User lives outside the Net and inputs games for pleasure. No one knows for sure, but I intend to find out. ReBoot!"
The first TV cartoon to be fully computer generated, this show is actually set inside a computer. It was produced by Mainframe Entertainment, the same Canadian production house that made Beast Wars, Shadow Raiders (War Planets), and several other, less noteworthy shows.
Premiering in 1994, ReBoot was the story of Mainframe, a city in Cyberspace, and the various "programs" (people) that lived within. Filled with its own mythology and unique phrases that references a lot of computer terminology, it was a very successful show wherever it was shown. Of particular note was the phenomenal vocal work, and the visual design by renowned Judge Dredd artist Brendan McCarthy.
In the beginning, the story was primarily about Bob, a Guardian (security program) from "The Supercomputer" who is assigned to protect the relatively backwoods city of Mainframe. His two main friends are his love interest (and smart businesswoman) Dot Matrix, and her younger (and hyperactive) brother Enzo. He is also aided by the system administrator Phong, who fills the role of a vaguely Confucian mentor.
The first season introduced the primary villain, the virus Megabyte, who serves as the Big Bad for almost the entire series. His attempts to take over Mainframe or travel to the supercomputer forms the backbone to most of his plans. He has a 'sister' named Hexadecimal, who he continually tries to destroy, and who tries to destroy him right back (She describes this as simple "sibling rivalry"). She is more interested in chaos than actual destruction, so while being vastly more powerful her plans are less focused and is usually less of a concern. A unique feature are her harlequin masks; they will change expression depending on her mood but they remain static, never mouthing out her words. Both viruses had huge fanbases, with Megabyte being a well-drawn Magnificent Bastard.
Besides dealing with a power-hungry virus, Bob is there to win the "games" that are sent by "The User" (a never really seen entity who fills the equivalent role of their God). The games are purple cubes that descend from the sky and envelope an area of the city. If the user wins the game, that section of the city is "nullified" and those inside are turned into mindless, energy-draining slug-like creatures called "nulls." To combat the User, Bob and his friends must enter the game and "reboot" themselves into forms adapted to compete within it.
Other characters in the show include the inhabitants of Mainframe, mostly binomes, who are shaped like ones and zeroes; the lack of more sprites (Humanoid characters) besides Dot and Enzo was ascribed to the destruction of the sister city of Mainframe, which occured before the start of the series and also killed Dot and Enzo's father. The decision to use simple shapes for background characters resulted from the technological limits of the time, and more human-like characters appeared as the production hardware was upgraded.
Midway through the second season, the show discarded its episodic nature and began introducing a long term Story Arc that reached through the fourth season. New characters like AndrAIa were introduced; she was originally a game character, and became Enzo's love interest. The hacker Mouse appeared several times before settling in as a regular character and resident smart girl.
As part of the show's growing mythology and story, the Guardians from the Supercomputer proved to be more Knight Templar than previously let on, pushing Mainframe into an uneasy alliance with both viruses, and after two unexpected losses for the good guys, a Time Skip had Enzo and AndrAIa grow into young adults as The Lancer and an Action Girl.
The series ran for three seasons before being canceled in 1998, causing them to let go of a story arc introduced a few episodes earlier and make up a thrown-together Happy Ending. After an Uncanceled fourth season in 2001 consisting of two movies and a more deliberate Cliff Hanger, it now sits in limbo, awaiting another conclusion that may never come... or, with the announcement of a trilogy of movies in the works and a trailer, that well might.
Has an Abridged Series.
- A Nazi by Any Other Name: Megabyte is Hitler and his minions are Nazis. Herr Doktor calls him "mein fuhrer." The alternate universe Megaframe has everyone given a bar code. If this wasn't obvious enough, minions still loyal to him after his defeat are called "neo-virals" (lampshaded with the appropriate Shout-Out to The Blues Brothers).
- Aborted Arc: The Opening Narration mentions that Bob intends to learn about the User and why he plays the games. This is never addressed in the show, and the line about the User is dropped from later versions of the narration.
- Absolute Cleavage: AndrAIa from the time skip displays this quite nicely.
- Action Girl: Dot, AndrAIa from season 3 onward, and Mouse. Princess Bula scares even Matrix.
Bob: "Is she really a princess?"
Captain Capacitor: "No. You want to tell her different?"
- Affably Evil: Megabyte and Hexadecimal. He covers his violence with suave sophistication; she just never seems to actually bear anybody any ill will, she is just crazy.
- Daemon as well. She's just so sweet and innocent. It's little wonder she gained such a following.
- Affectionate Parody: Nearly every episode is chock-filled with references to popular films, but done in such a way that it helped propel the storyline instead of wallowing in the parody. Among them include Power Rangers, A Nightmare on Elm Street, The X-Files, the James Bond film series and Evil Dead.
- All Your Base Are Belong to Us: Megabyte takes over the Principal Office three times.
- Amazing Technicolor Population: All of the characters. A picture for Daemon Rising, the first half of the fourth season, is the picture for this tropes page. Very appropriate.
- And 99 Cents: Mike the TV.
- And I Must Scream: The fate of a sprite or binome who is nullified in a game.
- Antagonist in Mourning: A unique variation. Hack and Slash actually considered that with Bob gone, there was no one to stop them from doing anything too bad. Hack and Slash are overjoyed when Bob returns, as if they were always friends to begin with.
- Anti-Hero Substitute: Deconstructed. Enzo grows from a whiny, naive young sprite into the big, tough Badass Matrix, but everybody keeps telling him how being a big, tough badass does not compensate for being an arrogant, pompous jerk, and his hotheaded actions put AndrAIa, the love of his life, in mortal danger. A recurring theme of season three is the fact that, for all his efforts to reunite with his family and Mainframe, he believes they would be disgusted and repulsed by what he has become.
- Arc Welding: The Web creatures' appearance in Nullzilla marked the very first multi-episode story arc of ReBoot, and it lead directly into the following four episodes and, by extension, all of season three, but it was originally a random event within the story and isolated from other plotlines. However, in The Episode With No Name of season three it is revealed that Daemon, a supervirus that would become the Big Bad of season four, deliberately sent the Web creature to Mainframe as part of her Evil Plan to infect the entire Net.
- Art Evolution: Midway through Season 2 they had a hardware upgrade that allowed much more subtle movements, such as having one shoulder raise slightly higher than the other when pointing at something. Season 3 jumped forward with textures like eyelashes and background items, as well as shadows (You would be surprised how much you miss them). Season 4 had a much more realistic sense of weight, instead of being either too fast or too slow when jumping around.
- Art Shift: In "Enzo the Smart," the colors and shading gets primitive when Enzo changes the clock speed of Mainframe when he tries to become twice as smart as everybody else. It doesn't affect Enzo, and he even comments on it.
Enzo: Dude, everything's gone 8-bit!
- Aside Glance: Frequently.
- The Assimilator: Essentially what Daemon eventually does to everyone on the Net. Explicitly Borg-like is "Between a Raccoon and a Hard Place," which references Star Trek: First Contact - when Megabyte intends to takeover a nullified sector, a binome resembling Captain Picard resists, saying "The line has to be drawn here!" After the binome is deleted, Megabyte tells the witnesses, "As you can see, resistance is futile."
- Ax Crazy: Hexadecimal definitely counts for this.
- Back-to-Back Badasses: AndrAIa and Ray get one of these moments in Return of the Crimson Binome, much to Matrix's annoyance.
- Badass: Matrix, who explicitly refers to himself, and is referred to by others, as a being of unstoppable brute force. Frisket is a badass dog that nobody wants to mess with.
- Badass Boast: "We could either do this the hard way, or my way!"
- Badass Grandpa: Old Man Pearson AKA Codemaster Talon.
- Bad Future: Seen in the two-part episode 'Identity Crisis,' the first episode to become darker than the normal lighthearted tone of the series.
- Bare Your Midriff: Multiple one-off costumes within the games, but some characters had it for their standard outfit.
- AndrAIa after the time skip.
- The female Guardian in "The Episode With No Name."
- Batman Gambit: "Medusa Bug" revolves around different Gambits by different characters. Hex prepared the bug itself in utter secrecy, denying its very existence every step of the way, letting nothing leak of her preparations; she knew it would drive Megabyte crazy and that he would stop at nothing to steal it. He does precisely that and becomes the Bugs first victim, just as Hex intended. After Hex has essentially won, Bob, with no allies left standing, can only fix the Medusa Bug by using Hex's obsession with chaotic evil against her.
- Battle Couple: AndrAIa and Matrix. They met on the show's equivalent of a battlefield, and they have been watching each other's backs ever since. They even frequently flirt while kicking the User's butt in games.
- Beard of Evil: Cyrus has a small goatee.
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: Not the norm for Bob and Dot's relationship, but the season one episode The TIFF featured them bickering and arguing to such an extent that their hidden feelings became all the more apparent.
- BFS: The leader of the Web Riders carries a sword so big he can actually knock out the main guns of the Saucy Mare.
- Big Bad: Megabyte, always and forever. Daemon steals the spotlight for a short time, but it doesn't take long for Megs to grab it back in truly monstrous fashion.
- The Big Board: There is a map of the entire city of Mainframe in the Principal Office, which Dot and Phong use to coordinate their war against Megabyte.
- Big Damn Heroes: Right when the Web Riders are about to slaughter everyone on the Saucy Mare (Yes, even Matrix), Bob shows up and orders the Web Riders to stop. Having previously gained the Web Riders' trust and friendship, it works.
- The Big Damn Kiss:
- Bob and Dot in the season three finale.
- Mouse and Ray, during the reconstruction of Mainframe, lampshaded by Ray afterwards.
"What a way to go."
- Big Good: Dot, even more than Bob (The Hero). When Bob is lost in the Web and Enzo is fighting games, heralded as the savior and protector of Mainframe, it is explicitly stated that these are essentially small-scale battles and Dot needs to stay out of them because she is the one person who is able to counter-act Megabyte on a large-scale setting.
- Big No: Used extremely effectively by numerous characters, who utter them at moments of great personal loss throughout the series.
- Biker Babe: AndrAIa reboots into a literal Biker Babe on numerous occasions, and retains a fascination with motorcycles and hover-bikes throughout the entire series.
Matrix: "What is it with you and bikes?"
- Bilingual Bonus: If you consider ASCII a language.
- Biting the Hand Humor
- The BS&P song in "Talent Night" (see Executive Meddling). There is also the character of Emma from the same episode, who was apparently based on a real person from the BS&P.
- When ABC dumped them at the end of season 2, Megabyte's army's vehicles were dubbed "Armored Binome Carriers."
"The ABCs! They've turned on us!"
- The Blank: Hexadecimal has a series of masks that she quickly swaps out behind her hand to change expressions. Her real face is not shown until halfway through the second season, when Bob removes her mask and reveals that there's absolutely nothing beneath. (This also happens in the PlayStation game.)
- Blatant Lies: Megabyte is rather fond of these, as we see in the very first episode, where he has spent some time convincing Bob to open him a portal to the Supercomputer for what would be an entirely benign visit.
Bob: *raises an eyebrow and jerks his thumb to the side* "And these?"
(Cut to large army of infected sprites snapping to attention)
Megabyte: "Oh, just some, ah, colleagues, to make my visit, shall we say, comfortable."
- Blessed with Suck: Post-Daemon Glitch-Bob. His powers aren't needed anymore and they will eventually kill him, and he doesn't look "normal" enough to compete with the other Bob for Dot's affection.
- Brainwashed: Megabyte infects and controls whatever binomes fall within his power. Later, every resident of Mainfraime succumbs to this because of Daemon; also has traces of Brainwashed and Crazy in it as well.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: The occasional Aside Glance, but most blatantly the following moment.
Enzo: (while they're in a FPS based on the Evil Dead film series) "The next level has zombies, they have flesh on their bones!"
Dot: "I don't even want to think about that! What kind of sick twisted individual gets enjoyment out of this kind of game?!"
[Dot and Enzo glare at the viewers]
- Bridge Logic: Megabyte does this while in a Military/Dinosaur game when running away from a Tankasauourous Rex. (Makes Sense in Context). It does not help him escape.
- Brother-Sister Incest: Web-creature-controlled-Megabyte attempts to merge with Hexadecimal to create what is, in her own words, "the next generation." The Moral Guardians were also afraid of encouraging incest in Real Life, so they ordered the producers to remove a scene where Dot kissed Enzo on the cheek at his birthday party (See Executive Meddling in the Trivia section). Ian Pearson, one of the creators, stated that he found the reasoning behind that decision "one of the sickest things I've heard."
- By the Power of Greyskull: The series title is the command for becoming an NPC in a Game, a process that re-outfits, re-equips, or outright transforms the character into something that fits within the game rules.
- The Cameo: Feathers Mcgraw appears during Identity Crisis (Part 2) in a direct Shout-Out. The animators loved him so much they slipped him into other episodes later on. Since this bordered on copyright infringement the animators were ordered to delete the character from their computers. In ReBoot terminology, they killed Feathers Mcgraw.
- Camp Gay: The rollerblading waiter of Al's Wait & Eat.
- Catch Phrase:
- "This is bad. This is very bad," "Not good. This is not good!" "I don't think so!" and "Stay Frosty" were used by numerous characters, predominantly Bob, who would occasionally claim that it was his line when somebody else said one of them.
- Phong's Catch Phrase was "Yadda, yadda." When he is tortured for the system password it appears character by character in binary on the wall; savvy watchers can translate them by their ASCII codes into: yaddayadda.
- The often-used "This is bad. This is very bad" has an amusing variation in the ReBoot Playstation game: "This is good. This is very good."
- Censor Decoy: The creators gave the female characters massive breasts, knowing that the censors would force them to shrink them. This allowed them to give them the cup size they wanted in in the first place.
- Cephalothorax: The zero binomes and Mike the TV.)
- Cerebus Retcon: Season 4 revealed that Mainframe was a controlled experiment to test Bob's theories of "reprogramming viruses for the greater good." That's right. Though contained, Megabyte and Hexadecimal were allowed to run free.
- Cerebus Syndrome: A good thing in ReBoot's case.
- Chekhov's Gun: The Stargate-esque portal Megabyte built in the second season turned out to be significant to the overall mythology, both in the past and the future.
- Chekhov's Gunman: Megabyte's pet Null Nibbles turns out to be Wellman Matrix, Enzo and Dot's father.
- Chick Magnet: Bob, no question about it. He attracts Dot, Mouse, and Hexadecimal along with other female characters.
- The Chosen Many: The Guardian Collective.
- Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Megabyte doublecrosses whomever he pleases.
- Cliff Hanger: The ending of the entire series.
- Cloning Blues: My Two Bobs takes the 'Blue' part literally
- Color Coded for Your Convenience: The icons - white for normal, yellow for Guardian, green for infected. The Bad Future version of Enzo (seen in Identity Crisis Part II, and the Playstation game) has a unique variation that is a cross of the latter two, with a pale green / yellow shade.
- Combining Mecha: Parodied in "Nullzilla." The insect-based vehicles do not even fit together, and when they finally do combine, the resulting robot looks nothing like the vehicles used to make it.
- Compelling Voice: Daemon
- The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: The protagonists use a lot of outside abilities to beat the User, including Matrix using his gun to threaten a pair of Funny Animal golfers in a golf game, attacking the opponent handler in a Pokémon-inspired game, and even hiding the ammo crates and power-ups in an Evil Dead FPS. Bob constantly uses his keytool Glitch in games, which lets him be The All-Seeing AI. However, cheating in games is not as common as it could be, and for good reason; an early episode shows what happens when you exceed the Game's parameters too far when a bomb goes off inside a racing game: an infinite loop forms, which starts sucking in everything and everyone in the Gamespace, eventually crashing the Game.
"Huh. It's an infinite data ELSE/IF loop."
"... What does that mean?"
"It means... RUN LIKE YOU'VE NEVER RUN BEFOOOOOOOOOORE!"
- Conflict Ball: Matrix hates Ray Tracer right from the start because... well, because he does. Before Ray and AndrAIa began their lite flirting, before Ray attached himself as a member of the Saucy Mare, before he had done anything except ask to be freed from a prison cell, Matrix promises to kill him the next time they meet. It doesn't really break his character, though; Matrix pretty much is that much of a paranoid asshole to strangers.
- Conflict Killer: Subverted. When the threat of the Web arrives in season two Bob and Megabyte team up to prevent an invasion, but instead of putting their current conflict on hold until the greater threat is past Megabyte betrays Bob during the fight, using the situation to finally make a change in the long, drawn-out struggle over Mainframe.
- Cool Big Sis: Dot to Enzo, so very much.
- Cowboy Cop: Matrix describes himself as a "Renegade" and never received any training at the supercomputer academy, even though his programming includes the Guardian protocol.
- Crazy Prepared: In an episode that marked the beginning of An Arc in ReBoot, "Nullzilla," Phong just happened to have a plan to deal with an out-of-control Godzilla-sized villain/Null amalgamation-thing running amok. It involved Humongous Mecha and an extended parody of Sentai, Thunderbirds, and Power Rangers. This was appropriately lampshaded.
Dot: "Well, we know physical force can't hurt nulls. We'll have to try containment."
Phong: "Do not worry. I have prepared something for just such an emergency."
Bob: "You're prepared for a giant monster made entirely of nulls STOMPING AROUND MAINFRAME?"
Phong: "That is correct!"
Bob: "How do you plan for that?"
Phong: "Ah, lucky guess?"
- Later in the episode, Phong tells them to finish the monster with a weapon, but realizes that it is still in its glass case. The case reads "IN CASE OF GIANT NULL MONSTER THREATENING CITY -- BREAK GLASS"
- Phong in general, if we're to assume that the city is his design. In season 3, the town is armed to the teeth (even a public postal box has a cannon hidden in it.) The only thing Phong wasn't prepared for was the Medusa Bug, and neither was anyone else.
- Creepy Changing Painting: Hexadecimal's mask can change expression, but only when offscreen (or behind her hand). This gets really unsettling when her personality goes from "cracked" to "broken;" she can have a sad frown on and be cozying up to someone, and be one flash-frame perspective-switch away from a horrible glare, fangs, and death threats.
- Curb Stomp Battle: Vehicular version. The Megatruck and a large grounded airplane on wheels are driving towards each other in a narrow canyon (It Makes Sense in Context) and a collision is inevitable and it looks like both vehicles are going to be destroyed. The Megatruck plows right though the airplane without slowing down and proceeds to run over the mooks on motorbikes right behind it. The Megatruck is not damaged at all and just keeps on trucking.
- Cut Short: The series ends on a cliffhanger.
- Cute Bruiser: Young AndrAIa counts for this, then as adult she becomes a mix of this and Hot Amazon.
- The Danza: A unique example, the City of Adventure itself is named after the animation studio that created the show.
- Darker and Edgier: A surprisingly effective execution. Partially because the darker third season did not have the same limits of Executive Meddling in the first two seasons.
- Dawson Casting: Averted. Young Enzo was played by a real kid and the production replaced the voice actor with another kid as their voice changed. One voice actor returned several years later to portray a different character.
- Death Glare: Matrix has a literal one of these after the time skip; his cybernetic eye is tied into his gun and has a target-lock function.
- Detachable Lower Half: Megabyte does this on occasion, usually to sit in his Cool Chair.
- Deus Ex Machina: Invoked by Bob at the end of the third season. Mainframe was torn to shreds and there was no possible way to repair the city. When a game arrives, Bob formulates a risky Batman Gambit where a lost game would force a total system crash and the User would reboot the entire city. The risky part was whether or not the User would do a system restoration rather than a complete reformatting.
- Deus Exit Machina: Used to prevent Glitch-Bob from curbstomping Megabyte in Showdown. He is dealing with Hexadecimal for most of the episode.
- Deus Ex Nukina: Standard Guardian Protocol for dealing with Web creatures in systems like Mainframe: Destroy the system with a nuke stand-in and take the Web creature with it. Bonus points for the nuke being small enough to be disguised as a communication device for the unaware bomb smuggler. In fairness, it's less overkill than it sounds; a creature like the one they were dealing with is very dangerous, can reproduce rapidly, and can spread to other systems under its own power.
- Digital Avatar: The User in his(?) many forms.
- Digital Piracy Is Evil: The Crimson Binome, who arrives to plunder Mainframe for wealth and booty in The Crimson Binome, is explicitly identified as a "software pirate." However, instead of being evil, he promptly abandons piracy once he discovers just how much money there is in legitimate trade between systems, and he returns in later episodes as an ally and muscle for the main cast.
- Do-Anything Robot: The Guardians' keytools and Matrix's gun to a lesser degree. Twice Bob actually gives Glitch the command of "Anything!" when he could not think of what tool was needed at the moment; it serves as the page quote.
- Doing It for the Art: Preceding the Pixar revolution, the series was created as part of an untested medium. There were no animation or special FX studios at the time that could handle the rigors of a completely CGI series. Mainframe Entertainment was created for ReBoot, there was no Pilot Episode because the cost of equipment and other things required either a full season or nothing.
- Don't Ask: When the female Guardian asks AndrAIa what happened to her men in "The Episode With No Name," AndrAIa simply tells her not to ask.
- Donut Mess with a Cop: The binome police officers in "Trust No One" are sitting in Dot's Diner eating donuts as people are being abducted off the streets.
- Downer Ending:
- The last episode of Season Two, if you didn't get a station that aired Season Three or never found out it continued. For many viewers, Megabyte banishing Bob to the Web and locking the gateway behind him was the last they ever saw of the series, at least for many years.
- "Game Over. User Wins." Enzo, AndrAIa and Frisket are presumably nullified.
- Dropped a Bridge on Him: Robert Cursor, who was actually a parody of Captain Kirk.
- The Dulcinea Effect: Both Ray Tracer and Captain Capacitor are willing to risk their lives and the lives of all their friends for AndrAIa the same day they meet her, and they both explain how they would brave any danger to keep her safe, despite having no personal connection to her at all. Of course, she did make quite an impact when she met the two of them.
- Dungeon Crawling: The episode Wizards, Warriors, And A Word From Our Sponsors.
- Egopolis: Megaframe
- Eldritch Abomination: Most Web creatures seen are usually smaller and, while bizarre-looking, do not drive anyone insane just from looking at them like a traditional Eldritch Abomination should, but the Web still seems to have a rather Lovecraftian feel to it: it is outside normal space and hazardous to life-as-we-know-it, organic and gross in comparison to the Net's smooth clean lines, associated with tentacles, and full of bizarre creatures vaguely evoking sea life. There are hints that there are true Eldritch creatures somewhere in the Web, since there are numerous occasions of seeing parts (Like the aforementioned tentacles) that are much too big to have come from any of the witnessed creatures, but they have only been seen in the video game in a Bad Ending.
- Eldritch Location: The Web. Simply being exposed to to the Web degrades Sprites until they are unrecognizable, and it is filled with beings and monsters that do not conform to the rest of the Net.
- Enemy Mine: Bob and his friends had to team up with the viruses against an invasion of monsters from the Web; Hexadecimal later helped the good guys out against Megabyte and Daemon.
- Epic Tracking Shot: They made full use of the liberating camera angles for CGI. Most episodes begin this way.
- "Everybody Laughs" Ending: Not quite Once an Episode, but occasionally the story would end with a classic rendition of this trope.
- Everything's Better with Princesses: Subverted with Princess Bula; she is not a real princess, but no one is willing to tell her otherwise. Subverted again in a game with a traditional "rescue the princess" storyline that implied that Dot would be the princess, but instead placed her in the role of one of the rescuing knights and had Enzo reboot as the princess.
- Evil Eye: Matrix in the third season. When he uses his Evil Eye, watch out, it usually means he is about to delete something. Messily. Can also be seen as a form of Calling Your Attacks, as its animation is used as a warning to the audience that he is going into Badass Mode.
- Evil Laugh: Megabyte and Hexadecimal like to do this a lot. Although, Hex's laugh leans towards Laughing Mad on several occasions, and pretty much every single time she laughs during season 3 (after she completely loses it) is more insane laughter than evil.
- Evil Overlord: Megabyte's style.
- Evil Twin: "My Two Bobs".
- Eye Scream: "Game Over." Poor Enzo.
- Face Palm: In Number 7 Matrix does this after rebooting as Megabyte when Hack & Slash appear to serve him.
- Fan Service Pack: Season 3, when they ditched ABC's broadcast restrictions.
- Fantastic Racism:
- The Mainframers, on learning the identity of their new Guardian, invariably remark that "Green's no colour for the defender of the system!"
- Season four reveals that Guardians have a more than professional dislike for viruses, describing them as "dirty" and "no use."
- Fantastic Voyage Plot: "The Great Brain Robbery." Ends comically when Enzo appears to sneeze out an Armored Binome Carrier.
- Fate Worse Than Death:
- Sprites inside a game that the User wins get reduced to mindless, wormlike slugs that drain energy.
- When Bob explains to Megabyte his beliefs on deletion, and his plan to re-program him, Megabyte refers to no longer being a virus as "a fate worse than deletion."
- First Girl Wins: Despite all of the girls that fell for Bob, in the end he stays with Dot.
- Fish Out of Water: AndrAIa, for a rather literal example.
- Five-Man Band: Characters switch around at various points, but they do fall into approximate groups:
- Bob: The Hero, and arguably The Messiah, especially during Daemon Rising.
- Enzo: Bratty Half-Pint before becoming The Lancer, but more often used as The Big Guy.
- Mouse: Began as a Sixth Ranger, but Character Development helped her become the smart girl.
- AndrAIa: Difficult to pinpoint, but is pretty much The Lancer to Matrix, especially during their side quest. Is essentially a second Lancer in the fourth season.
- Dot: The Lancer and The Smart Guy during early seasons with shades of The Chick. Became the Big Good in season three, when everybody else was out playing games and fighting invidual battles but she was leading the city in its overall war against Megabyte.
- The real Sixth Ranger of the group would have to be Hexadecimal in the fourth season.
- Team Pet: Frisket, a really big dog.
- Special mention goes to a single episode plot where the heroes go into a Dungeons and Dragons-esque game, and the five man band becomes a 4 man band: Dot remains the smart girl, Enzo the Bratty Half-Pint, Bob becomes The Lancer (despite wanting to be The Hero), and comic-relief Mike the TV becomes The Hero (but for the most part, he acts like The Load).
- Flashback with the Other Darrin: Averted. During season 4 the flashbacks to pre-season 1 give Bob his original voice actor, while outside the flashbacks he has the replacement voice actor.
- Follow the Bouncing Ball: SCSI serves as the bouncing ball during the musical number which closes te third season.
- At the end of "Bad Bob" in season two, Megabyte makes the standard villain threat that this is the last time Bob will foil his plans. However, shortly after this episode came "Web World Wars" and then the season three time-skip, which completely changed the character dynamics and roles of the heroes and villains. Megabyte was being completely honest, for the entire rest of the series Bob never again foiled his plans.
- "The web" was mentioned several episodes before the appearances of the Web Creature in "Nullzilla," where several binomes were talking about how they had heard that the web was expanding and conquering systems.
- Enzo's Eye Scream is foreshadowed twice before it actually happens: In the Bad Future witnessed in season one's "Identity Crisis, Part 2," his future self has a scar running through his right eye. Later, in season three's "To Mend and Defend," shortly after he reboots into a zombie, his right eye falls out, hanging by an optical nerve.
- Megabyte and Hexadecimal being siblings was hinted at several episodes before it was revealed.
- In season two's "Nullzilla," Megabyte addresses his pet null, Nibbles, as "father." The reason for this isn't revealed until season four.
- Forgotten Phlebotinum: The Giant Robot from Nullzilla was never used again after that episode. Of course, it would have broken the plot had they used it again.
- For the Evulz: Megabyte flat-out admits in his return that he no longer cares about conquest or control, that he has abandoned his aspirations on the supercomputer, and he is now doing what he does because he can and because he wants to.
- Funny Background Event:
- While Bob is begging Phong to give Hexadecimal an icon, we can see Ray sampling Hexadecimal's biscuits made out of Herr Doktor while Mouse tries to stop him from eating one.
- In season 4, Mike gives a TV report and in the background, you can spot Matrix and the gang at the Diner. Matrix tries to order something, but Cecil keeps ignoring him. Matrix gets angry and start chasing Cecil, while AndrAIa tries to calm him down.
- Future Badass: Enzo, twice.
- Future Me Scares Me: Played with when a backup copy of young Enzo is created during a system restore. At first, Little Enzo looks up to Matrix and wants to be just like him, while Matrix is irritated by Enzo as a reminder of how weak and naive he used to be. As time goes on, Enzo despises Matrix for the bitter and cynical Anti-Hero he has turned into, and Matrix realizes how much he has strayed from his more idealistic youth.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar:
Herr Doktor: I think she likes being tied up!
Megabyte: Let us not even think about that.
- Ray Tracer's line, "You should try logging off every once in a while, it relieves pressure." It seems innocuous at first, until you think about what "logging off" could be a euphemism for...
- During season four:
Hexadecimal: "She [Dot] expects too much from people. You need some down time. We... could go down together."
Bob: "Uh...that's a good idea, but I can't."
- In the penultimate episode of Season 4, after Little Enzo gets a copy of "The Duties of the Best Sprite" just prior to Dot's wedding to Fake-Bob: "Bob? What's a 'stag night'?"
- Season three introduced the in-universe curse of 'ASCII.' It is a computer term, so it is allowed as an in-joke, but given that it is pronounced 'ass-key,' GUESS what it means in the world of ReBoot...
- Enzo has on more than one occasion said "What a couple/bunch of dipswitches," which sounds A LOT like something else entirely.
- In "Between A Raccoon and A Hard Place," we have... this scene, featuring a Binome flasher, who opens his trench coat... and something unseen and presumably very large hits the floor...
- Glass-Shattering Sound: The Web/Mainframe conflict is partly kicked off by Mike the TV showing Hexadecimal an opera program. The opera singer's shrill voice shatters Hex's mirror, allowing a Web creature to invade the city.
- Godzilla Threshold:
- Standard Guardian protocol when a Class-5 Web Creature is discovered in a system like Mainframe is to destroy the entire system. Class-5 Web Creatures are capable of creating portals, potentially forming a bridge for a full Web invasion of the Net. Compared to that, the loss of a single system is a minor consideration.
- When faced with the threat of Daemon, Matrix, AndrAIa and Enzo allow Hexadecimal to enter Mainframe's core and regain her powers. Even as the two viruses are fighting, Matrix is scared of what is going to happen if Hexadecimal wins.
- Go-Karting with Bowser: Megabyte takes a break from evil scheming to rock out with Bob at Enzo's birthday party—then gives Enzo the guitar he used.
"I've always wanted to do that."
- Good Costume Switch: Hexadecimal goes from red and black to white and gold after becoming a Sprite.
- Good Old Fisticuffs: Megabyte provokes Matrix to give this a try, and comes to regret it prompting him to use his retractable weapons, Wolverine Claws
- Grand Finale: Season 3 ended with all the immediate plot threads concluded and a happy ending for every good character, full of emotional well-being and joy that only left the vaguely-referenced Daemon pot unresolved. Then it was continued in Season 4, which ended the show with a Cliff Hanger that has not been resolved for years.
- Green Lantern Ring: Bob's Keytool, Glitch. The keytool even shows initiative at some points; in one episode Bob desperately shouts, "Glitch: Anything!" and Glitch turns into a necessary piece of equipment (Namely, a lampost). On another occasion, when Bob was falling from a great height, the keytool flew ahead of him to the ground and turned into a springboard he could jump off to safely land. The keytools seem to have a degree of intelligence and can think and communicate, serving only Guardians that they choose to serve, and even offering advice and suggestions. It overlaps with Gadget Watches.
- When Bob merged with Glitch he seemed to have an array of powers not entirely unlike Green Lanterns themselves, including energy powers. When they unmerged in season 4, Bob's first fight with an upgraded Glitch had him using solid light constructs as well.
- Groin Attack: "Identity Crisis: Part 1," in which Bob receives a tank turret to the groin.
- Grumpy Old Man: Old Man Pearson, although it is later revealed that he is also a Retired Badass.
- Guns Akimbo: Dot during the game featured in "The TIFF."
- Happiness in Slavery: It turns out that some of the infected binomes liked being controlled by Megabyte, since they enjoyed causing mayhem and terrorizing their fellow Mainframers. When Megabyte returns, they eagerly surrender themselves to his control.
- Happy Ending: When it was thought ReBoot would end at season three the writers wrapped up as many storylines as they could and gave the characters the happiest ending possible. Everybody has a romantic interest, the city has been restored, Megabyte has been defeated and dead people have been returned to life!
- Heel Face Brainwashing: Bob does not believe in deleting viruses, and would rather find some way to re-program them into non-hostile programs. Megabyte, however, considers that worse than deletion and claims it is more monstrous than his own designs.
- Heel Face Turn: Captain "Gavin" Capacitor, Mouse, Cyrus, Hack and Slash, Hexadecimal.
- Heroic Sacrifice:
- In the episode High Code Bob plans to let the User win a game and be nullified so the Codemaster is nullified along with him; he is forced to change his plans at the last minute when he learns Enzo followed him into the game.
- Heroes Gone Fishing: In the middle of a war game during Identity Crisis (Part 1), Bob is seen taking a nap while fishing. With the games being life and death situations, Bob must be very confident that the User sucks at this particular game. Of course, he was correct.
- Herr Doktor: Herr Doktor, of course!
- He Who Fights Monsters: Matrix's hatred for and obsession with Megabyte risks making him almost as cruel and vicious as the virus. He even comes to realize this in Number 7.
- Holodeck Malfunction Bad Bob features a game cube that gets corrupted when Megabyte stole Mainframe's core energy. Normally the destruction a game cube can cause is limited to the area it landed on, but since this game landed on the Principal Office, if the User wins the entire system crashes. However, if anyone else wins the game, the core energy leaves with the game, and the entire system crashes. This problem forces Bob to keep the game going until he can get the core energy back into the Principal Office to stabilize the game and let it leave without crashing the system.
- Homage: Every episode was full of Shout-Outs, computer science and gaming in-jokes, and Whole-Plot References. However, starting with middle of season two several episodes were essentially other series with ReBoot characters: Bad Bob was Mad Max; NullZilla included homages to Godzilla, Super Sentai and Thunderbirds; Trust No One's main guest stars were essentially Mulder and Scully (with Gillian Anderson supplying one of the voices, no less); Firewall was a James Bond film both in and out of the game in the episode, complete with altered opening titles; Where No Sprite Has Gone Before was a Star Trek episode written by D.C. Fontana, a long-time Trek alumna dating back to the Original Series; Number 7 was in the style of The Prisoner; and The Episode With No Name was a Spaghetti Western to make Sergio Leone proud.
- Honor Before Reason: The crew of the Saucy Mare have always loyally followed the Crimson Binome on whatever path he chose for them, whether it was piracy or honest trade, because he always took them towards the profit. However, when he meets up with Matrix after losing contact with Mainframe he decided to bring his ship and his crew to the aide of Matrix and Dot and, when his first mate asks where the profit is in any of this, he explains that there are things more important in life than profit. The entire crew is shocked to a stand-still, and he mentions repaying a debt to an old friend and helping those in need. Despite the dangerous waters they are going into, and the lack of any benefit to themselves, the entire crew follows him onward anyway.
- Hopeless Auditionees: The long string of weird, inappropriate or otherwise talentless characters applying for Enzo's birthday show. Even Phong himself gets rejected after forgetting the lyrics to "Unforgettable."
Dot: Is it just me or are these acts just getting worse?
- Hot Amazon: AndrAIa is a beautiful, lithe woman who has men falling over themselves to die for her after they see her kicking ass in combat. Captain Capacitor actually comments that her boldness and bravery are part of what would make her so hard to lose.
- Hotter and Sexier: After the end of season 2, when the show left ABC, the creators had some more freedom with the female character models. Breasts became more defined rather than just a curved bump on the front, sashaying became a little more defined, and that's to say nothing of AndrAIa and Hexadecimal. Still, this trend is mostly noticeable in Dot. The first game of season 3 has her reboot into a Vampira/Elvira outfit with the plunging neckline and has her ripping the dress to walk easier and to Show Some Leg. By "Daemon Rising," she's also gotten a bit bouncier.
- Hulk Speak: Princess Bula.
- Humans Are Cthulhu: To the inhabitants of the Net "The User" has the power and skills of a deity, but is unknowable, unfathomable, and something of a jerk. Guardians will especially question "The User's" motive for introducing viruses into systems. Like a true Eldritch Abomination they are not actively malevolent or helpful, but are simply so far beyond the ken of Sprites, Viruses and Binomes as to upset their world without even knowing it.
- I Call It "Vera": Matrix has named his gun. Unfortunately, he is not exactly a creative genius, and he simply named it Gun.
- I Hate Past Me: After the time skip, Matrix feels that he was "a weak little boy" and insists on not being referred to as "Enzo." When the back-up copy of Enzo first emerges, Matrix is initally put off by him and refuses to admit that they are more similar than different.
- The Igor: Herr Doktor's assistant, Bunnyfoot.
- Incredibly Lame Pun: In "The Episode With No Name," Matrix visits a cantina. The name of the place? "Sibedar."
- Insult Backfire: From "Web World Wars":
Mouse: (regarding Hex) Just tell the witch to be ready!
Hexadecimal: (angered) I heard that! (happily) What a sweet thing to say!
- Intrepid Reporter: Mike the TV, believe it or not. When the Web creature has possessed Hexadecimal and is advancing on him he continues to report, even in the face of his own certain doom, and relates the public's right to know.
- It Is Beyond Saving: In the season 3 finale, Mainframe has been trashed so heavily by Megabyte's rule that even Bob finds it hopeless to actually save the city. His solution is to intentionally lose a Game, corrupting the system past the brink and causing a total systems failure, gambling that the User reboots the system from backup, restoring things to the way they were, instead of reformatting, which would annihilate everything completely. It works.
- It's a Wonderful Plot: Minor variation in the two-part Identity Crisis episode - Dot, despairing after Megabyte pulled a Kansas City Shuffle and enslaved the Binomes she tried to free, can not bring herself to fight in the game; she then gets a vision of what will happen if she does not (Bob reduced to a Null, Megabyte takes over Mainframe, etc.)
- It's the Only Way to Be Sure: As explained in "Trust No One," the Guardians won't take any chances upon finding a Web Creature in a Mainframe-type system. They'd rather destroy a whole system rather than risk a Web invasion into the entire Net.
- Just Friends: Bob and Dot spend a lot of time in the Will They or Won't They? stage, and even when they finally express their feelings they still spend a lot of time claiming that they are "just friends." It is not until Daemon has infected both of them that they admit they are deeply in love with one another.
- Killer Rabbit: Daemon is a cute, sweet woman with a friendly demeanor. She is also a super-virus looking to destroy the entire Net.
- Knight Templar: Most of the Guardian Corps.
- Large Ham: Mike the TV, Hexadecimal
- Late Arrival Spoiler: Megabyte and Hexadecimal being siblings came as a surprise in the late second season. Any biography of them will list this fairly early on, including the introduction on this very page.
- Leave the Camera Running: The duel between AndrAIa and the female Guardian in "The Episode With No Name" lasts one minute and thirteen seconds before either character draws their weapon.
- Left Hanging: The Grand Finale at the end of season three concluded all important and current storylines (Megabyte defeated? Check. Love interests together? Check. City repaired? Check. Dead characters returned to life for joyful reunion? Check), but the Daemon storyline was left open. Introduced earlier in season three, it revealed the existence of Daemon, a supervirus, and laid at her feet a lot of the previously-thought-random occurrences that lead to the current situation. The Daemon arc had little bearing on the immediate quest of the characters, the reclaiming of Mainframe from Megabyte, so it fell by the wayside once they left Guardian-controlled territory and was only resolved in season four.
- Leitmotif: Some characters, such as Megabyte, Hexadecimal and Mouse each have their own distinctive themes. The show's theme tune also crops up in-episode on a few, brief occasions, including as a wedding march.
- Let's Get Dangerous: Bob is relatively laid back and somewhat clumsy until the need arises, and then he turned into a prime action hero.
- Literal Ass-Kicking: Megabyte on Matrix
- Literal Genie: In "Enzo the Smart," Enzo tries to become twice as smart as everybody else. The computer tells him to go to the clock-speed room to adjust it, because the clock speed determines how fast sprites can run and process things. It asks him if he wants to be twice as smart as everybody else in Mainframe now or later. When he changes the clock speed, it slows down... keeping Enzo at his current IQ and making everybody else in Mainframe dumber.
- Little No: Dot utters one of the third variety right before her Big No, after Enzo is lost in the game.
- Love Redeems: Hexadecimal.
- Mad Scientist: Herr Doktor.
- Magic A Is Magic A: The general mechanics of how this universe works is well defined. The Net is the universe, containing everything and everyone in existence, and each system is a self-contained "planet." The web is an Eldritch Location; contained within the universe but not touching any inhabited planet and filled with beings that do not conform to natural law as it applies within the rest of the Net. The only flimsy issues are related to portals; at some points in the series they are simply the direct equivalent of internet connections, linking two distant systems that are connected through the Net, but at other points they seem to be almost magical within the series, linking systems that do not have any sort of Net-connection and bypassng any sort of firewall or other defenses set up between the two systems.
- Magical Security Cam: Lampshaded in My Two Bobs when Mike recaps Hex's sacrifice and mysterious change to Enzo's icon using show footage. "Just where do we get this footage from?"
- The Magnificent Seven Samurai: The post-Time Skip episode "Icons." Matrix and AndrAIa find themselves in a rundown computer system and have to teach the inhabitants to win games to ensure the system's survival. When Matrix finds that the Tagalong Kid has brought their makeshift team to seven, he utters a sarcastic "magnificent."
- Major-General Song: Season three closes with a performance by the Mainframe Strolling Players giving a summary and recreation of the preceding season and the end of season two, all to the tune of Gilbert & Sullivan.
- Male Gaze: In The Great Brain Robbery, Megabyte leans to the side for a better view of Mouse's backside, with the camerman focusing along with him.
Mouse: Let's get this show on the road, my meter's running.
Megabyte: (leans over and ogles her) Indeed.
- Mentor: Phong
- Merry Christmas in Gotham: In one episode, Big Bad and otherwise Complete Monster Megabyte goes to great lengths to infiltrate Enzo's birthday party, with no more heinous goal than to play electric guitar, put on a rocking show (including a duet with Bob), and leave.
- Mind Screw:
- Minion with an F In Evil: Hack and Slash, who are actually upset that Bob is gone because now nobody will stop them from actually doing bad things.
- The Mole: Cyrus was the only binome ever seen to cooperate with Megabyte without a viral takeover. As such he was often used undercover, since he could pass where Megabyte's normal troops could not.
- Monster Clown: The User character from Identity Crisis.
- Mood Whiplash: Near the end of My Two Bobs, you get scenes alternating between Dot and Mega-Bob's wedding and reports of Glitch Bob dying in the Supercomputer hospital.
- The Musical: The final episode of the series before it was Uncanceled had a great one reenacting the events of the entire show, sung to the tune of Gilbert & Sullivan's Modern Major General.
- My Car Hates Me: A Running Gag was that Bob's car would never cooperate with him. Apparently it had a bad interociter and clogged Daniel's tubes.
- Myth Arc: There is always the idea of what is really out there in the net. The second season introduced the hellish Web and the third season showed many new cities and started to get involved in the greater realms of the net. Mainframe does not have much by way of online capabilities until the fourth season, and that is when the supervirus Daemon is trying to take over the net.
- Never Say "Die": Played Straight for the first two seasons and change; "delete" and "erase" were used instead, in line with Unusual Euphemism and Getting Crap Past the Radar. However it was later averted, starting with Matrix's fairly subtle Death Blossom and growing more prevalent after. This was to be expected, as the later seasons are Darker and Edgier.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero:
- Mike the TV. Granted, he is not much of a hero and he had absolutely no idea that playing the opera would break the mirror and open a portal to the Web, but doing so gave Daemon the chance to send the web creature to them, which caused Nullzilla, Gigabyte, the web war, and eventually Megabyte taking over complete control of Mainfr—sorry, of Megaframe. Bob can be blamed for the whole mess as well, as his decision to leave Mike to entertain Hex at the end of "Painted Windows" explains why Mike is in Hex's lair in the first place.
- When facing Gigabyte, Hack and Slash try to distract him so he does not notice that the sector they are standing on is separated from the rest of Mainframe. When Gigabyte manages to attack and drain Hack it makes Slash so angry that he punches Gigabyte—and sends Gigabyte flying all the way back into Mainframe.
- Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: The episode "When Games Collide" does Exactly What It Says on the Tin, involving a war game merging with a dinosaur-hunting one, with the result that Megabyte and Bob are attacked by a T-Rex with a tank turret on its head.
- Nintendo Hard: Inverted - the game Funhouse has a fabled reputation for being absolutely deadly to anyone who enters it, but given that this is from the point of view of the people fighting the User, presumably from the usual point of view the game is very easy. However, this effectively makes every other game in the show Nintendo hard, since during the course of the series the User only wins 3 games onscreen. Phong mentions that before Bob, their win ratio was less spectacular.
- Nobody Poops: Averted.
- In "The Tiff" there is a montage of Bob passing the time in his apartment; at one point, he disappears from the screen and after a second we hear a toilet flush.
- There is a baby 1-Binome that is frequently shown with a full diaper, often to show how terrified the child is.
- No Ending: My Two Bobs ends on a cliffhanger.
- No Flow in CGI: All the clothing is tight and the hair is generally short and/or rigid. As they introduced characters with longer hair (like adult AndrAIa and web damaged Bob) you can see the difficulty, although with Daemon the unnatural flow of her hair added to unnatural look and behavior. (To be fair, the show was at the state of the art when it was made - it's just that Technology Marches On and in the late-2010s anyone with a couple-dozen networked home PCs with Poser installed on them can make CGI that's just as good.)
- No Fourth Wall: An obviously non-canon "Making Of" episode, which involves Megabyte finding a wormhole thingy that allows him to look in on the creation of the show he appears in. And he is not fazed by it at all. What the hell?
- Nothing Is the Same Anymore: Happens twice.
- Not So Different: Matrix had to confront his fears of becoming like Megabyte in the episode "Number 7."
- Oh Crap: An absolutely epic one when Matrix faces off against Megabyte. He taunts Matrix into throwing his gun away and fighting with his fists, which he does, and knocks the obscenely powerful villain across the room. The Oh Crap is Megabyte's reaction to seeing a dent in his chest.
- Omnicidal Maniac:
- Hexadecimal created the Medusa Bug to turn everyone to stone, and it would eventually degrade the infected to dust. She is also perfectly willing to destroy the Principal Office; when Megabyte informs her the entire system will be destroyed (including them both), she replies, "It will be glorious."
- Daemon, who as a kindness starts with herself. Nightmare fuel is added as every infected being counts down to their own death. Happily.
- One-Hit-Point Wonder: The user of "Treasure of Atlantis" (AndrAIa's home) seems to die quite easily. Good for him that he's given 15 Extra Lives.
- Opening Narration: The page header is the primary narration, which opened every episode from seasons one and two, but different characters took over the duties in seasons three and four, with one narration for each mini-arc. In the original Bob talked about finding The User, but this was never addressed directly in the show. The Toonami broadcasts did not include these narrations. Other narrations include:
Megabyte- "I come from the Net. Infecting systems, people, and cities, to this place, Megaframe: my domain. My format, Virus: To corrupt and conquer!"
Matrix- "I live in the games. I search through systems, people, and cities, for this place: Mainframe; my home. My format? I have no format. I am a renegade, lost on the Net."
Matrix (2nd narration)- "I come from the Net. I search through systems, people, and cities, for this sprite: Bob; my friend. My format? I have no format. I am a renegade, lost on the Web."
Dot- "I look to the Net. I search though systems, peoples and cities for these sprites: my family. My format: Command.Com of what was once Mainframe."
Daemon- "I am Daemon. I am the Word. My format: Super Virus. My function: to bring unity to the Net. All must hear... the Word."
- The season 4 episode "Sacrifice" had a Closing Narration.
Hexadecimal- "I infect the entire Net. I have spread through systems, peoples, and cities, from this place, Mainframe. My format: Virus: The queen... OF CHAOS! Ah ha ha ha ha ha!"
- Orbital Kiss: Bob and Dot in the season 3 finale.
- Out-of-Character Moment: The PlayStation game, which has numerous CGI cutscenes originally intended for a pilot episode, is full of these. Bob knocks the bejeezus out of Megabyte after winning their boss encounter, Hexadecimal practices taxidermy on Bob and Dot in a game over cinematic. Most notably, Hex has a Hugh Mann scene before the final battle, masquerading as Dot and seducing Bob with so much Fan Service that it is a shock to the typical ReBoot fan when first seen.
- That... doesn't sound so out of character for Hex.
- Oh, but it is. "Dot's" family unfriendly come on and nightmare fuel demasking ranks up there with the freakiest stuff in Season 3.
- Parental Abandonment: Both Dot and Enzo's parents are gone, because of their father Wellman Matrix's failed project that deleted most of the sprites.
- Parental Bonus: During Season 4, Mike the TV once organized an elaborate musical number... dressed as James Brown.
- Pac-Man Fever: Averted. The games were generally based on real, popular game genres. The Evil Dead inspired game was even parodied long before the official one came out.
- Pair the Spares: Mouse and Ray Tracer, introduced as alternate love interests for Bob and AndrAIa respectively. Once both were done hassling their respective love triangle counterparts, the two naturally get together.
- Paper-Thin Disguise: The viral binome Agent Twelve, who wears the classic "fake-glasses-and-moustache" disguise, along with a fedora.
- Percussive Maintenance: Bob to his car in "The Medusa Bug" after he claims that he has it working. Done later in the episode by Dot when the group is trying to escape the titular bug but Bob's car once again won't start.
- Pirate Girl: Princess Bula. The largest Binome in the show, and has the other pirates too scared to tell her she is not really a princess.
- Pirates: The Crimson Binome and the crew of the Saucy Mare arrive to plunder Mainframe for booty in The Crimson Binome, but abandon piracy once Dot shows them just how much money there is to be made in legitimate business. They become honest traders between ports and Dot's business partners, even if they never do abandon their pirate trappings, and return in season three as supporting characters and muscle for Matrix, AndrAIa and the Mainframe revolution
- The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: Averted, the Crimson Binome and the crew of the Saucy Mare are actual pirates, who plunder Mainframe for booty and wealth. However, once Dot shows just how much money she makes with her legitimate businesses they promptly give up piracy and become honest traders between ports, even if they never abandon their pirate trappings. This carries into Season 3, where the Binome's crew proves quite critical to helping rescue Bob from the Web.
- Plot-Relevant Age-Up: Enzo Matrix and AndrAIa were trapped in the Games, where time moves faster. The Year Inside, Hour Outside nature of game-time was even referred to before the Time Skip, albeit only in the immediately-preceding episode.
- Poirot Speak / Bilingual Bonus: Herr Doktor, on occasion.
- Portal Cut: One of Bob's time-locked portals does this to a guardian ship.
- Postscript Season: The planned fourth season was canceled, causing them to make a Grand Finale and happy ending at the end of the third; later, they got the opportunity to make a fourth season, and promptly ended it on a cliffhanger.
- Pre-Ass-Kicking One-Liner: "Okay, big boy, let's party."
- Promoted Fangirl: Gillian Anderson voices the Scully Expy in "Trust No One" because she was a fan of this series.
- Punch Clock Villain: The Crimson Binome and crew are committed software pirates, but this is not because they are evil, but because they enjoy the profits. The instant Dot makes them realize just how much money they can get in legitimate trade they drop piracy and move to honest work.
- Punny Name: Killabyte.
- Quick Draw: AndrAIa and the female Guardian have a classic showdown in "The Episode With No Name."
- Quirky Miniboss Squad: Hack and Slash.
- Reality Is Unrealistic: The producers originally wanted to hire an actual Asian voice actor to play Phong, and hired Mike Donovan to play Mike the TV instead. However, after the auditions they found that none of the actually-Asian actors sounded Asian enough, and Mike was hired to do both characters.
- Rent-A-Zilla: Nullzilla
- Replacement Scrappy: In-universe, in the eyes of the binomes at first when Enzo replaces Bob as Guardian.
- Reset Button: Quite literally. Mainframe crashes and the User, like anybody with a computer would, resets the system and restores from the last backup. The city is rebuilt, virus-infected files are cured and it even restores deleted files, meaning that dead characters come back to life. The season three finale is the happiest possible ending that could have been written for the series at that time.
- The Resolution Will Not Be Televised: Courtesy of the online revival.
- Running Gag: "You can't talk in these things!" (Except for the one time it was a Meaningful Echo.)
- Enzo pouncing on Bob to get his attention.
- To a lesser extent: "(Insert object name). Ya gotta love 'em."
- As Herr Doktor is the only Binome to have actual fingers, there has been more than one occasion in which they have been flattened or damaged in some way, and remaining in bandages for a long time afterwards.
Herr Doktor: Mein digits!!
- The baby One binome, who often completely fills his diaper when he sees something that scares him.
- Algernon Cholmondley-Worthington III and Binky, calmly facing the impending fiery crash of whatever they happen to be driving.
- Scannable Man: Used in the alternate future depicted in 'Identity Crisis'.
- Scaramanga Special: The original appears as the rebooted form of Matrix's gun in "Daemon Rising," when they are in an Austin Powers themed game.
- Sealed Evil in a Can: The heroes try to do this to Megabyte with a firewall. It works for a while, but he got out.
- Sexy Walk:
- Hexadecimal. I mean, just watch her. The censors let this pass because Hexadecimal is evil. Apparently they wanted children to believe Sexy Is Evil.
- Most of the female sprites in the show were given a distinctive "wiggle" to their hips as they walked. Watch Dot walking away from the camera in "Identity Crisis: Part 1."
- Shipper on Deck: Everyone in-universe ships Bob and Dot together, Mouse even goes right from giving Bob a very enthusiastic "Welcome Back" kiss, to basically giving Dot a What the Hell, Hero? speech about how she should tell Bob how she feels and stop wasting everyone's time.
- Shoo Out the Clowns:
- In Game Over, the ending of which marks the beginning of truly Darker and Edgier, Megabyte decides that he has finally become tired of the eternal bumbling of Hack and Slash. Once they they return from their current mission (which they fail, by the way), Megabyte resolves to put them at the forefront of his next assault on the Principal Office to get rid of them once and for all.
- Mike the TV appeared in only three or four episodes of Season 3 - far less often than in the other seasons.
- Shout-Out: Many and varied.
- The agents "Fax Modem" and "Data Nully" who arrived to investigate strange occurrences at the end of the second season; the latter of which was actually voiced by Gillian Anderson.
- The show is positively loaded with in jokes related to the greater Vancouver area. The different sections of Mainframe are named for Vancouver locations with the exception of G Prime, which is an entirely different reference.
- In the episode The Crimson Binome, a classic "Kilroy Was Here" sketch is on the wall of the cell they lock Bob in.
- "I am become Gigabyte - destroyer of systems!"
- The third season episode "Where No Sprite Has Gone Before" is littered with Star Trek references. It was written by the story editor of The Original Series, D.C. Fontana.
- Matrix's gun's "Death Blossom Mode" and The Last Starfighter.
- "Mainframe neo-virals." "I hate Mainframe neo-virals."
- The opening to the third season episode "Firewall" is a deadly sharp parody of the openings to the various James Bond films
- The last part of the Game Over episode, as seen here, counts as a shout out as a whole. It even ends with a Fatality... of sorts.
- In "Daemon Rising," the game witnessed seems to be Austin Powers without even the bother of changing the superficial details. Matrix reboots into Dr. Evil, Enzo reboots into Mini Me and Frisket reboots into Mr. Bigglesworth. Austin himself appears as the User, saying the word "Karma" instead of "mojo," and Matrix kills his enemy with one shot from the golden Scaramanga Special.
- During the System Restore, one of the Virals restored from backup exclaims (after being de-infected) "Great Norton's Ghost!". Norton Ghost is a computer backup software, used to perform essentially what just happened.
- In the Evil Dead-inspired game, Dot reboots into Morticia Addams... then trips over the dress and tears it open to become Elvira. Enzo, meanwhile, reboots into Michael Jackson from the "Thriller" video, and even performs some of his signature dance moves. In the same episode, Hexadecimal says "Say hello to my little friend!".
- Bob's car is always having trouble with its interocitor.
- In "Cross Nodes," when Bob and Dot enter a game Bob describes the user as somebody who is "raiding this tomb." When Dot reboots she pats her hips looking for something and remarks to Bob that she was hoping for a pair of .45s. Also, the User in that game resembles Rick O'Connell, the protagonist of The Mummy Trilogy.
- In the Playstation game, Hexadecimal says "Heeeeere's Hexy!".
- In "Infected," Dot battles Megabyte in a yellow robotic exoskeleton. In the same episode, while Dot is crushing Megabyte underfoot with said exoskeleton, his red pupils start to dim. Later on, Megabyte activates a self-destruct mechanism on his wrist.
- In "Firewall" in addition to the overall James Bond Homage mentioned above, has several other references. The episode's game itself has a Wacky Races theme to it - the User is Penelope Pitstop, and Cyrus and Frisket reboot into Dick Dastardly and Muttley respectively. The T-rex attack on Cyrus' vehicle resembles the famous scene from Jurassic Park when the T-rex escapes, and there is also a reference to The Indian in the Cupboard when Enzo is plummeting through the air.
- In "Icons," AndrAIa, after rebooting, wears an outfit very reminiscent of Xena's. In keeping with the Xena theme, the binome who tags after her is a blatant Gabrielle expy (she's even named Gabby). Also, the game shown at the beginning of the episode has Matrix, AndrAIa and Frisket rebooted as Mars Attacks!-style Martians. Also, a much more subtle shout out occurs when Backup jumps into the group and says "Make that seven" - Matrix sarcastically responds "Magnificent."
- In the Pantsu Hebi X game, Mega Bob tells Matrix to "Stop trying to hit him and hit him!"
- The episode "Talent Night" has a reference to Tron. It also contains many references to songs, music videos, and musicals—including one to Singin In The Rain!
- In the episode "Talent Night" there is a scene when Enzo is backstage where he passes a large purple cyclopian robot doing ballet. This is a reference to the YTV Station bumper, on which the series originally aired.
- In the episode "Gigabyte", Dot performs a Canopy-Rescue of Mouse like the one Rick Hunter used with Lynn Minmei in the Robotech episode "Countdown"
- Showdown At High Noon: AndrAIa and the female Guardian have a classic Quick Draw duel in "The Episode With No Name," drawing heavy inspiration from the works of Sergio Leone.
- Shown Their Work: One 0-Binome on the Saucy Mare covers up one of his two eyes with an eyepatch, even though it is not damaged. This is something that it is said Real Life pirates often did, and is what lead to the eye-patch wearing pirate image in the first place: Many pirates wore an eye-patch while going into battle so that that eye would become accustomed to seeing in the dark so, if they suddenly had to fight beneath decks (which would have had no lights at all, since candles and lamps would be extinguished for fear of starting a fire during combat) they would not need time to adjust to the different light levels, but could just remove their patch. The 1-Binome with the patch over his only eye, on the other hand...
- Show Some Leg: AndrAIa uses her skin-tight, revealing outfit to distract the guards and free the prisoners in Return of the Cimson Binome.
- Sibling Yin-Yang: Megabyte and Hexadecimal.
- Signature Device: The Guardians' keytools.
- Signature Style: Once you know that Brenden McCarthy also did work on Judge Dredd it is clear to see the visual similarity between the Guardians and the Judges.
- Sixth Ranger: In Season 4, Hexadecimal
- Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace: Played completely straight. Bob appears at the wedding right after Phong says the line and objects. Even when Dot convinces Bob to leave, this trope appears again when Phong asks if the couple has any objections, and then Glitch interrupts the wedding to reveal that groom-Bob is Megabyte.
- Spikes of Villainy: When Mike the TV meets Daemon he is expecting large gloomy spikes to display her evilness, and is very surprised at the sweet, cute woman facing him.
- Spy Speak: Parodied. Megabyte cannot understand his own lackeys' code, which is complete gibberish.
"The monkeys are restless and my dog has fleas!"
- Standard Police Motto: Bob's motto, "To mend and defend," is essentially this.
- Starfish Language: The Web Riders speak in the audio code of a dial-up modem.
- Star-Spangled Spandex[context?]
- Status Quo Is God: All of the first season and roughly the first half of the second is an example of this, but everything soon changes after that... The second half of the fourth season could be seen as a sort of Take That against that line of thought; supposedly everything is back to normal and the way it should be, but what if you had the chance to return to the memories before everything went to hell? You, and everyone you love, have changed.
- Stop Helping Me!:
- In one episode the Binomes try to win the game for Bob by triggering an Earthshattering Kaboom, while still inside the planet. Bob was not amused.
"I'm supposed to save them from the User, not themselves."
- In another episode, the entire population except Enzo was rendered stupid. Cue a game. Enzo finally discovers the optimum plan: Tell them the User needs their help more.
"We are helping! We are helping!"
- Stripperiffic: AndrAIa's outfit post-Time Skip sure is something.
- Stylistic Suck: The "True Stories Of Mainframe" were reinactments of previous episodes with very poor production values played by binomes.
- Sugary Malice: Daemon.
- Surrounded by Idiots:
- Megabyte was prone to this. The old ReBoot trading cards explained for Hack and Slash that "...Megabyte loaded them up with so much firepower that they only had a couple kilobytes to share between them." Alternatively, the video game offers the interpretation that Hack and Slash were once a 'family heirloom,' which broke into the individual pieces of Hack, Slash, and SCSI. Could explain what happened to any intelligence they might have had...
- When Enzo accidentally lowered the intelligence of everybody in Mainframe he had to deal with their attempts to "help" when they were all trapped in a game together. Eventually he discovered the key to victory: Have them "help" the User.
- The Tag: The final episode of the third season, which was the Grand Finale until the fourth season appeared, plays with this trope. The actual episode is over before the 15 minute mark and the credits start rolling. Mid-way through, static blurs in and Mike the TV explains that they are now going to have a musical, with all the main characters sitting in the theatre.
- Tagalong Kid: Enzo in seasons one and two (and four), he gets his own in season three's Icon.
AndrAIa: "Did that kid remind you of anybody?"
- Take a Number: Bob needs to get "slow food" from Al's Wait-And-Eat, and is told to take a number. Bob's number is "1000000000000," but since it's in binary, Bob remarks "4096? Must be the lunch rush..." But still, Al's waiter calls out "Now serving number 3..."
- Take That:
- In one of the Choose Your Own Adventure books we find out Bob hates Super Mario Bros. (Sega having been far more popular in the United Kingdom at the time, where the books were released.)
- In Talent Night, the guys from the Money For Nothing video by Dire Straits are booed off-stage. A case of Creator Backlash.
- The show responded to David Duchovny's moving of The X-Files filming from Vancouver to L.A. because of the rain by blowing up his Binome parody character in System Crash.
- Take Up My Sword: Enzo at the end of the second-season finale, when he picks up Glitch after Megabyte exiled Bob to the Web.
- Taking The Viral Tentacles: Phong.
- Thank the Maker: Phong occasionally exclaims, "Thank the User!" The other sprites view the User as a mixed blessing.
- The Movie: Commence squee.
- The Renaissance Age of Animation
- The Virus: Well, it is inside a computer...Megabyte and Daemon are near perfect examples.
- There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Matrix is practically the poster boy - just look at his bike.
- There Is No Try: "Matrix! Stop trying to hit him and hit him!" from the Pokemon knock off game, Pantsu Hebi X.
- They Do: Bob and Dot.
- Those Two Bad Guys: Hack and Slash in the beginning.
- Those Two Guys: Hack and Slash after the time skip.
- Time Skip: Between Game Over and Icons, where Enzo and AndrAIa go from young sprites to battle-hardened adults. It is later revealed that this was not a complete skip, only they passed so much time, so other characters remained largely (Though not completely) the same.
- Tiny Guy, Huge Girl: Specky and Princess Bula, during the last two episodes of season three.
- Toilet Humour: When the baby One binome gets scared, his diaper quickly and considerably expands...
- Took a Level in Badass: Enzo, who demanded people address him by the tougher name of Matrix. Bob as well, after fusing with Glitch.
- Took a Level In Dumbass: This happens to everyone in Mainframe during Enzo The Smart - except for Enzo, who was exempt from the process, and Mike the TV, who had already maxed his dumbass level.
- Totally Radical: When Bob initially presented his theories of virus rehabilitation to the Prime Guardian he was told that the idea was "radical." Bob took it as a compliment, but Turbo clearly meant it in its more traditional meaning of drastic and outside the norm.
- Training the Peaceful Villagers: The season three episode "Icons" had Matrix and AndrAIa training the inhabitants of a broken-down system to win the Games so that the system could survive after they left.
- Trash the Set:
- As season two progressed, several of the more frequently visited locales in Mainframe are destroyed as the series moved into more serious and arc-based territory. Bob's apartment was crushed by Nullzilla, and Dot's Diner was destroyed during the battle between Mainframe and the Web.
- The conclusion of season three features so much destruction of Mainframe in the war with Megabyte that the system is rendered unrecognizable and ultimately crashes.
- Tsundere: Hexadecimal; of course she is like that around everyone, it just takes a new level of danger around Bob.
- Uncanceled: After the Grand Finale at the end of season three the show was on hiatus for three years, when it was suddenly brought back for season four.
- Underwater Boss Battle: The one User Bob admitted he could not beat was in the underwater game, where he and Dot had become Mer-people and Enzo commanded a small submarine. Mostly due to Fake Difficulty because this was the only User with over 20 lives and would receive more lives on the final level. The User was a cheating bastard in this game.
- Unresolved Sexual Tension: Bob and Dot.
- Unusual Euphemism: Many, mostly computer terms. Doubles with Getting Crap Past the Radar at times. A particularly fun one...
Ray: "Told you I had it covered."
Matrix: "Covered my ascii!"
- Up to Eleven: Megabyte's electric guitar in direct reference to This Is Spinal Tap when he crashes Enzo's birthday party.
- Villain Forgot to Level Grind: Every User character that appears in System Crash since they are all undeleted RAM saved from their previous appearances and simply did not have the opportunity to level grind. Case in point Zaytan easily beats Enzo. Matrix easily beats Zaytan.
- Villainous Harlequin: Hexadecimal, although her powers and sociopathic tendencies (not to mention her more frightening masks) push her toward Monster Clown territory.
- Villainous Incest: While Megabyte's attempt to marry Dot may not seem like incest at first glance, it counts if you understand his origin. He was "born" from an explosion triggered by an experiment Gone Horribly Wrong made by Wellman Matrix (Dot's father), so technically he is Megabyte's father as well. Megabyte even calls the nullifed Wellman "father" and Hexadecimal (Megabyte's sister) calls Dot her sister late in the series. So Megabyte marrying Dot falls under this trope.
- The Voice: Al. The only thing he ever says is "What?!"
- Vomit Discretion Shot: In the third season, a very, very drunk crew member of the Saucy Mare is seen (and heard) vomiting profusely after drinking a little too much.
- The War Room: The Principal Office has a large-scale map of the entire city which Dot and Phong use to coordinate their war against Megabyte.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: We never see SCSI or Cyrus again after they meet on opposite sides of the Firewall in "Game Over." That is, until it is revealed that they are employed by the Mainframe Strolling Players as the bouncing ball and supporting dancer, respectively.
- Wham! Episode: "Web World Wars," the second season finale, is a slap in the face to conventional Western Animation, and "Game Over," the fourth episode of the third season: it seems to be a Breather Episode establishing the new status quo of Guardian Enzo, and then someone loses an eye.
- Wham! Line: "GAME OVER. USER WINS."
- What Measure Is a Viral Binome?:
- Bob really does not care about Megabyte's mooks at all. He lets them fall from the top of the Tor, crushes them in their ABCs at the junkyard, blows up their ships in Games, even runs them over with a Megatruck at one point. Even in season 3, when the mooks are no threat to Glitch-Bob, he still takes the time to blow up an ABC. No Deletion Ever My Ascii.
- In "Showdown," after the climactic fight with Megabyte, Matrix lets him live with the admonition that he was not worth killing. Apparently the dozens of viral binomes that Matrix killed to get to Megabyte, binomes that were infected by Megabyte and had no choice in the matter, were worth it.
- Enzo wipes out an entire squad of infected Guardians in the middle of a parlay. This is especially jarring since in a previous episode he went so far to make sure the drones he and Turbo proceeded to wipe out didn't have personality chips.
- What Measure Is a Non-Sprite?: Bob holds unconventional beliefs about the treatment of viruses, especially as a member of an order like the Guardians, where everybody else has a "Delete on Sight" policy and he believes in the potential for rehabilitation.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Pulled on Matrix several times.
- White Mask of Doom:
- Hexadecimal has a whole bunch of masks that she can switch freely between at a moment's notice. Removing it would cause her transfinite power to overload and take out all of Mainframe.
- Hexadecimal's mask-shaped bomb in Racing The Clock.
- Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: The Game that shows up in "Daemon Rising" casts Matrix, Frisket, Little Enzo, and AndrAIa as characters in an Austin Powers-themed game. After AndrAIa drags in the User (Powers), she wonders aloud how to win the game and Matrix (As Dr. Evil) then shoots the user with the Scaramanga Special.
- Will They or Won't They?: Bob and Dot. They Do.
- Word of God: While not explained in the show until the fourth season, it was revealed by Gavin Blair after the second season episode "Gigabyte" that Megabyte and Hexadecimal were originally one supremely powerful virus, split into two more manageable forms. It makes the events of that episode a little more understandable.
- The Wiki Rule: Here.
- Wolverine Claws: Megabyte's weapon of choice. Unfortunately (for him) they are not made of adamantium.
- World of Cardboard Speech: Matrix's speech against Megabyte in their fight near the end of season three.
- World-Healing Wave
- Note the missed opportunity for a Title Drop here.
- Year Inside, Hour Outside: Time moves much faster inside a game relative to the outside world, which itself runs at a high rate compared to the world The User comes from.
- Which makes no sense, when you think about it.
- This is very much subject to point of view. Games are typically high-priority processes, after all.
- Which makes no sense, when you think about it.
- You Bastard: See No Fourth Wall earlier.
- You Can Panic Now: Mike the TV (Megabyte in disguise) to everyone in Mainframe in the final episode.
- You Can't Go Home Again: Matrix.
- You Have Failed Me...:
- Megabyte makes frequent references to the punishments he metes out to those who fail him, but we never do see him delete anybody for failure. Ironically, he did unformat one of his troops for succeeding.
- When Deacon reports to Daemon that he has been unable to breach Mainframe's firewall, Daemon explains that it is okay and she forgives him. However, when he goes to her later and says he failed again, she activates her infection and causes him to delete himself.
- You Rebel Scum: Utered by one of Megabyte's guards in "Megaframe."
- Zeroes and Ones: The Binomes; "1"s are three cubes in a stack with legs and one eye; "0"s are two-eyed and short with round head-bodies.