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Aaahh!!! Real Monsters is an American animated television series about adolescent monsters in training, developed by Klasky Csupo for Nickelodeon. The show ran for four seasons on Nickelodeon's main United States cable channel and was rerun on Nicktoons Network until 2006.
The show focuses on three monsters in particular (Ickis, Oblina, and Krumm) who attend an institute for monsters under a city dump and learn to frighten humans. Many of the episodes revolve around the monsters making it to the surface in order to perform "scares" as class assignments. The show takes place in a landfill near New York City, in Newark, New Jersey.
Before the final title was chosen, which took over 5 years, the series had the tentative title Monsters. The characters guest-starred in the 1999 Rugrats episode #106 Ghost Story. Before that, David Eccles, the voice of Krumm, provided the monster voice coming from under Chuckie's bed.
- Ickis is the main protagonist of the series. His method of scaring humans is the ability to grow bigger. However, due to Ickis' large ears, he is often confused with a bunny rabbit. Ickis also tends to be on the nervous side and often has a lack of self-confidence, partly from trying to live up to the legacy of his father, Slickis, who was the academy's most renowned student. During Ickis' first appearance in the series, he was shown wearing glasses. This was later removed. He is voiced by Charles Adler (Ryūsei Nakao in the Japanese dub).
- Oblina comes from a wealthy monster family, and is considered to be The Gromble's best student. She is shaped like a black and white, upside down candy cane. One of her favorite methods of scaring humans is reaching within herself and pulling out her internal organs, and she has considerable talent for shapeshifting into various terrifying forms. She also has a talent for inducing nightmares in humans, by sticking her finger in their ear and tickling their brains while they sleep. Voiced by Christine Cavanaugh (Romi Park in the Japanese dub).
- Like the rest of his family, Krumm's eyeballs, rather than being attached to his body, are thus usually seen carried in his hands; if he requires the use of both hands, he can carry his eyes delicately in his mouth. His most valuable tool in scaring is his overwhelming armpit stench, though he doesn't depend on it. He also uses his eyeballs to scare humans, but at times has lost them in episodes. He tends to be more gluttonous than his companions, and he has acrophobia. Voiced by David Eccles.
- The Gromble
- The Gromble (or more simply as just "Gromble") is the main antagonist of the series. Gromble is the intimidating and strict headmaster of the monster school, who demonstrates his tough love by belittling his students for poor scares. He is a tall, green-gray monster with two tufts of head hair, a beard and a tail, and wears a belt and a red pump on each of his four feet, which makes him look like a scary clown. In a controversial move in the second episode, The Gromble can be seen eating one of his students in one bite (although he spits him out after chewing him up). The Gromble's voice and appearance resemble those of the Chief of the Blue Meanies in The Beatles animated film Yellow Submarine. Voiced by Gregg Berger.
- The Snorch
- The Snorch is a large and seemingly unintelligible monster who performs punishments on students who break the rules. Some of the punishments that The Snorch has handed out are square dancing and listening to human music. It is later revealed that he is actually quite intelligent when he is given an artificial voice box. It breaks quickly, leaving him unable to speak properly once again. The reason of its malfunction is due to his thick, primitive vocal chords. Voiced by David Eccles.
- Zimbo is a monster who resembles a bee with one mammalian leg and a humanoid face with green hair. Because of his small size and flying ability, he works as a spy for The Gromble, reporting any unruly behavior by the other monsters. Also, he's the only one who understands the Snorch's speech. Voiced by Tim Curry.
- Simon is an egotistical monster hunter who has dedicated his life to capturing monsters, particularly Ickis, and proving their existence to the world. His character is similar to that of Mr. Crocker from The Fairly Odd Parents, Dib from Invader ZIM, and Plankton from Spongebob Squarepants, with some differences: Mr. Crocker is employed as a teacher, Plankton works at an "empty" restaurant, Dib is obsessed with space aliens rather than monsters, and Simon does not appear to have a job of any kind. Despite his state of unemployment, Simon is actually quite wealthy. He is shown to have a stash of money, which he once used to hire other hunters to do his work for him. Voiced by James Belushi.
- Slickis is Ickis' famous father, one of the most talented monsters. He is featured mainly in the episode Chip off the Old Beast. We learn some of the reasons he is famous in History of the Monster World. Ickis is always under stress to live up to his accomplishments, until he showed him that even he had a rough time in school. Voiced by Billy Vera.
- Horvak is Krumm's father, and thus, not only looks like Krumm, but also carries his eyes in his hands. He lost one eye, literally, at the Battle of Lexington, when a minuteman mistook it for a bullet and used to fire the first shot of the American Revolution. As such, he wears a black glove on that hand (instead of having a black patch over an eye). He began working as a mold-farmer after flunking out of Monster Academy, although Krumm believes he dropped out willingly. He is carrier of a family curse called "The Curse of the Krumm", which causes those affected to lose their horrendous stench.
- Mama Gromble
- Mama Gromble is the Gromble's embarrassingly overprotective mother. Although she means well, she insists on treating her son like a child.
- Sublima is Oblina's mother. Looking like a bloated version of Oblina, Oblina calls her "mumsy", but Sublima usually makes Oblina call her "mumsy dearest", a pop culture reference to American actress Joan Crawford. Sublima does not like scaring and wants Oblina to leave the academy to learn how to take care of the family fortune.
- Skeetch is Oblina's father. He is skinny just like she and is the nicer one of her parents. He is proud of Oblina, whom he calls "Stripes". While Krumm's father looks identical to Krumm and Ickis is extremely similar to Slickis, Oblina takes traits from both her parents: Her mother's black and white striped coloration, eyes and lips, and her father's stick-like body. This may be a hint as to how each monster has his or her own unique look.
- Bradley is a ten-year-old boy and friend of Ickis, which makes him the monsters' only human friend. Bradley first met the monsters formally when he made a deal with Simon to help capture them after Ickis scared him one night. Ickis gave Bradley a change of heart from his cage by reminding him what would happen if Simon exposed the monsters' existence: It would cause widespread hunting of their species, which would eventually lead to their downfall. Bradley then agreed to release the monsters and has been their friend ever since. Voiced by Brett Alexander.
- The Shroink
- An elderly monster with very little short term memory fond of telling stories from his youth.
From October 1994 to around 2000, Aaahh!!! Real Monsters was on Nickelodeon. In 2002 it started airing on Nicktoons TV. In 2006 it was taken off Nicktoons Network (formerly known as Nicktoons TV) and was shown occasionally on Sundays on Nickelodeon's "Nick Rewind." It often appears on Nick.com's Turbonick, an online programming broadcast.
As of January 2008, Aaahh!!! Real Monsters still airs on Nicktoons daily at 9:30 p.m. in the UK.
In Germany it airs from Monday to Friday at 11:45 p.m. on the regular "Nick" channel
- Nick on Star TV (1995–1996)
- Nickelodeon Turkey 2007-2008 CNBC-E 1999-2000
Video releases and merchandising
From 1995 to 1997, select episodes of Aaahh!!! Real Monsters were released on VHS tape. There is yet to be an official DVD release of the series, though there could be one soon, as Amazon has made a deal with Nickelodeon to release their old cartoons onto DVD.
The complete first season is available on PlayStation Network for view on the PS3 (PlayStation 3) and PSP (PlayStation Portable) systems.
The complete first and second seasons are now available on iTunes.
Mattel produced a series of Aaahh!!! Real Monsters action figures in 1995. They each stand approximately 4 inches (10 cm) tall and include an action feature. Other products based on the cartoon include Fleer trading cards, books, plush toys, pens, hats, backpacks, notepads, cups, and videos. At one point, General Mills also included small, promotional flip books of Ickis, Krumm, Oblina, and the Gromble in its Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal.
A video game based on the TV series was released for the Super NES and Sega Mega Drive/Genesis by Majesco in 1995. Ickis also appeared in Nicktoons Racing for the PlayStation, PC, and Game Boy Advance yet was missing from the Game Boy Color version. A Game Boy Advance release would end up being the last Real Monsters and Ren & Stimpy video games.
The characters were also created in full 3D for Microsoft's Nickelodeon 3D Movie Maker.
After the success of The Rugrats Movie, Nick had plans to make a film of Aaahh!!! Real Monsters. However, production of the movie was shut down due to the story being "too dark" for children.
- Ickis, Krumm, and Oblina (among other characters) cameo in episode 106 of Rugrats, "Ghost Story".
- ^ Referenced twice in episode 1-04 (Monstrous Makeover / A Wing and a Scare).
- ^ Warner, Fara. "NICK ROCK(O)S LICENSING BOAT." Brandweek. Volume 35, Issue 5. January 31, 1994.