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Other Nick Gems - Misc. shorts, claymation, etc.
The Mysterious Cities of Gold
"It is the 16th Century,
Esteban, Zia, and Tao
The Path of the Setting Sun
The Mysterious Cities of Gold is considered by many to be the greatest cartoon ever created. It ran for 39 episodes and was produced in 1982 and 1983 as a French Japanese co-production. It was loosely based on the book The King's Fifth by Scott O'Dell.
The story begins in the year 1532 when Esteban, an orphan from Barcelona, who allegedly can control the sun, decides to accompany the Spanish navigator Mendoza to the New World (The Americas). Upon joining Mendoza, Esteban discovers Zia, a young Incan girl who Mendoza had kidnapped from her people because of her great intelligence. Eventually they also find Tao, a Hivan boy who is the last of his people. Mendoza is also accompanied by Pedro and Sancho, two goofy comic relief sailors.
The story focuses on Esteban, Zia, and Tao, who seem to be the most innocent of the group. Mendoza, despite being a "good guy" is motivated by greed, and remember he also kidnapped Zia. Esteban and Zia both have Medallions that have control over the sun and the moon, respectively. Upon their arrival in South America, the children, Mendoza, Sancho, and Pedro discover a giant golden Condor, that they can fly around in. This was created by the Hivan people.
One of the other subplots is the fact that Esteban is searching for his father. In fact, Esteban does find him, but unfortunately his father sacrifices himself to save the others (I forget exactly how). Mendoza, Sancho, and Pedro learn that the man was indeed his father, but feel it is best not to tell Esteban, and he never finds out.
The main antagonists to the story are the evil and greedy Commander Gomez, and the strange looking Olmecs. The Olmecs used a giant crystal to convert sunlight into geothermal energy, and the resulting radiation might be the reason they look so strange.
In the end of the series, Esteban, Zia, Tao, Mendoza, Sancho, and Pedro find the Seventh City of Gold. Esteban and Zia use their medallions to open the doors to it.
The Mysterious Cities of Gold mixes many true historical facts into the series. Of course, there really were Olmecs and Incas. Esteban was the name of a real explorer. MCoG also portrayed the Native Americans in a positive and sympathetic light.
Noah submits the following:
"Estaban's father, the High Priest of the City of Gold (first one found --six others believed to remain remember)---is going into the Earth to stop the POWERFUL Olmec Solar agitator (A little James Bond "Man with the Golden Gun" touch of my own)--the device that was to power the Olmec's out of hyper-sleep, that death like sleep many were in.... In any case, having been STABBED by the Olmec chief's right hand man he is carried by his aides into a tunnel..that was burned into the Earth after the casing of the solar device failed---melting through the Earth. He took the casing and put it back on the device. It was HOT down in the cavern that upon being knocked back from the intense heat we see his gold face mask fall to the ground---and quickly melt--solid gold.
We see a glimpse of his face, he's his father alright--he has his hair."
There were 39 Episodes:
Esteban, Child of the Sun, Crossing the Atlantic, Heroes Again, Adrift on the Endless Sea, The Abduction of Zia, The Ship Solaris, Secret of the Solaris, The New Continent, The End of the Solaris, Secret of the Temple, Messengers of the Region, Secret of the Medallions, Mystery of the Parents, Esteban's Medallions, The Subterranean Secret, The Urubus, The Great Condor, Maiden Flight of the Great Condor, The Nazca Plateau, The Spaniard's Cannon, The Amazons, The Mirror of the Moon, The Jade Mask, The Manuscript, The Lake of Gold, The Swamps, The Doors of Night, The Forest of Statues, The Burning Shield, The Escape, The Village of the New Sun, Attack of the Olmecs, The Reunion, Revolt of the Mayas, The Olmec Machine, Aerial Pursuit, The City of Gold, The Great Legacy, The End of the City of Gold