This will only excite about three dozen people, but those three dozen souls will be stricken mute with wonder and paralyzed by glee. Twenty-five years later, there is actually going to be a sequel to Mysterious Cities of Gold, the 39-episode cartoon that debuted in 1982 as a US-Franco-Japanese co-production. Using Japanese animators and DIC and Studio Pierrot writers and talent, I guess you could say this was a forebear of the current “world style” of comics and animation.
The show has run on Nickelodeon and other channels sporadically since, (when last we looked it was on Netflix) but retains a magnetic nostalgic appeal for those who saw it at an early age—including such folks as FMB, with whom we watched it last winter. The story involves three kids in 1532, Esteban, a Spanish boy, and Zia and Rao, two South American natives, who go to the New World in search of a city of gold. The animation was very limited—did we mention DIC was involved—and the voice acting unconvincing in spots, but the story and the imagination on display were so ambitious that it’s very easy to get swept in the storyline as Esteban retraces the steps of his father as the party discovered lost tribes and strange civilization after strange civilization—inevitably leaving them in rubble, but hey, cartoons do rubble very very well. The show was accompanied by a stone cold killer of an ’80s synthesizer track in all its glory. Watching it in the present day, The Beat could not help but feel the real mystery of the show was the child voice actors, never heard from again, but living on in syndication immortality.
Anyway, a NEW series is on its way! Once again from DIC and Studio Pierrot—apparently it picks up right where the first season left off, 30 years ago, as Estaben, Zia, and Tao go off to Asia in search of more adventure….and more destroyed lost tribes, to be sure. Each episode will once again be accompanied by documentary featurettes at the end of each episode. We’re sure a few people reading this are going to be swept back to their childhoods by these NEW stills:
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.