Monday, 18 November 2013

Anime Review - Mysterious Cities of Gold - Series 2

So, 29 years after the original series ended, the new series is finally here..finally, I mean, its not like there haven't been numerous announcements that the series would return before, but this time round, something has actually materialised.

Although "series 2" of MCoG was first officially shown in France during Christmas 2012, its only now, near Christmas 2013, that the English dub has finally surfaced, and, unusually for a series which has been so eagerly anticipated, it is being shown on an obscure satellite TV channel called "Kix!".

Contrary to what people were saying prior to its release, this series is NOT a reboot or a redo of the original, but is instead a fully fledged sequel, using the same characters, and chronicles their further adventures after the ending of the first series.

Thus far, five episodes have aired on Kix!, and, at the time of writing this, the first two episodes are available to view on their website (HERE ), but the entire series is planned to have 26 episodes.

The storyline takes place roughly one year after the original series ended. Esteban, Tao and Zia took off in the Great Golden Condor in search of the remaining six cities of gold, while Mendoza, Sancho and Pedro decided to return to Spain, having salvaged a fortune in gold from the city they found (which was subsequently destroyed).

The series prologue however shows that when Mendoza et al returned home, they had their fortunes confiscated and were thrown in prison by a mysterious robed and hooded man, who is also seeking the location of the remaining cities of gold.
The robed man sets an elaborate trap to lure Esteban and Zia back to Spain, using Mendoza as bait, after he discovers that they have come into possession of an ancient map which shows the location of the remaining cities.
After mounting a daring rescue, Esteban and company manage to decode the map, and set course for China.

As it stands, the series looks set to take place entirely in China, other than for the first two episodes which serve to move the story on from where it originally finished.
Stylistically, there series has not changed, even though the animators are now using cel-shaded animation in place of traditional (and more expensive) ink and paint, they still manage to recreate the characters exactly how they looked back in 1983.
That said, the use of computer aided animation has allowed some of the on screen effects to be updated, for example, the Great Golden Condor now looks more realistic (or as realistic as a giant flying machine made of gold and shaped like a condor can look), as the animators have included moving feathers to the wingtips, and a pair of jet exhausts to the tail.
One notable but odd change is made in the form of close ups of swords showing they have rounded, non lethal tips, but yet spears, arrowheads and knives are shown still with nice pointy stabby ends, and even at one point a man shoots at Esteban with a musket but misses, so the original series' "peril" is still present in this series, although they seem to be attempting to sanitise it.

Some slight changes in dialogue have occurred as well, for example, in the first series, Tao would refer to his people as "the people of Hiva", whereas now their original name of "the people of Mu" is used instead.

So, thus far, im quite impressed with the series, and am looking forward to the remaining episodes. It still, well, thus far anyways, manages to keep the blend of historical, sci-fi, fantasy and adventure without allowing one aspect to overpower the rest, like the original did....keep it up!

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