The Mysterious Cities of Gold/YMMV

    Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.


    • Americans Hate Tingle and Germans Love David Hasselhoff: The very, very, very different fate of the show in its two countries of origin: obscure, rapidly forgotten show in Japan; and a generation-defining classic in the French-speaking world.
      • Also, while the show is entirely set in Latin America, and a Spanish dub exist, it was never broadcast, aside from some Latin America channels. Undestandably, as Spanish conquistadors are the Big Bads.
        • The whole show is very careful to reinforce the point that aside from the three children (and any other children they meet), very few are Black and White Morality "good guys". Aside from those mentioned above, at least one tribe of Native Americans tries to sacrifice the children, and even the fabled Heva civilization ended up in a war of mutually assured destruction with Atlantis. Arguably the central conceit in giving the medallions to children at birth is because they would only use them for the right reasons.
    • Canon Sue: Mendoza's hyper-competence at (almost) everything almost puts him in this category. But mostly, he's just a cool guy for the Kid Hero to hang around with.
      • One notable (and rather amusing) exception comes to mind: in one episode, Mendoza uses his trickery to steal a cannon from the other Spaniards and bring it to the allied fort they're about to attack. Mendoza is confident the powerful cannon will hold the Spaniards at bay... until the time comes to use it and almost every single shot goes wide. Turns out he knew how to set the cannon up and how to arm it, but not how to properly aim the damn thing.
        • Oh, he knew how to aim it - he explicitly states the first two are "warning shots", with Pedro aiming - Gaspard tells Gomez that must mean Mendoza cannot aim a cannon. The third shot (aimed by Mendoza) misses, but only just, giving Gaspard a haircut in the process. The fourth is likely to hit, but spoiled by the cannon ropes giving way - nevertheless, the ballistic trajectory comes close to making Gaspard a lot shorter and considerably less alive. This leaves the plot to move forward, while avoiding the fact that sword and spear injuries are easier to bowdlerise than those made by a cannonball.
      • And not to mention, Mendoza's only there to get the kids out of situations they don't get out of themselves. The kids actually manage to outsmart him, even with the episode with the cannon. That said, in that particular incident it becomes clear for the first time that while his guile and cunning work well on the Spaniards, the natives tend to be inclined to shoot first and ask questions later (for very good reason, given the historical precedent).
      • There are several instances where Mendoza's planning and Batman Gambit strategy does not work out the way he intends. He's pretty adept at rescuing the situation via Xanatos Speed Chess, however - I don't think the children outsmart him so much as his adult predispositions lead him to try adult solutions (e.g. firing the cannon), which the children can circumvent (e.g by sneaking past the bad guys and using their own methods, which in later episodes usually involve fetching the Condor and scaring the bejeezus out of the antagonists).
    • Complete Monster:
      • Conquistador Francisco Pizarro is the conqueror of the Incan Empire and a cruel, greedy man out for his own enrichment. Seeking the Cities of Gold, Pizarro tries to have entire villages razed and to kill or enslave young Esteban and his friends. Taking over the Incas, Pizarro forces them into slavery and massacres a great deal of them, wiping out their empire to establish control. Ostensibly loyal to the Spanish crown, Pizarro's only true loyalty is to himself and his insatiable greed.
      • King Menator is the cruel ruler of the Olmecs, an underground race seeking immortality. Tyrannizing many of the local tribes, Menator kills and harvests countless innocents for their skin cells to rejuvenate himself and the Olmecs, trying to have Esteban and his friends subject to the same fate and ordering an entire village massacred when they escape into its borders. Menator seeks the Cities of Gold for its priceless technology, using his flying weapon to vaporize many of the Mayans—-whom he regards as utterly inferior-—when they rise up against him, and even horribly beating the young Tao against a cliff side with the threat of killing him if he's not allowed access to the Cities of Gold. Though preaching everything he does is for the benefit of his race, Menator only intends to preserve those "worthy" while dismissing the lives of the rest and even his own loyal soldiers, intent only on taking what he can and killing everyone else in his way.
    • Ear Worm: The theme tune. Doodoododo, ahh ahh ahh...
    • Gateway Series: For UK and other viewers outside North America this (along with Ulysses 31) was the Gateway Series to anime in the same way as Ranma ½ or Sailor Moon was for US viewers.
    • Getting Crap Past the Radar: "The Olmecs love children!" - though arguably as a dying race who require the life force of the children to keep their stasis strategy going, the line is played completely straight in this instance.
    • Nightmare Fuel (by children's TV standards): The Jade Mask. Dear God, The Jade Mask....
      • The documentary of a chicken's head being cut off in a children's show.
      • The BBC never screened the documentaries (which also contained re-enactments of sacrifice and grave-robbing), possibly for time constraints as much as content.
    • Squick: Maina is about the same age as the heroes, but she's engaged to a man who looks old enough to be her father.
    • Toy Ship: Esteban×Zia
    • Values Dissonance: Maina, a tween, is engaged to Viracocha, an adult man. Apart from Tao, who's disappointed she isn't available, everyone takes it in stride. Probably a case of Truth in Television; the concept of legal adulthood is a relatively new one and adolescents getting married was fairly common back then.
      • Hell, there's enough of it in The Bible!