In the year 1532, a Spanish orphan named Esteban joins a party of Spaniards in their search for one of The Seven Cities of Gold in the New World, hoping to find his father. He is joined on his quest by Zia, an Incan girl, and Tao, the last descendant of the sunken empire of Mu ("Hiva" in the English dub). The series is a mix of ancient South American history, archaeology, and science fiction. Esteban, Zia, and Tao encounter the Mayans, Inca, and Olmecs during their journey. The characters discover many lost technological wonders of the Mu Empire, including a solar powered ship (the Solaris) and The Golden Condor, a huge solar-powered would-be ornithopter (mechanical bird), capable of traveling considerable distances under the sun's power alone.
They are constantly pursued by antagonists Gomez and Gaspard, who are also in search of the Cities of Gold. It is the 16th century. From all over Europe great ships sale west to conquer the New World, the Americas. These men eager to seek their fortune, to find new adventures in new lands. They long to cross uncharted seas and discover unknown countries. To find secret gold on a mountain trail high in the Andes. They dream of following the path of the setting sun that leads to Eldorado, and the Mysterious Cities of Gold.
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This 1980's series, loosely based on Scott O'Dell's novel "The King's Fifth" is a superb blend of Japanese animation, French writing, and some of the best music ever. The series which is one big story arc follows a group of Spaniards in the 16th century who go looking for a city of gold that is hidden somewhere in Central or South America, they are accompanied by an Inca girl who can decipher clues to its location and later meet other people along the way. The storyline includes mythology of lost continents of Atlantis and Mu (Hiva in this story), and of their supposed highly advanced technology that rivals today's. This series was the jewel of Nickelodeon's television programming in the 1980's and became a cult classic. It was previously released on DVD in Quebec and France in the early 2000's and Japan a few years later. It is now set for a long overdue US release with excellent special features. I speculate that the success of bootleg copies of the series may have contributed to it finally being released on DVD in English speaking countries just like what happened with the series Sea Quest DSV. The series also includes a music soundtrack by Haim Saban and Shuki Levy recorded with synthesizers which is worthy of a Grammy and an Emmy. This soundtrack is better than most movie soundtracks and has been released on LP and CD over the decades. I am ecstatic about this release and will be buying both editions. It is a show that people who watched it growing up will want their kids to see. I watched this all the time when it was on Nickelodeon in the 80's and am glad it is getting the release it deserves.
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This show was produced in the year I was born, and was one of the shows that stood out from my childhood. Even twenty years after watching it I could still sing the theme song! The series itself is successful because of its memorable characters, its intelligent and thought out storyline and its willingness to break the barriers of children's TV and create a show that appeals to a wider audience. Due to its lingering popularity with the original fans of this show (and the recent trend of 80s animation making cult comebacks), Fabulous Films could have probably gotten away with throwing all the episodes on DVDs and leaving it at that. However this box set is well packaged, comes with a lovely information book and every disc comes with some bonus materials (including missing scenes, concept art, interviews etc.). It's been lovingly restored (even though nothing short of complete reproduction is going to make the 28 year old animation look perfect, it still looks great to watch) and the sound and music sound wonderful, too. So I not only have to congratulate the original production staff for creating a great series but I also have to congratulate Fabulous Films for producing a fantastic release.
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