[[caption-width-right:308:[[CrowningMusicOfAwesome Children of the sun\\
See your time has just begun\\
Searching for your ways\\
Through adventures every day]]\\
[[note]]Left to Right: Zia, Esteban, Kokapetl and Tao[[/note]]]]

->''It is the 16th century. From all over Europe, great ships sail west to conquer the New World, the Americas. The 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 El Dorado, and [[TitleDrop the Mysterious Cities of Gold]].''
-->-- OpeningNarration

''The Mysterious Cities of Gold'' (Japanese: 太陽の子エステバン ''Taiyou no Ko Esuteban'', ''"Child of the Sun, Esteban"''; French: ''Les Mystérieuses Cités d'or''), is a Franco-Japanese co-production dating to 1982. The show is animated in a style that's [[{{Animesque}} a distinct combination of Japanese and French animation]], features a long, continuous storyline, and has a dedicated and loyal fanbase.

It was aired in several countries, and was shown in the United States on Creator/{{Nickelodeon}} during the late 1980s.[[note]]Anyone brought up in the UK in the 1980s will remember it as one of the three cartoon serials on permanent loop along with ''WesternAnimation/AroundTheWorldWithWillyFog'' and ''WesternAnimation/DogtanianAndTheThreeMuskehounds''.[[/note]] ''The Mysterious [[CityOfGold Cities of Gold]]'' was notable in its disregard of NeverSayDie and GoshDangItToHeck, two tropes which have dogged American cartoons well into the present day. In some countries where this series was shown ([[BadExportForYou although not in the United States]]), each episode was followed by a short documentary exploring subjects related to the episode. The documentaries were funded by the NHK.

The year is 1532, a time of exploration (and exploitation) of the New World. The prize foremost in the mind of every Spanish Explorer is the Mysterious Cities of Gold, said to lie deep within the heart of the South American continent. Of course, none of this means anything to Esteban, a young orphan currently living in Barcelona under the care of the Church.

The boy knows very little about his past -- his only connection to it being a [[OrphansPlotTrinket strange, crescent-shaped locket he's had since being brought to Barcelona as a baby]] and a mysterious ability to [[CueTheSun summon the sun on cue]] (thus earning him the nickname "The Child of the Sun.")

But all that is about to change...

One day, when Esteban is out and about in the city, a charismatic explorer named Mendoza crosses his path. He later claims to be the man who brought Esteban to Spain from the New World after rescuing him from death at sea. To prove this claim, he produces a round ornament that fits perfectly into the boy's locket. Mendoza offers to take Esteban on his next journey of exploration to the New World where the boy will presumably get the chance to learn more about his birth parents. Of course, Mendoza's intentions aren't ''entirely'' altruistic and in the boy's interests, as it's the explorer's belief that Esteban's locket and strange powers are somehow connected to the Mysterious Cities of Gold, which he hopes to find.

Esteban accepts the CallToAdventure and heads for the New World, but he quickly learns that Mendoza may not be entirely worthy of his trust. Proof of this lies in the fact that Mendoza has kidnapped an Incan girl (who had been taken to Spain and given to the Queen years before) and stowed her away on the ship they're currently travelling on. The girl, named Zia, has the ability to read knotted strings called ''quipu'' -- an ability which Mendoza and his employers hope will come in handy on their quest for the Mysterious Cities. Esteban quickly bonds with Zia after discovering, to his amazement, that she has a locket that looks identical to his. Could she somehow have a personal connection to the Mysterious Cities of Gold as well?

During his journey to the New World, Esteban meets many more interesting people, including Mendoza's servants, the PluckyComicRelief duo, Sancho and Pedro, and Tao, an island boy whose ancestors were (he claims) an advanced civilization capable of great magical and technological feats. The trio also come across ''The Golden Condor'', a solar powered, gold-plated, bird shaped airplane built by an ancient civilization. Esteban also encounters some fearsome enemies, like the Spanish military commander [[HistoricalDomainCharacter Francisco Pizarro]] and the ''Olmecs'', a tribe of advanced elf/goblin-like humanoids who want to use the power of the Mysterious Cities of Gold to TakeOverTheWorld. The trio of kids must use their wits, skill and bravery, along with Mendoza's Badassness to unlock the secrets of those mysterious Cities of Gold and their relations to them.

''The Mysterious Cities of Gold'' is a sprawling adventure epic that is well worth a watch. A Region 2 English DVD release was brought about in the UK in June 2008, and a French movie company is currently planning a film based on the TV series. A Region 1 English DVD was released in April 2009.

A [[http://www.lescitesdor.com/actualite/mco2/mco2.php sequel series]] was announced consisting of three seasons with 26 episodes each. This sequel supposedly deals with Esteban's further adventures in finding the other six cities of gold. Production delays kept pushing back the airdate (originally set at 2011), with the first episode finally airing in December 2012. The series is in cell shading, taking place immediately after the first: Returning to Barcelona (Where the original series began), the characters head next to China in their search for the remaining 6 cities. Seasons 3 will be set in Japan, and is currently scheduled to begin airing late 2016, with the season making an appearance at the [[http://www.annecy.org/programme:tvc Annecy Film Festival]].

There was also an [[http://www.lescitesdor.com/actualite/naez/naez.php attempted adaptation]] of the book that inspired the series by a different animation company in the mid-aughties, which featured very different character designs, as such lacks some characters (Tao being one of them), adds new characters, lacks many of the AppliedPhlebotinum such as the Great Condor, and features choppy animation. It was not well-received and was subsequently abandoned after a limited DVD release of three episodes in France.

There is a sequel game available on the WiiU set in the Orient.



[[folder:Season 1]]

* TheAce: Mendoza. However, he clearly has no clue on how to use a cannon. When he gets his hands on it, he fires everywhere ''but'' the spots where it'll help.
* AdaptationDistillation : The TV show was theoretically adapted from a novel (''The King's Fifth'', by [[Literature/IslandOfTheBlueDolphins Scott O'Dell]]) which actually has very little in common with it; it especially lacks the SpeculativeFiction elements. There are characters named Zia, Esteban, and Mendoza, and they are looking for the Cities of Gold; that is more or less where the similarities end. Esteban is not the child of the sun, Zia is not an Inca.
* AdultsAreUseless: The adults in this show are either incompetent or, in the case of the longer lasting antagonists (Gomez, the Doctor and Malinche, the Olmec leaders), outsmarted. Mendoza's probably the only one who isn't really outsmarted.
* AdventurerArchaeologist
* AfterTheEnd: {{Atlantis}} and Mu/Heva fought a war that ended with the use of the "weapons of the sun", which are implied to be akin to nuclear weapons in terms of destructive power.
* [[TheAllegedCar The Alleged Ship]]: The Esperanza is a rotten, leaky old wreck that somehow hasn't been scrapped yet. How they expect her to survive the Straights of Magellan is anyone's guess. [[note]]Amazingly, they do survive the straights. The storm they encounter afterward, however...[[/note]]
* AlternateHistory: Although most of it takes place long before recorded history or in places not well-known to Europeans at the time, so it likely doesn't influence the setting's known history much.
* TheAmazon: Much of the story takes place here...
* AmazonBrigade: Complete with an entire tribe of female warriors.
* AncientTradition: The Guardians of the Mysterious Cities.
* AndKnowingIsHalfTheBattle: The mini-documentaries shown after the episodes are possibly the greatest example of this trope (very long, accurate, an actual budget)... but are also subversions.
** The one about human sacrifices is nothing but ''traumatizing''. It ends with a first-person shot of a victim tied up on a sacrificial altar. You see the priest, on top of you, lifting up his knife and stabbing you. The screen suddenly fades to black. Then the narrator says "see you next week on another episode."
** And one where they show the chicken's head being hacked off with a machete, then the headless corpse flapping and bouncing around madly in the dirt.
** One of the documentaries, on the native tribes of the Amazon, actually contains full-blown NationalGeographicNudity!
* AndTheAdventureContinues: The series ends with Esteban, Tao and Zia setting off on the Golden Condor to find the remaining six Cities of Gold. From the preview for the long-awaited second season, they're heading to China in search of the next one.
* AnimatedSeries
* AppliedPhlebotinum
* ArtShift:
** When the story of the Esteban's parents is told, it's done in a completely different art style.
* {{Atlantis}}: The ancient civilization of Heva/Mu fits this trope, although it also fought the literal Atlantis in a war thousands of years ago, which both sides lost.
* BadassCape: Mendoza's, of course.
* BecauseDestinySaysSo
* BeethovenWasAnAlienSpy: The origin and downfall of the Olmecs.
* BeginnersLuck
* BeneathTheEarth: Where the Morlock-like Olmecs dwell.
* BloodlessCarnage: A LOT of people die left and right, from {{mooks}} and {{red shirt}}s to many important non-protagonist characters, from things like cannons, fire, guns, arrows, spears, swords, the kind of wounds you'd expect to be nasty and bloody...
* BoldExplorer: Mendoza is a charismatic explorer who claims to be the one who brought Esteban to Spain as a child, and now wants him to return and use the power of the locket to help find the title cities.
* ButtMonkey: Gaspard (and thoroughly deservedly). Sancho and Pedro get their share of it, too.
* CaveBehindTheFalls: Which leads to Macchu Picchu.
* ChangedMyMindKid: Wynacocha and the gang goes to the outlining Mayan villages to unite against the Olmecs. They all turn him down. By the end of the episode, they all changed their mind and sent their warriors to back him up.
* ChasingAButterfly: Used to illustrate Esteban's innocence, he has a fascination with butterflies that begins during the sea crossing from Spain. This later nearly gets him killed when he starts trying to catch butterflies while on the way to the Fort of the Black Eagle, and is shot at by Gomez's soldiers.
* TheChick: Zia
* TheChosenOne: Esteban
* CityOfGold: What the characters are searching for. [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin Duh!]]
* CompetenceZone: Subverted; the considerably older Mendoza is the most competent member of the group, as befitting of a seasoned explorer with years of experience. The children often look to him for guidance and leadership. There's a strict division of competence, however. Mendoza is competent in almost all aspects fitting his role as TeamDad and protector (combat, navigation, survival, combat, asskicking, geography, [[DepartmentOfRedundancyDepartment combat and asskicking]]), however he's strictly useless for understanding the ancient technology of Mu, or solving the various ancient puzzles and riddles the group comes across -- in this area, the kids are strictly the only competent ones.
* CoolBoat: The Solaris
* CoolPlane: The Golden Condor
* CueTheSun: Esteban has the ability to call forth the sun.
* CutLexLuthorACheck: Despite chasing after the treasures of the Mysterious Cities of Gold, not a single one of them ever considers that a ''fast automated ship armed with a frigging laser'', or a ''frigging flying machine'' might actually be worth more!
* DashingHispanic: Mendoza
* DebutQueue
* DistressedDamsel:
** Lana, from the floating Totola village, who had been abducted by the Urubus in order to be sacrificed to Pachamama.
** Myeena, Papacamayo's adoptive daughter, who is abducted by the Olmecs.
** Zia spends a good part of the plot as this. Heck, the entire reason she joins the plot is her being kidnapped. First brought to Spain, then kidnapped back ''from'' Spain to South America.
* DramaticWind: Mendoza and his cape.
* DubNameChange:
** Heva was originally called "Mu" in French.
** Pichu was renamed Kokapetl, and the title basically changed from "Esteban, Child of the Sun" to "The Mysterious Cities of Gold". Not a straight example since the later is the literal translation of the French title, and the writers were French so it is as much an intended title as the Japanese one.
** Le Grand Condor (French) to the Golden Condor (English).
* DumbMuscle: Tetiola, the Doctor and Malinche's henchman. Gaspard isn't exactly the brains between him and Gomez either.
* DurableDeathtrap: Traps in the ruined temples.
* DyingRace: The Olmecs, which they're trying to stave off by [[HumanResources whatever means]] [[PoweredByAForsakenChild are necessary]].
* EvenEvilHasLovedOnes: Although the exact nature of their relationship is never clarified, Malinche is visibly concerned for Tetiola's welfare when he's briefly enslaved by the Olmecs and is very relieved when he's released.
* EvenEvilHasStandards: Malinche suggests poisoning a village to get at the gold in the lake as well as to keep the kids from being sacrificed. The doctor's response to this suggestion is, "What?!" and says he hates doing it -- and even then, he only ''mixes'' the poison, mumbling about how much he hates it. It's very easy to assume that he only did it because he fears retribution from the other two.
* EveryoneCallsHimBarkeep: [[spoiler:Esteban's father]], who is just referred to as "The Traveling Prophet".
* EvilChancellor: Omoro, great priestess of the Amazons.
* ExpositoryThemeTune: At least, the English dub describes exactly what they're doing, even mentioning the Condor which doesn't show up until midway through the series.
* FatAndSkinny: Sancho and Pedro, and to a lesser extent, Gaspard and Gomez, as well as Tetiola and the Doctor.
* ForgottenPhlebotinum: Tao's jar.
* GadgeteerGenius: Tao
* GettingCrapPastTheRadar: "The Olmecs ''love'' children!" -- though arguably as a {{dying race}} who require [[PoweredByAForsakenChild the life force of the children]] to keep their stasis strategy going, the line is played completely straight in this instance.
* GodGuise: Esteban is believed to be a God by various New World tribes. He's not too keen on it himself, though.
* GoldFever: Pretty much every Spaniard character save Esteban has it to a degree.
* GondorCallsForAid: The entirety of episode 33, "The Reunion", is this trope played out as the various villages are convinced to help the Village of the New Sun fight the Olmecs.
* GoryDiscretionShot: During the last episode, during his HeroicSacrifice, [[spoiler:Esteban's father]] is thrust backwards by the flames, causing his golden mask to fall and ''melt''. Since flames were already consuming his clothes, his fate is certain.
* GoshDangItToHeck: Averted with lines like, "Damn your eyes, FIRE!" and "Straits of Hell". Although it is worth mentioning that in the right context, you can get away with "Hell" in a kid's work. Heck, ''Disney/SleepingBeauty'' has a "G" rating despite that word.
* GreatBigBookOfEverything: Tao's encyclopedia of plot exposition.
* TheGuardsMustBeCrazy: The Mayan sentries were suppose the guard the house where the gang were staying. Instead, they slept on the job, giving Pedro and Sancho a chance to sneak out.
* HeroicSacrifice: [[spoiler:Esteban's father, who dies in his attempt to prevent a PhlebotinumOverload that could threaten the entire world. According to WordOfGod, he somehow survives and meets Esteban again. We'll count it: onscreen he's (literally) toast.]]
* HeelFaceTurn: Mendoza, while not really evil or greedy, does eventually warm up to the kids.
* HistoricalFantasy
* HistoricalInJoke:
** Several characters, like Pizarro and Mendoza, are based on historical people. Also, the term "Children of the Sun" is the name the Incas sometimes called themselves. "Child of the Sun" was a title given to a Spanish man named Alvarado, Cortez's right hand man by the Indians.
** One of the characters was supposed to be [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malinche Malinche]], but JapaneseRanguage combined with the translators not recognizing the name caused her to be called "Marinche". She's properly named in French.
** In the French version, the Heva are named "Mu", hailing from a sunken continent of the same name. [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mu_(lost_continent) Mu is a lost continent said to be something like Atlantis' counterpart in the Pacific ocean whose existence was said to be mentioned in Inca and Maya art by scholars in the late 19th and early 20th century]].
* HistoricalVillainUpgrade: A debatable one for Malinche, who's a rather controversial figure in our own world but is unmistakably a villain here; averted, though, with Francisco Pizarro, who is usually agreed upon to have been a bastard.
* HoistByHisOwnPetard: Gomez and Gaspar blow up a wall of stones that barred the entry to Machu Picchu. It ended up blowing up the whole cliffside, sending them in a river below.
* HostageForMacGuffin
* HumongousMecha:
** The Olmec War Machine.
** The Golden Condor qualifies too.
* ILied: Gomez demands that Zia surrender to them and gives his word the Inca's village will be spared. After she's in their grasp, Gomez Immediately orders the ship to fire at the village, saying he's taking his word back.
* InevitableWaterfall
* KidHero
* KnightTemplar: Master Menator, the Olmec ruler.
* LandmarkOfLore: Machu Picchu, although it was never directly stated as such in the show. Also the Nazca lines, which in this universe are [[spoiler:the pre-determined autopilot routes for the Golden Condor]].
* LastOfHisKind: Tao
* {{Leitmotif}}
* LimitedWardrobe: Esteban is the only one that got a costume change and that was early in the show. His seafaring clothes just got torn up after the Esperanza's wrecking, and by the time he got to Tao's island he simply discarded his red vest to end up in the damaged outfit he'd wear for the remainder of the show. One would think that trekking through the mountains, jungles, deserts, and seas, would those clothes be reeking of gunk by the end of the show. Gaspar and Gomez still have one costume each but at least theirs show a little wear and tear. Mendoza somehow manages to maintain his cloak.
* LostTechnology
* LovableTraitor: Mendoza, though he gets better later on.
* LoyalAnimalCompanion: Pichu/Kokapetl
* LukeIAmYourFather: Both Esteban and Zia get to meet their fathers later on in the series; [[spoiler: both die soon after, and in Esteban's case he never learns that the Guardian of the City was his dad, as Mendoza chooses not to tell him to spare him the pain]].
* MacGuffin
* MagicSkirt: Zia and Tao
** Some manner of white undergarments can be glimpsed on Tao at one point, though.
* {{Magitek}}
* {{Mayincatec}}: This series is a classic example of Mesoamerican HollywoodHistory.
* {{Mutants}}: Many viewers think the Olmec are aliens but the way the Olmecs describe themselves makes them being mutants much more likely.
* OnTheNext
* NotableOriginalMusic: The theme song and BGM was composed by the musical team of Shuki Levy and Haim Saban. The music was collected and released vinyl and then on DVD in France. (Some of the music got reused in ''WesternAnimation/HeManAndTheMastersOfTheUniverse1983''.)
* OlderIsBetter: How the tech of the series literally runs.
* OpeningNarration
* OurGiantsAreBigger: The Urubus tribe.
* ParentalAbandonment:
** DisappearedFather: It's the reason why Esteban accepts Mendoza's offer. Later when Zia finds out her father left on a journey, she searches for him.
** MissingMom: Esteban's mother does get mentioned in one episode. Tao and Zia's mothers never get mentioned at all.
* PhlebotinumBreakdown: The Golden Condor uses solar energy to fly. Which is great, except when it's nighttime or the sky is overcast.
* PostEpisodeTrailer
* {{Precursors}}: The Hevan/Mu civilization
* PreviouslyOn
* ProphecyTwist: It was prophesied that one of the Cities of Gold would be destroyed by "white men". [[spoiler: It turns out these white men were the ''Olmecs'' not the Spaniards.]]
* PuppyLove: Although their relationship isn't overtly romantic, Esteban and Zia are an ''adorably'' inseperable couple. They're always holding hands, Esteban is always protecting her and whenever something scary happens they always cling together.
* TheQuest: Which is to find the Cities of Gold.
* QuirkyMinibossSquad: The heroes have two sets of these following them around, Commander Gomez and Gaspar, and Malinche and The Doctor (and their DumbMuscle Teteola), trying to beat them to the treasure.
* RunningOnAllFours: Olmecs.
* SchizoTech: The Olmecs have fantastically advanced technology, including a massive flying machine armed with a devastating DeathRay. Their soldiers fight with swords and longbows.
* ShownTheirWork: How well the mini-documentaries tie into some of the episodes shows just how much care was put into trying to make the show fit into the time period and the location.
* SillyReasonForWar
* SkinnyDipping: In one episode, Esteban takes a bath naked in the river, since swimsuits hasn't been invented yet. [[HoYay He forcefully drags a reluctant Tao to come along]], but didn't invite Zia.
* TheSmartGuy: Tao
* SpeedyTechnoRemake: "Golden Condor vs. The Olmec Machine"
* SpoilerOpening: The opening spoils the appearance of Zia, Tao, the Solaris and the Golden Condor when they only show up later in the series.
* SpoilerTitle: The series is full of them.
* SupportingLeader: Mendoza
* TeamPet: Kokapetl (called Pichu in French)
* TempleOfDoom: a lot of them are spread out in South and Central America it seems.
* ThatsAllFolks: At the end of the documentary segments, "Goodbye... till next time." For the final episode, it was simply "Goodbye."
* TheLoad: Sancho and Pedro are idiots and a danger to themselves. Their love and obsession for gold repeatedly get the group in trouble and the mere mention of the word gold makes them spaz out and act even dumber than they usually are (which is saying a lot), and they contribute nothing to the plot except for being an extra set of arms and legs when Mendoza needs heavy things moved.The team's parrot outdoes the ''both of them'' in both action, skills and ''intelligence''.
** Zia in season 1 is a lesser example: Her skill at deciphering kipus early in the series is essential to the plot, but after this, she's prone to being kidnapped and needing rescuing a lot while contributing very little to the plot, especially when the story moves away from her people towards the tribes of the Amazon.
* ThoseTwoGuys: Sancho and Pedro
* ThreateningShark: It wasn't enough that Esteban, Zia, Mendoza, Sancho and Pedro were stranded on a flimsy raft in the middle of the ocean. They had to be attacked by sharks as well.
* ThreeAmigos: Esteban, Zia and Tao
* TitleThemeTune: An eponymous ExpositoryThemeTune (except in Japan, where the theme tune is "Try my best").
* TookALevelInBadass: Esteban starts out as a pretty helpless kid, but as the series proceeds he gets more independant and even combatative when necessary. Perhaps most notably, in episode 26 "The Swamp" the heroes confiscate Tetiola's bow and arrows when they capture the Doctor's party. When they get attacked by alligators Esteban uses the bow (which, let us remind you, was made for a man literally more than ''twice'' his height) to kick serious reptile ass! And in the second season (set in China), he gets to meet Shaolin monks and learn a trick or two...
* TranslationConvention: A WMG entry suggests Zia taught Inca to Spanish-speaking Esteban during the trip to the New World. Fair enough. Then the gang meets LastOfHisKind Tao, who presumably would only speak Hevan/Mu. And they chat along without any issues at all. And Mendoza and the other adults can ''understand'' Tao, despite never being taught Incan, let alone whatever Tao's native language would be.
* TripodTerror: The Olmecs' three-legged flying machine, which is also capable of walking.
* {{Ultraterrestrials}}: The Olmecs actually are a remnant of the time of Mu and Atlantis, likely humans mutated by accident or on purpose.
* UnexplainedRecovery: No-one is even ''surprised'' that Gomez and Gaspar survived the destruction of the ''Saint Miguel'' even though it was literally ''blown to splinters'' with them aboard when [[spoiler:Tao overloaded the Solaris' solar heat ray, causing the ship to self-destruct right next to the ''Saint Miguel'']].
* WalkingTheEarth
* WalkingDisasterArea: All the temples visited by the heroes end up destroyed. Usually because the PluckyComicRelief try to ham-fistedly steal something valuable, activating a solar-powered trap in the process, which sort of qualifies as NiceJobBreakingItHero.
* WeaksauceWeakness: Rainbow light cause the Golden Condor to malfunction and crash on the ground. It's then inoperative for a few days.
* WhamLine: "That man is not our High Priest." [[spoiler:The real High Priest of the City of Gold died years earlier and the man in the golden mask is Esteban's father, who took the High Priest's place.]]
* WhatHappenedToTheMouse: Waina, Ketcha and a group of Inca soldiers were assigned to escort our heroes. After an attack from the [[OurGiantsAreBigger Urubus]], they become separated and we never hear from them ever again.
* WolverinePublicity: A weird example where the subject is an item, not a character. Ask any fan of the show what they remember of this series, they'll mention the Golden Condor almost immediately. It appears on most promotional art, is seen in the intro, is mentioned in the lyrics of the theme song in both French and English. Yet it doesn't actually appear until half way into original series!

[[folder: Season 2 and beyond]]

* AllMonksKnowKungFu
* ArtShift: From the traditional cel animation of the original series to [[CelShading cel-shaded]] animation.
* BigBad: Zares.
* BigDamnHeroes: Tian Li saving Tao from taking a dive in an icy lake.
* BiggerStick: Played for laughs with [[ThoseTwoGuys Sancho and Pedro]] who holding a silly contest with the guy carrying the biggest stick. This cumulates with Sancho struggling to lift a tree trunk to out-gun Pedro's stick.
* BladeAcrossTheShoulder: Zares's knives. They can be launched like a kunai.
* {{Callback}}: Several.
* CelShading
* {{Cameo}}: Several. Gomez, Gaspard, and Pizzaro are briefly visible in the recap for season one, Mayuca gets a small but important scene introducing the new villain, and Papacamayo appears in two of Zia's flashbacks to her childhood.
* ChasingAButterfly: In a callback to Season One, Esteban follows a butterfly into a Buddist Temple. Thankfully, no danger befalls him.
* ConspicuousCG: The Golden Condor, Ambrosius ship, the dragon kite and many more. The most blatant ones were the crocodiles.
* CoolAirship: Ambrosius' flying ship, the Nef.
* CrushBlush: Zia is smitten by Zhi and blushes when she sees him for the first time, complete with stammering. [[ClingyJealousGirl Esteban and Tao are annoyed]].
* CurbStompBattle: Zares versus [[ThoseTwoGuys Pedro and Sancho]]. [[CrowningMomentOfAwesome The two latter finally put aside their cowardice and stand up to Mendoza]]. [[OffscreenMomentOfAwesome Zares then kicked their asses in less than a second]]. Next thing you know, Pedro and Sancho are hanging upside down, as Zares is holding them by their leg with a single hand.
* DisneyVillainDeath: [[spoiler:How the captain of the guard meets his end.]]
* DistressBall: Just about everyone except Mendoza carry the DistressBall and need rescuing. Tao [[LampshadeHanging counted that they were captured 3 times during the same week.]]
* DownerEnding / {{Cliffhanger}}: [[spoiler:Season 2 end with the Prophet Traveler being alive, but inflicted with radiation. Before he could be reunited with Esteban, Zares captures him.]]
* EvilChancellor
* EvilOverlooker: Zares is a frequent offender.
* EvilSoundsDeep: Zares. [[spoiler: He's actually using a voice changer.]]
* FoodPorn: Well animated Chinese food being cooked along with the appropriate cooking sound. Hell yeah!
* {{Foreshadowing}}: You could teach a university writing course with just examples from this season. One notable example is one episode which contains a seemingly stupid and pointless scene where Sancho and Pedro dance and sing a sea-shanty for the amusement of the children. The song and dance actually end up getting Estaben out of trouble later in the episode.
** A more subtle one occurs in the flashback of the first episode, when Zares captures the Inca man Mayuca who helped the kids out in season one. [[spoiler:If one rewatches the season, they will note that Gomez and Gaspard ended up blocking all ground routes into the City of the High Peak, where Mayuca lives. This foreshadows the fact that Zares has some way to fly.]]
* GentleGiant: Mu-Chun stand out as he is the tallest and largest of the Shaolin monks. He's peaceful enough.
* GettingCrapPastTheRadar: While climbing a rope, everyone was watching Zia, meaning they saw her panties under her skirt.
** Zia goes SkinnyDipping and play a prank on the boys, by pretending to be dragged underwater by some creature. Esteban dives underwater to rescue her. While not shown, he may have spotted her naked.
* GroundPunch: [[spoiler: Ambrosius in his PoweredArmor. A single leap in the air and a blow on the ground is enough to break the ice that imprisoned his CoolAirship.]]
* IdiotBall: Happens quite a lot and leads to a handful of DistressBall. [[spoiler:Special mention goes to Tian Li who read a prophecy stating the children are in danger because of a traitor. He discover Ambrosius is the said traitor and truly is Zares, but keeps the information to himself. Tian Li confront Zares alone (despite keeping a large dog for a companion) and gets beaten. By the time he comes around, everyone has move out of his reach.]]
* ImperialChina: The setting for season 2.
* OnTheNext: Every episode has one, including the very last. Since the third season hadn't been greenlighted at that point, the preview is made entirely of concept art.
* OurDragonsAreDifferent: A mechanical one, built with Heva technology.
* PoweredArmor: [[spoiler:Concealed in a cloak and robe, Zares is truly [[BigBad Ambrosius]] wearing a two-meter tall exosuit made of BambooTechnology.]]
* PromotionToOpeningTitles: Mendoza, Sancho,Pedro, and Zares all appear in the season 3 opening.
* ReasonableAuthorityFigure: Li Shuang makes sure his workers and soldiers alike are well treated. He harbors no animosity against Gurban, a Mongul kid who wander too near the Great Wall.
* RoyalBrat: Prince Zhu, at least at first. After he left the Imperial Palace for first time, he saw how his father the Emperor ruled brutally over his people. He then vow to be a better ruler when he'll succeed his father.
* SayMyName: All over the place.
* SceneryPorn: The Golden Condor factory. Seeing all the condor's components hovering in the air and assembling itself is truly stunning.
* SkinnyDipping: It's Zia's turn to take a bath naked in a lake (probably a {{callback}} to season 1). She undressed while the boys were arguing.
* TimeSkip: Season 2 take place six months after the end of season 1.
* TheBusCameBack: [[spoiler: A quickly-removed demo reel with Season 3 footage revealed the return of Gaspard.]]
* WhamLine: [[spoiler:Li Shuang delivers one to Esteban in "The Oasis".]]
-->[[spoiler:''"Esteban, your ancestors were the Atlanteans."'']]
* WhatTheFuAreYouDoing: Pedro and Sancho boasted that they mastered kung fu by watching the Shaolin monks train. No one were impressed.
* TheWorfEffect: In comparison to the original series (where he was all but unstoppable), Mendoza very rarely proves a match for the arc villain. He always puts up a good fight though.