Characters: Grim Fandango
UNMARKED SPOILERS AHOY!
Manuel "Manny" Calavera
Voiced by: Tony PlanaThe hero of the game, a salesman in the Department of Death. He'd point out that he's technically a travel agent, selling travel packages to the dead depending on how good they were in life, but the job is functionally identical to being The Grim Reaper. Manny has to work off his moral debt to advance further into the afterlife, but he can only do that by selling good packages to good souls, and for some reason all his latest customers don't qualify. Suspecting that he'll be stuck in his crappy job forever, Manny grows increasingly miserable and desperate, finally stealing one of Domino Hurley's files...and stumbling upon a conspiracy.
- The Atoner: Manny has to work off his karmic debt in the DoD, explained in detail above. Later, part of Manny's motivation for finding Meche comes from the fact that he unintentionally got her condemned to a fate she did not deserve.
- Big Damn Hero: How he sees himself in the final acts. He's sad he can't "save" Glottis because he's trying to save everyone else. (Glottis tells him that Manny already saved him by getting him out of that garage.)
- Character Development: At the start of the game, Manny's main motivation is getting himself out of this part of afterlife and into the next by working off the moral debt he racked up when alive, and he doesn't give much of a damn whether he or anyone else deserves it. By the fourth year, he can literally stand on the brink of getting that wish - but he'll refuse to move on, unwilling to leave the people he loves and those he promised to save behind.
- Chick Magnet: Three separate ladies express current or past romantic feelings for him in Chapter 2, but he only has eyes for Meche. Uh, because she'll get him his job back. Suuuuure.
- Chronic Hero Syndrome: It starts with just Meche and Glottis, but soon Manny becomes determined to save pretty-much everyone.
- Deadpan SnarkerManny: This deck of cards is a little frayed around the edges. Then again, so am I, and I've got fewer suits.
- Determinator: Manny's ultra-competitive, and even lampshades it in Year One, and he's chasing after a woman he only met once and can't forget. (This causes Olivia to call him a "chump".)
- Don't Fear the Reaper: It's just his job. Manny doesn't fit traditional expectations of The Grim Reaper much - them being along the lines of forbidding, laconic, and tall. Instead, Manny's charming, sarcastic, happy to talk his way into or out of trouble, and...short. Really really short. He wears lifts on his shoes under the cloak. The Reveal of this in the intro is probably one of the funnier sight gags in adventure gaming history.
- Expy: His character is a pastiche of famous Humphrey Bogart roles.
- Gratuitous Spanish: Apparently thrown in by his voice actor and kept just because it sounded neat.
- In the Brazilian dub, he also has a thick spanish accent.
- Guile Hero: While he can deliver an excellent right hook (just ask Nick Virago), he's often equalled or outmatched in fights, requiring unorthodox solutions. He is shown to be witty and savvy throughout the journey. At the end of Arc 1, he started out as a janitor for a failing diner, in Arc 2 a galley cook for a shoddy ship. When the next arc starts, (a year afterwards), he is on top, owning a high-class night club which is the second most successful business in town, and in Arc 2 he's become a successful captain with a crew. Also notable that before the story, he was the hotshot Reaper.
- Iconic Item: His Sinister Scythe, to which he's very, very attached; he keeps it even after losing his job. It comes in handy for solving a lot of puzzles. Not really a Weapon of Choice, however, since he's not very good at fighting with it.Manny: My scythe. I keep it next to where my heart used to be.
- Kindhearted Cat Lover: Averted. Manny's an okay guy, but he despises cats.
- Lovable Rogue: Manny's one smooth-talking, deadpan-snarking, morally-flexible dead guy - particularly during Chapter 1 and 2. Like any good LucasArts adventure protagonist, he cons, steals from and screws over various people in various ways, and it's worth noting that we never do find out what exactly landed him in the Department of Death, which is for people who don't even deserve walking sticks on their way to the true afterlife.
- Although Manny could have been one of those who chose to work his debt off rather than risk going through the journey (like Salvador.)
- Psychopomp: A post-modern version. He doesn't do the transportation bit himself, but he does set up the path to whatever lies beyond that tunnel.
- Self-Made Man: In less then a year he elevates from a janitor in a run-down club to the owner of said club, which he turns into the second most successful joint in the town, and then from a galley worker on a shaggy old tub to a captain of a sterling liner. Definitely part of him being a Guile Hero.
- She Is Not My Girlfriend: He spends the two first chapters of the game in this mindset.
- Spanner in the Works: By attempting to improve his job performance, he inadvertently stumbles upon and disrupts Hector's conspiracy, and he doesn't truly realise this before a good bit into the story.
- Took a Level in Badass: Goes from a wage slave to a nightclub owner to a ship captain to fixing the entire afterlife.
Mercedes "Meche" Colomar
Voiced by: Maria Canals-BarreraManny's Love Interest and the catalyst of the game's events; her file was the one Manny stole. Meche is obviously a good, gentle person deserving a first-class travel package...which is why Manny is baffled when she seemingly qualifies for nothing better than a long walk.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Chapter 3 and 4.
- Break the Cutie: She starts out as a kind, sweet soul who gracefully accepts what she assumes to be a just punishment...except that it's not, and things get worse for her from there. By Chapter 3, she's suffered horribly and become profoundly bitter, especially towards Manny. Fortunately, Manny saving her manages to help fix her up.
- Deadpan Snarker: She has her moments.Meche: Would you like to see my birthmark?Manny: Sure. Where is it?Meche: It's wherever you guys put my skin!
- Friend to All Children: Read stories to sick children in life, and forms an instant rapport with two angelitos in Chapter 3 - child souls with angel wings. This is in contrast with Manny, whom the angelitos hate on sight.
- The reason is that Meche cries whenever she mentions Manny, and the angelitos think Manny did something bad to her.
- Friend to All Living Things: In life, she once accidentally 'shoplifted' when a puppy followed her out of the pet store. Awww.
- Nice Gal: It's a plot point.
- Official Couple: Never explicitly stated, but heavily implied at the end they become one.
- Too Good for This Sinful Earth: Her backstory as a living person.
Voiced by: Alan BlummenfeldManny's friend and main ally. A demon (or as he says, "spirit of the land") with one purpose, desire and reason for living: driving, preferably really really fast. Also maintaining vehicles (when no driving jobs are available). He lives and works alone in the DoD's basement, unable to fully exercise his gifts, leaving him open to persuasion in matters of technically-prohibited upgrades...
- The Alcoholic: One taste of alcohol and he leaps back off the wagon... and into the casino with all of Manny's money.
- Bear Hug: Inevitable when he's twice as tall and twice as wide as anyone else - particularly Manny. But he'll hug 'em all the same.
- The Big Guy: Huge.
- Boisterous Bruiser: Though he's too nice to hurt anyone.
- Butt Monkey: The poor guy is often the victim of Manny's Comedic Sociopathy, although it helps that he's damn near indestructible.
- Determinator: He goes a year without speed to help Manny, never saying a word that he's dying until he faints at the Gatekeeper.
- The Driver: For some reason, the inscrutable forces that govern the Land of the Dead figured the best creature to fulfil this role is a gigantic bright orange demon with tiny wiggly ears obsessed with engines and SPEEEEEED. He's also an excellent pianist! Looks very sharp in a tux, as well. Just don't let him near the VIP area in the casino. Or coffin shooters. They tend to distract him.
- Genius Bruiser: He's a massive, superstrong demon, but more importantly he's also an incredible engineer.
- Gentle Giant: Capable of lifting a struggling person off the ground with one hand effortlessly, yet easily scared and automatically kind.
- Giant Mook: For some reason, he's much bigger than others of his kind, as you see in Year 4.
- Hidden Depths: A good piano-player. He's also a big fan of the kitty races, which can cause problems.
- Mad Eye: Whenever he is excited about something like cars or gambling.
- Mr. Fixit: Point him at anything that goes with the right tools, and he'll make magic (and vrooming noises).
- Nigh Invulnerable: He survives removing his heart, being deprived of oxygen for hours, being flung dozens of feet, and being dropped over the edge of the world. The only thing that even comes close to killing him is speed withdrawal.
- Really 700 Years Old: There aren't any visual cues, but based on his personality you might guess that Glottis is a few years old at most. But if you tell Nick you want to adopt Glottis, he'll object that the demon is "several thousand years older than you". Presumably demons can live indefinitely as long as they're able to fulfill their purpose (This also means that the afterlife has been employing demon drivers for a lot longer than there have been cars).
- Ugly Cute: Sure he's a demon with a mouth full of razor-sharp teeth and a gravely voice, but he's also very endearing with his nervousness, childlike enthusiasm about all things mechanical, and his attachment to Manny.
- Undying Loyalty: The big lug almost kills himself following Manny during the fourth year, because he's a Driver Demon and he didn't drive for a year. He didn't tell Manny, either, because he didn't want to worry him.
Voiced by: Michael SorichA middle manager in DoD and Manny's immediate superior
- Dodgy Toupee: Wears one on his forehead.
- Mean Boss: He is constantly grumpy and regularly berates Manny for his low performance.
- No Indoor Voice: Practically every single line of his is delivered as a shout, mostly of the angry kind.
- Seriously Scruffy: With his rolled up sleeves and loosely fitting tie, Copal is obviously a busy man.
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom: A villainous example; had he not threatened to fire Manny unless he sold a Number 9 ticket within the next month — something he'd have known perfectly well that Manny couldn't do — then Manny wouldn't have stolen Meche from Domino, which in turn meant that the whole sequence of events that eventually results in Hector's downfall wouldn't play out.
- You Have Failed Me: Hector sprouts him after Manny unwittingly throws a wrench into their plans.
Voiced by: Sal LopezLeader of a rebel movement against the villains, one of Manny's main allies. Salvador was once a Reaper and a salesman like Manny, and like Manny, discovered that even his most deserving clients rarely qualified for anything. Unlike Manny, Salvador quit his job in order to create an underground movement and overthrow the Department of Death's corrupt leadership. In the end, Salvador is revealed to have qualified for a Number Nine ticket rather than Reaperdom - like Meche, he was a saintly soul given an unjust punishment.
- Cyanide Pill: One that shoots Sproutella.
- The Dog Bites Back: Founds the revolution after the DoD steals his ticket - even though he wasn't aware. Also, he kills his torturer.
- La Résistance: Oh, yeah. Viva la Revolucion!
- Losing Your Head
- Major Injury Underreaction: "Hola, Manuel." This is what he says after being decapitated and smashed to pieces.
- Nice Guy: As a Number Nine ticket holder, he is this.
- Nice Hat: A sweet dark green beret that he keeps even as a disembodied skull.
- Noble Male, Roguish Male: The Noble to Manny's Rougish.
- Rebel Leader: Salvador is intensely charismatic, inspiring downright suicidal loyalty once he gets his revolution up and running. It's implied his inherent nobility attracts his followers. He was, after all, a Number Nine ticket holder. And in the end, he proves as willing as his followers to die for the cause.
- The Stoic: Even when reduced to a disembodied head, and about to kill himself, he maintains his cool attitude utterly.
- Taking You with Me: To Olivia.
Voiced by: Patrick DollaghanOne of the two main villains. Manny's rival in the DoD, the boss's pet on the fast-track to promotion, the hottest salesman with the best clients and all-round smug shade-wearing jackass. He uses Manny's old, much larger and more luxurious office, and seems to find all the good souls that Manny doesn't - in the first chapter landing a nun with a golden ticket when Manny gets an angry old man to send 'freight' (i.e. stuff into a coffin full of packing foam). This is because he's in on the DoD conspiracy.
- The Dragon: He's Hector's most reliable and competent underling.
- Evil Counterpart: To Manny. He's a salesman in the DoD, even working in Manny's old office, and one can only speculate what would have happened had their situations been reversed.
- Evil Mentor: He tries to become this for Manny. It's why he doesn't just have Manny sprouted; he genuinely, if in a twisted way and for his own benefit, wants to take Manny under his wing and teach him the path to "success".
- Family-Unfriendly Death: Ground into powder and mixed with the ocean.
- Faux Affably Evil: His behavior towards Manny is like that of a bullying but loving older brother who's constantly trying to take Manny under his wing and groom him for success. He's also more than willing to have Manny sprouted, but hey, that's business.
- Jerkass: Manny's not alone in wanting to punch him in the mouth.
- Jerk Jock: He fits the attitude and Manny even outright calls a "Jock" because of his liking of boxing.
- Karmic Death: Ground to pieces in a moment of inattention.
- Kick the Dog: Dropping Glottis over the edge of the world just because he didn't think he'd be useful. Glottis survived, but any player sympathy for Domino sure didn't.
- Klingon Promotion: After Don Copal gets sprouted in Chapter 1, Domino has a new position when he's encountered again in Chapter 3.
- Post Mortem Comeback: Domino has been dead for over a year, but the good guys still have to contend with a deadly booby-trap he's laid for them when they finally get back to Rubacava to find the hiding place of their car. Dom's laid out an elaborate set of...well, dominoes all around the car that will trigger a bomb if disturbed.
- The Rival: To Manny.
- Rival Turned Evil: Well... if he was good or at least neutral at some point. He probably wasn't much better than Hector in life.
- Smug Snake: Emphasis on the "smug".
Voiced by: Jim WardThe other main villain, the head of the DoD. He has been stealing tickets from the deserving and selling them to richer, less saintly souls. Or so he'd have them believe, but the tickets he sells are fake. He keeps the real ones for himself, determined to hoard enough to balance out his numerous and horrific misdeeds in life.
- Bad Boss: Shoots Manny's Bad Boss when the former sticks up for Domino.
- Big Bad: Pretty much behind every bad happening, directly or indirectly.
- Card-Carrying Villain: He himself admits he's been a "very bad boy".
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: Apparently while alive, he was a "very bad boy", and he didn't get any nicer when he died, since he keeps a huge garden of flowers, including a greenhouse, grown from the remains of those he subjected to a Fate Worse Than Death in his rise to power. That the place is beautiful and well-tended somehow makes it more horrifying.
- Creepy Souvenir: Flowers. A symbol of true death in the Land of the Dead. Very ominous.
- The Don: Heads the conspiracy, and wears a rather well-tailored suit.
- Evil Brit
- Evil Laugh: A spine-chilling, chuckling snort that seems to punctuate just about everything he says.
- Fat Bastard: Yes, with bones, somehow.
- Faux Affably Evil: Puts on an affable, gentlemanly facade, but it only really enhances his monstrousness.
- Fridge Horror: Invoked Trope by Manny, who wonders just how many people Hector killed to have an endless field of flowers, much less a greenhouse full of them.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: That creepy flower garden? Including a greenhouse with a connecting water tank? Do you wonder what would happen if one were to, say, fill that tank with Sproutella while Hector was inside the greenhouse? We get a screaming Hectorposy is what happens.
- Nice Hat: A fez. It's hardly visible most of the time, but he has one.
- Offscreen Villainy: Whatever Hector did in life, it was apparently so horrible that he felt to need to hoard an entire suitcase full of No. 9 tickets in an attempt to balance it out.
- Wicked Cultured: He dresses in suits and loves flowers, and can be seen tending to his garden with a dinky watering can and hedge-clippers during the end-run. Subverted, however. In the Eighth Underworld, flowers are a symbol of death. It's less genuine love on his part and more polishing trophies taken from his victims.
Voiced by: Paula KillenOwner of the Blue Casket in Rubacava, who has... interesting taste in men.
- All Girls Want Bad Boys: She sure does.
- Beatnik: Complete with poetry!
- The Chanteuse: A variation; instead of singing, she recites her poetry.
- Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Not only does she date two (possibly three) men at the same time, she also betrays Manny and the entire LSA for her latest sweetheart, Hector.
- Cold-Blooded Torture: She literally tears Sal apart.
- Femme Fatale: This being a Noir, there had to be one somewhere.
- Karmic Death: Sal sprouts her along with himself as his last act.
- Sympathetic Adulterer: Sort of. The game seems to want you make up your own feelings about her affair with Nick. Maxamino may be a better man than Nick, but he's still doesn't seem to be all that great. Then again, when you talk to him, he does, for all his faults, seem to genuinely care about her. Manny clearly doesn't like it, but he's not convicted about it enough to pursue the problem for very long. Regardless, it's hard to deny that she's still an interesting character outside of her adulterous ways, and the game doesn't depict her as completely evil until after she betrays the LSA.
- The Mole
- Tautological Templar: After torturing Sal and stealing a case full of Number Nine tickets, she's seen searching the case, genuinely convinced she's a good enough person to deserve one of them.Olivia: Come on... one of these must be mine...
Voiced by: Daragh O'MalleyA corrupt lawyer in Rubacava. He is dating Olivia, who is also dating Maximino, who runs the town's biggest casino - and the latter would be very, very upset if he learned about it. Virago is attempting to keep the relationship under wraps.
- Amoral Attorney: This is a slander! He has never had a moral in his life!
- Fighting Irish: Except Nick prefers to do his fighting with a gun full of sproutella.
- Jerk Ass: Nobody was sad when he got punched in the face. Nobody.
- Karmic Death: Cast into a lake of fire and presumably cremated.
- Kick the Dog: "Sprouting" Lola in cold blood and leaving her to die alone to keep her from revealing a damning photo she took.
- Laser-Guided Karma: You are legally required to cheer when the luxury train he's on goes plunging into Fire and Brimstone Hell.
- Rule of Symbolism: His death. Especially since 'Prosecutor' is one of the ways to translate 'Satan'.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: Tries to buy his way onto the Number Nine.