Characters / The Mysterious Cities of Gold

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    The Heroes 


Voiced by: Masako Nozawa (Japanese), Shiraz Adam (English), Jackie Berger (French)
Esteban's Season 2 Appearance

Twelve year old Esteban was brought up as an orphan in Barcelona by Father Rodriguez, dean of the cathedral. When his guardian dies, he meets Mendoza, the man who claims to have saved him when he was a baby. Mendoza claims that his father might be still alive somewhere in the New World. Esteban leaves with Mendoza to try to find his father there. Esteban is brave and fiercely loyal to his friends, but he is also impulsive and is hampered by his fear of heights

He is known as the Child of the Sun for uncanny ability to make the sun come out. He wears a mysterious medallion, which Mendoza believes holds the key to the cities of gold. But Esteban is only interested in find his father, and has no lust for gold.

  • Ace Pilot: He quickly becomes the pilot of the Grand Condor. His aerial maneuvers against the Olmec flying machine show his true talents.
  • Adventurer Archaeologist
  • Animal Motifs: Esteban is most frequently associated with butterflies.
  • Atlantis: Is one of the last surviving Atlanteans
  • Cue the Sun: Has the mysterious ability to bring the sun from behind the clouds.
  • The Chosen One: Being the Child of the Sun and all.
  • Determinator: Swam between two islands while trying to rescue Zia, a feat that impresses both Tao and Mendoza.
  • The Hero: The main character of the series whose actions are always heroic and morally good.
  • Historical In-Joke
  • Indy Ploy: Esteban always rush forward into action in contrast to Tao who always comes up with a plan.
  • Leitmotif: Found here
  • Limited Wardrobe: Justified early in the series.
  • Morality Pet: For Mendoza.
  • Mysterious Parent: Both of them, actually. His mother is implied to be an Incan high priestess and his father is a man who came from "across the western ocean". It's revealed in season 2 that his father is of Atlantean descent.
  • Orphan's Plot Trinket: His sun medallion.
  • Parental Abandonment: Not by choice. His father was washed away in a storm And was stricken with radiation poisioning and believed to be dead at the end of the first season.
  • 10-Minute Retirement: In the second season, Esteban finally asks Mendoza about his father's fate. Mendoza admits that the High Priest was indeed his father. With his father dead, Esteban has no other reason to pursue the other Cities of Gold. He abandons his friends to return to the monastery and even considers getting himself adopted by a foster family. He gives his medallion to Tao, so that the others can continue their quest. However, he changes his mind when he learns that his sun medallion has turned black and can only be worn by him.
  • The Quest: His initial goal is to find his parents in the New World. With his father dead or so it seems, he changes his goal to discovering why he was chosen to wear the sun medallion.
  • íThree Amigos!: With Zia and Tao.
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Suffered from a terrible fear of heights due to being hoisted above Barcelona on a regular basis since he was a baby. It was mostly cured after he obtained the Condor, but season two shows that he sometimes has relapses.


Voiced by: Rei Sakuma (Japanese), Janice Chaikelson (English), Isabelle Ganz (French)
Zia's Season 2 Appearance

A young Inca girl who was kidnapped by the Spanish and taken to the royal court as a gift to the Princess Marguerita. She is 11 years old when she meets Esteban aboard the Esperanza, and they soon find out they wear similar medallions and are both looking for their fathers.

Quiet and shy, Zia nevertheless develops a close relationship with Esteban and is much more suspicious of Mendoza's motives than her friend. And by refusing Pizarro's order to read the golden quipu, which reveals the secrets of the cities of gold, she demonstrates immense bravery.

  • Character Development: In season 2, Zia receives a good dose of this. While she's not an Action Girl, she no longer shy and is much more confident and courageous. She becomes more trustful to Mendoza, Pedro and Sancho and begin to care for them.
  • The Chick
  • Damsel in Distress: Very prone to getting captured, more than others anyway.
  • Disappeared Dad: Zia was kidnapped at young age and was separated from her father. In a cruel twist of fate, she traveled and stayed in the same village where his father had found refuge after his daughter disappeared. Both of them were unaware of each others presence. By the time she found out, he was struck down by an Olmec's arrow. He dies a few hours later.
  • Dishing Out Dirt: As revealed in season three, Zia has powers of her own. She can move stones, sense earthquakes, and talk to animals.
  • Friend to All Living Things
    • In season 2, Zia seem to have develop an affinity toward animals. She easily befriend Yang-Yang, a panda. Later, She tamed and calmed a wild horse while Gurban couldn't (Gurban is a Mongul and spent his whole life taming horses.) Zia then calmed a very large territorial.
    • This was foreshadowed in season 1 a few times when animals seemed to understand what Zia said. Esteban would usually point out how odd it was.
  • Hime Cut; She has long dark hair.
  • Leitmotif: Found here
  • Limited Wardrobe: Zia wore the same clothes throughout the series. A flashback showed her with a different set of clothes however. She briefly wore winter clothes in Season 2, since she was going in the Himalayan mountains.
  • Missing Mom: We never saw her mother.
  • Plucky Girl
  • Say My Name: "ESTEBAAAAAAAAN!"
  • Shrinking Violet: She's shy, although she starts to warm up to people around her in the second season.
  • The Heart: She's the voice of reason between the brash Esteban and the more cautious Tao, and often ends up solving their arguments or smoothing things over.
  • The Medic: Begins to train as one at the Shaolin Monastary. Her skills save Esteban from a scorpion sting.
  • Speaks Fluent Animal: Has been shown to understand animals to an incredible degree, from her pet Condor to a wild Mongol horse.
  • Spider-Sense: She can sense earthquakes before they happen.
  • The Smurfette Principle: The only major female character.
  • The Quest
  • íThree Amigos!: Along with Esteban and Tao.
  • Unkempt Beauty: Whatever environmental hazard Zia has to go through, she remains pretty as ever.


Voiced by: Junko Hori (Japanese), Adrian Knight (English), Odile Schmitt (French)
Tao's Season 2 Appearance

Tao is a 13 year old, who is the last surviving descendant of technologically-advanced Hiva (Mu) empire, which sank beneath the waves thousands of years ago.

When Esteban and Zia find him, he is living alone on an island, in a large treehouse, with only his pet parrot for company. He is very intelligent and is so proud of his heritage that he can often appear haughty.

Although he is clumsy, he comes up with ingenious inventions which get his friends out of a number of tight spots. He carries an encyclopedia containing all the knowledge of the Hiva people and a mysterious golden jar, whose importance only becomes apparent much later.


Voiced by: Vlasta Vrana (English), Hubert Noël (French)

Tao's parrot. He is quite intelligent and capable of limited speech.

Juan Carlos Mendoza

Voiced by: Isao Sasaki (Japanese), Howard Ryshpan (English), Jean-Claude Balard (French)

Mendoza is a Spanish navigator who was a part of Magellan's expedition. He is able to read the stars and especially skilled at negotiating the fierce Straits of Magellan. He jumped into that sea to save the baby Esteban after he and his father were caught up in a storm. He has the sun part of Esteban's medallion and keeps it to ensure he stays close.

When he sets off on his adventure, wealth is all that interests him, and he see the children merely as a means to an end to find the cities of gold. However, he eventually becomes fond of them and starts putting their interests ahead of his own.

  • Anti-Hero: He does questionable actions like flooding a village to steal their gems and gold or gaining people's trust to only further his agenda. However, he does have a sense of honor and is not outright evil.
  • Badass Cape: Mendoza wears a cape and is by far the most competent fighter of the gang.
  • Character Development: See the children as pawns to get to the Cities of Gold, but he eventually get attached to them.
  • Competence Zone: While a Hypercompetent Sidekick, he tends to be really bad at avoiding the traps left by precusors and solving their riddles (which is the bulk of the plot), something the kids are far better than him at. He grows to recognize this and leaves that up to them.
  • Dramatic Wind
  • Mr. Fanservice
  • Fake Defector: He pretended leaving the children to team up with Gomez and Gaspar. This was just a ploy to steal their cannon and black powder which he delivered to the Incas.
  • Gold Fever: Like all the Conquistadors, he's in the New World to find gold and will no settle for anything less than a whole city of it.
  • Guile Hero: Being the oldest and most experienced member of the gang, Mendoza is the one who does the talking and leads the group.
    • Subverted in that he's also a master swordsman, and he's not afraid to show it.
  • Herald: He's the one who set Esteban on the quest to find his father.
  • Historical In-Joke
  • Hypercompetent Sidekick: He's easily the most competent fighter in season 1, holding his own against entire squads of Olmecs and Spaniards, and rarely takes an injury. He's also the only level-headed adult in the group (which isn't hard when you consider Sancho and Pancho are dumber than rocks), and both a famously skilled navigator, knowledgeable about survival, a cunning strategist and quick thinker. He's half the reasons the three kids survive season 1. As part of his character development he seems to become aware of his sidekick status, becoming far more invested in helping the children and protecting them than his own goal of becoming rich.
  • Last Name Basis: Season 3 reveals his full name: Juan Carlos Mendoza
  • Limited Wardrobe: He hasn't changed his clothes since the beginning of the series.
  • Lovable Traitor
  • Older Sidekick: He is the oldest member of the main characters while Esteban is the hero.
  • Papa Wolf: Do no harm the children or Mendoza will kick your ass.
  • Shirtless Scene
  • Supporting Leader
  • Trickster Mentor
  • Weapon of Choice: Like all the Spaniards, he uses a rapier.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: After Zia' father revealed the location of the Cities of Gold, he dies from his injuries. Mendoza's first action is to calculate the Cities position. Esteban and Tao call him out for being insensitive to Zia and Myeena. Realizing this, he decides that their next course of action is to help the Mayans fight against the Olmecs.

Sancho and Pedro

Voiced by: Sancho: Takeshi Aono (Japanese), Terrence Labrosse (English), Francis Lax (French)
Pedro: Kanera Kimotsuki (Japanese), Michael Rudder (English), Jaques Ferrière (French)
Sidekicks to Mendoza, obsessed with finding gold (the mention of which makes them rather manic). Their role is strictly comic relief, as they prove to be klutzes and generally lacking in almost any skill.

The Prophet Traveler

The mysterious guardian of th first City of gold. Very wise, he provide much exposition regarding the history of the Cities of gold.

  • Cool Mask: He wears a golden mask that conceal a portion of his face, except for his lower jaw.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": His real name is unrevealed.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Esteban's father, who dies in his attempt to prevent a Phlebotinum Overload that could threaten the entire world. According to Word of God, he somehow survives and meets Esteban again. We'll count it: onscreen he's (literally) toast.
  • High Priest: He lead a cast of priests that guard the city of gold. In reality, he's not the true high priest. He only took the position to await the return of his son Esteban.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: When they meet, the Prophet Traveler never revealed to Esteban he was his father. Since he was about to sacrifice himself to save the entire planet, he kept his mouth shut. Mendoza correctly guessed he was Esteban's father when he talked to the other priests. Esteban will figure it out by himself early in season 2.
  • No One Could Survive That!: He turn out to be alive in season 2, but gravely irradiated. How the hell did this guy survived being exposed to a nuclear reactor without any protection? Even if you discount the radiation, the scorching heat should have melted his body. Not to mention the toxic fumes coming from the Earth's core (which killed all the animals in the area) didn't had any effect on him.
  • Walking Spoiler: Hard to say anything about this guy without revealing too much.

    Season 1 Villains 

The Spaniards

Commander Gomez

Voiced by: Goro Naya (Japanese), Matt Berman (English), Pierre Hatet (French)

Commander Gomez is a senior figure in Pizarro's army. He is entrusted by Governor with the task of bringing Zia back to Peru to read the golden quipu. Ruthless and suave, it seems like if anyone is going to get job done, it is him. However his failure to recapture her means he soon parts company from Pizarro and sets out to seek the cities of gold for himself.

Captain Gaspard

Voiced by: A.J. Henderson (English), Pierre Garin (French)

Gaspar, Captain of the Guard, is charge of a contingent of soldiers sent across the sea to the New World. Brutish and unintelligent, he delegates to the authority of the more refined Commander Gomez. He considers Mendoza to be his rival.

The Olmecs


Voiced by: Richard Dumont (English), René Bériard (French)

Leader of the mysterious Olmecs, who live in the Mountain of the Burning Shield. With the help of a medicine of his own devising he claims to have lived for hundreds of years. He is more concerned with harnessing the massive power of the cities of gold to keep his dying race alive, than he is with the gold. But he will stop at nothing to get what he wants, viewing the Mayans as an inferior race.

  • Bald of Evil: Like all the Olmecs, he has no hair.
  • Big Bad: Of the final arc.
  • Not So Above It All: He rather enjoys using his hologram on Gaspar, who cluelessly tries to catch it as it was real Menator.
  • Would Hurt a Child: He is willing to kidnap children in order to make use of their cells and tissue, and even kept a young Mayan girl as a slave.


Voiced by: Hideyuki Umezu (Japanese), Dean Hagopian (English), Hervé Jolly (French)

Kalmec is the Olmec's second in command, chief of the army and organizer of the defense of the Mountain of the Burning Shield. He is deeply loyal to Menator and bows down to his superior intelligence. Like Menator, he believes the Mayans to be inferior to the Olmecs.

Other Villains


Voiced by: Rihoko Yoshida (Japanese), Jane Woods (English), Anne Rochand / Régine Blaess (French)
An Aztec who is looking for gold. She travels with The Doctor and Tetiola, in search of gold.

The Doctor (Fernando LaGuerra)

Voiced by: Shunsuke Shima (Japanese), Walter Massey (English), Michel Gudin (French)


     Season 2 and Beyond Villains 
An ominous hooded figure who begins chasing the children shortly after they discover the first City of Gold. Ruthless and cunning, he will stop at nothing to find the cities.