El Tigre: The Adventures of Manny Rivera (2007-2008) is an animated series on Nickelodeon created by a husband and wife team, Jorge Guitirrez and Sandra Equihua. It is about a 13-year-old Mexican boy, Manny Rivera, who has a magical belt that turns him into costumed superhero El Tigre (Spanish for 'The Tiger'* Or just "tiger"; Spanish is more liberal when it comes to definite articles than English). It is the 23rd entry in the Nicktoons franchise.Unsure of whether he's destined to be a hero like his father, White Pantera, or whether crime is his true calling, like his grandfather Puma Loco, Manny refuses to pick one side over the other. He alternately contributes to and opposes the seedy goings-on of his town, Miracle City (described in the opening sequence as "a spicy cesspool of crime and villainy") with the aid and companionship of his best friend, Frida Suarez.Although Manny is mainly good to appeal to young viewers, he frequently disobeys his honest and heroic father and partakes in "bad" acts (e.g. buying the tattoo maker, kicking the crutch that kept Casa De Adios up and thus demolishing it).Sadly, despite predominantly positive feedback (even winning several Annie and Emmy awards), the show only lasted 26 episodes before it was cancelled. Fortunately, you can watch the entire series here and here for free, or purchase the entire season on DVD right here.
This series contains examples of:
Action Mom: Well, Maria with her Plata Peligrosa powers, anyway.
Action Survivor: Frida, who's been captured enough times by Sartana that she has her "usual" cell in Sartana's hideout, but has moments of cunning like jamming Sartana's mystic guitar with a potato so that the backed-up energy causes it to explode.
Badass Family: His grandfather, father, and his mother at some point have all shown impressive superpowers. In 'A Grave Escape' it seems superpowers are mandatory in the Rivera family.
Point of fact it appears that the Rivera family has alternating generations of heroes and villains. Puma Loco (villain)'s father was Justice Jaguar (hero), whose father was the Mighty Cheetar (villain) and so on and so forth back to the first El Tigre who went insane trying to decide whether to be good or bad.
Actually, almost all of the super villains in this series have villainous family members. The Aves family, the Chipotle scientists, Sartana and Django, General Chapuza and Che, etc. Sergio and El Oso are first generation villains, but it seems traditional for the younger villains to be the successors of their parents.
Beautiful All Along: Played around with in "Mustache Love". When Sophia (already considered pretty her persona) loses her unibrow/Browsia, she becomes even more beautiful (though still sounds and acts the same). Subverted with Manny who looks pretty much the same without the mustache, but Sophia finds him repulsive.
Berserk Button: Do not call a Rivera a coward or anything of the like. Bad, bad idea.
Also never tell a zombie they cannot dance.
Also neverever harm Manny around his mother. Just don't.
Or lie to her like Dr. Chipotle, Sr. did. She will flip her shit.
It should be noted that Maria's more bark than bite when compared to the rest... but still, don't make her angry.
Never call the Golden Eagle Twins' Zeppelin a blimp (Carlito especially).
If you hurt Frida when Chief Suarez is around, pray for mercy.
Sartana doesn't like it when people steals from her.
And don't mess up Dr. Habanero's nam-
Better as Friends: Played With. Much to Rodolfo's chagrin, his ex-wife Maria keeps insisting that they should remain Just Friends. She divorced him because she couldn't bare to see him get hurt as a superhero; she has also shown to be jealous when another woman is interested in him and flirtatious when in her hero form, Plata Peligrosa. Subverted in the end, where she remarries him after he retires from heroing
Brick Joke / Chekhov's Gun: During "Miracle City Worker", Dr. Chipotle, Sr. offhandedly confesses he is allergic to churros. We see Frida utilize this during the climatic fight throughout Maria's mansion; then during the heartwarming (somewhat sappy) ending, Dr. Chipotle comments he is going to be sick, and cue Frida stuffing his piehole with a churro, causing an allergic reaction not unlike Rodolfo's in "Fool's Goal."
Burping Contest: One between Manny and Zebra Donkey (in fact, this example provides the page quote) and once between Manny and Frida, who tried to pass their belches off as "a study on alternative gas sources" for science class.
And so on for pretty much every other hero/villain with an alter ego.
Cardboard Prison: A Running Gag, which is frequently lampshaded by El Oso. This is also a plot point in one episode, where Manny's mother decides that the revolving door on the prison is ineffective and tries to rehabilitate criminals instead.
El Oso: "Can we speed this up, I want to break out in time for dinner!"
Chew Toy: Manny. Not an episode goes by that he goes through some slew of Amusing Injuries, sometimes impossibly over-the-top amusing injuries, and the universe seems to enjoy putting him through the wringer for humor's sake. If the episode calls for someone to go through extreme bad luck, you can be it will be Manny (and in fact several episodes almost entirely deal with hilariously bad things happening to him over and over). Frida sometimes gets it merely through being around him as well.
Clark Kenting: Parodied. When not superheroing, Rodolfo wears a "disguise" of a unassuming brown suit, fedora and glasses that he doesn't need, just like Clark Kent. Despite everyone in the city knowing who he is, and that he's the superhero White Pantera. Also, note that he does so while wearing his superhero mask underneath the glasses.
The Cuckoo Lander Was Right : Albino Burrito's weaponry; all of it is based on Mexican games, toys and dances, and apparently useless, plus activating them makes him seem like a complete dork... but every single time, in the end, they prove to be extremely powerful One-Hit Kill weapons.
Getting Crap Past the Radar: In "The Mustache Kid", one of the adult-restricted activities that Manny and Frida want to do is enter into an establishment called "The Salsa Club". Seeing that it specifically denied entry to those under 21, had a tough-looking bouncer, and even got destroyed before we could get a look inside the place...I don't think that was a mere dance club our mischievous duo were trying to gain access to.
Hartman Hips: Carmelita/Voltura, Maria (especially as Plata Peligrosa)...
Heart Symbol: Rodolfo when his undying love for Maria is especially close to the surface.
Heart Is an Awesome Power: El Cucharon was regularly mocked for his power of spoon-based telepathy and turned to villainy. When Maria bolsters his spirits by reminding him of how special he is, he's the only one out of himself, El Oso and Dr. Chipotle, Sr. to make a trueHeel-Face Turn, not only rescuing El Tigre and Frida, but stopping El Oso and Chipotle's robbery attempt by burying them with every spoon in Miracle City.
Hebephile: Senor Siniestro seems to be one of these to those who don't know he's really the thirteen-year-old Sergio. That includes (or consists entirely of) the audience.
I Can't Believe It's Not Heroin: Maria with the Glove of Power. A flashback even shows she first got it when mystic items of power were getting passed around at a college party and she decided to experiment.
I Taste Delicious: Dr. Chipoltle Jr.'s guacamole monster apparently likes to eat itself. With nachos.
Just a Stupid Accent: Despite ostensibly taking place in Mexico, all the characters speak English with Mexican accents.
Just Eat Him: In one episode Sartana creates a huge bone monster that eats the Riveras and Frida, but they manage to bust their way out using the Caliente Catapult of Carnage. In another, a gigantic creature called the Dragonworm devours Manny (who happens to be the last ingredient that will make the Dragonworm "invincible"), but Rodolfo beats the tar out of it, believing it to be fake until he rescues Manny, and finds he's covered with real dragon spit. In another, Manny intentionally jumps into the gullet of Dr. Chipotle Jr.'s guacamole monster in order to destroy it from within using some kind of all-powerful guacamole.
Kangaroo Court: As part of a gag super villain El Oso falls into a court room through the roof, and the first person to speak is the judge, who immediately says guilty. El Oso for some reason says "Well at least I got a fair trail man."
He is supposed to be in jail. Merely being there means he must have broke out, which is a crime.
Karma Houdini: The Golden Eagle Twins. Two twins who take advantage of their superhero fame to scam the locals into getting whatever they want. Despite Manny and Frida beating em in a fight and destroying their zeppelin ("IT'S NOT A BLIMP"). The city still supported then none the wiser to their true natures. What more Manny ended up getting imprisoned for a statue of them that was the destroyed in the fight.
Kryptonite Factor : The zombies are vulnerable to Dark/Black Water, a substance that can only be found at the fountain right in the middle of their own hometown. When El Tigre uses it against pretty much every zombie in the city, General Chapuza, right before getting destroyed, questions the wisdom of the zombies making their residence right around their only weakness; some Fridge Brilliance here, actually, since anyone trying to get the zombies' weakness would need to face them all first.
Lampshade Hanging "It's like you kicked a puppy... a lost, unemployed puppy... with a cold."
Leitmotif: A few beyond general themes - Manny has the main theme, naturally. Grandpapi has a theme from Carmen that generally plays when a scene is about him.
Limited Wardrobe: Taken to extremes in the Bad Ending, where Manny and Frida pretty much wear the exact same clothes well into old age.
Living Lie Detector : White Pantera's Bronze Boots of Truth, besides giving him Super Strength and Super Speed, also forces anyone in direct contact with them to tell the truth. However, since direct contact is necessary for this power to work, White Pantera can still be fooled/tricked if the liar doesn't touch the boots.
Frida: Where? (Turns around, then realizes Chipotle ran away) Aw, man!
Also, in "The Return of Plata Peligrosa"
Rodolfo: Look, a danger!
Loves My Alter Ego: Played straight and Inverted. With Maria Rivera, she loves Rodolfo, but cannot stand seeing him hurt as long as he is White Pantera, which is why she left him and restrains her feelings. Word of God says they remarry when Rodolfo fully retires.
Love Cannot Overcome: Played With. Maria did not mind being married to superhero White Pantera (Rodolfo) and according to Manny, found it cool; she then saw him seriously hurt for the first time and seeing him consistently get hurt ultimately made her leave him, unable to see him like this. This is a little strange considering that she herself used to be a superheroine (though the item she used also drove her increasingly erratic). Word of God says she remarries him when he retires from superheroing.
Love Hungry: Can count for both Diego and Sergio, as they are both seen as willing to go to EXTREME lengths to try and gain Frida's affection. Sergio even once says straight out (to her face, no less) that he is thankful for her BREATHING in his direction.
Made of Iron: Frida...how else could you explain her getting pummeled by the Titanium Titan, getting crushed by Giant Robot Sanchez and surviving a high-velocity launch into the side of the Miracle City Volcano without so much as a scratch?!
Honestly, this could apply to the entire population of Miracle City. Kicked Up to Eleven with Manny.
Masked Luchador: Several characters wear outfits somewhat reminiscent of this, including El Tigre and especially White Pantera.
Meaningful Name: "Aves" means "poultry/bird" in Spanish. Do I even need to explain?
Murder the Hypotenuse: In the episode "Love and War" when Sergio (Senior Siniestro) and Diego (Dr. Chipotle Jr.) team up to try and destroy Manny, because they think that he and Frida are so close, they'll never have a chance while he's in the way.
My Name Is Not Durwood: Manny never seemed to get Dr. Chipotle Jr's last name right, much to the latter's chagrin.
Necromancer: Sartana of the Dead, who is a skeleton herself. In fact, anyone who manages to get her mystic guitar can raise the dead, as shown in 'Zebra Donkey'.
No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: In "Tigre + Cuervo Forever", when Zoe/Cuervo finds out that Manny only dated her to get the lowdown on the Flock's heists, she's heartbroken and completely ticked off. When he tries to make it up to her by saying he'll let her win their fight, she absolutely demolishes him, kicking him through three yachts and capping it off with a three-person BFG blast that scorches Tigre and Pantera and sinks the President's golden yacht. Do NOT mess with Cuervo's feelings.
Not So Different: Manny and Django, to the point that some fans have theorized Django being Manny in an earlier life.
As it turns out, this might not be so much of a coincidence: According to a picture on the creator's DA account (and some comments), Manny and Django might possibly be half-cousins!
Not-So-Harmless Villain : Cactus Kid; at first, it seems his only power is making little cacti to dance until both Manny and Puma Loco make him so angry he accidentally triggers his full potential, now being capable of summoning huge cacti, with blade-sharp thorns, that he can control at will, even making them shoot the thorns at his enemies.
Prehensile Hair: Manny's sentient mustache Raul, as well as Sophia's sentient monobrow.
The Mustache Mafia too, of course.
Puppy Love: At the end of Season 2 Frida kisses Manny romantically.
Raised by Wolves: Parodied and subverted with El Oso. He was, technically, raised by bears, in that his whole life he followed around a family of bears that wanted nothing to do with him and tried with extreme failure to copy them. This included trying punching a beehive open to get the honey inside (and getting stung for his trouble), trying punching water in order to catch fish (and getting attacked by a fish for his trouble), and trying to scratch his back on a tree like the others by punching a twig (and getting smashed by a fallen tree... inexplicably). The bears, incidentally, spend the whole time trying to get rid of him.
Running Gag: Manny's desire for a jetpack and Maria hyperventilating when faced with something stressful. One episode also treated Sartana capturing Frida as one of these.
"Curse you, Dr. Eugene L. Butterman!"
A specific store called Manuel's Jewelry always getting robbed whenever there's a crime spree, and often when there isn't as well. The gigantic diamond display on the top of the store will also invariably be destroyed somehow.
Manny really needs that T-Belt... because his pants fall down at the slightest provocation, revealing Goofy Print Underwear.
Raul the World's Greatest Mustache ending every episode he's in by ripping off of Manny's face in the most painful way possible. Lampshaded by Frida in his last appearance.
Secret Identity: Sergio/Senor Siniestro, Diego/Dr. Chipotle Jr., and Zoe Aves/Black Cuervo all have separate civilian and villain forms. Diego is the only one whose villain form is his default, as we only see his disguise in one episode.
Shout-Out: Just in case you didn't know, Frida and Manny's names are based on real-life Mexican painter Frida Kahlo and hubbie Diego Rivera.
Someone on production must be a Street Fighter fan, because a few characters from the games can be seen as background students at Manny's school in some episodes, such as Chun-Li, Cammy and Remy (from Third Strike).
The name Super Macho Fighters II should make that clear enough.
Shut Up, Kirk!: The Silver Sombrero angry at the monster that ate Manny for not letting him finish his speech.
Single-Target Sexuality: Sergio (Senior Sinestro) and Diego (Dr. Chipotle, Jr.) develop this for Frida. It's especially apparent in "Wrong and Dance", where the bad girls whom Manny tried to ask to the dance end up falling for Sergio, only for Sergio to rebuff them, calling them "not-Frida girlies."
Let's not forget the most obvious one: "Sergio" is the name of the cowboy-themed super-villain. The Italian cowboy-themed super-villain.
Stalker with a Crush: Rodolfo's former sidekick, Titanium Titan, is completely obsessed with Rodolfo.
Stock Sound Effects: There's a few that you're bound to hear at least once an episode, including certain anime-style slashing sounds, an Audible Sharpness sound that's often used before something explodes, and a couple of commonly-used fart sounds that accompany everything from a garbage truck dumping out shredded trash goop, to a robot dog farting out a battery.
There's also a "warping" sound effect used for laser and the like which got a lot of memorable use in the old The Fantastic Four (1967) animated show.
Stuffed into a Locker: A recurring nerdy kid who always gets picked on by the bullies, and the goodies too.
Also the episode that reveals Maria was once a superhero.
Theme Naming: The superpowered characters who do not have a Spanish word in their names and/or aren't named after an animal can be counted on one hand. All of the Rivera men we've seen so far (good, neutral, or evil) are named after a big cat of some kind.
Toxic Friend Influence: Frida is often goading Manny into doing bad things. Her dad thinks it's the other way round.
Used to Be a Sweet Kid: Sergio seemed to be fairly nice, albeit childish and naīve, before being unintentionally but severely humiliated by Manny. After that is when he swore vengeance and created his Seņor Siniestro alter-ego.
Vitriolic Best Friends : Sergio/Seņor Siniestro and Diego/Doctor Chipotle Jr; they are in love with Frida, and will often fight over her, but, this detail aside, they're the best of friends, to the point Diego is the only person who knows Seņor Siniestro's secret identity.
Wax On, Wax Off: Trying to get out of doing chores, Manny tricked wannabe hero Albino Burrito into doing them thinking it was hero training. Then all he learned during the chores was indeed useful to defeat a rampaging robot built by Puma Loco.
What the Hell, Hero?: White Pantera calls out his favorite Super Team (who thinks White Pantera is pathetic) for using his son as bait. Instead of feeling guilty and apologizing for what they did, they wanted (rather, begged) White Pantera to join them for destroying the monster, realizing they were wrong about him.
Also, he's mortified when he learns that Manny pretended to like Black Cuervo to get intel on the Flock of Fury's plans.
White Pantera: You took advantage of a lady's feelings? UNCLEAN!
Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Lampshaded at one point. Dr Chipotle Jr is using a remote to control the latest Monster of the Week and it's kicking Manny's butt in a straight fight. Frida, who is standing right next to Chipotle, eventually decides to "do this the lazy man's way" and just knocks the remote out of Chipotle's hand.
With Friends Like These... : Frida often acts as Manny's mischievous conscience , convincing him to do the 'funny thing' that, more often than not, isn't the right thing to do; her reckless behavior and low attention deficit also gets him into many problems. On the other hand, Manny, unwittingly, many times gets Frida injured since, after all, she's a normal human trying to keep up with a superhero's adventures.