El Tigre: The Adventures of Manny Rivera (2007-2008) is a popular 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
).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).
This series contains examples of:
Action Mom: Well, Maria with her Plata Peligrosa powers, anyway.
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 straight in "Mustache Love" when the ugly Sophia loses her unibrow and is suddenly beautiful (though she still sounds and acts the same). Subverted with Manny who looks pretty much the same without the mustache, but Sophia finds him repulsive.
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 the effects of excess gas in the human body" (or something like that) 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, Radolfo 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.
...then you don't wanna know what she did in Hung...
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.
Hot Mom: Maria Rivera, again, plus Voltura (Zoe Aves/Black Cuervo´s mom) and Carmela Suarez (Frida Suarez´s mom).
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.
Masked Luchador: Several characters wear outfits somewhat reminiscent of this, including El Tigre and especially White Pantera.
My Name Is Not Durwood: Manny just can't remember the Chipotles' name. He's called Dr. Chipotle Jr. everything from Dr. Tomatilla to Dr. Chimpanzee. It's never clarified whether he's doing this on purpose or not.
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'.
Not So Different: Manny and Django, to the point that some fans have theorized Django being Manny in an earlier life.
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. This troper managed to spot Chun-Li, Cammy and Remy (from Third Strike).
The name Super Macho Fighters II should make that clear enough.
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.
Vitriolic Best Friends : Sergio/Señor 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 Señor 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 for using his son as bait. Instead of feeling guilty and apologizing, 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!
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.