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Anime / Kaiketsu Zorro

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Kaiketsu Zorro (literally "Extraordinary Zorro," released in English as The Legend of Zorro) is a 1996 anime series based on the popular Zorro franchise. It was created through the collaborative work of Japanese studios Ashi Productions and Toho and Italian distributor Mondo TV. The series was broadcast on NHK in Japan.

As in most adaptations of Zorro, the premise of the anime is largely the same: in the late 18th century, Don Diego Vega, who has been pursuing his studies in Spain, gets a letter from his father Don Alejandro Vega, urging him to come home to California and help in quelling the tyranny of Spanish Army commandant Raymond, whose soldiers have been bullying the locals and extorting the wealthy landowners. Seeing an example of such bullying upon his arrival, Diego proceeds to don the masked identity of Zorro, establishing himself by rescuing a man who was condemned to death for speaking out against the Army, and earning the ire of Raymond and his lieutenant Gabriel in the process.


Diego is soon joined in his efforts by Bernard, a young servant boy who Diego had rescued from death years earlier and who has managed to deduce Diego's dual identity, and together they thwart the corrupt practices of the Army and the viciousness of local criminals, with Bernard donning a version of the Zorro costume and calling himself "Little Zorro" on occasion. As in most versions of the character, Diego must also act like a coward in order to avert any suspicion of him being Zorro, although this tactic earns him the disapproval of his father, as well as the disdain of his childhood sweetheart Lolita—who ironically falls in love with Zorro.

The series ran for one season of 52 episodes, though only 46 of them were aired in Japan.

Not to be confused with Kaiketsu Zorori, a children's story about an anthropomorphic fox.


Tropes associated with Kaiketsu Zorro:

  • Adaptation Dye-Job: Unlike several other versions of Zorro, this one has blond hair.
  • Age Lift: Inverted with Bernard; he's a preteen boy in this series, whereas most other versions have him as an older teenager or a middle-aged man. Diego is also an inversion, though to a lesser extent; while most versions of the character have him around his 30's, here Diego is still in his late teens (at one point Gonzales invites him to the pub for a drink, but Diego protests that he's still underage).
  • Always Someone Better: Teo, Diego's sword instructor during his time at university. Diego even admits outright that, if the two of them were to cross swords in the present day, Teo would still be the better swordsman. This causes problems when Teo turns out to be one of a group of professional assassins hired to kill Zorro.
  • Animated Adaptation: The second after the 1981 The New Adventures of Zorro (1981) from Filmation, and before the 1997 The New Adventures of Zorro (1997) from Warner Bros..
  • Anti-Villain: The agent from the South India Trading Company's head office. While he does oppose Zorro briefly and doesn't care about the troubles the town has endured because of Kapital, he is pursuing Kapital for embezzling from the company. And at the end, even though Kapital is forcibly taken back to Spain and therefore doesn't get to pay more directly for the crimes he's committed against the townspeople, the agent does assure Zorro that Kapital and his men can expect to face trial in Spain for their actions, and he encourages Zorro to keep fighting for the sake of justice. Unfortunately, the agent's moral alignment gets a bit muddied in the English dub, where he's presented as a much more sinister Punch-Clock Villain figure, with his words implying that the South India Trading Company as a whole is a Greater-Scope Villain (this isn't present in other dubs).
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: In "Lolita's Kiss," Jekyll and Zorro team up to take out the Scorpions gang, ending up in this pose at one point and mopping up the gang at the end.
  • Bad Boss: Commander Raymond lived up to this category multiple times throughout the series. In "Mystery Mountain" he was shown to deny his soldiers leave to return to Spain to see their families, and his heavy-handedness is implied to be what caused one lieutenant to get involved in creating counterfeit coins to make a profit for himself. And if angered severely enough, Raymond would get physically abusive with his men, as Gabriel found out in "Gabriel's Rebellion." Also, Raymond had a tendency to kill off any minion or associate who could potentially out his murderous and illegal activities in court as both the guitar killer Sabat and a merchant named Diaz found out the hard way. He would have also done the same to Kapital, had Kapital not been captured by Zorro's allies and later on, the South India Trading Company agent.
  • Beware of Vicious Dog: "Cornered" has Gabriel securing several large dogs who have been trained to hunt any man clad in black—namely, Zorro. The dogs prove to be quite dangerous, too, injuring Zorro badly enough to force him to flee the scene during their first encounter.
  • BFG: Late in the series, the Army and the South India Trading Company procure three of these in an effort to destroy all opposition to their rule over the town. Just one of these cannons is capable of firing a cannonball with enough destructive power to destroy a large building in one shot.
  • Big Bad: Commander Raymond is the head of the Spanish Army who aims to control California.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: Raymond and Kapital act as this throughout the series. While Raymond did ultimately have more authority in their partnership, Kapital was shown acting independently often enough that he couldn't really be considered just another of Raymond's minions.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Zorro has a habit of doing this, to the point that you can expect it Once per Episode.
  • Big Eater: Gonzales can't go an episode without eating or talking about how hungry he is. More than once, Diego exploits this by buying Gonzales food or beer to get the sergeant to loosen his tongue on what are supposed to be confidential military secrets.
  • Big Fancy House: The Vega family has one of these, though it's rather modestly run. A few of their wealthy neighbors, including Lolita's parents, also have these.
  • Big Good: The Governor-General. Though he starts out distrusting Zorro due to the latter being an outlaw, he's gradually won over once he gets a first-hand view of how corrupt the Army officers are.
  • Bloodless Carnage: For the most part, Zorro cutting down any villain with his sword never results in any blood being shown.
  • Bolt of Divine Retribution: One episode's villain, raising his sword to strike down Zorro, gets hit with a bolt of lightning just at that moment and is burned to death as a result. Granted, it had been raining with brief shots of lightning throughout the episode, but Zorro still thinks that particular moment was this trope in action.
  • Bond Villain Stupidity: During one confrontation, Zorro suddenly gets a steel-mesh net thrown over him, restricting his movements. You'd think the villains would immediately take this opportunity to just kill him right there, and in fact one thug raises a knife to stab Zorro through the net—only to be stopped by the group's leader, who instead elects to suspend Zorro, still in the net, at the edge of the dam where the confrontation is taking place, to either drown or be hit by floating logs released by other members of the gang from further upstream. You get exactly one guess as to how that turns out.
  • Brandishment Bluff: At one point, Sergeant Gonzales is searching Diego's room on orders from Commander Raymond, preventing Diego from changing into his Zorro outfit. Diego settles for sneaking up behind the sergeant and tracing a Z on his back with a fingertip, then demanding the details of Raymond's latest plot while holding him at "swordpoint". Gonzales falls for it hook, line, and sinker.
  • Broken Pedestal:
    • Lolita thinks Diego has become this, assuming that the letters he'd previously written about his successes at his school's fencing tournament in Spain were nothing but lies, after observing him behaving cowardly and non-confrontational on several occasions. Of course, she doesn't know that Diego is Obfuscating Stupidity.
    • The Army itself becomes this for Lieutenant Placido, who as a child was rescued from a well by an Army officer and subsequently sought to join the Army himself because he wanted to emulate the bravery and honor that the soldier displayed that day. In the present day, Placido soon becomes soured on the Army's current policies after seeing what kind of men Gabriel and Raymond are, although Zorro acknowledges that the Army actually needs men like Placido himself.
  • Butt-Monkey: Poor Diego gets this a lot from everybody, and sometimes suffers comical injuries to both body and dignity that cause even Bernard to shake his head in disbelief. And, of course, Sergeant Gonzales suffers no end of abuse from his superiors.
  • Cassandra Truth: The titular flower-girl in "Pepita" has a reputation for telling tall tales, so naturally when she discovers that an explosion at a local mine was no accident, but rather a plot by the episode's villain to force the owner to go out of business, nobody believes her.
  • Character Development: For a minor recurring character, the Governor-General receives a decent amount of it. He starts out as the henpecked Governor of California who gets humiliated by Zorro in some of the earlier episodes and has a wife who can easily boss him around. Later on, he comes to see just how crooked the Army and Raymond really are and begins to rethink his position of Zorro after having seen Zorro's heroism first-hand. By the end of the series, he's one of Zorro's staunchest allies and becomes one of the few people who know of Zorro's secret identity.
  • Childhood Friend Romance: Lolita recounts how, when they were children, Diego saved her from a group of bullies who frightened her with a snake on a stick. They've carried a torch for each other ever since, but throughout the series Lolita is absolutely dismayed that Diego has (supposedly) stopped being the kind, brave boy with a strong sense of justice who she'd grown up admiring and loving, instead becoming a Rich Idiot With No Day Job following his time in Spain.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: In the earlier episodes there was a crooked merchant named Brown who sometimes teamed up with Raymond or one of his associates, and sometimes acted on his own as a minor recurring villain. After the 22nd episode "Gonzales the Thief," he stops making anymore appearances and pretty much disappears from the series.
  • Clark Kenting: This version of Zorro, in addition to his usual black garb, wears a white shirt similar to what he wears in his civilian identity, plus his mask doesn't cover the top of his head so his blond hair is quite visible in the event he loses his hat, and the only real change he makes to his voice is to speak in a deeper tone—and STILL nobody makes the connection between his two identities. It's especially bad in "Cornered," where he briefly has to go shirtless and hatless so Lolita can treat his injuries, which means his hair is visible and the similarity of his frame to Diego's is out in the open, and Lolita still doesn't make the connection. It also got pretty bad in "Tears of Clown," after Black has seemingly taken down Zorro. Zorro's prone body was thrown right in front of Gabriel and Raymond with his hat gone and his hairstyle and color looking exactly the same as Diego's. Neither villain figures it out.
  • Clear My Name: "Gonzales the Thief" has Gonzales being wrongly accused of robbing a rich widow's house, and Diego and company helping him to catch the actual guilty party.
  • Clothing Damage: A non-fanservice-y example. Expect to see this at least Once per Episode, thanks to Zorro's tendency to leave his mark on the shirt/uniform of anyone who tries to fight him. At one point, Gonzales even asks if Zorro will put the "Z" on his pants instead, because he's only got one jacket left.
  • Cold Sniper: The episode "Killer Guitar" introduced a cold, methodical sniper hired by Raymond who hid his gun inside a guitar and would pick his victims off from a high vantage point by first strumming his guitar and then taking his shot.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Zorro will kick stones into your face, as well as stomp on your shoulders while jumping over you, if it'll help him to win. Bernard won't shy away from biting opponents, and given that they tend to be more than twice his size, it's understandable.
    • A villainous example would be the main bad guy from the "Lolita, Get Your Gun" episode. He was skilled enough with his Wolverine Claws to attack Zorro and engage him in combat. However, once Zorro began to overwhelm him with his swordplay, he didn't hesitate to run off and lure Zorro into a darkened church where he had much better eyesight and could strike at Zorro from all directions.
  • Cool Big Sis: Lolita acts this way toward Bernard, and to the other village children by extension.
  • Cool Horse: Zorro's mount in this series is a white horse named Viento (Spanish for "Wind") who is capable of jumping large distances, jumping down from high ledges without suffering visible injury or strain (both while carrying Zorro, at that), and literally kicking the asses of mooks (and also head-butting them). Viento is even strong enough to bust through walls!
  • Cordon Bleugh Chef: Lolita evidently can't cook to save her life, to the point that at the end of "Gonzales in Love," the prospect of tasting anything she's cooked has Diego running toward the sunset.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Kapital, of the South India Trading Company, falls under this category, being willing to destroy lives, ruin local businesses, and aid the army in their corruption, all to make a profit.
  • Counterfeit Cash: One episode's villain runs an operation where fake gold coins are produced and mixed in with the local genuine currency. The genuine coins have the image of a ship with three sets of sails; on the fake coins, the ship only has two sails.
  • Crapsack World: With its setting in Spanish California, the very first episode makes it abundantly clear that the ordinary people suffered almost constant injustice and abuse at the hands of the Spanish Army. Even people in a position of power, such as Madame Barbara, don't seem to like California all that much and rather liked moving back to Spain. Within the army, there were also several soldiers, like Lieutenant Bucanello in the episode "Mystery Mountain," who much preferred to be back in Spain to be with their families. And at one point, Commander Raymond even made mention of how he'd enjoy retiring in Spain as a very rich man, with the implication that even a lot of the villains and privileged elites in the show see California as nothing more than a backwater province that they'd rather leave behind in order to return to Spain.
  • Dartboard of Hate: In "Vengeance," a young boy with a grudge against Zorro uses the outlaw's wanted-poster as a target to practice his archery.
  • A Day in the Limelight:
    • "Little Zorro at Full Blast" sees Bernard making every effort to protect the home of his love interest Nikita, who Lolita is babysitting while the girl's parents are away, from a gang of thugs who're plotting to rob the house. The climax of the episode puts a bit more focus on Bernard taking on the main villain's mooks successfully; even Zorro's fight with the gang leader outside the house is treated almost as a side-attraction.
    • "Cornered" focuses on Tackle, the Vega family's hunting dog, proving his worth after having been wrongly blamed for several fiascos at the start of the episode.
    • "Man's Best Friend," the debut episode of the Vega family's small bulldog Figaro, outlines how he first comes to meet Diego and Bernard.
    • "Gonzales the Thief," where Gonzales has to clear his name after being wrongly accused of burglary, goes into some detail about why he entered the Army, and what his hopes are concerning his career. "Gonzales in Love" shows how, with proper motivation, he can prove himself a monstrous fighter.
  • Defector from Decadence: Lieutenant Placido.
  • Deuteragonist: Bernard serves as this, getting just as much action as Zorro does, both as himself and as Little Zorro.
  • The Dragon: Gabriel serves as this for Raymond.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: In the episode "The Stagecoach is in Danger," one of the passengers on the titular stagecoach is a former doctor who's been reduced to drinking due to losing a patient in a botched operation. This is also what happens to the town doctor in "A Doctor's Dilemma" after he loses a patient in surgery. In the latter case, it was deliberately orchestrated by the episode's villain to discredit the doctor.
  • Easily Forgiven: Raymond is pretty forgiving of Gabriel even though Gabriel chose not to aid Raymond in a fight against Zorro in the hopes that Zorro would finally kill Raymond off. The worst that happened to Gabriel was that he got his job back after previously being relieved of his duties.
  • Education Mama: The sub-plot of "The Stagecoach is in Danger" has a wealthy woman who's very insistent that her young son must study hard to make something of himself in life; however, the boy isn't having any of it and wants to see things he deems exciting instead.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • Raymond might sanction the oppression of the townspeople, unfairly raise taxes and threaten people who don't comply with their payment, but he clamps down on Gabriel's obsession for Lolita as soon as he's made aware that Gabriel broke an arsonist out of jail to blackmail Lolita into marrying him and then kidnapped her, all but stating the only reason he's not having him tried and executed is that the entire garrison (including himself) would be dishonored if the word got out. He's also quick to stop anyone whose thefts prevent someone from paying their taxes, and conveniently ignores that one of those people is paying them with money Zorro stole, in his presence, from the thief.
    • In one episode, Raymond forbids the townspeople from holding a funeral for a local journalist. Even after Zorro intervenes and makes him swear to allow the funeral to go forward, Raymond is all ready to go back on his word...until Alejandro points out that he made the promise in front of the local chapel. Raymond, apparently unwilling to break an oath made on holy ground, reluctantly tells the people to get on with it and rides off.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Gabriel, by far. He beats on the weak, he seeks to enrich himself and isn't afraid to manipulate others to do so, he's arrogant and full of himself, and yet he fails to understand why Lolita, who he's in love with, cannot stand him.
  • Evil Is Bigger: Being the one bad guy who's engaged Zorro in the most sword fights, Gabriel is much taller than Diego. Averted with the actual Big Bad of the series, Raymond, who's shown to be about the same size as Diego.
  • Face Palm: Done on occasion by bystanders who witness Diego's (apparent) idiocy. It's even done by Bernard, who's in on Diego's secret.
  • Faux Affably Evil:
    • Though he's more likely to bully his way into getting what he wants, Gabriel is capable of acting charming when the mood strikes him.
    • Commander Raymond is a smooth-talking military leader who can charm government officials and even the general public on occasion with his charisma and smooth tongue. But when the chips are down, he'll still treat his own men horribly, oppress the people with an iron hand, and ruthlessly eliminate anyone who could be considered a liability to him in court.
  • Fighting Fingerprint: How Teo realizes Zorro's secret identity during their first fight—Zorro utilizes a fencing stance that Diego always used during their sparring sessions when they were at school together in Spain.
  • Foil: Gabriel to Zorro, at least as far as wooing Lolita goes. They both consider her extremely beautiful and would gladly marry her if external forces weren't in the way. However, Gabriel is a Stalker with a Crush who only seems to be interested in Lolita for her looks and can't understand why she doesn't want anything to do with him. Zorro, on the other hand, was Lolita's friend long before he took up a Secret Identity, treats her with respect and chivalry worthy of a Knight in Shining Armor, and is the not-so-secret object of Lolita's affections, but can't openly express his feelings for her, lest his secret put her in (even more) danger.
  • Forced Kiss: Gabriel very nearly plants one on Lolita in "Lolita's Kiss", as part of a local tradition dictating that the winners of a yearly fencing competition and dance contest should share a kiss to end the festivities. Gabriel is quite gleeful about having an excuse to kiss an obviously reluctant Lolita, going so far as to physically grab her and pull her closer when the big moment arrives. Luckily for Lolita, Zorro shows up before any actual lip-locking happens and knocks Gabriel down to second place. She's quite willing to go through with the kiss after that.
  • Friend to All Children: If a child is in danger, Zorro will not hesitate to give the offending villain an appropriate beatdown. The local children look up to him because they know he stands for justice, and he definitely rewards Pepita's faith in him in her titular episode.
  • Friendly Sniper: Lolita herself in "Lolita Get Your Gun," proving to be quite a crack-shot with rifles and aiding Zorro in the climactic fight against the villain's gang.
  • From Bad to Worse: The third episode pretty much runs on this. First an escaped arsonist burns down a building on Lolita's parents' property. Then Lolita vanishes after an argument with her parents, and no one can find her. Even worse, the reason she's vanished is because she was kidnapped by Lieutenant Gabriel, in an attempt to "persuade" her to accept his proposal of marriage.
  • Glass Cannon: Magician Black in "Tears of Clown" possessed a magical pendant which allows him to deal a severe amount of damage to Zorro and conceivably any other swordsman in the series. Without it, however, his durability is still human-level and he's no more of a match for Zorro than any other Villain of the Week.
  • Godzilla Threshold: Near the very end of the series, Zorro has suffered a Curb-Stomp Battle against a foe who's significantly stronger than him, he's been shot by Gabriel's men and is bleeding out, and although Bernard has managed to flee with him by horse and has transported him to a safe spot in the woods, he can't move Zorro any further on his own, nor can he risk moving him again anyway given the severity of Zorro's injuries. The urgency and desperation of the situation prompts Bernard to take an action that Diego has previously warned him at least twice against pursuing: he goes to Lolita for help, outing his own and Diego's secret identities to her in the process.
  • Grand Finale: "The Sword of Justice Forever."
  • Groin Attack:
    • Little Zorro kicks one mook right in the balls in "A Doctor's Dilemma." The poor guy is doubled over in pain as a result. Low blow there, Bernard.
    • In "Diego Undercover," a hostage kicks a hostage-taker in the balls. From behind. The hostage-taker is left crumpled on the ground in defeat.
  • Henpecked Husband: The Governor-General, as revealed in "Lady Barbara."
    Bernard: So the Governor-General runs the Army, while the Governor-General's wife runs him!
  • Heroic Bystander: Lolita herself in "Little Zorro at Full Blast," knocking out one of the villain's mooks by smashing a vase over his head. Also Lady Barbara, the Governor-General's wife in "Lady Barbara," having an opportunity to kick a would-be robber off her ship at the climax of the episode. And then Maria gets her turn in "The Sword of Justice Forever," conking Gabriel on the head with a large stick before he can kill Gonzales while resisting arrest for treason.
  • "Home Alone" Antics: In "Little Zorro at Full Blast," to protect his love interest Nikita's house from a gang of burglars, Bernard sets up some rather impressive traps both in the yard and inside the house, including a well-disguised pit for them to fall into, a bust tied to a rope swinging from a chandelier to club them, and even an example taken from the trope-naming film itself—a door handle heated by a candle on the other side. The best part? All the traps work, in part because the gang's two mooks are about as dumb as Harry and Marv (the gang leader is significantly smarter, but he winds up stuck outside and fighting Zorro).
  • Hospital Hottie: Anita, the new doctor in "The Hypnotic Doctor," to the point that all the men in town pretend to be sick just so they can get treatment from her. Except she's not a real doctor... or a real woman, for that matter.
  • Identity Impersonator: In one episode, a friend of Diego who's managed to deduce his dual identity is made by Bernard to do this as part of a plot to break Diego out of jail, where he's been kept in custody by the Army. The friend goes along with it because it was his Intrepid Reporter antics about unmasking Zorro, and the notes he made along the way, that led to Diego's arrest, and so he wants to make amends.
  • Imposter Forgot One Detail: In one episode, the villain presents himself as the son of a noted Duke. The thing is, the Duke in question does in fact have a son...who is four years old.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Lieutenant Placido is an expert shot with a crossbow, renowned for never missing.
  • Inspector Javert: Raymond and Gabriel are the military variant of this trope. Gonzales and Jekyll are more of the Sympathetic Inspector Antagonist mold.
  • Instrument of Murder: One villain hides a rifle inside his guitar, which he plays a few notes on moments before shooting his targets.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: In "Lady Barbara," an unlikely friendship blooms between Bernard and Lady Barbara, the Governor-General's wife, after he saves her from one member of a gang of bandits. They bond over their respective issues concerning family—Bernard suffers from Parental Abandonment, while Lady Barbara never got to have children of her own due to her husband always being so busy—and over the course of the episode Lady Barbara comes to see Bernard as her own son.
  • Intrepid Reporter: One episode has a writer friend of Diego carry on in much this manner while seeking information to write a novel about Zorro. Unfortunately, the information he collects leads to the Army taking Diego in for questioning on suspicion of being Zorro, though luckily Diego puts on his usual noisy and klutzy antics to convince Gabriel he's not Zorro after all.
  • The Juggernaut: The South India Trading Company agent who comes for Kapital in the penultimate episode. He's tall, he's got a menacing aura, the announcement of his very presence makes Kapital and his henchmen crap themselves (one of them refers to him as "Death"), and he will not be stopped in carrying out his mission. He even brutally stomps Zorro and later Gabriel when they get in the way of his fulfilling his order to capture Kapital (Zorro lasts a good while, but ends up getting knocked out and tossed off a rooftop for his trouble; Gabriel doesn't even last a few seconds).
  • Karmic Death: A few one-shot villains get their comeuppance at the end of their feature episode.
  • Katanas Are Just Better: "The Sword from Japan" plays up the titular katana as being so well-made that it can cut a European saber into pieces like the latter was paper. Subverted when the episode's villain actually tries to use the sword—turns out it's a bamboo replica, and breaks easily when it makes contact with Zorro's blade.
  • Kid Sidekick: Bernard, both as himself and as Little Zorro.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: As evil as he is, even Raymond knows when to give up on certain endeavors when he's made to do so by higher authorities. In the episode Man's Best Friend, Raymond tried to get Diego's father arrested on false charges of stealing from a visiting Countess. However, at the end of the episode, the Countess finds out about Raymond's schemes and warns him to never harass the Vega family again. The Countess' warning sticks because for the rest of the series, Raymond never again tries to do anything to Diego's family.
  • Le Parkour: Bernard proves himself quite capable of running and jumping from rooftop to rooftop with ease; this is best demonstrated in "Pepita."
  • Loves My Alter Ego: Lolita is disappointed in her childhood sweetheart Diego, seeing him as lazy, cowardly, and selfish...but she's in love with Zorro, who's brave, strong, and a champion of the people. Too bad for her she doesn't know they're the same person. When she finds out later, she’s pleasantly surprised.
  • Master Swordsman: Zorro, of course. Gabriel is also one, being the favorite to win the town's annual fencing tournament in one's just that he's not quite as good as Zorro. Then there's Captain Jekyll, who's an absolute beast with his sword, and Teo, Diego's former senior classman who taught Diego all he knows about swordsmanship and recognizes Zorro as Diego when he sees the masked man use a familiar fencing stance from their past sparring sessions.
  • Mouthy Kid: Bernard is quite talkative, a departure from most other versions of the character who are mute and also pretend to be deaf.
  • Never Found the Body: The villain of "Gonzales in Love Again", after one of his mooks states that a victim of theirs was shot and fell off a cliff, orders his men to find the body and bring it to him as proof. Raymond is likewise wary of this trope; in "The Sword of Justice Forever," when Gabriel reports that Zorro fell off a cliff, the first thing Raymond asks is if Gabriel saw the incident or Zorro's remains for himself.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: In Placido's debut episode, Raymond unwittingly does this when he gives Placido a medal of valor as an incentive to kill Zorro. If not for that, Zorro wouldn't have been able to use the medal to deflect Placido's arrow to the back at the end of the episode, although one could argue that Placido, being a marksman with his crossbow, might have managed to make a non-lethal shot anyway.
  • Non-Human Sidekick: Three of them—Zorro's horse Viento, and the Vega family's dogs Tackle and Figaro. All of them have done their part to assist Zorro directly or indirectly, up to and including fighting enemy mooks.
  • Not Now, Kiddo: The Army tends to brush off children's concerns. It's most strongly demonstrated in "Wings of Dreams," where Gabriel and Gonzales throw Bernard and one of his friends out of their office when the boys come to report a planned pirate attack, with the soldiers declaring they have no time for children's tall tales. Naturally, it's up to Zorro to save the day after that.
  • Nun Too Holy: In one episode, a trio of female thieves disguise themselves as nuns, the better to keep anyone from suspecting them of any wrongdoing; they manage to get into a dwelling by wearing those disguises and walking right past Sergeant Gonzales, whose only reaction to seeing them is to glance briefly at them and then shrug it off. In another episode, the villain's gang disguises themselves as a whole order of nuns to hide their criminal activities.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Diego, nearly all the time. There are moments in which he'd drop his mask and act serious, thoughtful or concerned, but they are few and far between.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: In the climax of "Pepita," the villain has taken Bernard hostage and uses a mine-shaft elevator to escape. Zorro makes his way up in pursuit...only once he reaches the top, Bernard has already freed himself and clubbed the villain unconscious.
  • One-Man Army: Captain Jekyll is certainly capable of taking on several opponents at a time; in one episode, he probably would have finished off the antagonist gang all by himself if their leader hadn't taken hostages. In another episode, he goes to take on the resident Scorpions gang by himself, though Zorro goes to lend a helping hand while noting that Jekyll, for all his skill, simply can't take on so many opponents at once and expect to survive.
  • Outside-Genre Foe: Most of Zorro's enemies are swordsmen, and if not swordsmen, they tend to use other weapons common to the time era. Even the villains with hypnotic abilities can only slow Zorro down a bit with hypnotism but otherwise try to attack him with more mundane weapons. In the episode "Tears of Clown," however, Raymond hired a magician named Black who possessed actual magic on his side in the form of a pendant with special telekinetic powers. Black's powers were so outside the realm of the ordinary that Zorro was at a complete loss as to how to deal with them and suffered his first Curb-Stomp Battle by a villain up to that point. Thankfully, however, Zorro had some allies by his side who were able to give him his Heroic Second Wind and enable him to turn the tables on Black.
  • Parental Abandonment: Bernard was orphaned when he was very young, and at the time he first met Diego, he was on the verge of death from a fever. On Diego's end, his mother is mentioned to have died several years prior to the start of the series.
  • Pint-Sized Powerhouse: Bernard is capable of holding his own against much bigger men, though of course he relies more on trickery and any convenient weapon on hand instead of straight-up brute force because, you know, he's a kid. There's also Figaro, who for reference is a bulldog less than half the size of the Vega family's hunting dog Tackle, yet will readily jump up to bite the face of any unfortunate enemy mook.
  • Plucky Girl: Lolita is not afraid to speak her mind when she thinks an injustice has been done. However, this sometimes results in her biting off way more than she can chew.
  • Police Are Useless: Replace "police" with "soldiers" and you have the situation as it stands in the series, much like most other versions of the Zorro mythos. In this case the soldiers, the resident law-enforcers in the setting, usually prove to be either this or rotten to the core.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: For all his villainy, Raymond knows when to not press his luck. In one episode, he's gung-ho about getting an inventor's mechanical expertise for his own use, but when he finds out the woman's family was given protection by the Spanish monarchy itself—she bears the monarchy's crest as proof of this—he warns Gabriel to leave the woman alone. Of course Gabriel, having been humiliated earlier by a knight-themed robot the woman had built, doesn't listen. (It bears mentioning that, after giving Gabriel the order to leave the woman be, Raymond doesn't show up again for the rest of the episode.) In general, he knows not to overstep his bounds when higher authority figures are involved.
  • Professional Killer: Several of these are hired over the course of the series to kill Zorro. A trio of them show up in "The Order to Kill Zorro," consisting of a Master Swordsman, a Cold Sniper who uses a crossbow, and a Psycho Knife Nut who also uses poison darts.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Diego is the Blue to Lolita's and Bernard's Red. On the villain's side, Gabriel is the Red and his boss Raymond is the Blue.
  • Rich Idiot With No Day Job: Diego is often assumed to be a lazy good-for-nothing who's just coasting on his family's wealth. He himself perpetuates that assumption by lazing around on the lawn at home instead of helping out with the household chores.
  • Rule of Cool: Fuels many of Zorro's stunts, such as the oft-reused segment where he parries blows from and then disarms four soldiers at the same time. Viento also benefits greatly from this.
  • Secret-Keeper: Bernard for Diego, of course. Diego's old schoolmate McCray becomes this during "Unmasked," after discovering Diego's secret identity and the necessity of Zorro's presence to keep the Army's corrupt and bullying practices in check. And by the end of the series, Lolita, Maria and the Governor-General are in the know as well.
  • Secret Secret-Keeper: In "Too Many Borros," the property heiress recognizes Diego's voice when he's dressed as Zorro, having spent a good amount of time with Diego throughout the episode before that encounter with Zorro, but keeps mum about the discovery; Diego himself never realizes that the character figured him out. Later, in "The Sword of Justice Forever," Don Alejandro admits to having known for quite some time about Diego's dual identity, graduating to regular Secret-Keeper status after the revelation.
  • Single Woman Seeks Good Man: Lolita cites Zorro's bravery and selflessness in standing up to the army as the main reasons for her admiration for him, often pointing to him as an example to live up to when chastising Diego for his apparent cowardice and laziness.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Gabriel, for Lolita.
  • The Starscream: Gabriel fell into this role for the total sum of one episode during Gabriel's Rebellion. While he's pretending to have turned over a new leaf for the town, he also genuinely grows to resent Raymond's harsh treatment towards him and decides to pull an Uriah Gambit on him. Raymond, later on, does subtly hint to Gabriel that he knew what Gabriel had done and pretty much frightens Gabriel back in line from ever doing anything treacherous again.
  • Stout Strength: Gonzales may not be able to match Zorro in a fight, but on his own he's quite a capable fighter, utilizing his weight and his fists to devastating effect.
  • Supreme Chef: Maria, the Vega family's maid, is such a good cook that they almost never have to eat out at restaurants.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
    • Whenever Zorro is shown sustaining an injury (as he does with surprising regularity), Diego will have bandages covering the wound in a later scene.
    • The plot of Episode 5 revolves around a cargo containing some barrels filled with poison that sank off the coast several years before. By the time the episode takes place, the barrels have inevitably begun to degrade, releasing their contents into the ocean and killing the local wildlife.
    • In episode 17, an injured Zorro is being chased by dogs trained to attack any man dressed in black. Lolita snatches up Zorro's sword and tries to defend him when one of the dogs catches up to him. However, since she hasn't been trained to fight, the gesture proves more foolhardy than effective; the dog just bowls her over and keeps going. Zorro outright collapses from the exertion of his escape and the strain of his untreated injuries shortly after this. Though he's up bright and early the next morning to settle things with Gabriel, he elects to sit on a chair and threaten the lieutenant with a pistol because he isn't recovered enough for a physical fight yet. Even after standing up, he moves around as little as possible.
  • Taking the Bullet: Diego's friend Teo takes several poison darts intended for Zorro, though he lives long enough to give Zorro some last-minute fencing tutelage and then dies in his former friend's arms.
  • Theme Music Power-Up: When Zorro's main theme music starts playing, expect the villains to be completely outclassed in a sword fight against him.
  • Token Good Teammate: Out of all the named Army officers in this series, Gonzales, Jekyll, and later Lieutenant Placido act as this. At worst, all three are punch-clock villains; at best, they're hero-antagonists bordering on friendly foes toward Zorro. They're definitely this trope when compared to the likes of Raymond and Gabriel.
  • Tragic Villain: Teo became a Professional Killer obsessed with money and the power it brings, after his father died due to illness during Teo's time at school, and his mother died from the stress shortly afterward. Twisting the knife further is the fact that the family had spent all the money they had just to send Teo to school beforehand, and the fact that none of their neighbors lent a hand to Teo's parents. Teo believes that, if they had been rich, his parents might have lived.
  • Uncertain Doom: A lot of villains get this treatment because there's no doubt that Zorro won't hesitate to cut down the villains who attack him. But whether or not he outright kills them or just wounds them badly enough to incapacitate them is left in the air. In some episodes, Zorro does explicitly kill his enemies, such as the time he slew an Indian assassin who murdered his friend Teo and had found out about his secret identity earlier. At other times Zorro will cut down enemies but either ties them up or drags their prone bodies away from impending explosions, implying that he hasn't killed them and will more than likely leave them to the authorities to imprison. More than often, though, Zorro will usually cut down a villain and their deaths will be neither confirmed nor denied, making the situation much more ambiguous.
  • The Unfought: Despite being the secondary Big Bad of the series, Kapital never engages Zorro in direct combat, though Zorro does blast a gun out of his hand with a rifle much later on in the series. Zorro never engages Lieutenant Placido in combat either, despite the two of them shaping up to have a Let's You and Him Fight scenario.
  • Villainous Crush: Gabriel has a massive one on Lolita. Though he usually tries to win her over by acting charming, he also at various points tries to plant a Forceful Kiss on her, outright kidnaps her, and threatens her family's safety and livelihood if she refuses to marry him.
  • Villainous Valor: Towards the end when Commander Raymond has lost everything and confronted Zorro for the last time, he opted not to surrender or beg for mercy but chose to have one final Duel to the Death with his enemy.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Downplayed. Raymond and the army as a whole were never well-liked by the people, but Raymond shows on more than one occasion that he's capable of manipulating public opinion in his favor at key moments. By granting concessions or shifting blame in dicey situations, he paints himself as enough of a Reasonable Authority Figure to avoid outright rioting and rebellion. He's also careful not to overstep his bounds in front of authority figures like the Governor, and it's implied that his superiors have no idea how bad he really is until Zorro's actions bring it to their attention.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The last we hear of Placido, he's been covertly released from jail by Jekyll, with a little help from Zorro, and has been "reassigned" to go to the Governor-General; we never see him again after that. Of course, considering Placido was imprisoned in the first place to face a court-martial for stealing one of the Army's imported cannons, it's probably for the best.
  • What Measure Is a Mook?: "Vengeance" shows the viewpoint of the son of a soldier who was one of several constantly defeated by Zorro; the man, a former sergeant, was thrown out of the Army by Raymond after one too many failures against Zorro, and he and his family subsequently fell into poverty. The man's son has held a grudge against Zorro ever since, seeing him as evil and the Army as the good guys, and he holds that mindset even after Bernard and the other kids tell him about the Army's corrupt practices.
  • Whip It Good: As per tradition, Zorro uses a whip to disarm villains and to swing from one place to another.
  • Wolverine Claws: The villain of "Lolita Get Your Gun" wears a three-bladed claw on one hand.
  • Wooden Katanas Are Even Better: Subverted. One episode had amped up the threat to Zorro due the danger of a villain getting his hands on a katana, but, due a mishap, it was actually a wooden replica, quickly cut by Zorro's sword when he was forced to block.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Most if not all of the villains in this series don't take any regard for their victims' gender. In "Lolita Get Your Gun," the villain outright slugs Lolita in the gut to knock her out.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Many a villain has been willing to kidnap, slap, and threaten to kill child hostages in this series. Gabriel himself is no better, on one occasion readying himself to shoot a little girl because she spoke up in defense of her father.
  • Wouldn't Hit a Girl: Zorro appears to zig-zag this trope. It causes him some problems in one episode where he has to defend himself against a group of villainous nuns, though once he discovers they're actually men in disguise, his tune changes instantly. On another occasion he has to face off against a trio of thieves who disguise themselves as nuns (and are actually women), but on this occasion he's got no qualms about defending himself.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: The sub-plot of "Gonzales in Love Again," as indicated by the title, has Gonzales falling in love with a young woman whose grandfather is being targeted by assassins. By episode's end, he's convinced her that his feelings are genuine, the grandfather has given them his blessing...and then the girl decides to go back to Spain with her grandfather, not wanting to leave the old man on his own. Gonzales tries to laugh it off, but he just winds up breaking down; Diego can only look on sadly.
    Diego: ...poor Gonzales.
  • Zorro Mark: You don't say!