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The Land of the Living

    Manolo Luis Sanchez 
Voiced by: Diego Luna (English and Latin American Spanish), Emil Bastien-Bouffard (young Manolo, English), Ángel Iván Rodríguez (young Manolo, Latin American Spanish), Subaru Kimura (Japanese)
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/manolo_render.png
"I will never stop loving you."
Click here to see his skeleton form 

The main protagonist of the film, a bullfighter with dreams of becoming a musician. He must decide between his heart and the expectations of his family, and he ends up embarking on a journey that spans three fantastic worlds.


  • The Ace: When it comes to bullfighting, Carlos states that Manolo is destined to become the "greatest Sanchez bullfighter ever", and he probably would be the greatest if it weren't for his unwillingness to deliver the finishing blow on a bull. He also has a talent for thinking up song lyrics on the spot.
  • Adorkable: Either when he's serenading Maria or whatever humorous catastrophe befalls him.
  • All-Loving Hero: All Manolo wants to do is sing from his heart and be with his loved ones. He has the true bullfighter talent, but can't bring himself to deliver the finishing blow. Also, see his Badass Pacifist section.
  • All of the Other Reindeer: His "I Want" Song, "Creep", emphasizes how practically the whole town sees him as a "creep" or "weirdo".
  • Amazon Chaser: Manolo is very impressed by Maria's fighting skills. See his reaction here.
  • Animal Motifs: Bulls. He comes from a family of bullfighters, but can't bring himself to deliver the final blow.
  • Awesome Mc Coolname: His first name means "God is with us".
  • Babies Ever After: He and Maria would later go on to have three children — Two twin daughters and a son.
  • Badass Adorable: Even as a child, Manolo was able to effortlessly perform amazing feats of bullfighting.
  • Badass in a Nice Suit: His bullfighting uniform is called the Traje de Luces (Suit of Light).
  • Badass Pacifist: Manolo defeats a huge, demonic bull not with swords or violence. He does it by calming down the bull down by singing while also asking for forgiveness. It's shown several times that Manolo is actually an exceptional bullfighter, it just doesn't interest him as much as music and he feels killing is wrong.
  • Bash Brothers: With Joaquin, since they were kids. Not only do they playfully fight with each other, they also fight together against a common enemy. Be it an angry bull as kids or when they fight Chakal as adults.
  • Battle Couple: With Maria when they both fight Chakal together. Heck, they even do fastball attack on him after doing the "romantic twirl-around" thing.
  • Betty and Veronica: The "Betty" (kind-hearted musician) to Joaquin's "Veronica" (Glory Seeker soldier) and Maria's "Archie". He wins.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Do not assume that pissing him off won't end badly for you.
  • Black Sheep: A would-be musician in a family of bullfighters.
  • Break the Cutie: Mocked by townsfolk for not killing bulls. Looked down on and basically disowned by his own father at one point. Thinks he sees the love of his life die before his eyes. The guy gets put through the wringer.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: Averted. His father has this belief from his point-of-view: Manolo has the skills of a bullfighter and the potential to be the greatest Sanchez bullfighter ever. However, Manolo would rather play with his mariachi band all night. In reality, Manolo just abhors the idea of fighting bulls so he's not doing it out of laziness, but out of morality. Carlos, thankfully, gets over it.
  • Broken Ace: After refusing to kill the bull, the whole town (sans Maria, the Rodriguez brothers, and Joaquin) ridicule him. His own father practically disinherits him. If it couldn't get worse, Manolo thought that Maria, the only woman he's ever loved, died by protecting him from a snake bite. Leading to her father, Joaquin, and himself to mourn her "death" and blame himself for it. Manolo then indirectly asks Xibalba (who concocted the whole thing) to kill him so he could be with her. Poor guy...
  • Bromantic Foil: With Joaquin; Both are skilled in their respective talents, however Manolo is a Humble Hero, and Joaquin veers into The Fighting Narcissist. The two worry about living up to their fathers' expectations, except Manolo refuses to do so if it means killing the bull, but Joaquin will do anything, even using the Medal of Everlasting Life to do so.
  • Character Development: The ultimate lesson he learns while in the world of the dead is to be himself.
  • Chekhov's Skill: His bullfighting skills came in VERY handy when fighting El Chakal. His guitar playing also was useful in order to defeat El Toro in the Land of the Remembered.
  • Childhood Friends: With Joaquin and Maria.
  • Childhood Friend Romance: Manolo and Maria were close friends before she left to study abroad. Both fell in love 10 years later and become husband and wife by the end.
  • Child Prodigy: Even at the age of 9, Manolo showed a natural talent at bull fighting.
  • Creepy Good: Downplayed. He's a skeleton for half of the movie, but he's more cute, than scary.
  • Cute Ghost Girl: Or rather, Cute Skeleton Boy, after he dies and goes to the Land of the Remembered. However, Manolo is more of a cute skeleton, than a creepy one.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: His main attire is black and decorated with skull patterns, and he's The Protagonist.
  • Dead Guy Junior: Downplayed. Manolo gets his middle name from his deceased paternal grandfather.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Manolo has a dry sense of humor:
    Manolo: Wow, that totally captivated her.
  • Determinator: Not even death can keep him away from Maria.
  • Devoted to You: Manolo, along with Joaquin, has been in love with Maria since they were kids, ten years apart has not dulled his love for her at all. For her part Maria is just as devoted to them, if more platonically. To the point where she gets really annoyed when they start fighting each other over her.
  • Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?: He is so determined to do whatever it takes to get back to Maria, that he flat out tells off Xibalba. When the death god gets in his face about it, he does not back down.
  • Distinguishing Mark: The notch on the side of Manolo's face is a birthmark.
  • Driven to Suicide: His death at Xibalba's hands has undertones of this. Believing himself to be responsible for Maria's demise, he asks to see her again despite knowing what it entails.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Manolo goes through a lot of Break the Cutie moments, however in the end the people of San Angel accept him, his friendship with Joaquin is as strong as ever, his family accepts his music career, and he marries Maria.
  • Expy: Manolo is the humanized version of Ferdinand. Both don't want to follow their family careers (both involving bullfighting), opting for a more peaceful pursuit.
  • Family Business: He comes from a long line of bullfighters on his father's side.
  • Family Honor: Deconstructed. Manolo wants to make his family proud, but he doesn't want to follow the bullfighting career, if it means killing the bull. There's also how his love for music is choice of career. This leads to some estrangement with his father. Reconstructed when Manolo uses his music skills to calm the demonic bull and earns his family's, including his father's, approval.
  • Father, I Don't Want to Fight: He is trained by his father to be a great bullfighter, and while he definitely has all the skills of his forebears, he is too much of a soft heart to deliver the killing blow.
  • Foil: To Xibalba. Both are Determinators concerned with gaining the favor of the women they love, but Xibalba is much shadier and willing to hurt others to achieve his goals, a sharp contrast to Nice Guy Manolo.
  • Freudian Trio: The in-between/peacemaker Ego to Maria's Only Sane Woman Superego and Joaquin's impulsive Id.
  • Friend to All Children: Manolo donates a lot to kids at the orphanage.
  • Friend to All Living Things: Given his refusal to kill bulls and giving Chuy to Maria when they were younger.
  • The Gift: His father lampshades in the beginning that he has the gift of bullfighting.
  • Good Is Not Soft: A Nice Guy and loves to play the guitar. Don't piss him off.
  • Go Out with a Smile: When Xibalba kills him. Manolo has a smile on his face, while he silently said Maria's name.
  • Hairstyle Inertia: He has kept the same "Sanchez curl" sine he was a boy.
  • He Is All Grown Up: Maria has a moment like this when she sees Manolo singing "Creep."
  • Heartbroken Badass: When it looked like Maria dies after saving him from a snake bite.
  • Heart Is an Awesome Power: His love of singing and playing the guitar helps him tame the demonic bull.
  • Hereditary Hairstyle: As seen in his dad and grandfather, Manolo (since childhood) has the "Sanchez curl".
  • The Hero: Of the story Mary Beth tells the detention kids.
  • Heroic Build: Thanks to all the training to be a bullfighter, Manolo has an impressive upper physique.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: After being resurrected, he traps himself and Chakal under a church bell with a lit pack of dynamite to save San Angel from the subsequent explosion.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Joaquin, they may be after the same woman but the two are best friends and constantly refer to each other as "Brother."
  • Hot Blooded Sideburns: Averted. Manolo is quite level-headed and nonviolent. Just don't push him...
  • Humble Goal: All Manolo wants is to live his life as a musician.
  • Humble Hero: Manolo isn't one to brag about himself.
  • Improbable Hairstyle: The famous "Sanchez Curl", which manages to stay in curl even after he died.
  • Incorruptible Pure Pureness: Verges on this given his All-Loving Hero attitude and being a Badass Pacifist. Plus, La Muerte (in disguise as an old woman) blesses him by "always keeping his heart pure and courageous".
  • Instrument of Murder: Manolo is seen using his guitar as a sword at one point.
  • I Will Wait for You: Manolo even sings a song about this in regards to Maria.
  • Kill the Cutie: After going through some harsh Break the Cutie moments, the worst one is when he thinks that he indirectly lead to Maria's "death". He thus asks (indirectly) from Xibalba, to help commit suicide.
  • The Kirk: To Maria Spock and Joaquin's McCoy. Manolo isn't as impulsive as Joaquin, but not on the same levelheadedness as Maria.
  • Lantern Jaw of Justice: A given because he's the hero.
  • Like Father, Unlike Son: Manolo comes from a family of bullfighters for which Carlos is a part of. As such he hopes for his own son Manolo to uphold the family tradition. Manolo however prefers to be a musician who plays songs rather than a bullfighter who finishes off bulls.
  • Like Parent, Like Spouse: It is interesting to note that Maria and Carmen have very similar personalities, and it is hinted that this may be part of the reason Manolo is so attracted to Maria.
  • Long-Haired Pretty Boy: He has a ponytail, although it isn't always visible and he's quite handsome.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • "Manolo" is a common nickname for "Manuel"note , an also common Spanish male name which etymological origin means "God is with Us". It alludes to how La Muerte and Xibalba were involved in Manolo's life, (and by extension, the lives of his family and friends), because the two Gods made a bet that involved him.
    • "Manolo" has the English word "man" in it, which represents his Everyman qualities.
  • Momma's Boy: Manolo and Carmen had a close relationship.
  • Nice Guy: He's naturally kind, loyal and nonviolent.
  • Official Couple: With Maria.
  • Oh, Crap!: He has a particularly devastating one when he discovers that not only is Maria still alive, but that Xibalba had tricked him into committing suicide.
    Manolo: But, Maria passed away. I saw her! (realization slowly sinks in) Oh no...
    Xibalba: Oh yes...
  • One Head Taller: He's taller than Maria by a head and is also built much larger.
  • The Power of Love: His voice actor states that Manolo's true power is love.
  • Rule of Symbolism: When Manolo trips on the stairs as a kid, it symbolizes that he's the kind of person who stumbles but keeps getting back up.
  • Screw Destiny: According to the Candle Maker, Manolo's pages within the Book of Life are blank. This means he's not following fate, but writing his own story.
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: The All-Loving Hero, aspiring musician Sensitive Guy to rough-and-tumble Soldier Joaquin and bullfighter dad's Manly Man.
  • Serenade Your Lover: His primary tactic for winning Maria's heart. He did so unwittingly with "Creep" and intentionally with "I Love You Too Much".
  • Single-Target Sexuality: "I Will Wait For You", basically describes how he'll wait for Maria.
  • Skeletal Musician: He still plays guitar after he dies and becomes a skeleton.
  • Suicide by Cop: Xibalba "grants his wish" by having his two-headed snake bite him twice.
  • Survivor Guilt: After it looks like Maria was killed, Manolo can't even lift his head up.
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: He is firmly opposed to the idea of killing the bulls he fights, even though it earns him the ridicule of his family and the townsfolk, sans Maria.
  • Together in Death: Attempts this when he believes Maria died.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Manolo loves spicy food and especially tamales de elote made by his mother, Carmen, who was originally from Chiapas.
  • Tragic Keepsake: Manolo's first guitar was a gift from his mother, who died when he was a baby.
  • Trauma Conga Line: Where do we start? He's publicly ridiculed by the town for not killing the bull. His father even disowns him. He thinks that he caused the death of Maria, his one true love. Joaquin coldly states it should have been Manolo instead. Finally, being Driven to Suicide and with Xibalba's "help" he commits indirect suicide to "join" his beloved.
  • Underestimating Badassery: Gets this treatment from Xibalba when the God arrogantly believes that Manolo can't warn La Muerte about his cheating or pass his final test. He's proven wrong both times.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Manolo and Joaquin take good-hearted jabs at each other for Maria's affection.
  • Wacky Marriage Proposal: Manolo proposes to Maria by making a pathway out of candles to guide her to a tree on the outskirts of town, where he performs a song for her. It does work out, but not in the usual way.
  • Warrior Poet: Manolo is a talented fighter in sword and bullfighting, but he is also a gifted musician who plays from his heart. His father in particular doesn't understand the musician part of Manolo.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Manolo worries deeply about disappointing his father by not being a great bullfighter like the rest of the men in his family.
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    Maria Gabriela Posada 
Voiced by: Zoe Saldana (English), Sandra Echeverría (Latin American Spanish), Genesis Ochoa (young Maria, English), Melissa Gutiérrez (young Maria, Latin American Spanish), Yuka Komatsu (Japanese)
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/maria_posada.jpg
"Did I mention I also studied fencing?"

The woman Manolo and his best friend, Joaquin, both love. Maria has more important matters to attend to, though, like helping to save her village from bandits.


  • The Ace: She is easily the best fighter of the series, and is able to give an epic encouraging speech to all of San Angel to fight Chakal and his bandits.
  • Action Girl: When Manolo and Joaquin start a swordfight over her, she picks up a sword and disarms them both in a single move. And that's before the bandits show up. During her travels, Maria has learned fencing and kung-fu.
  • Babies Ever After: She and Manolo would later go on to have three children — Two twin daughters and a son.
  • Badass Adorable: Since she was a child, Maria has always been upbeat and adorable. Ten years later, and she became a certified badass.
  • Badass Bookworm: A lover of books, who can also kick butt.
  • Battle Couple: With Manolo when they both fight Chakal together. Heck, they even do fastball attack on him after doing the "romantic twirl-around" thing.
  • Berserk Button: Maria doesn't like any form of sexism.
  • Betty and Veronica: The "Archie" torn between Manolo's "Betty" (kind-hearted musician) and Joaquin's "Veronica" (Glory Seeker soldier). She chooses Manolo.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Maria is a great gal to befriend...but she's not one to take lightly.
  • Brainy Brunette: Probably the most rational person in the story.
  • Break the Cutie: She breaks into sobs when she learns Manolo has died.
  • Childhood Friends: With Manolo and Joaquin.
  • Childhood Friend Romance: She falls in love with her childhood friend, Manolo. They get married at the end of the story.
  • Color Motifs: Red — symbolizing her bravery, plus the fact that both dresses she wore as a child and adult were both red, Maria's favorite color.
  • Cultured Badass: Enjoys reading, art and music. Plus, she knows fencing and karate.
  • Curtains Match The Windows: Has matching brown hair and brown eyes.
  • Cute Bookworm: Is said to read for fun.
  • Damsel out of Distress: She doesn't take kindly to being taken captive by bandit king Chakal, and ends up breaking free of his clutches and joining the fight alongside her childhood friends Manolo and Joaquin.
  • Dude Magnet: Has both Manolo and Joaquin falling for her. And when she returns to San Angel, all the men go GAGA over her. Xibalba was even impressed.
  • Freudian Trio: The Only Sane Woman Superego to Manolo's in-between/peacemaker Ego and Joaquin's impulsive Id.
  • Friend to All Children: After returning to San Angel, Maria is helping the orphanage.
  • Friend to All Living Things: She has a strong love for animals and won't stand for the killing of them. As a child she convinces Manolo and Joaquin to help her free a butcher's pigs. Later, the look of dread on her face during the main bullfight is what prompts Manolo to throw down his sword. She also has the "Disney Princess" ability to draw flocks of birds to her and have them hang around being cute and musical. She's even a vegetarian due to her strong love for animals.
  • Girlish Pigtails: As a child. Averted, as even at that age Maria's personality was basically the same as when she grew up; she loved swordfights and Manolo's music was very outspoken on her views of marriage. Her hairstyle is meant to represent her love of pigs.
  • Girl Next Door: To her childhood friends, Manolo and Joaquin.
  • Girly Girl with a Tomboy Streak: She wears nice dresses and seems feminine in a lot of aspects, but her best friends are boys and she owns a pig as a pet. She also learned fencing and Kung-Fu while studying abroad.
  • Hello, Nurse!: Receives this reaction after returning to San Angel.
  • Heroes Prefer Swords: Maria's main fighting style is swordsmanship, specifically fencing.
  • I Know Karate: She learned Kung-Fu while studying abroad.
  • Kill the Cutie: Subverted. Xibalba only wanted to make it look like she was killed by the snake bite, but it just put her into a coma.
  • Living Emotional Crutch: To Manolo. Maria's apparent death was so grieving towards Manolo that when he had the chance to join her in the afterlife, he immediately took it.
  • Meaningful Name: One of the few meanings of "Maria" in Hebrew is "rebellion" which alludes to her rebellious nature she had (and still has) as a child.
  • Morality Pet: General Posada really does love his daughter. And was distraught when it looked like she died.
  • Nice Girl: Maria is affable, friendly, and willing to stand up for and with others against anyone. There's also her willingness to work with the orphanage and her love for animals.
  • Official Couple: With Manolo.
  • One of the Boys: As a child. Slightly less so as an adult, but it's still there.
  • Pintsized Powerhouse: In the climax, the small, thin Maria managed to flip-kick Chakal, a strong and muscular man.
  • Plucky Girl: She rallied the people of San Angel to fight against Chakal and his bandits.
  • Proper Lady: Her father wants Maria to become this, hence sending her to study abroad at a Spanish convent, so she would stop causing trouble in San Angel. Luckily for San Angel, it didn't work, and she comes back a full-fledged badass.
  • Rapunzel Hair: Like La Muerte, her hair reaches down to her ankles.
  • Rebellious Princess: As a child. Maria even snuck out of the house, after she was grounded for giving chickens baths. Even though she has matured out of it as an adult, there's still a little bit of it left. She lives in the 1920s and enjoys reading, something people find weird. In fact, her father sends her to Spain in order to have her become more of a Proper Lady. That doesn't stop her from taking up no less than two un-ladylike electives at the convent.
  • Red Is Heroic: Her dress is red and she's the one who rallies the townspeople to stand against Chakal.
  • She's All Grown Up: Gets this reaction after returning from studying abroad for ten years.
  • Silk Hiding Steel: She becomes more proper after the Time Skip, but keeps her fighting spirit.
  • Single-Target Sexuality: Arranged marriage to Joaquin aside, she never shows interest in anyone but Manolo.
  • Single Woman Seeks Good Man: Wants to be listened to and loved for more than just her looks, as she demonstrates when she gets annoyed with Joaquin for not understanding this. It's only when Joaquin shows his true self that she agrees to seriously think about his proposal. Ultimately, Maria falls in love with Manolo, the humble, sweet musician who promises to never stop loving her. In fact, the first indications she gets her Love Epiphany is when he publicly refuses to kill the bull.
  • Spicy Latina: Definitely. She's feisty, beautiful, and can fight with swords better than any man.
  • The Spock: To Manolo's Kirk and Joaquin's McCoy. Whether it's with those two or San Angel, Maria is probably the sanest and most rational.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: Maria got all her looks from her mother.
  • Taking the Bullet: When Xibalba's snake first attacks Manolo, Maria pushes him out of the way and gets bitten herself, resulting in her apparent death.
  • Tomboyish Ponytail: She's the only female character to wear her hair this way, and she doesn't seem to be as ladylike as the other girls in town.
  • Took a Level in Badass: During her studies abroad, Maria learned and became extremely proficient in both kung-fu and fencing.
  • The Ugly Guy's Hot Daughter: She's extremely pretty, compared to her diminutive, grey haired, hunch-backed, big nosed, father.
  • Waif-Fu: In the climax, Maria managed to flip kick Chakal, the biggest person in the story.

    Joaquin Emilio Mondragon Jr. 
Voiced by: Channing Tatum (English), José Gilberto Vilchis (Latin American Spanish), Elias Garza (young Joaquin, English), Iván Bastidas (young Joaquin, Latin American Spanish), Satoshi Tsuruoka (Japanese)
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/tumblr_ngpcz4jjsk1s3d85bo1_540.png
"Joaquin!"

The town hero and Manolo's best friend, Joaquin also has eyes for Maria. He was given the Medal of Everlasting Life, which provides invincibility, to improve his chances.


  • The Ace: Or so it seems, but he is actually using The Medal of Everlasting life, making it impossible to kill or even hurt him. Though by the end he decides to earn his reputation honestly.
  • Adorkable: Joaquin crosses into this territory when he's thinking about Maria or talking about his cool mustache.
  • Animal Motifs: Eagles, given the small, but generous amount of them surrounding him throughout the movie.
  • Asskicking Equals Authority: Thanks to the Medal of Everlasting Life and Posada's training, Joaquin kicked enough ass to be second-in-command.
  • Awesome Mc Coolname: "Joaquin" is the abbreviation of the Hebrew name "Jehoichin" meaning 'Jehovah has established.' And of course Mondragon.
  • Badass Bandolier: Wears two of them.
  • Badass Cape: Wears a black one, unless he's fighting.
  • Badass Mustache: Wanted one as a child. Gets a nifty one as an adult.
  • Bash Brothers: With Manolo when they fight Chakal.
  • Betty and Veronica: The "Veronica" (Glory Seeker soldier) to Manolo's "Betty" (kind-hearted musician) and Maria's "Archie". He loses, but he remains close friends with Manolo and Maria.
  • Bling of War: So much that not being able to recognize his individual medals is a plot point.
  • Bratty Half-Pint: As a child, he denies an old man, Xibalba in disguise, bread and begins to eat the said bread in front of him. It's only when Xibalba offers him the Medal of Everlasting Life does a young Joaquin give it up.
  • Break the Haughty: After losing the Medal of Everlasting Life and getting his butt handed to him by Chakal.
  • Bromantic Foil: With Manolo; Both are skilled in their respective talents, however Manolo is a Humble Hero, and Joaquin veers into The Fighting Narcissist. The two worry about living up to their fathers' expectations, except Manolo refuses to do so if it means killing the bull, but Joaquin will do anything, even using the Medal of Everlasting Life to do so.
  • Brought Down to Badass: After a brief moment of surprise due the loss of his powers, he shows he's just as skilled with a blade as before.
  • Brought Down to Normal: The majority of the climax has him without his precious medal, having to fight as a mortal again.
  • Character Development: During his own arc in the movie, Joaquin learns that a hero's greatest asset is being selfless.
  • Chest of Medals: He has a chest full of medals as an adult and he will gladly tell you about everyone of them. Which help him hide the most important medal of all: The Medal of Everlasting Life.
  • Chick Magnet: Joaquin is popular with many of the ladies of San Angel. The Adelita twins certainly like him at the end.
  • Childhood Friends: With Manolo and Maria.
  • Childhood Friend Romance: Just like Manolo, he has been in love with Maria since they were children. She doesn't choose him in the end, but they remain close friends.
  • Child Soldiers: Becomes a part of General Posada's army at the age of 10. Somewhat justified given how the other recruits weren't exactly strong and Joaquin showed promise (mostly due to the Medal of Everlasting Life).
  • Dead Guy Junior: Joaquin was named after his father.
  • Devoted to You: Joaquin, along with Manolo, has been in love with Maria since they were kids, ten years apart has not dulled his love for her at all. Joaquin is even shown to be popular with women but he still only has eyes for Maria. For her part Maria is just as devoted to them, if more platonically. To the point where she gets really annoyed when they start fighting each other over her.
  • Disappeared Dad: His father is a decorated hero of the war was killed by Chakal, and has a monument in the middle of San Angel.
  • Empowered Badass Normal: Joaquin is a skilled warrior, but the Medal of Everlasting Life makes him unbeatable. Jorge has confirmed that, if the sequel happens, Joaquin will be able to 'see things' with his injured eye, specifically the dead in the Land of the Living and other things depending on the Land he's in.
  • Even the Guys Want Him: He is described multiple times as "The Beautiful Hero" by Chakal's second-in-command.
  • Everyone Has Standards: When Manolo dies and looks like he's staying that way, his reaction to General Posada urging Maria to marry him (in order to get him to stay) is to be mortified and say, "This is not the time." He also adds, when Maria asks if he'll stay if she marries him, that he will, and was about to add something along the lines of, "but I would anyway", but she didn't give him the time to reply.
  • Everything but the Girl: He's trying to earn Maria's love. He doesn't. But, he's not at all bitter or resentful.
  • Eyepatch of Power: Loses his right eye in the final battle. He places a black eyepatch over it.
  • Eye Scream: After he gives up the Medal of Everlasting Life, he loses his left eye in the explosion that kills Chakal.
  • The Fighting Narcissist: Becomes this over time thanks to the Medal of Everlasting Life. By the end, his massive ego has been greatly reduced.
  • Freudian Excuse: His obsession with heroism and large ego all come from an entire life spent on his father's shadow of a great hero. He ruefully acknowledges it before Manolo's first bullfight, remarking on how they both live in big shadows.
  • Freudian Trio: The impulsive Id to Manolo's in-between/peacemaker Ego and Maria's Only Sane Woman Superego.
  • Handicapped Badass: His eye gets damaged in the climax, resulting in him wearing a an eyepatch.
  • Heroic Build: Has a huger bodybuild than Manolo and is a good guy.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: He secretly gives Manolo the Medal of Everlasting Life so he can survive the battle and marry Maria. Without protection, he loses an eye in the explosion. He expected to perform a real heroic sacrifice, too - he clearly didn't expect Manolo to shove him out of the danger zone.
  • A Hero to His Hometown: Because he becomes a professional doer of good deeds immediately after making his deal with a disguised Xibalba.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Manolo; they may be after the same woman but the two are best friends and constantly refer to each other as "Brother."
  • Hidden Depths: Joaquin enjoys writing and is also skilled in calligraphy.
  • Hunk: Many of female citizens think so. And even some of the bandits, who describe him as 'The Beautiful Hero' completely seriously.
  • I Just Want to Be Badass: More like, "I Just Want To Be As Badass As My Father".
  • Inferiority Superiority Complex: Heavily implied by his reaction whenever someone messes with his Medal of Eternal Life. Confirmed from a statement in ''The Art of the Book of Life'': "Joaquin is obsessed with his mustache, which is a mask that hides his insecurities".
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: He really does want Maria to be happy, even if he is not the one to provide said happiness. Which is probably why he gave Manolo the medal during the final battle; he cared more that Manolo survived to be with Maria than about his own safety.
  • I Work Alone: Joaquin is a bit of a loner.
  • Jerk Jock: Subverted. Despite being a bit full of himself, he's usually quite nice. He does say some rude things to Manolo when they're competing for Maria's affections, but once he realize she loves Manolo he steps aside.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He's conceited and his fame has gone to his head, but he's still a good guy under it all. Best shown during the wedding when, despite getting what he wants, he's less than happy because Maria is basically being forced. Before Chakal attacks it looks like he is about to call the wedding off.
  • Like a Son to Me: His relationship with General Posada.
  • Made of Iron: Thanks to the Medal of Everlasting Life, Joaquin has invincibility.
  • Magic Feather: Zigzagged with the Medal of Everlasting Life. While it is legitimately magical and provides very real benefits, the spirit of the trope is still met by Joaquin being a skilled fighter in his own right but also feeling completely dependent on the Medal for his heroism. This is best shown during his fight with Chakal. While he has the Medal, Joaquin easily dodges every blow and thus isn't getting any benefit from the Medal anyway. When Chakal strips the Medal away, Joaquin's confidence plummets and he is easily beaten to a pulp.
  • Magnificent Moustaches of Mexico: He wore a fake one until he was able to grow a real one.
  • The McCoy: To Manolo's Kirk and Maria's Spock. He leaps straight into battle without first thinking up a plan.
  • Mixed Ancestry: Joaquin is half-German on his mother's side. His green eyes indicate this.
  • My Name Is Inigo Montoya: "My name is Joaquin! Son of Captain Mondragon! Tonight, the town of San Angel, is under my protection. Prepare to be defeated."
  • Perma-Stubble: Joaquin appears to have a five o' clock shadow.
  • Platonic Life-Partners: He may not get the girl, but she cares about him as much as he cares about her.
  • Purple Is Powerful: Joaquin wears a purple top and is the wielder of the Medal of Everlasting Life. Until the end, were he willingly gives it up.
  • Pursuing Parental Perils: His whole life is built around honoring the legacy of his father, who was a great soldier who died in battle. At the end, he decides it's time to step out of his father's shadow and be his own man, and act like a real hero.
  • Raised by Grandparents: A line from a young Manolo implies that after Joaquin's father died and his mother left, his grandmother raised him.
  • Rule of Symbolism: Joaquin lost his eye because he was "blind to what he was doing".
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: The rough-and-tumble Soldier Manly Man to Manolo's All-Loving Hero, aspiring musician Sensitive Guy.
  • Ship Tease: The Adelita Twins show quite a bit of interest on him by the end of the film.
  • Single-Target Sexuality: Like Manolo, Joaquin has only had eyes for Maria.
  • Smoking Is Cool: Joaquin smokes Cuban cigars.
  • Smug Super: His achievements he made with the Medal of Everlasting Life inflated his ego over the years.
  • Tragic Keepsake: Plata (his white stallion) was the last given gift to him by his father.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: With Manolo. They engage in some good-hearted bickering for Maria's affection.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Aspires to live up to the reputation of his late father.
  • White Stallion: His white stallion is name Plata.
  • You Killed My Father: The reason behind his hatred of Chakal.

    Chuy 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/chuy_6.png
"His name is Chuy."
Voiced by: Carlos Alazraqui

Maria's pet pig, given to her by Manolo.


    Carlos Sanchez 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/pic3_9800.png
"Music is not work fit for a Sanchez bullfighter."
Voiced by: Héctor Elizondo (English), Gabriel Pingarrón (Latin American Spanish)

Manolo's father who tries to steer his son away from his desire in music.


  • Action Dad: Best seen when he takes on Chakal alone.
  • Fantasy-Forbidding Father: He steers Manolo away from the guitar to continue the family tradition of bullfighting.
  • Good Parents: Carlos may have not supported Manolo's choice of a music career, but he raised his son with love and pride. He eventually sees Manolo's talent as an amazing one and apologizes for his initial harshness. He stopped bullfighting after Carmen died so Manolo wouldn't be alone.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: We're not shown how he died fighting Chakal. Which is probably for the best.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: He sacrifices himself to buy some time so the children can run to warn General Posada that Chakal is coming for San Angel.
  • Hilariously Abusive Childhood: Gets one mention and is entirely played for laughs, but apparently his father, Luis, put Carlos in a ring with a bull when he was nine years old.
    Manolo: Wait, isn't that when that bull put you in a coma?
    Carlos: Ah, memories...
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: With his wife. Carmen barely reaches to Carlos' shoulders.
  • I Have No Son!: After Manolo refuses to kill the bull, Carlos disappointingly told he is "not a real Sanchez."
  • Improbable Hairstyle: The famous "Sanchez Curl", which manages to stay in curl even after he died.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Carlos has a habit of molding Manolo into the man he wants, but is ultimately a loving father towards him and apologizes to Manolo for trying to change him.
  • Kick the Dog: After Manolo apparently loses Maria to Joaquin, Carlos tells Manolo that "the whole Sanchez family would be so disappointed", clearly referring to Manolo's mother, long since dead. Manolo is understandably hurt and miserable because of the statement.
  • Parents as People: Carlos loves his son with all his heart, but he did force Manolo to become a bullfighter like his ancestors.
  • Pet the Dog: Even though he maintains his disappointment after the bull incident, he still somewhat affectionately encourages Manolo to fight for Maria.
  • A Real Man Is a Killer: Or A Real Sanchez Is A Killer Of Bulls. He gets over it, though.
  • Rugged Scar: Has an "X" scar underneath his right eye from his bullfighting career. He's covered in other scars, including a massive gouge out of his shoulder, and appears to have something of a limp.
  • Sacrificial Lion: He was killed by Chakal to show how dangerous things are getting.
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: The Manly Man (a bullfighter) to his son's Sensitive Guy (aspiring musician).
  • Shipper on Deck: Advises Manolo to fight for Maria if he really loves her.
  • So Proud of You: After he sees how Manolo's musical talent calms the demonic bull.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: He is essentially an older version of his son Manolo with a moustache, smaller eyes and graying hair.

    Anita Sanchez 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/tumblr_nr945qb7i11tuvulio1_400.jpg
"I was a beast in the ring. A beast!"
Voiced by: Grey DeLisle (English), Ángela Villanueva (Latin American Spanish)

Manolo's paternal great-grandmother, confined to a wheelchair, and was a former bullfighter.


  • All There in the Manual: We learn her name from one of Jorge Gutierrez's tweets.
  • Cool Old Lady: A former bullfighter and gives Manolo some good advice.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: She dies rather suddenly near the end of the film and winds up in the Land of the Remembered because her cholesterol levels finally caught up with her.
  • Miniature Senior Citizens: She'a grandmother and is the shortest of her family.
  • Perpetual Frowner: Hardly cracks a smile.
  • Pet the Dog: While she spends most of the movie quietly agreeing with Carlos on the subject of Manolo's musical career, when Carlos clumsily attempts to galvanize Manolo, Anita tells him to be quiet and gently gives him the advice he actually needs.
  • Shipper on Deck: Gives Manolo key advice on how to woo Maria. The thing she was knitting throughout the entirety of the film were socks for Manolo and Maria's future children.
  • Smurfette Principle: The only female member of the Sanchez family known to have been a bullfighter.
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    The Rodriguez Brothers 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/maxresdefault_60.jpg
From left to right:Pablo, Pancho, and Pepe.
Voiced by: Ricardo Sanchez (Pablo, English), Cheech Marin (Pancho, English), Gabriel Iglesias (Pepe, English), José Antonio Macías (Pablo, Latin American Spanish), Carlos Segundo (Pancho, Latin American Spanish), Luis Alfonso Mendoza (Pepe, Latin American Spanish)

Manolo's friends and his band. They all are brothers and provide some comic relief.


  • Alliterative Family: Pablo, Pancho, and Pepe.
  • Big Fun: They are all jolly and love to play.
  • Fat Comic Relief: All three of them.
  • Nice Guy: All of them are friendly, helpful, and fun-loving.
  • Nice Hat: They all wear big, red sombreros.
  • Shipper on Deck: The brothers try to help Manolo woo Maria.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: They could all be triplets if there weren't some subtle ways to tell them apart: Pablo is the shortest, Pancho has the most pronounced beard, and Pepe has a "smile" mustache.

    General Posada 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/19_008.PNG
Voiced by: Carlos Alazraqui (English), Jesse Conde (Latin American Spanish)

Maria's father and the leader of San Angel.


  • Abusive Parent: He shows little respect for his daughter and views her as a bargaining chip for most of the story. Most apparent when he coerces her into accepting Joaquin's proposal just after she learns of Manolo's death, despite Joaquin's attempt to stop him. However, he seems to understand that his daughter did love Manolo, he just wants Joaquin to be there when Chakal arrives.
  • All There in the Manual: His full name is Jeronimo Guadalupe Posada.
  • Gonk: Short, fat, and ugly.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: There's no denying that General Posada is a huge prick, especially when it comes to Maria, but if your kid caused a massive panic and town damage, whether it was intentional or not, you'd be angry at them too.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He's a bit of a jerk, being very strict with Maria and trying to make her decisions on who she'll marry for her, but he was sincerely saddened when everyone thought Maria died and near the end of the film he accepted Manolo with open arms.
  • Like a Son to Me: He says Joaquin is like the son he never had.
  • The Napoleon: The shortest character in the story.
  • Pet the Dog: As mentioned above and below, he genuinely loves his daughter and does things he believes is best for the whole town.
  • Shipper with an Agenda: He prefers that Maria marry Joaquin. His preference is because of Joaquin's reputation as a fighter, thus ensuring the town is safe, and doesn't really take into account Maria's feelings. Although he accepts her marrying Manolo at the end.
  • Why Couldn't You Be Different?: He doesn't like how his daughter is such a rebellious troublemaker as a child and sent her to study abroad in an attempt to turn her into a proper lady.

    Chakal 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/17_022.PNG
"I hate bullfighters."
Voiced by: Dan Navarro (English), Salvador Reyes (Latin American Spanish)

A merciless, wanted leader of bandits who was the killer of Joaquin's father. He aims to find the Medal of Everlasting Life he got from Xibalba, which had made him invincible until the deity took it back.


  • Animal Motifs: Sharks. He has sharp teeth and carries two giant, monster shark shaped-swords.
  • Artificial Limbs: Both of his arms are mechanical.
  • Badass Mustache: He's got a handlebar mustache that is quite impressive. But everything about the man is extra large.
  • Bad Boss: Not as much as you think, surprisingly, though it's made clear that the bandits fear him, he only ever grabs his second-in-command Chato in a threatening way once during the course of the film, and the reason behind it is understandable.
  • Big-Bad Ensemble: With Xibalba. While the God serves as an antagonist to Manolo, Chakal is the antagonist for the Land of the Living.
  • Building Swing: His arms can mechanically extend, he flat-out averts a Disney Villain Death this way.
  • The Dreaded: Played completely straight, but also parodied with a Running Gag where the same child announces that him and/or his bandits are coming to others, usually by bursting through a door and yelling.
  • Dual Wielding: Has two BFS's... that are shark-shaped.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: He saved Chela from a battle when she was a baby, and adopted her as his own daughter.
  • Evil Counterpart: Surprisingly, Chakal ends up being this to Xibalba. While both Xibalba and Chakal wanted more power and are willing to kill for it, Xibalba was not as cruel as Chakal, who is more than willing to kill, rob, and destroy a whole town for a MacGuffin that makes its wearer indestructible; Also, Xibalba's love for La Muerte showed he wasn't truly evil, and he eventually redeemed himself by helping Manolo defeat Chakal; on the other hand, Chakal, was a ruthless bandit and murderer who holds no feelings toward anyone.
  • Evil Is Bigger: He's a lot taller and bulkier than any human in the movie, and evil to the core.
  • Fate Worse than Death: There is an afterlife for people who perform evil deeds, The Land Of The Cursed, and this is almost certainly where the bandit ended up.
  • Hates Everyone Equally: Chakal is a real misanthrope.
  • Hero Killer: He killed Captain Mondragon in the past, and Carlos during the film.
  • Knight of Cerebus: When Chakal shows up, the mood goes dark.
  • Large and in Charge: He is the king of the bandits, and a giant compared to his men.
  • Meaningful Name: Chacal means Jackal in regular Spanish terminology, but in Mexican slang, the word can mean '"the top" or "cool". It can also mean "someone who takes advantage of others through force."
  • No-Nonsense Nemesis: Everything about this guy is completely serious, and he wastes no time in being as brutal a fighter as he can.
  • Perpetual Frowner: The only time he smiled is when he tries to explode himself to take the entire town with him.
  • Pet the Dog: At some point in his life, he had enough humanity in his heart to save a young Chela from a battle, as well as adopt her as his own daughter.
  • Shadow Archetype: Chakal represents what Joaquin could've become if he became utterly obsessed with the Medal of Everlasting Life.
  • Suicide Attack: He tries to use his bombs in order to destroy the entire town...it doesn't work.
  • Vile Villain, Saccharine Show: Xibalba is funny and has some hilarious little quirks, while Chakal is portrayed completely seriously.
  • Villain Decay: Downplayed. Mary Beth's narration explains that Chakal was King of The Bandits, when his medal was taken back by Xibalba, he pretty much fell apart as he continued to search for it. He's still, however, an excellent fighter, and still leads his band of bandits - its just that he's no longer invincible.

    Chato 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/19_010.PNG
Voiced by: Eugenio Derbez (English), Eduardo Tejedo (Latin American Spanish)

One of Chakal's bandits, as well as The Dragon who goes out with gangs of his men to steal and raid towns for his boss. Chato alerts Chakal of his discovery of the Medal of Everlasting Life after he runs from an undefeatable Joaquin.


  • All There in the Manual: His name isn't stated at all in the actual movie, rather, it is by the credits and novelization.
  • Badass Beard: One of his defining features that sets him apart is a round, unkempt beard.
  • The Dragon: He serves as Chakal's right-hand man.
  • Even the Subtitler Is Stumped: When captions are showing what Chuy is saying as he gets the pigs to fight, it switches to Chato yelling as the captions read "???????????" he's actually yelling QUEEEEEEEEEE?
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: Orders a tactical retreat when he finds out Joaquin has the Medal, knowing full well that he simply can't win; and informs Chakal. Likewise, when Chakal is killed, he orders a hasty retreat.
  • Meaningful Name: Chato means different things in Spanish depending on the context, it can mean short/blunt, flat, snub-nosed, or dear (as in the one you love).

    Chela 

Chakal's beautiful adoptive daughter, The Bandit Princess.


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    The Detention Kids 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/tumblr_o0m9gbsz6o1v44kkko1_1280.png
From left to right: Joao, Sasha, Sanjay, Jane, and the Goth Kid.
Voiced by: Trey Bumpass (Luka), Callahan Clark (Jane), Ishan Sharma (Sanjay), Kennedy Peil (Sasha), No V/A (Joao)

A group of modern day kids out for a school museum trip which happens to correspond with the Day of the Dead. They are the framing device as the main story is told to them by their mysterious tour guide Mary-Beth.


Tropes that apply to all
  • All There in the Manual: The kids' names and ethnicity.
  • Bratty Half-Pint: Implied given how they all were given detention. The Goth Kid exemplifies this the most.
  • The Chosen One: For some reason, La Muerte as Mary-Beth, tells them they're not like other kids and need to hear Manolo's story.
  • Five-Token Band: Sanjay is Indian-American, the Goth Kid is Mexican-American, Sasha is Russian-American, Jane is Chinese-American, and Joao is Brazilian-American. Here's a page from the movie's official guidebook.
  • Kid-Appeal Character: Trouble-making rascals who get invested in the story.
  • No Name Given: In the movie proper none of the kids are given names except for Sasha, but in the supplementary material everyone but "Goth-kid" is given a name.
  • Noodle Incident: Whatever each of them did to be called "Detention kids".
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: Five lovable kids who are rascal devils.
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: From their introduction and mannerisms, Joao is the Sensitive Guy to Sanjay and Goth Kid's Manly Man.
  • Shipper on Deck: By the time Manolo dies in the film, all of the kids are rooting for him and Maria to marry.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Jane is the rollerskating, sarcastic Tomboy to Sasha's Girly Girl who always carries her dolly.

Tropes that apply to the Goth Kid

  • Ambiguously Bi: When introduced to the pictures of La Muerte and Xibalba he called them both "so pretty" in the same dreamy-like fashion.
  • Blinding Bangs: Goth Kid's hair covers his eyes.
  • Embarrassing First Name: Goth Kid's real name is Luka.
  • Fanboy: Goth Kid becomes quickly enamored with both La Muerte and Xibalba. He faints when La Muerte waves goodbye to him and the others at the end of the movie.
  • Goth: Goth-kid has dyed hair, wears black wrists cuffs, and is called Goth-kid.
  • Precocious Crush: Goth Kid thinks La Muerte and Xibalba are "so pretty". And he fainted with glee when La Muerte revealed herself to him and others.
  • Tuckerization: The Goth Kid's real name is Luka Ramirez. His first name is the name of Jorge Gutierrez's son.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Goth Kid dyes his hair purple.

Tropes that apply to Jane

  • Hair Decorations: Jane wears heart-shaped hairclips that have an arrow "piercing" them.
  • Ship Tease: In the book version, she and Sanjay have a few romantic moments with one another.

Tropes that apply to Sanjay

  • Peek-a-Bangs: Sanjay's hair covers his left eye.
  • Ship Tease: In the book version, he and Jane have a few romantic moments with one another.
  • Shonen Hair: Sanjay has 4 spikes that make his hairstyle.

Tropes that apply to Sasha

Tropes that apply to Joao

Land of the Remembered

    La Muerte 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/la_muerte.png
Don't fear the Reaper. She may help you out.
Voiced by: Kate del Castillo (English and Latin American Spanish), Christina Applegate (Mary Beth, English), Cony Madera (Mary Beth, Latin American Spanish), Tonita Castro (elderly disguise, English), Magdalena Giner (elderly disguise, Latin American Spanish), Masako Katsuki (Japanese)

The kind-hearted ruler of the Land of the Remembered and the estranged wife of Xibalba.


  • Adaptational Attractiveness: She's based on a Mexican folk goddess called Santa Muerte that looked like a realistic skeleton.
  • Affectionate Nickname: Called "mi amor" (which is Spanish for "my love") by her husband.
  • All-Loving Heroine: La Muerte believes that the heart of man is essentially pure. Plus, all creatures love her and she has a deep fondness towards children.
  • ...And That Little Girl Was Me: In the end, she reveals herself as Mary Beth to the kids.
  • Anthropomorphic Food: Gutierrez said on Tumblr that she's made from candy and that her dress is cherry fruit roll ups.
  • Armor-Piercing Slap: When she finds out that Xibalba gave Joaquin the Medal of Everlasting Life, she proceeds to slap him on the face.
  • Badass in Charge: There's no doubt La Muerte, ruler of the Land of the Remembered, is a badass.
  • Beast and Beauty: The candy goddess Beauty to Xibalba's made-of-everything-icky-and-slimy Beast.
  • Berserk Button: If you enter into a bet with her, do NOT cheat. And especially do not cheat and then trick her into thinking she's lost, though admittedly she's more angered on the behalf of the mortals who were hurt by the results of the bet.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: La Muerte is a kind and loving ruler. Do not push her Berserk Button.
  • Big Good: She is the ruler over the Land of the Remembered and who represents the positive side of the afterlife.
  • Big "WHAT?!": After Manolo exposes Xibalba's wager to her.
  • Can't Live With Them, Can't Live Without Them: Her relationship with Xibalba.
    Jorge: "They're a feisty couple who can't live together and can't live without each other."
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: A marriage variant. She gave Xibalba a good zap when he was briefly ogling at a grown-up Maria.
  • Color Motif: Red — representing love, passion, and life.
  • Coy, Girlish Flirt Pose: Does this when she wants Xibalba to do something for her.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: She is personifying the Day of the Dead, when the deceased are celebrated in a colourful party style and the positive side of the afterlife. Plus, she's the Big Good in the story.
  • Dem Bones: She is based on calacas, skeleton figures which are decorated on The Day of the Dead, specifically the ones made out of candy. Her overall design in particular is inspired by the iconic La Calavera Catrina of Mexican culture.
  • Don't Fear the Reaper: She is a goddess that governs the dead and her name literally means "death" in Spanish. However, she highlights the view that as long as people who have died are remembered by their loved ones, they're never really gone.
  • Dub Name Change: She's called La Catrina in the Mexican Spanish dub. "Catrinas" are a common image in Day of the Dead iconography and festivities, and symbolize that even the richest and most beautiful must one day die. Hilariously enough, Kate del Castillo plays La Muerte in both the original English version and the Mexican Spanish dub.
  • Dude Magnet: It was Xibalba who fell for La Muerte first, the Candlemaker had a thing for her once, and her old flame El Chamuco (who's now married to her sister, La Noche), still has feelings for her. Goth Kid states (along with Xibalba) that she's "so pretty". And during Xibalba's banishment, many Gods attempted to court her.
  • Fatal Flaw: La Muerte loves making bets. Xibalba often exploits this weakness.
    Xibalba: I rule now.
    Grandpa Sanchez: She would never give control to you!
    Xibalba: She lost a bet.
    Grandpa Sanchez: (Beat) She would do that.
    (all the dead Sanchezes nod in agreement)
  • Flight: Can levitate herself.
  • Flower Motifs: Marigolds.
  • Foil: A rare marriage example. With her estranged husband, Xibalba. They are both Gods, but that's about the only thing they have in common. La Muerte believes that mankind is good. She is a colorful character made out of everything good and sweet in the world, and therefore beloved by all. On the other hand, Xibalba thinks humanity is selfish and unnecessary creatures; he is made out of everything icky and slimy in the world, and therefore hated and/or feared by all.
  • Friend to All Children: La Muerte is fond of all beings, especially children. Then, there's her scenes with the detention kids as Mary Beth.
    • Word of God says she lets children stay in her realm whether they're remembered or not.
  • Friend to All Living Things: All creatures love her.
  • God Couple: She and Xibalba seem to swing in and out of this; they both love to make bets and Xibalba always cheats, leading to them becoming estranged until La Muerte takes him back.
  • God in Human Form: Disguises herself as an old woman to converse with mortals. In the Framing Device, she appears as Mary Beth.
    • Word Of God said she met Xibalba at a party on Earth while they were both pretending to be human.
  • Good Is Not Soft: She's a sweetheart (literally and figuratively). But, has her limits. And when they are pushed, she is one not to be messed with.
  • Good People Have Good Sex: Zigzagged. She and Xibalba have many children. However, their individual goodness is not the same. She is no doubt a kindhearted Goddess, but her husband, Xibalba starts off as the Big Bad before he Took a Level in Kindness.
  • Happily Married: Zigzagged. They both only have eyes for each other, and have many children. However, due to a previous wager (the exact circumstances unknown), Xibalba cheated on it and was sent to the Land of the Forgotten. The prologue shows that La Muerte is still upset about it, but they're talking, meaning that they're now on good terms (somewhat). Xibalba endangers their marriage again when Manolo reveals that he cheated on the wager of who would marry Maria. She is furious. But, by the end, after Xibalba apologizes for his actions and asks for her forgiveness, she accepts. And they kiss. By the end of the movie, they play this trope straight.
  • The High Queen: Of the Land of the Remembered.
  • Hot Goddess: A rather hot looking goddess of the dead that are remembered.
  • Humans Are Special: Believes this to be the case in contrast to her husband's Humans Are Bastards outlook.
  • Interspecies Romance: Before marrying Xibalba, La Muerte had romantic relationships with humans.
  • Invisibility: She and Xibalba can make themselves unseen from the eyes of mortals.
  • May–December Romance: Zigzagged. She and Xibalba are both presumably thousands of years old, but La Muerte has the body and face of a human woman in her 20s or 30s, while Xibalba resembles an old man, mostly because of his beard. Xibalba is in fact a few centuries older than La Muerte.
  • Meaningful Name: "La Muerte" is Spanish for "the death."
  • Mind over Matter: She's able to pull Xibalba closer without actually touching him. And at one point, managed to retrieve the rest of Luis's body with only a snap of her fingers.
  • Morality Pet: La Muerte is the sole being in the world that Xibalba respects and shows his soft side to. He is literally putty in her hands. La Muerte knows she's the only one who can change him.
  • Nice Girl: La Muerte is a kind, truthful, sweet, generous goddess whose belief in the goodness and pureness of mortal-kind stems from her own heart, as well as from that of the departed and deceased mortal people who are now her citizens and subjects. She loves and cares for everyone and anyone, no matter what or who they are, and will assist anyone who is need of her help, believing humankind to be completely and entirely pure and good. She's also very forgiving towards those who truly want to repent.
  • Nice Hat: She boasts an absolutely enormous one, bedecked with candles, marigolds, feathers and skulls, as par due to being inspired by La Calavera Catrina. If she weren't a god, there is no way that thing would stay on her head. It also reacts to her emotions. The candles turn into flares when she is furious, and Roman Candles when she is passionately happy.
  • Opposites Attract: She's a kind, loving Goddess made of sweet candy who fell in love with a cheating, gambling God who's made out of everything icky.
  • Pimped-Out Dress: La Muerte's dress is covered in embroidery and marigolds, spreads out across the ground and is bordered at the hem with lit candles.
  • Playing with Fire: La Muerte gives little sparks that are red like fire. And she literally, blew her top when she found out that Xibalba cheated again. At the end, when she and Xibalba have a Big Damn Kiss, the candles on her hat become fireworks.
  • Proper Lady: Poised, elegant, kind, and thoughtful.
  • Rapunzel Hair: It goes all the way to her ankles.
  • Raven Hair, Ivory Skin: La Muerte has raven hair and her "skin" is white sugar.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: La Muerte is Only Sane Woman among the Gods and said it was fair to return Manolo back to life since Xibalba cheated in the first place.
  • Red Is Heroic: She wears a red dress and is the Big Good.
  • Ruling Couple: A unique example. She and her husband are rulers but each govern different worlds.
  • Say My Name: Xi...bal... baaaaaaaaaa!!!
  • Shipper on Deck: La Muerte wagers Manolo and Maria will marry.
  • Sibling Rivalry: She and her sister, La Noche, are rivals in everything.
  • Silk Hiding Steel: A proper lady with a soul as sweet as the candy she's made out of. But, she's not one to be trifled with. Just ask Xibalba.
  • Single-Target Sexuality: "Her dress is red because it represents love, passion, and life. The only blue in her design is in her eyes, because she only has eyes for Xibalba."
  • Single Woman Seeks Good Man: Heavily implied. In the opening, La Muerte sadly tells Xibalba he's not the man she fell in love with years ago. Plus, she only takes Xibalba back when he admits his mistake in his past actions and apologizes.
  • Skyward Scream: She lets loose a truly epic one when she finds out that Xibalba cheated to win their bet. Just before she screams, Candlemaker warns the Sanchezes, "You might wanna cover your ears."
  • Spell My Name with a "The": The "La" part of her name basically means "the".
  • Spicy Latina: She's usually lovely and sweet... but when sufficiently irritated, she will go off like a bomb.
  • Statuesque Stunner: Her husband is a tall and imposing figure, but La Muerte is very slightly taller than him.
  • Supernatural Gold Eyes: They even resemble the sun.
  • Team Mom: Gives off this vibe when she protects Manolo and his family from her husband when she confronts him on his cheating. There's also her motherly interactions with the Detention Kids as Mary-Beth.
  • This Is Unforgivable!: She says the trope name almost verbatim to Xibalba after learning that Xibalba cheated in their bet.
  • Tiny Guy, Huge Girl: With Xibalba. At first played with, with La Muerte at first appearing taller than her husband but only because he normally slumps, but when he stands straight, he is slightly taller than her. Played more straight with their human forms in the framing story.
  • Tsundere: La Muerte is a sweet and caring soul, but she has her limits. Especially with her rascal of a husband.
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: With Xibalba. They are currently estranged, but still married. She is a beautiful goddess of the dead made out of sweet candy, but he is basically a skeleton with wings, armor, and a Sickly Green Glow, made out of tar and everything icky in the world.
  • Voice of the Legion: When particularly upset with Xibalba, she slips into this for a bit.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: A given since she believes that the heart of humankind is essentially pure.

    The Candlemaker 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/pic7_2530.png
"That was awesome, man!"
Voiced by: Ice Cube (English), Gerardo Reyero (Latin American Spanish)
A spirit who lives in the Cave of Souls and is also the keeper of the Book of Life.
  • Big Fun: He's a rather big jovial ball of wax.
  • Big Good: Tied between La Muerte of the movie.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Apart from his beard made out of clouds, he's a bit cuckoo.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": He's the Candlemaker.
  • God Is Good: While he's not exactly God, he's this universe's closest equivalent as a powerful being whose job is to maintain the balance and the peace over the world of the living and the dead, and he's quite a nice guy.
  • Grandpa God: The Candlemaker definitely looks the part.
  • Light Is Good: Being the benevolent overseer of the candles of life, he is this.
  • Nice Guy: A humble and friendly God.
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: The fun-loving, humble Sensitive Guy to Xibalba's rascally, gambling Manly Man.
  • Weird Beard: One made out of clouds.

    Carmen Sanchez 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/carmen_snchez_dead.png
"Don't ever do that again!"
Voiced by: Ana de la Reguera (English and Latin American Spanish)
Manolo's deceased mother, who accompanies him on his journey through the afterlife.
  • Action Mom: She travels to the edge of the Land of the Remembered, climbs a gigantic statue and slaps Xibalba.
  • Armor-Piercing Slap: She slaps Xibalba three times for cheating on the wager and thereby tricking Manolo into getting himself killed.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: She can and will stand up to those who have wronged her family, going so far as to slap Xibalba despite the fact that he's an extremely powerful god.
  • Deceased Parents Are the Best: Zigzagged. Carmen is technically dead but is a supporting character due to the nature of the setting. Regardless, she and Manolo get along amazingly. The two have a very positive, loving, caring relationship, refusing to let the other get harmed and only wanting what was best for each other.
  • Dem Bones: Like the rest of the dead which are styled in particular like calaca dolls.
  • Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?: She actually slaps Xibalba, and not just once, either.
  • Dude Magnet: Implied. Both Carlos and Captain Mondragon fancied her until the latter met his future wife.
  • Good Parents: Unlike Carlos, Carmen actually supports Manolo's dream on playing the guitar and never wanted her son to bullfight, since it was very dangerous.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: With her husband. Carmen barely reaches to his shoulders.
  • Improbable Hairstyle: The ends of hair are curled all the way up.
  • Mama Bear: Don't mess with Manolo while she's around - not even being a god will protect you. In fact, the reason she died protecting baby Manolo in the Mexican Revolution.
  • Missing Mom: Played with. She dies before the events of the film, but she still becomes a supporting character due to the nature of the setting. Manolo meets her in the Land of the Remembered, and she accompanies him on his journey.
  • Nice Girl: Carmen is polite, brave, and willing to stand up to those who wronged her family.
  • Shipper on Deck: Carmen's statement to Carlos after Manolo and Maria kiss?
    Carmen: She's [Maria] going to be a great Sanchez.
  • Skunk Stripe: Has three white streaks on the side of her head.
  • Women Are Wiser: Probably the sole Sanchez to think dying in a bullring is not that great, snarking that the Sanchez habit of 'flirting with death' is probably why there's so many of them down there. Having married into the family probably helps in this regard.

    Luis Sanchez 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/21_012_1.PNG
"Fighting just one bull is for cowards!"
Voiced by: Danny Trejo (English), Humberto Vélez (Latin American Spanish)
Manolo's deceased grandfather, who accompanies him as well on his journey through the afterlife.
  • Abusive Parent: Implied, but it's Played for Laughs. An early conversation between Manolo and Carlos reveals that Luis began teaching Carlos how to bullfight when he was nine... and apparently did so by putting nine-year-old Carlos in the ring with an actual bull, which ended with Carlos in a coma that lasted three years.
  • Armor-Piercing Slap: Gives one to Manolo for not killing the bull when the latter was still alive.
  • Badass Moustache: His is so badass it literally beat up Chakal's footmen.
  • Cool Old Guy: Was considered very macho when he was alive and still is after death during the battle against Chakal's bandits.
  • Dem Bones: Like the rest of the dead which are styled in particular like calaca dolls.
  • Establishing Character Music: Luis's introduction when Manolo first meets him in the Land of the Remembered is accompanied by the Mexican folk song "El Son de la Negra".
  • False Reassurance: While yelling panicked instructions to Manolo, he reassures Carmen that everything is fine, who is holding him the entire time.
  • Fearless Fool: He like other Sanchez members, was very brave but unfortunately very foolish as well, so much so that he allowed hubris to get the better of him. See Too Dumb to Live.
  • Hope Spot: He goes to the entrance of the Cave of Souls despite his arthritis. But when he tries to enter, he loses his head and the cave's guardian tells him that he is not worthy.
  • Improbable Hairstyle: The famous "Sanchez Curl", which manages to stay in curl even after he died.
  • It Runs in the Family: He has the courage and impressive matador skills that run in the Sanchez Family. He also, unfortunately, has the Fearless Fool and Too Dumb to Live tendencies that run in the family as well.
  • Losing Your Head: His head gets temporarily separated from the rest of his skeletal body during his journey alongside Manolo. Cures his arthritis for the duration, though.
  • Magnificent Moustaches of Mexico: Has probably the most impressive moustache among the Sanchez family. It actually beats people up.
  • Red Baron: He was nicknamed "El Super Macho" during his lifetime.
  • Rated M for Manly: Considered the manliest of the Sanchez men.
  • Shared Family Quirks: Shared a running Sanchez trait of handicapping oneself when fighting bulls because "fighting otherwise is for cowards".
  • Too Dumb to Live: Tried fighting three bulls at once because "fighting just one bull is for cowards".

    Jorge Sanchez 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/jorge.png
“Arms and legs are for cowards.”
Voiced by: Placido Domingo (English), Carlos del Campo (Latin American Spanish)
Manolo's conquistador ancestor who replaced his arm and leg with swords.
  • Dem Bones: Like the rest of the dead which are styled in particular like calaca dolls.
  • Establishing Character Music: When Manolo meets Jorge in the Land of the Remembered, the latter's introduction is accompanied by Georges Bizet's Prelude to "Carmen".
  • Eyepatch of Power: Wears one over his left eye socket.
  • Fearless Fool: He like other Sanchez members, was very brave but unfortunately very foolish as well, so much so that he allowed hubris to get the better of him. See Too Dumb to Live.
  • Handicapped Badass: Despite having lost an eye, an arm, and a leg, Skeleton Jorge is not slowed down by these infirmities, nor does it diminish how awesome a swordsman he is.
  • Hidden Depths: When Carmen chastises Jorge and the others for their pigheadedness that got them killed, Jorge's reaction is amused agreement. In addition, his interest in music makes him more similar to Manolo and Carmen than the other bull fighters.
  • It Runs in the Family: He has the courage and impressive matador skills that run in the Sanchez Family. He also, unfortunately, has the Fearless Fool and Too Dumb to Live tendencies that runs in the family as well.
    • He also has the same musical skills as Manolo, and the two of them immediately bond over their dreams being crushed.
  • Shared Family Quirks: Shared a running Sanchez trait of handicapping oneself when fighting bulls because "fighting otherwise is for cowards". He also shares Manolo's love and talent for music.
  • Shout-Out: He's pretty much a dead ringer for Don Quixote.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Tried fighting a bull with just one arm and leg, because " arms and legs are for cowards".
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: He has a slight disdain for Carmelo the native Mesoamerican Sanchez member which he often calls savage, not surprising considering the... complicated history between the conquistadors and Mesoamericans. They're still family, though.

    Carmelo Sanchez 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/all_you_can_eat_churros.PNG
"Capes are for cowards!"
Voiced by: Jorge R. Gutierrez (English), Manuel Pérez (Latin American Spanish)

Manolo's huge ancestor with an equally huge appetite.


  • Big Eater: With an extra emphasis on big.
  • Creator Cameo: Carmelo is voiced by the director of the film.
  • Dem Bones: Like the rest of the dead which are styled in particular like calaca dolls.
  • Dumb Muscle: He isn't exactly the smartest but he is really strong.
  • Fearless Fool: He like other Sanchez members, was very brave but unfortunately very foolish as well, so much so that he allowed hubris to get the better of him. See Too Dumb to Live.
  • Gentle Giant: The biggest of the Sanchez and one of the most light-hearted.
  • It Runs in the Family: He has the courage and impressive matador skills that runs in the Sanchez Family. He also, unfortunately, has the Fearless Fool and Too Dumb to Live tendencies that runs in the family as well.
  • Nice Hat: Wears an Aztec headdress which identifies him being of native Mesoamerican origin.
  • No-Sell: Played for laughs, when Xibalba launches Manolo with enough force that when he hits Luis they both go flying until they hit Carmelo who barely flinches.
  • Shared Family Quirks: Shared a running Sanchez trait of handicapping oneself when fighting bulls because "fighting otherwise is for cowards".
  • Spit Take: When the Sanchez family finds out that Xibalba is the new ruler of the Land of the Remembered, he spits out pieces of cake onto Jorge, who is not amused.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Fought a bull without using a cape, because "using a cape is for cowards".
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Has a rather complicated relationship with Jorge the conquistador Sanchez member which he often unintentionally bumps around, not surprising considering the complicated history between the conquistadors and Mesoamericans. They're still family though.

    The Adelita Twins 
Voiced by: Anjelah Johnson-Reyes (Adelita, English), Betzabé Jara (Adelita, Latin American Spanish), Sandra Equihua (Scardelita, English), Diana Alonso (Scardelita, Latin American Spanish)
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/the_adelita_twins_8529.png
"We Won".

Manolo's deceased identical looking adelita cousins who he encounters along with the rest of his family.


The Land of the Forgotten

    Xibalba 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/xibalba.png
"How about a little wager?"
Voiced by: Ron Perlman (English), Miguel Ángel Ghigliazza (Latin American Spanish), Joji Nakata (Japanese)
The sinister lord of the Land of the Forgotten and La Muerte's estranged husband. He strikes up a bet with La Muerte over who will win Maria's heart, which gets the story's gears turning.
  • Accidental Public Confession: When La Muerte discovers that he cheated on their wager, he inadvertently confesses about how he gave Joaquin the Medal of Everlasting Life.
  • Adorkable: He acts quite dorky whenever he's around La Muerte.
  • Affectionate Nickname: Nicknamed "Balby" by his wife.
    Manolo, Carmen, Luis, and Candlemaker: Balby?!?!
  • All There in the Manual: The security guard that Xibalba disguises as is named Guicho.
  • Animal Motifs: Snakes. His magical staff is a two headed snake; the snake staff is actually a part of Xibalba himself. An alternate scene would have shown Xibalba with a giant snake guard. And Xibalba is sneaky and deceptive.
  • Anti-Villain: He only wants to rule his wife's world out of loneliness.
  • Attention Whore: A rather unique example in that it's not the attention of everyone he wants, but only the attention of La Muerte.
  • Badass Baritone: He's voiced by Ron Perlman and is an all powerful Death God.
  • Badass Beard: Has a very cool and suave-y looking beard.
  • Badass Finger Snap: Appears to use this, judging from the trailer.
  • Beard of Evil: A snazzy beard and the Big Bad. Until his Heel–Face Turn.
  • Beast and Beauty: The God made-of-everything-icky-and-slimy Beast to La Muerte's candy goddess Beauty.
  • Big Bad: He represents the negative side of the afterlife. He also causes trouble for Manolo all for the sake of winning a bet. Thankfully, he gets a Heel–Face Turn.
  • Big Ol' Eyebrows: He has huge and spiky white eyebrows.
  • Blob Monster: He's made out of slime and everything grimy.
  • Break the Haughty: Manolo besting him in the final trial deflates his ego. If just a bit.
  • Can't Live With Them, Can't Live Without Them: His relationship with La Muerte.
    Jorge: "They're a feisty couple who can't live together and can't live without each other."
  • Color Motif: Green — representing his envy.
  • Cool Crown: A silver crown with horns sprouting from the both sides, topped with black wax candles lit with green flames. A black skull is in the middle of the crown.
  • Crazy Jealous Guy: A marriage variant; outright called by Wordof God as the "jealous type". He was very annoyed at La Muerte's cheering for Manolo. It's extra poignant compared to his wife's jealous moment as Xibalba himself cheered Joaquim when he entered the arena to which she reacted good-naturedly, yet when she does the same (after his moment of gawking at Maria no less) he cuts into her cheering for Manolo with a jealous glare.
  • The Cynic: A given since he believes that the heart of man is essentially unpure.
  • Dark Is Evil: Xibalba represents the negative side of the afterlife. Plus, he's the Big Bad.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: His love for La Muerte is one of the few indicators he isn't totally evil. He also indirectly helped Manolo fight Chakal and his gang, showcasing his official Heel–Face Turn.
  • Deity of Human Origin: According to Jorge, Xibalba was once a heroic knight.
  • Driven by Envy: Xibalba desperately wants to rule his wife's world because she has endless fiestas, while he rules over a dreary and vile world.
  • Easily Forgiven: He caused the whole mess, but La Muerte easily forgave him. Justified that he honored his deal this time.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: He truly cares about La Muerte. He is also an overprotective father to his and La Muerte's kids.
  • Everybody Hates Hades: Subverted. He's a rather nasty death god but he's more petty and uncaring of humans than outright evil. He's quite capable of selfless love and admitting when he's been proven wrong.
  • Evil Is Petty: Don't you dare make him lose a bet, however unintentionally.
  • Evil Slinks: Both death gods move slinkily, but cheating, sneaky Xibalba more than kind-natured La Muerte.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Being played by Ron Perlman, this is something of a given.
  • The Exile: Whatever in the last wager he made with La Muerte, Xibalba was exiled into ruling the Land of the Forgotten.
  • Exotic Eye Designs: Has red skulls for pupils in his eye sockets. They're almost always in profile, so that only a single eyehole each can represent a pupil. They eerily both turn forward when he's staring down Manolo to find out what he's afraid of.
  • Fangs Are Evil: While he's not wholly evil, he is a dark god and his teeth are often shown as shark-like.
  • Fatal Flaw: His cheating nature when it comes to bets. It's the main cause of the estrangement between him and La Muerte. It also indirectly leads to trouble for Manolo and San Angel.
  • Flight: He can either levitate himself or use his wings.
  • Foil:
    • A rare marriage example. With his estranged wife, La Muerte. They are both Gods, but that's about the only thing they have in common. Xibalba thinks humanity is selfish and unnecessary creatures; he is made out of everything icky and slimey in the world, and therefore hated and/or feared by all. On the other hand, La Muerte believes that mankind is good. She is a colorful character made out of everything good and sweet in the world, and therefore beloved by all.
    • To Manolo. Both are Determinators concerned with gaining the favor of the women they love, but Xibalba is much shadier and willing to hurt others to achieve his goals, a sharp contrast to Nice Guy Manolo.
  • God Couple: He and La Muerte seem to swing in and out of this; they both love to make bets and Xibalba always cheats, leading to them becoming estranged until La Muerte takes him back.
  • God in Human Form: Disguises himself as an old man to converse with mortals. In the Framing Device, he appears as a museum security guard with La Muerte/Mary Beth.
  • Gonk: His human disguises are often as hideous as he personally perceives mortals to be.
  • Good People Have Good Sex: Zigzagged. He and La Muerte have many children. However, their individual goodness is not the same. She is no doubt a kindhearted Goddess, but Xibalba starts off as the Big Bad before he Took a Level in Kindness.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: Upon closer inspection, there are some scars on his wings. Xibalba received them from burnt angel wings.
  • Good Wings, Evil Wings: Has black angel wings.
  • Graceful Loser: Zigzagged. He does his best to stack the deck and shave the dice to win his bet with La Muerte, to the point that he would rather kill Manolo than lose his wager. But he then honored (albeit grudgingly) his second wager when Manolo won.
  • Green and Mean: A Jerkass God whose main color scheme is green.
  • Happily Married: Zigzagged. They both only have eyes for each other, and have many children. However, due to a previous wager (the exact circumstances unknown), Xibalba cheated on it and was sent to the Land of the Forgotten. The prologue shows that La Muerte is still upset about it, but they're talking, meaning that they're now on good terms (somewhat). Xibalba endangers their marriage again when Manolo reveals that he cheated on the wager of who would marry Maria. She is furious. But, by the end, after Xibalba apologizes for his actions and asks for her forgiveness, she accepts. And they kiss. By the end of the movie, they play this trope straight.
  • A Head at Each End: His staff animates as a snake with venomous heads on each end. Being bitten by one head puts Maria into a coma, while being bitten by both kills Manolo.
  • Heel–Face Turn: After Manolo bests him in his final test.
  • Henpecked Husband: Justified. La Muerte is constantly on him because of his nature of doing wrong things.
  • Humans Are Bastards: Believes this to be the case in contrast to his wife's Humans Are Special outlook.
  • I Know What You Fear: Towards the climax, Manolo makes another bet with him. To set up the challenge, Xibalba asks what Manolo's really afraid of. Manolo doesn't say anything, but when his eyes dart in thought, Xibalba says he got it.
  • Insecure Love Interest: Implied. At the end, when he apologizes to La Muerte for all the trouble he caused, he adds in "you [La Muerte] deserve better than me". The reason Xibalba wanted to make it look like he was cheating on her was out of insecurity.
  • Invisibility: He and La Muerte can make themselves unseen from the eyes of mortals.
  • Irony: His human disguise in the framing device is Guicho, a security guard, someone bound to uphold the rules. And Xibalba frequently cheats in wagers, thereby disobeying the rules.
  • Jabba Table Manners: Gave out a loud belch and ate an entire bunch of grapes in one gulp.
  • Jackass Genie: He takes on this role when dealing with Manolo. Manolo wishes he could be with Maria, whom he thinks is dead, so Xibalba kills him, sending him to the afterlife.
  • Jerkass God: Ends up nearly ruining the life of Manolo and indirectly destroying San Angel because he wants to get back in his wife's good graces. Subverted at the end of the film. Learning to be a better person is what actually does the trick.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: A Jackass Genie who is a Manipulative Bastard and has no problem with tricking innocent people. And, unlike regular villains, Xibalba only sought to rule his wife's world out of loneliness. He is even undoubtedly (if begrudgingly) impressed after Manolo's heroism bests him and cheerfully takes part in the battle against Chakal at the conclusion, if indirectly. But, the biggest example that shows Xibalba isn't completely heartless is his love for La Muerte.
  • Magic Staff: Xibalba wields a staff resembling a two-headed snake which he can bring to life.
  • Manipulative Bastard: His whole plan with Manolo gives off shades of this.
  • May–December Romance: Zigzagged. He and La Muerte are both presumably thousands of years old, but La Muerte has the body and face of a human woman in her 20s or 30s, while Xibalba resembles an old man, mostly because of his beard. Xibalba is in fact a few centuries older than La Muerte.
  • Meaningful Name: "Xibalba" was the Mayan term for the underworld.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: He doesn't exactly say it, but the moment La Muerte angrily reminds him of the last wager he cheated on, he goes quiet. And looks at her with regret in his eyes and body movement.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: Xibalba sending Manolo into the underworld resulted in the latter telling La Muerte about how Xibalba cheated on their wager for Maria's marriage.
  • Noble Demon: Xibalba is incredibly prone to cheating, be it giving the man he bet would marry Maria a medal of everlasting life or faking the death of Maria so the other man after her heart would commit suicide. But he is still married to La Muerte, and is willing to gracefully accept defeat and even assist the heroes when his plan fails regardless.
  • Not Evil, Just Misunderstood: Perlman describes him as a misunderstood villain.
  • Oh, Crap!: Xibalba is utterly shocked when La Muerte finds out that not only did he cheat on their wager but he also gave Joaquin the Medal of Everlasting Life.
  • Opposites Attract: He's a cheating, gambling God who's made out of everything icky who fell in love with a kind, loving Goddess made of sweet candy.
  • Overprotective Dad: Xibalba is one to his and La Muerte's many children.
  • Pretty Boy: At least according to Goth Kid, as he describes Xibalba as "so pretty."
  • Ruling Couple: A unique example. He and his wife are rulers, but each govern different worlds.
  • Saying Too Much: After La Muerte discovers that he cheated to win their wager, he puts himself in even deeper hot water when he accidentally reveals that he gave Joaquin the Medal of Everlasting Life. Whoops.
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: The rascally, gambling Manly Man to the Candlemaker's fun-loving, humble Sensitive Guy.
  • Settle for Sibling: Before he fell for his wife, Xibalba originally courted La Muerte's twin sister, La Noche.
  • Shipper with an Agenda: Xibalba wagers Joaquin and Maria will marry. Although it should be noted it's less because he thinks they would be good for each other, and more because he made a bet on it.
  • Sickly Green Glow: Part of his color scheme has a deathly shade of green.
  • Single-Target Sexuality: "His flames burn green with envy. The only red in his design is in his skull-shaped irises, because he only has eyes for La Muerte.”
  • Something Else Also Rises: Whenever he and La Muerte kiss, he spreads his wings. The intended effect is for La Muerte's Nice Hat and his wings to form a Sacred Heart, but dirty-minded viewers can find an alternate interpretation.
  • Sore Loser: He would rather kill an innocent human than lose a wager. He seems to have ultimately gotten better.
  • Tiny Guy, Huge Girl: With La Muerte. At first played with, with La Muerte at first appearing taller than her husband but only because he normally slumps, but when he stands straight, he is slightly taller than her. Played more straight with their human forms in the framing story.
  • Token Evil Teammate: Of the three main Gods. Xibalba won't hesitate to indirectly ruin the lives of innocent mortals if it somehow benefits him. He changes by the end.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Xibalba helps Manolo fight off Chakal, if indirectly. And in the present, he and La Muerte are continuing to tell Manolo's story.
  • Touch of Death: Any living thing he touch dies. The best example is the food from the Land of the Remembered, that instantly turned to mold, with a sickly green color, after they touched him.
  • Trickster God: His profile described him as a "mischievous trickster" and that he likes to interfere in the lives of mortals.
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: With La Muerte. They are currently estranged, but still married. He is basically a skeleton with wings, armor, and a Sickly Green Glow, made out of tar and everything icky in the world, but she is a beautiful goddess of the dead made out of sweet candy.
  • Unrequited Love Switcheroo: Xibalba courted La Noche (La Muerte's sister), but the moment she started to pay him attention, he had already fallen in love with La Muerte.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: By the film's second half, he sends Manolo into the afterlife, leading to the near-destruction of San Angel.
  • Villainous Crush: A former example, before he and La Muerte were married.
  • Wingding Eyes: The aforementioned skull-shaped irises. They even poke out of the sides of the eyes!
  • Wouldn't Hit a Girl: Three main examples.
    • He only puts Maria in a trance when going about his plan.
    • Even when La Muerte hits him, Xibalba doesn't lift one finger against her.
    • He doesn't strike back at Carmen for slapping him three times.
  • Your Cheating Heart: Subverted. It only looked like Xibalba cheated on La Muerte with other goddesses, but he never actually did.

    The Forgotten 

The sad residents of the Land of the Forgotten, who no longer have anyone alive who knows them.


  • Fate Worse than Death: Unlike the vibrant, unique, and happy Remembered, the Forgotten are all dull, similar, moaning zombies who randomly turn into dust. Made all the worse when not everyone deserves to go there; it is just what ultimately happens when no one alive knows who you are regardless of deeds.
  • Gods Need Prayer Badly: In order to stay in the joyous Land of the Remembered, the dead need the living to remember them. If they are forgotten by the living they go the Land of the Forgotten.
  • Sickly Green Glow: Instead of unique artistic designs on their skulls they have glowing green spirals.

Land of the Unknown

    La Noche 

La Muerte's twin sister who co-rules the Land of the Unknown with her husband, El Chamuco.


  • Affectionate Nickname: "Luna", given to most likely by El Chamuco.
  • Distaff Counterpart: La Noche was basically going to be a "female version of Xibalba in terms of personality", according to Jorge Gutiérrez.
  • Mayincatec: She was said to be as beautiful as her sister, but with more Maya and Aztec themes.
  • Sibling Rivalry: She and La Muerte are rivals in everything.

Land of the Cursed

     El Chamuco 

Xibalba's brother who rules over the Land of the Cursed, and also the co-ruler of the Land of the Unknown.


  • Affectionate Nickname: "Diablito", given to him most likely by La Noche.
  • Big Bad: He might be this in the third movie should it ever be made.
  • Fallen Hero: He and Xibalba were once good knights who got too cocky and ended up paying for it.
  • Satanic Archetype: The Land of the Cursed is described as "a really hot place" and "on the bottom floor" where the most evil dead are sent. He's a Fallen Hero as mentioned above, and is more wicked than Xibalba.
  • Sibling Rivalry: Stated to have this relationship with Xibalba.
  • Your Cheating Heart: An emotional example. He still has feelings for La Muerte even though he's married to her sister.

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