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Western Animation / Seis Manos

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Seis Manos is a 2019 Netflix martial arts animated series created by Brad Graeber and Álvaro Rodríguez released on October 3, 2019. The series is directed by Willis Bulliner and includes Dan Dominguez as co-writer. Seis Manos is the first original animated series produced by VIZ Media as well as the first original property of Powerhouse Animation Studios (the studio behind the Castlevania (2017) animated series), being created and developed completely in-house with animation assistance from Dr Movie.

Set in the fictional Mexican town of San Simon, Seis Manos follows three orphans, raised in the forms and philosophies of the Chinese martial arts, who set out on a path of bloody revenge and justice after the death of their mentor. Meanwhile the San Simon police and the DEA are trying to take down a drug lord, and find themselves on the same trail as the Seis Manos.

The series takes many cues from 70s cinema, including blaxploitation cinema and grindhouse films.


Seis Manos contains examples of:

  • Always Someone Better: Silencio is initially depicted as the most powerful out of the temple's three students. Jesus defeats him easily during the seventh episode.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: In the first episode Garcia bemoans the fact that no actual crime ever happens in San Simon for her to bust. In the eighth episode, when almost the entire adult population of San Simon has been killed, she remembers this wish and beats herself up over it.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Season 1 ends with El Balde being killed and his men ran out of town. The main cast is alive, but Lina was killed by Lo, who then kidnaps Silencio. However, Isabela and Jesus are on their way to find and rescue while Garcia stays behind in San Simon to care for the orphans. Meanwhile, Brister is falsely arrested by his racist supervisor who is also carrying the soul of El Balde's mother.
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  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday:
    Isabela: Why did you kill our father?!
    El Balde: I kill a lot of people, mi'ja. You're going to have to be more specific.
  • Car Fu: Lina manages to temporarily subdue El Balde by crashing her truck into him and plowing him into a brick wall. The fact that he manages to shake this off is a sign of how strong he is.
  • The Cartel: most of the bad guys are Mexican drug kingpins.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The exorcism brush.
    • And in the same vein, the dog tags Garabina gives to Brister.
    • Of all things, the three-hit strike Jesus teaches to Piyojo to induce vomiting comes back in the fourth episode. Sadly for Piyojo, it doesn't work a third time.
  • Decoy Protagonist: The first episode plays out like a Saturday morning cartoon with the obligatory Tag Along Kid. Then Domingo dies before the end of the episode.
  • Death of a Child: Domingo is killed in the first episode when a statue falls over him.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: A given, considering the series takes place in Mexico during the 1970s. One notable example is the American officer Brister being referred to as "gringo" by Garcia, which he protests several times, pointing out that he is black. In Mexico, the word "gringo" is used against Americans, Canadians and Europeans, regardless of the ethnic origins of the person the insult is targeted to.
    • Brister's boss Larry makes a racially charged remark about Brister's cologne in the first episode and drops a very offensive term for Chinese people during the last episode during Brister's arrest, which is likely to support Brister's claim that he's "racist. as. hell."
  • Demonic Possession: Alejandra possesses Isabella in episode 7, and became strong enough to smack El Balde around. Luckily Garcia manages to subdue her with Garabina's knowledge of the occult and exorcise her soon after.
  • Disabled Love Interest: Technically both Lina and Silencio are this to each other. It's also revealed that both Lina's missing hand and Silencio's muteness are results of run-ins with El Balde.
  • Disappointed in You: Shortly after Alejandra is exorcised and Isabela wakes up, the first thing she sees is Silencio's bloodied body. She shoots a glance filled with absolute horror and disgust and immediately walks away. Jesús finds no room for argument and looks at Silencio with pity and walks away as well. Silencio leaves with his head hanging in shame.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: El Balde and Alejandra.
  • Doomed Hometown: El Balde winds up killing off the entire adult population of San Simon.
  • Double-Meaning Title: Manos literally means "hands" in Spanish, referring to the fighting styles of the main trio (three siblings, two hands each), but manos can also refer to a colloquial shortening of hermanos, "brothers" or "siblings," emphasizing the importance of the familial bond between Isabela, Jesus, and Silencio.
  • Driven to Suicide: The mutated man from the start kills himself by drinking gasoline and swallowing a lit match, exploding to pieces. Later on another man mutated by El Balde's drug seemed to have a brief What Have I Become? moment before crushing his own head with his bare hands.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Jesus is already hinted to have a drinking problem in the first episode, but after Chiu's death he has several moments with this particular tinge, particularly in Episode 2 where he stays in the bar and leaves Isabela to deal with Chiu's body.
  • Drunken Boxing: In an atypical twist on this trope, Jesus is a practitioner of drunken boxing with a drinking problem, but he typically doesn't fight while drunk.
  • Exploitation Film: The series takes a lot of cues from exploitation films, particularly Blaxploitation and Mexploitation, particularly on its focus on gore and violence.
  • Fantasy Kitchen Sink: Holy water works, Mesoamerican visions play a big role in the story, and followers of Daoist teachings can live long lives and practice the flashiest spells in the show.
  • Fluffy the Terrible: El Balde. As in, "The Bucket."
  • Healing Factor: People mutated by El Balde's drug have this ability.
  • Hidden Depths: For all his drunken bluster and youth, Jesús has a clearer head than his siblings. He just has difficulty finding the right words with which he can express his wisdom. In contrast, Isabela has no patience and Silencio is too angry.
  • Horror Hunger: The mutated become so hungry they start eating other people. El Balde doesn't seem to have this issue however.
  • Immortality Immorality: Once rejuvenated, Sifu Lo admits that the only pleasure left for someone as long-lived as he is messing with mortals.
  • Improbable Weapon User: Jesus manages to defeat several gun-totting goons with a metal wheelbarrow. Isabela kicks ass with an incense burner attached to a chain.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: Isabela looks remarcably like a buff Aislin Derbez. El Balde and Brister's facial features are also very close to those of Danny Trejo and Mike Colter respectively.
  • Kill It with Fire: The most surefire methold of killing someone that's been mutated into a monster.
  • Kill the Cutie: Domingo doesn't make it past the first episode.
  • Lesser of Two Evils: The church ran drugs and weapons; but were a hell of a lot less violent than El Balde's cartel and that transformative drug he's peddling.
  • Locked into Strangeness: Silencio's changing eyebrow.
  • Muscles Are Meaningless: Much is made of Brister's massive physique during his introduction, but he proves to be nigh-useless without a gun.
    • Averted with El Balde, who's even bigger than Brister and strong enough to overpower the main trio and survive getting rammed by a truck. Played Straight later on when he fights his mother Alejandra and gets smacked around by her.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Silencio murdering Padre Serrano. As he was the secret Kingpin of San Simon, he was El Balde's rival and the only one who kept the town in relative peace. Upon his death, El Balde immediately took over, and committed horrible atrocities in his short reign.
  • Off with His Head!: Balde manages to punch a man's head off while under the effects of the drug.
  • Only One Name: Notably, every major character in the series so far only goes by one name. The siblings (as well as Lina and Domingo) are orphans and only go by their first names, while Brister and Garcia are only known by their surnames.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Padre Serrano did seem like he was going to help Isabela, Jesus, and Silencio, but when it turned out the Padre was the town's kingpin and was confronted by the trio, believing he killed Chiu, he and his men became aggressive and attacked since the trio knew too much. Then when defeated, Serrano wasn't given a chance to explain as Silencio quickly executed him. In the end Padre Serrano had nothing to do with Chiu's death.
  • Psycho Serum: El Balde possesses a mysterious black powder drug that causes those who consume it to become zombie-like monsters with Super Strength and a Healing Factor.
  • Reality Ensues: Being an Old Master, Chiu was capable of dealing some serious blows to the mutated man that would cripple a normal person immediately. Unfortunately the mutated man had an extremely strong Healing Factor and Chiu could only hold him off for so long before becoming exhausted due to his old age, getting him killed.
    • Brister's gunshot wound means he's stuck with his right arm in a sling for subsequent episodes.
  • Removing the Head or Destroying the Brain: Aside from fire, crushing their head or decapitation is the only other way to kill a mutated person.
  • Retraux: It's a Netflix cartoon... with cigarette burns.
  • Shout-Out: Lo is an Expy of Pai Mei in both appearance, mastery of martial arts and the habit to Stroke the Beard. He is also an Evil Mentor who trains assassins and appears to lead a crime syndicate.
    • El Balde picks up a small doll in episode 5 that looks like Alucard of the Castlevania series, specifically the series animated by the same studio.
    • The Powerhouse Studio logo in the end credits is rendered in a similar style to the old Shaw Brothers studios logo.
  • Showing Off the New Body: a somewhat understated variant from Alejandra's possession of Isabella, more enjoying the skills and capabilities than the appearance.
  • Talking the Monster to Death: Isabella almost manages to non-violently neutralise both Alejandra and El Balde, but a well-intentioned rescue by her friends ruins it.
  • Tongue Trauma: It's revealed that Silencio's muteness is a result of getting his tongue mutilated as a child at the hands of El Balde.
  • Town with a Dark Secret: San Simone is an idyllic Mexican town, prosperous and free of crime thanks to being under the protection of a drug kingpin priest.
  • Unequal Rites: Mexican curandera and bruja magic goes head-to-head with Chinese Daoist martial arts magic. Sifu Lo is surprised to find there " ... might be other cracks in the world through which there is access to the mystery."
  • The Worf Effect: Piyojo, a minor character and friend of Jesus, learned a Vomit Indiscretion Shot Attack and used it successfully against Jesus, and a monsterized dog. It had no effect on El Balde.


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