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Western Animation / The New Adventures of Zorro (1997)

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"His stallion is black as the night..."

"The thunder of a stallion's hooves, the crack of a bullwhip and the steely slash of a sword in the night. In a blinding flash of blackness he neutralizes those who would perpetrate injustice, leaving only the unmistakable mark of a "Z" behind — the "Z" for Zorro!"

The New Adventures of Zorro is a Warner Bros. Saturday Morning Cartoon from the Zorro franchise. It premiered on Kids' WB! on September 20, 1997 and it lasted two seasons with 26 total episodes before it ended on December 12, 1998. Reruns continued on Cartoon Network. The show is rather similar to Batman: The Animated Series and Superman: The Animated Series, which were made around the same time.

Don Diego de la Vega goes on adventures through Spanish California's countryside as the secretive masked vigilante swordsman Zorro. Zorro's with his horse Tornado, his father Don Alejandro de la Vega, his love interest Isabella, and Isabella's father Don Nacho. The smart Native American woman Grey Owl uses her magic powers to help Zorro. The mute Bernardo serves as Zorro's servant and always makes the tools and items Zorro needs to save the day.

Zorro battles corrupt tyrannical enemies who use steampunk technology or supernatural powers. The main antagonist is Captain Montecero, who wants to bring Zorro to justice with the help of his unlucky bumbling servant Sergeant Garcia and the rest of his Los Angeles troops. When Zorro defeats his enemies, he leaves behind the sign of a "Z" to inform everyone of his presence while being secretive about his real identity.

You might have been looking for the unrelated 1981 show.

"Out in This Very Wiki, Zorro's story is troped..."

  • Adaptational Wimp: Sergeant García's original version (he debuted in the old Zorro (1957) series as Sgt. Demetrio López García) could be a bumbling moron, but he was not the complete idiot seen in this series. He was actually very motivated to do his job and arrest Zorro, wasn't a bad fencer whenever not pitted against someone of Zorro's level, and could be also surprisingly smart in occasion - in fact, he had his own idiot underling in Cpl. Reyes, whom García often cheated off of his money.
  • Affirmative Action Girl: In this continuity, Ignacio Torres has an adventurous daughter, Isabella, who is a childhood friend and an additional sidekick to Zorro. You can also count Grey Owl, who is a woman and a dangerous sorcerer.
  • Alliterative Name: Zorro is also known as the Masked Marauder, which repeats the letter "M".
  • Alliterative Title: Used for the episode "The Poison Pen", which repeats the letter "P".
  • Ambiguous Situation: The exact year the series is set. It must take place later than 1812, as Tipton and Weasler mention the War of 1812 as something from the past, but not sooner than 1821, as Los Ángeles is still Spanish.
  • Anachronism Stew:
    • Countless, considering we are talking about a Cattle Punk series.
    • The series mentions continuously that Diego studied in the University of Madrid. In real life, there wasn't a college named literally "University of Madrid" until 1943. It can be charitably assumed the characters actually mean the Royal University of Alcalá.
  • Animated Adaptation: This is an animated cartoon based off of the Zorro franchise. This time, the animation has round shapes and big eyes that give it a certain unique look.
  • Art Evolution: The earliest episodes look rather stiff, but the later episodes improve on the animation.
  • Artificial Limbs: Rodolfo Grumés has mechanical legs.
  • Artistic License – History: The great Mayan civilization wasn't destroyed by the Spaniards as the series shows. It collapsed by itself (more than once, even), and what the Spaniards found was a shade of its former self, shattered into many little states without much relation between them. The notion that the Mayans tried to hide their great treasure is even funnier, as Mayans weren't known to have the level of richness of the Aztecs or the Incas.
  • Artistic License – Martial Arts:
    • Oddly, while fighting a Mayan warrior, Montecero manages to block and break his opponent's macuauhuitl with a mere main-gauche parrying dagger. This might have been possible against a blade (if it would require one of an absolutely awful quality, enough to be broken with the strength of a wrist), but it happens that a macuauhuitl is not a blade, but a bladed club. Only its wooden body would have been too wide to fit in the main-gauche's arms.
    • Backed by popular belief, Toshiro's katana breaks the blade of Diego's Toledan espada ropera after a few parried hits. In real life, achieving a sword break in battle is actually night-impossible without a huge disparity of quality between the blades, and in this particular field, a direct clash between the steel of Toledo and the traditional Japanese steel-melting techniques would favor heavily the former, not the latter. The swords' very designs would make it further an unlikely scenario, as the highly flexible blade of the espada would always tend to bounce and absorb any really hard slash rather than break. Ironically, Diego does lampshade the whole point by quipping "I have to talk to my sword-maker."
    • The previous point also makes Diego's parries a stylistic impossibility. Trying to block a downard katana slash with a sideways-placed rapier would cause the rapier's blade to curve under the strike, likely hitting its user in the face in the process.
  • Bounty Hunter: One appears in "The Beast Within".
  • Bragging Theme Tune: The theme song says that no one can escape from Zorro and that everyone trembles at his name.
  • Cattle Punk: Diego fights Steampunk cyborgs and magical foes. To even the odds, Grey Owl provides Zorro with his own magical assistance, and Barnardo is reinvented as a Gadgeteer Genius.
  • Character Title: The episode "The Enforcer" is named after the Enforcer who Zorro fights.
  • Day Hurts Dark-Adjusted Eyes: One episode has the villain Miguel Vianueva, who escapes to California after thirty years in a Spanish dungeon. After noting he's mildly blinded by a lantern during his first attack at night, Zorro comes to the next confrontation with a flare tucked in his pockets.
  • Distressed Dude: In the episode "A King's Ransom", Don Alejandro is kidnapped by a renegade soldier he once stopped from overthrowing the king of Spain.
  • Dub Name Change: Captain Montecero is a Suspiciously Similar Substitute of Captain Enrique Sánchez de Monasterio from previous Zorro continuities, so the Latin American dub outright changed his name to Captain Monasterios (albeit in plural, as you can see). The European Spanish dub also changed his name to Captain Montesero.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: The earliest episodes have stiffer animation than the later episodes.
  • Ending Theme: The closing credits use an instrumental version of the opening theme.
  • Expository Theme Tune: The theme song basically explains who Zorro is and what he fights for.
  • First-Run Syndication: This series ran in syndication from the moment it started.
  • Gratuitous Spanish: They throw in a bit of Spanish here and there, such as the episode titled "Adios, Mi Capitán".
  • Great White Hunter: Domingo de la Hoya, a (barely) Spanish version of it.
  • Instrumental Theme Tune: The closing credits use an instrumental version of the opening theme.
  • Interchangeable Asian Cultures: The Japanese sorcerer chasing Akiko wears a painfully Chinese style of hair and beard.
  • Limited Animation: The earliest episodes look rather stiff.
  • Magical Barefooter: White Eyes the shaman is barefoot, even although the rest of the Indians wear shoes. Also Barefoot Sage.
  • The New Adventures: The title tells you that these are Zorro's latest adventures.
  • Officially Shortened Title: Sometimes it's simply called Zorro, such as in the logo.
  • One-Word Title: Sometimes it's simply called Zorro, such as in the logo.
  • Parasol of Pain: "The Case of the Masked Marauder" features an umbrella that one can use to appear unarmed, but the umbrella actually holds a sword.
  • Saturday Morning Cartoon: Aired at this time of the week on Kids' WB!.
  • Secret Chaser: It's common for people to try to figure out Zorro's secret identity and learn who he is. They're never successful.
  • Secret-Keeper: Bernardo, of course. Isabella also becomes one in the first episode when she finds Zorro's secret lair and sees Diego unmask himself.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The hunter from episode 4 is an obvious expy of Kraven the Hunter, even wearing a vest with the colors of Kraven's attire. There is another hunter in the second season who looks like a mix of Kraven and DC's Catman.
    • Margarita Álvarez wears a suit directly inspired (or rather identical to) by Catwoman.
    • Reinaldo Hernández's tale about the raven is evidently inspired by Edgar Allan Poe and The Raven. Becomes in-universe when it turns out his pet raven is named Edgar.
    • Oliver Tipton is obviously a time-displaced Sherlock Holmes.
    • The Erikson twins are a reference to The Mighty Thor's old look.
  • The Song Remains the Same: The Russian dub retains the English opening theme.
  • The Speechless: Bernardo doesn't talk at all. He only communicates by writing in his book.
  • Spexico: A flashback to Reinaldo's earlier life in Madrid shows stereotypically Mexican architecture and clothing identical to that used in their portrayal of California.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute:
    • Captain Montecero to Captain Enrique Sánchez de Monasterio from Zorro (1957)
    • Isabella also echoes Rosarito Cortez and Ana María Verdusco from the same series, being a childhood friend to Diego who opposes injustice and has Ship Tease with him, although with extra action and less romance.
  • Talking with Signs: Bernardo does something similar. He communicates by writing in his book and showing the other characters his paper.
  • Title Theme Tune: They say Zorro's name quite a bit in the opening and explain who he is.
  • The Unmasking: Several characters attempt to find and expose Zorro's secret identity. They even call it "unmasking" the "Masked Marauder".
  • Voiceover Translation: The Russian dub normally averts this, but it plays it straight for the episode "The Ice Monster Cometh" which keeps faint English dialogue in the background.
  • The Western: Takes place in old Spanish California and features elements from this setting.