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The Mysterious Cities of Gold

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UPDATE: 16th December 2007 - There is an official English version due to be released next year. The studio Fabulous Films is the company handling the release. They have been asking members of the fanbase for their ideas on what items to include on the release and have also been helped with access to additional material that was missing from the masters and provided with subtitle files (don't know if these will be used but they were provided in English and Polish). It looks a very promising time for MCOG fans.

"The Mysterious Cities of Gold" is a childrens cartoon from the 80s. It was produced by a collaboration between the French and the Japanese. It was animated by the Japanese company "Studio Pierrot". The show was written by Jean Chalopin and Bernard Deyries and was loosely based on Scott O'Dell's book "The King's Fifth". It was originally aired in Japan on "NHK" in 1982 and in 1983 on the French channel  "Antenne 2". It was also later show on "CBBC" in the UK and on "Nickelodeon" in the states. It has also been broadcast in other countries including Germany, Australia, South Africa, Poland and Turkey amoungst others. It is known as "Les Mysterieuses Cites D'Or" in France, "Geheimnisvollen Stadte des Goldes" in Germany and "Taiyo no Ko Esuteban" in Japan.

The series has recieved official DVD releases in France, Germany, Canada (in French) and Japan but has never recieved an official English release. The Japanese version is now not available and none of the releases contain an English audio track or subtitles. Indeed they do not contain subtitles even in their own languages. One point to note is the German's never had their own theme tune so the English one is used. The series also recieved high levels of merchandising in Japan and to a lesser state France and not certain items are highly collectable. Items of particular interest tend to be any Cels from the series, any story boards or audio scripts, the Japanese Manga books and also the French Golden Condor and Solaris models.

The three main characters of the show (see picture above going left to right) are Tao, Esteban and Zia. Tao is a desendant of an ancient civilisation known as the Hiva, Zia is an Inca girl who was kidnapped as a very young girl and Esteban is an orphan who has been raised in the Cathedral in Barcelona. These three characters find themselves searching for "The Mysterious Cities of Gold". Along the way they are frequently helped by a group of three Spaniards. Mendoza who is a navigator and his two comic helpers Pedro and Sancho. They also make many friends with the local tribes they pass through on their adventures and some enemies as well. Through out the series they are pursued by another two Spaniards Gomez and Gaspard who will stop at nothing to discover the location of the "Cities of Gold". Also later in the series their paths cross with the Doctor and Companions who are also besotted with Gold and likewise will stop at nothing to gain it.

During their adventures they come across a couple of machines that help them greatly in their quest for the Cities. The first machine they find is the Solar Ship Solaris that works either as a conventional sailing ship or can be powered by the sun to reach high speeds. It is also can use the power of the sun to power two weapons. The second machine they find is a Golden Condor which is a solar powered flying machine. This helps them cross large distances very quickly and also comes in useful when they have to take on the Olmecs towards the end of the series. The Olmecs are the mutated survivors of a war between two powerful ancient civilisations. I will conclude my guide here as I do not want to give too much of the plot away, but if you are interested in finding out more about this series a good place to start is Wikipedia, this site has an interesting summary of the series and a good link list.

Here are a list of searches you may find useful for locating "Mysterious Cities of Gold" items:

A search for the French name of the show. The French name is the one that most frequently reveals official MCoG merchandise including LPs, Books, Models and Cels. Be warned that their are more than one set of French DVDs as a rough guide the more discs the better. Certainly I would avoid the 4 Disc version seen most frequently. The Sony 2000, 2001 or 2004 versions are the ones to look out for if you want a French set. (Gold outer box featuring Esteban and Zia on the cover.)

A search for the German name of the show. Doesn't normally bring up much other than the German DVD sets or individual discs but worth checking from time to time. Also the only official version which includes the English theme tune.

A search for the English name of the show. This mostly brings up unofficial items but from time to time you may get a cel or a few Japanese items listed. Please note that any English versions of the show listed on eBay presently are likely to be on recordable media because no Official English version (as of the 07th Nov 2005) has ever been released and no-one knows who presently owns the copyright to the English version of the show. There is presently an open petition trying to get the show released.

If you have any questions please try the Mysterious Cities of Gold eBay group. It is not overly active but a few of us check in from time to time. (Also try Wikipedia for a link list.)

UPDATE: 16th December 2007 - There is an official English version due to be released next year. The studio Fabulous Films is the company handling the release. They have been asking members of the fanbase for their ideas on what items to include on the release and have also been helped with access to additional material that was missing from the masters and provided with subtitle files (don't know if these will be used but they were provided in English and Polish). It looks a very promising time for MCOG fans.

UPDATE 2: 16th December 2007 - As well as the series been due for release next year there is also a film presently been worked on. This film contains a shortened version of the plot from the original series and is planned as a way to try and relaunch the series. It is hoped if successful that funding can be obtained for further series (or films) of the show. This information I read on a french website and they also had a picture of one of the possible English posters for the film. It is meant to be using update 3D ideas and production methods. Will wait for this (along with the DVDs above) with bated breath.

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