1 9 8 2 – 1 9 8 3 (Japan/France/Luxembourg)
39 x 28 minute episodes
Originally released in Japan as Esteban, Child of the Sun and in France as Les Mystérieuses Cités d’Or, The Mysterious Cities of Gold followed the 16th-century adventures of a young Spanish boy named Esteban who joins Mendoza, a navigator, and his associates Sancho and Pedro, on a voyage to the New World in search of the lost Seven Cities of Gold and his father.
They are joined on their quest by Zia (the kidnapped daughter of an Inca priest) and Tao (the last descendant of the sunken empire of Hiva).
Along the way, the adventurers also had to contend with the collapse of ancient civilizations, a race of strange creatures frozen underneath a mountain, an ancient nuclear-power system and a giant bird-like plane called the Golden Condor.
At 39 episodes, The Mysterious Cities of Gold was the cartoon version of War and Peace for the 1980s. Each episode was followed by a very short live-action educational documentary.
Pierre-Alain de Garrigues