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Mysterious Cities of Gold Returns

1980s French-Japanese co-production returns for 78 new episodes.

The Mysterious Cities of Gold, a French-Japanese historical series which captivated British children in the 1980s, is due to return in the form of three new 26-part series. According to a poster (pictured left), the first series will debut in Spring 2012.

The French website Magelis Angoulême reports that the new series will be made by Blue Spirit Animation in partnership with the French TV channel TF1 and Movie Plus. Movie Plus is an international producer-distributor founded by Jean Chalopin, who co-scripted Cities of Gold, as well as co-creating another French-Japanese animation, Ulysses 31.

The production will be in the French town of Angoulême, and will continue until September 2012. According to the Maglis Angouleme site: 'While maintaining the universe, the original characters and all that was attractive, this new series will bring its share of novelties, surprises and twists.'

The site does not mention any Japanese involvement in the new series. The original was made between France's DiC studio and Japan's Studio Pierrot. Chalopin announced the plans for a new series at France's Chibi Anime Expo event in November 2008, as reported here.

The Mysterious Cities of Gold was broadcast on children's BBC in the 1980s. In Japan, it was shown on NHK as Taiyo no Ko Esteban or Esteban, a Boy from the Sun. Set in the sixteenth century, it chronicles the adventures of three children, the boys Esteban and Tao and the girl Zia (plus the parrot Kokapetl), as they seek the legendary cities of gold in South America.

All 39 episodes were released as a UK DVD box-set in 2008.

Update: Link to previous ANN story added.


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