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The Mysterious Cities of Gold 

Taiyô no ko Esteban (original title)
1:58 | Trailer
A trio of kids must search throughout 16th Century South America for personal answers linked to the legendary El Dorado.




1983   1982  



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Series cast summary:
Janice Chaikelson Janice Chaikelson ...  Zia 39 episodes, 1982-1983
Adrian Knight Adrian Knight ...  Tao 39 episodes, 1982-1983
Michael Rudder Michael Rudder ...  Pedro 39 episodes, 1982-1983
Terrence Labrosse Terrence Labrosse ...  Sancho 39 episodes, 1982-1983
Vlasta Vrana ...  Kokapetl / ... 39 episodes, 1982-1983
Matt Birman ...  Captain Gomez 39 episodes, 1982-1983
Maurice Podbrey Maurice Podbrey ...  Governor Pizarro 39 episodes, 1982-1983
Anick Faris Anick Faris ...  Lana / ... 39 episodes, 1982-1983
Shiraz Adam Shiraz Adam ...  Esteban 39 episodes, 1982-1983
Howard Ryshpan ...  Mendoza 39 episodes, 1982-1983
Kelly Ricard Kelly Ricard ...  Narrator 39 episodes, 1982-1983
Walter Massey Walter Massey ...  The Doctor 39 episodes, 1982-1983
Dean Hagopian Dean Hagopian ...  Kalmec 39 episodes, 1982-1983
Richard M Dumont ...  Menator / ... 39 episodes, 1982-1983
A.J. Henderson A.J. Henderson ...  Captain Gaspard / ... 39 episodes, 1982-1983
Tomoko Ai Tomoko Ai ...  Lana 39 episodes, 1982-1983
Shigeru Chiba ...  Priest 39 episodes, 1982-1983
Isabelle Ganz Isabelle Ganz ...  Zia 39 episodes, 1982-1983
Tesshô Genda ...  General Gomez 39 episodes, 1982-1983
Haruna Ikezawa Haruna Ikezawa ...  Wyna 39 episodes, 1982-1983
Rokurô Naya Rokurô Naya ...  Subcommander Gaspard 39 episodes, 1982-1983
Sachiko Saitô Sachiko Saitô ...  Gwynn 39 episodes, 1982-1983
Evelyne Séléna Evelyne Séléna ...  Narrator / ... 39 episodes, 1982-1983
Jean Topart Jean Topart ...  Narrator / ... 39 episodes, 1982-1983
Mahito Tsujimura Mahito Tsujimura ...  Metnard 39 episodes, 1982-1983
Hideyuki Umezu Hideyuki Umezu ...  Carmec 39 episodes, 1982-1983
Kiyoyuki Yanada Kiyoyuki Yanada ...  Wanococha 39 episodes, 1982-1983
Jean-Claude Ballard Jean-Claude Ballard ...  Mendoza 37 episodes, 1982-1983
Jacques Ferrière Jacques Ferrière ...  Pedro 37 episodes, 1982-1983
Francis Lax Francis Lax ...  Sancho 37 episodes, 1982-1983
Odile Schmitt Odile Schmitt ...  Tao 36 episodes, 1982-1983
Hubert Noël Hubert Noël ...  Pichu 34 episodes, 1982-1983
Pierre Garin Pierre Garin ...  Gaspard 17 episodes, 1982-1983


The year is 1532. Esteban, a young boy, is told that he was saved by Mendoza, a navigator on a Spanish ship from a ship wreck in a storm at sea. The only clue to his identity is a medal that Esteban wears about his neck. Esteban joins Mendoza on a trip from Spain to the new world - the Americas - where on route he meets two other children - Zia - an Inca girl and Tao, the last member of a highly advanced race. All three are looking for different things - Esteban to find his father and his identity, Zia for her father and Tao for remains of his race. The clues for all three quests however all point to the seven Cities of Gold and so the children, Mendoza, Sancho and Pedro - two other sailors and friends of Mendoza start searching in a massive treasure hunt for the Cities Of Gold... Written by Lee Horton <Leeh@tcp.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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Parents Guide:

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Official Sites:

French video tape site


France | Japan | Luxembourg


French | Japanese

Release Date:

1 May 1982 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

Esteban and the Seven Cities of Gold See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


(39 episodes)

Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


In an early draft of the concept, SOLARIS, the solar vessel was a much more simplistic wood sailing boat with oars activated by a steam engine. Bernard Deyries made a few changes to make to vessel more technologically advanced: he made the boat metallic and came up with the idea of a solar sail. The Japanese team accepted and added the "cube" mechanism that activates the system. See more »


During the opening credits, Esteban is seen controlling the golden condor using 2 control levers. However, during the episodes proper, he only uses one (the condor just has one, shaped like a cobra). See more »


Esteban: His hand, it was so warm.
See more »

Alternate Versions

The Japanese version has been released on DVD, and some differences to be found in this release compared to the English/French version are:
  • Opening credits are much longer with scenes of the children running through the ruins, and a live shot of the Pelican (from Documentary number 5)
  • Entirely different music and sometimes different sound effects
  • Episode 1: Starts off with a live action ship in a storm, fading into a map of the area of spain, and then on to the God Shot. Esteban's run in the city to the tavern is shorter, but an additional overhead shot is shown. The scene in which Pedro and Sancho are telling the story about the city of gold is shortened (they don't talk about how the patrons of the bar should invest in their adventure.) There is an additional scene of Esteban looking shocked when the official says "find him and you'll receive a whole piece of gold." There is a scene difference in when Mendoza is waiting for Esteban at the dock, he waits longer, but Esteban's run to meet him is shorter. The ending of Episode 1 is omitted in that Esteban discovers Zia only. The scene in which Mendoza smiles at the discovery that Esteban makes of Zia, and the both looking to see the clouds turn into the winged serpent forshadowing things to come is not there.
  • Episode 2: The daydreaming scene in which the golden butterflies turns into the city of gold is omitted, as well as the daydreaming scene in which Esteban is seasick and floating above the mayan ruins.
  • Episode 3: The daydreaming scene of the seamonster eating the ship is omitted.
  • Episode 4: Has the longest runtime of all the episodes of the series contains many additions, cuts, and an alternate ending. Additions include Extended footage of Mendoza rescuing the children with Esteban grabbing onto him through the bars so he doesn't get sucked out, followed by Dialogue of Gomez on the deck of the ship saying something about Gaspard. Gomez then slides down the deck of the ship and gets into the boat. There is a scene added in which Pedro and Sancho wake up in each others arms on the deck of the Esperanza when Esteban calls to Mendoza about the St. Elmos fire. There is also an extended scene after the shark attack where Pedro and Sancho say something off camera, and goes into an on camera dialogue with Esteban and Zia's dialogue about Esteban's father.
  • Omitted scene: There is a small scene of the raft sitting still in the sunlight.
  • Alternate Ending: Once the Island is discovered our heroes merely paddle their way toward the island, seeing shots of the lizards, and shots of the island. The Episode ends right here, and the entire footage in the English/French versions of Mendoza swimming from the sharks is gone.
  • Some of the scenes from Episode 4 alternate ending and the rescue can be seen in the English/French version Previous and To Follow segments
  • Episode 5: This starts where the English/French Episode 4 ends at the raft on the island. There is a scene omission of Zia lifting her dress to sit down. This Episode ends right where Tao points the crossbow at Esteban.
  • Episode 6: Starts in the tree house right where Episode 5 left off, and has a small scene of Mendoza Pedro and Sancho arriving on the raft. From this point forward all Episodes are in Synch with the English/French versions, with very few differences.
  • Episode 9: Starts with an additional second of footage zoomed in on the Solaris's sail
  • Episode 27: Has a second of footage containing a lightning bolt omitted at the start of the Episode
  • Episode 29: In the Japanese version when Esteban Tao and Zia are struck by the Olmec ray, Esteban spins around much slower and the background isn't changed as much.
  • Closing Credits: There is an additional bit of animation used of the sun and then transitioning to Esteban's face
  • None of the previous, to follows, or live action documentaries are on the Japanese DVD's
See more »


Referenced in Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps: Vomit (2002) See more »


Itsuka Dokokade Anatani Atta
(Japanese Ending song)
Music by Katsuo Ôno (as Katsuo Ono)
Arrangements by Jun Satou
Lyrics by Yû Aku
Performed by Pal
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

24 June 2002 | by RHPSvegasSee all my reviews

Children of the sun, see your time has just begun, searching for your

way through adventures everyday... I remember when I was 5 years old

watching every episode, enthralled by what I saw. Recently, I discovered

that a friend had taped every episode back in the late 80s and allowed

me to copy all of them - talk about a find! I hear that the series is

now available on VCD thanks to collectors (on eBay). Nickelodeon will

never re-air the show, as Saban, the company who owned the American

rights to it, had a fire which their episodes were lost in. My friend

also had a copy of the French soundtrack (!) which I copied. It's great

to relive memories when you can :-)

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