Welcome back to Halloween Specials Week! Halloween isn’t the only holiday where people dress up and honor things of a more macabre nature. There’s also the Day of the Dead celebrated in Mexican culture. On this holiday, families gather around and have a party celebrating the lives and memories of their long gone loved ones. It’s their belief that the spirits of their relatives gather with them also and join the celebration. At least, that’s what I’ve always heard, having never celebrated myself. Today’s episode revolves around that holiday. This is the El Tigre Episode, The Grave Escape.
Manny’s father and grandfather are busy setting up for their Day of the Dead celebration. However, Manny feels he’s too old to believe in spirits and is sick of celebrating the holiday. Meanwhile, the evil undead sorceress, Sartana, has caused the dead to rise from their graves and reek havoc in the city. Manny and his friend, Frida, end up in the Land of the Dead where they must get Manny’s hero and villain ancestors to help defeat the evil Sartana. But can they do it before they turn into skeletons and can never go back home?
El Tigre is a show that I wish I watched more a as a kid. I only remember a few episodes very clearly, but I do remember that I loved it. I liked that it was about a kid with powers trying to decide if he wanted to be a hero or a villain. It was fairly complex for a kid’s show. My favorite part of the whole show was the animation. Everything about this show is vibrant and colorful. There’s a very definite style here and it’s just all around fun to watch. Every single frame feels lively and bouncy. The Land of the Dead is a really cool looking place in the episode and I always love the twist that dead people are really lively. You may recognize the style as being similar to that of an upcoming film, The Book of Life. Well, the same guy who created El Tigre also created the Book of Life. If that’s the case, I think I’ve got to watch this movie just for the animation.
The story for this episode was actually really good. The Day of the Dead is a holiday that not a lot of American kids know that well. A show that puts the focus on that rather than Halloween is a good original direction. I also love that Manny had to convince his dead relatives that the city was worth fighting for. The humor is also spot on with every joke. The show has a reliance on physical humor that the animation plays out beautifully. Not to mention, the voice acting is fantastic as everyone seems to be having fun with their characters.
This was a really good Halloween-ish episode with a lot of great action elements, wonderful animation and a good sense of humor. If you’re a fan of super-hero style shows, I highly recommend El Tigre. It’s got a unique enough spin that it doesn’t feel like all the other super shows. This particular episode was a great look at a culture and tradition I know almost nothing about. And remember to honor your dead this Halloween or they might just come back to haunt you.