Zorro: Generation Z Volume 1

A new Zorro for the new millennium!  Zorro: Generation Z is a 2008 UK animated series.  It follows Diego De La Vega, descendant of the original Zorro, fighting crime and the corrupt government of Pueblo Grande in a Batman Beyond styled world.  I picked this up for three reasons, lightsabers, my modest love of Zorro and BKN, and the name resemblance to Dragonball Z.

Generation Z begins as all superhero cartoons do, with a two-part origin story.  Diego De La Vega and his mute friend Bernardo return to Diego’s home after school.  They discover that Mayor Martinez and his goons broke in and kidnapped Diego’s father for political motives.  Diego and Bernardo barely escape their ray guns to discover a secret passageway.  It leads to a run down underground cathedral that just so happens to be El Zorro’s lair.  The stories his grandfather told him were true!  Zorro’s “batcave”  is stocked with his Z-pod, Tornado-Z , and four sets of Zorro outfits (my favorite was the gold-fringed getup).  Diego dons the Zorro costume and runs to the Mayor’s mansion to save his father.  Meanwhile, Diego’s Alfred (Bernardo) mans the Zorrocave.  Zorro stumbles his way into the mansion, messes up, only to be saved by The Scarlet Whip who happens to be the Mayor’s daughter Maria and long-time schoolmate of Diego.  However, they don’t recognize each other and neither do their fathers.  The Scarlet Whip helps Zorro and his father escape and that’s the end of that.

The third episode is a mess.  When Diego’s father disappeared in the first episode, the Mayor accused him of swindling the tax payers.  However, this whole affair was dropped and never mentioned. But I’m willing to forget that.  More importantly, in the short time-frame between the second and third episode, Diego has become an expert Zorro and a household name in Pueblo Grande.  The remaining episodes follow the formula of the Mayor’s goons carrying out a heist, Zorro popping up, doing badly, and The Scarlet Whip arriving to save his ass.  Diego and his motive to become Zorro is never explored.  Character development is absent, instead focusing on the comic relief between Diego and Bernardo, El Zorro and The Scarlet Whip, and the mayor and his goons.

But despite its faults, Generation-Z is fun to watch.  It’s colorful, fast-paced, and has plenty of action scenes.  Zorro’s lightsaber and whip are cool weapons, even though they don’t seem to cut through the enemies’ swords or brooms. The interaction between Diego and Maria is humorous during the daily life scenes and how they slowly begin to question whether the other is El Zorro/The Scarlet Whip after a fight.

Zorro: Generation Z is a fine Saturday-morning cartoon.  It’s just a shame that it never got a television deal (although it apparently airs in Spanish on Telemundo).  I’ll likely purchase the remaining volumes if I can find it in-store at Wal-Mart or as free-shipping filler online.
Grade: B-

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