Cartoon Network is in the midst of a shift as major properties from the last decade like Adventure Time are starting to end and fade away, but this leaves room for the next class of cartoons to make their own mark, and one of the most promising additions is Victor and Valentino. The series immediately caught attention among cartoon fans for its Mesoamerican heritage roots, and now that the series has premiered it's clear that it's more than just a cosmetic choice.
Victor and Valentino is an exquisite love letter to its cultural heritage and full of heart. A promising adventure approachable to all ages and cultures, the series is a great window into many kinds of new worlds.
Created by Diego Molano, Victor and Valentino follows two brothers, the titular Victor and Valentino, who live with their grandmother, Chata, in the mysterious town of Monte Macabre. Through various shenanigans in each episode, the two brothers eventually find that their quiet and boring lives are going to be filled with all kinds of mystical and supernatural adventures.
Victor and Valentino wears its Mesoamerican folklore influences on its sleeve, and bears its heart for the culture as a whole. Not only will new audiences be introduced to important elements such as Alebrijes (colorful sculptures of mythical beasts), but it also extends to pop-culture icons such as the equally as colorful singer Juan Gabriel. Each of these additions is a wonderful nod to Latinx culture, but never feel too esoteric or unapproachable.
Going deeper than its presentation, the series has a wide cast of characters with a variety of designs. No two characters are too similar, and character design acts as another clear window into their personalities. Victor, for example, has tiny wrinkles under his eyes that emphasize his much more mischievous nature. Valentino is taller, further highlighting how he often ends up being the more "adult" one of the two. The dynamic between the two is pretty entertaining as well.
The series is focused on developing their relationship as brothers, so it always has a strong emotional thread to anchor the series' more fantastical elements. They bicker with one another, and may even disappoint their grandmother from time to time. But when they make these mistakes, the world around them reflects it by putting them to the test against various mystical challenges.
Though the series does run the risk of being a "monster of the week" type of cartoon, each new episode adds to the mysterious world of Monte Macabre. There's a larger mystery implicit in the series as fans will want to know all about this world's more magical side. But at the same time, audiences will learn a little more about the real Mesoamerican region. It just feels so fresh and alive.
Victor and Valentino is oozing in magical realism, the concept that mystical elements naturally co-exist with the real world. This is a staple of many Mesoamerican works, and the truly great ones elevate its concepts in fantastic new ways. Victor and Valentino has the potential to do this as well as it's a culturally rich, hysterical, and absolutely charming adventure.0comments
Rating: 5 out of 5
Victor and Valentino airs Saturday mornings on Cartoon Network. This review is based off the series' first four episodes.