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Sunday, 3 June 2018

⏪ Classic Cartoon Rewind: iMucha Lucha! (2002)

      
iMucha Lucha!
2002
Country of Origin: USA/Mexico
Warner Bros. Animation
Number of Episodes/Seasons: 52 Episodes, 3 seasons
Characters: Rikochet, Buena Girl, The Flea, El Rey, Masked Dog, Hasbeena
Ran from August 17, 2002 - February 26, 2005
Aired on Kids WB
'It's Not Just Wrestling, It's A Way Of Life'

iMucha Lucha! is a joint American-Mexican animated children's cartoon series that premiered on the Kids' WB network on August 17, 2002. Created by Eddie Mort and Lili Chin, according to Big Cartoon Database, the cartoon is a spin-off from the live-action TV series of 2000 'Los Luchedores' and is produced by Warner Bros. Animation and it operates as an irreverent comedy-adventure style show that explores the culture of wrestling, though more specifically Mexican wrestling. iMucha Lucha! is one of the fewest animated cartoons that feature an ethnic cast of characters, as it also celebrates Latino and Mexican culture. It is cited as the first animated show to use Adobe Flash, a type of software program used to make flash animation, and later on in mobile games. iMucha Lucha! aired on Canada's Teletoon, CITV, Pop Max and Disney XD in the UK, as well as worldwide on Cartoon Network.

Set in a fictional town in California named Luchaville, the townsfolk are decked out in a mask and costume, as well as they each have a signature move, iMucha Lucha! focuses on the adventures of 3 luchador children, Rikochet, Buena Girl and The Flea at the World Renowned International School of Lucha, based in a town whereby nobody takes off their mask and success is dependent on possessing their own signature move. It is also the place where they study and obtain wrestling skills. Luchadores is the Mexican term for 'masked wrestlers', whilst the term Lucha Libre, which is a popular form of wrestling in Mexico, is the central theme of iMucha Lucha!. Rikochet is the main character: a young wrestler, he considers himself to be the bravest of the group, but sometimes he rushes into things, without thinking. Buena Girl is the female of the group who plays by the rules, yet she can be arrogant as well. Other characters include The Flea, El Rey, Masked Dog and Hasbeena. Each episode lasts approximately 11 minutes and the series ran for three seasons in total from 2002 to 2005, combining fantasy action with irreverent humour. 

Variety magazine/website once reported that iMucha Lucha! had been a consistent top 10 ranking kids show for children between the ages of 6 to 11 and 9 to 14 in 2002 on Saturday mornings. The result meant that, alongside Kids WB's other shows, Yu-Gi-Oh!, Static Shock & Pokemon: Master Quest, the Kids' WB network reigned supreme as the #1 kids channel on the Saturday morning block for kids aged 2 to 11. iMucha Lucha! was also nominated once for best sound editing in television animation: music at the Awards and Nominations 2004 Motion Picture Sound Editors. 

As Rikochet, Buena Girl and The Flea battle their rivals inside and out of the squared circle (a wrestling term that refers to the wrestling ring whereby wrestlers wrestle and fight their opponents), they live by phrases that include ''honour, family, tradition & doughnuts'' and ''Take care of your mask so that it can take care of you''. 

 

I always thought that iMuchaLucha! had that Cartoon Network show vibe going for it: from the designs of the characters to the Powerpuff Girls-like heroic theme it tries to recreate. Most of the kids' cartoons that came out in the 2000s and after that aired on Disney Channel, CN to name have been terrible, but in iMuchaLucha!, whilst it's not amazing, it was still a good effort and plus, I found it enjoyable at times and refreshing in terms of the theme in contrast to other shows. Especially as cartoons based on wrestling are rare and they haven't been attempted for years since Hulk Hogan's Rock 'N' Wrestling series. I also thought the accusations and complaints that this cartoon is racist, is way off the mark. It never came across that way to me, at all. & the characters look cute, design-wise and it has a nice, light, comical tone that is irreverent, which I like a lot. 

I'd take iMuchaLucha! over most of Cartoon Network's shows of the 2000s, which got worse over the years. Bodyslamming its way for 3 seasons, it was a neat show with some fun episodes and nice, good humour. 



Sources:

!MuchaLucha! - TV.Com

iMucha Lucha! - Wikipedia

Heart of Lucha - BCDB - Big Cartoon Database

'Mucha Lucha! Muscles Way Onto Kids' WB - corant.com
  

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