Frollo, Quasimodo, Esmeralda, François, The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo, Episode 4, The Star Master
Frollo, Quasimodo, Esmeralda, François, The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo, Episode 4, The Star Master

I’m going to preface by stating that I did watch the first episode of The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo years before I reviewed it properly. My initial impression was it that the show wasn’t great but wasn’t awful. This show didn’t impress any strong emotions or opinions for me. It was alright and just a weird mixture of the concept of have classic literary figures going on weird and magical adventures aimed at children but that is the end of its level of interest. Really I found it an average to middling children show of its time that had Victor Hugo’s characters*. 

And now, having watched all the episodes, that it pretty much still the case. For me, it’s fine. It doesn’t make me angry the way 2023’s Quasi or the Dingo production did but nor is a feat of story-telling or artistry. If you were to think of basic premise  for a Saturday morning cartoon show that was made in the 90s, a group of friends going on magical adventures with a wizard villain that they have to thwart would be a leading contender. The fact that show uses Quasimodo and Esmeralda with a sorcerer Frollo makes it a little more note-worthy. Still it’s an average cartoon show.  

Quasimodo & Doris the Gargoyle, The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo, Episode 25, The Guardians
Quasimodo & Doris the Gargoyle

However I do un-ironically love Doris, the pink Gargoyle from a single episode. Maybe it’s a weird affinity I have for pink dinosaurs and pink dragon-like creatures. I do love her, she made me feel something as well as the other dinosaurs from the episodes. So totally worth it. 

The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo very much the epitome of a “Saturday morning cartoon show.” Not super deep in its content but instead invokes a sense of “fun” using classical literary characters going on the titular magical adventures.

A Lingering Question 

The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo, Esmeralda, François, Quasimodo, Episode 15 The Beast
Esmeralda, François, Quasimodo, Episode 15 The Beast

Was The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo a knock-off production? Does it only exist to ride on the coattails of the Disney version? 

Given the studios other works, that there is a credit in the opening for “original idea and Graphic design,” a villain was named Yensid, which is Disney spelled backwards, I would say no, it’s not. The timing makes it seems that way but there are no other works from the studios involved in the production that mirror Disney other movies**. is Not sure how both versions came out the same time, I do have a wild speculative theory. Or maybe the idea between was in response to the Disney movie. 

In a Nutshell

If you grew up with this show you’ll probably still like it but as a standalone cartoon it’s middling to fine. As a Hunchback version it’s a weird version but it’s definitely a take on the characters and the setting and not so much the plot.

Some Bonus Stuff that I want to Mention

The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo cover art picture iamge
The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo Cover Art
  • I feel like an idiot for not catching this sooner; Quasimodo’s family name is de Bernasac which had to been inspired by Cyrano de Bergerac 
  • It took me way too long to realize who the cloaked figure was cover art. It’s Robert, the Abomination, from a single episode.  
  • They made dolls and for some reason Esmeralda was packaged with Dennis and Frollo with Dragon. I’m not sure if there were dolls of Quasimodo with François   
Dolls from the Magical Adventures of Quasimodo with Esmeralda with Dennis and Frollo with Dragon

*There is a 2007 children anime based around Cosette from Les Miserables. She did not go on magical adventures though.  

**To be fair, I’m not sure about Arès studios since I couldn’t find a record of their works but looking at the other studios this show is an outliner in works that were similar to Disney animated films. 

We’re discussing the Production Values in this post.

Quasimodo, Esmeralda, François, The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo Episode 10
Quasimodo, Esmeralda, François, The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo Episode 10

Production Values refers to the technical merits of a production. So in terms of animation, it would mean the character design, background design, the style and the quality of animation, music, voice acting, etc.

The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo was produced by Arès Films, CinéGroupeTélé-Images, and Astral Media. CinéGroupe and Astral Media are Canadian companies while Arès Films and Télé-Images are French companies. Arès Films, CinéGroupe and Télé-Images were on the animation production side of the industry while Astral Media was a media conglomerate.  

Perhaps if you grew up with shows produced by these companies you would be more familiar with them and their “notable” shows/films. According to their wiki,  CinéGroupe’s most notable productions were The Kids from Room 402, What’s with Andy?, and Pig City.  Of those three, The Kids from Room 402 rings a bells for me but I’m not 100% sure if I recall it. They also did the sequel to Heavy Metal, Heavy Metal 2000 but for me that just name recognition. As for Télé-Images, they did Highlander: The Animated Series and again that sounds vaguely familiar to me but I could just be remembering the name of the older show and not the animated show.  

Frollo with the Philosopher's Stone, The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo, Episode 23, The Treasure
Frollo with the Philosopher’s Stone, Episode 23, The Treasure

What does all the mean for The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo? All it really means is that the studios who produced it did not have widespread cultural reach. Not saying they were not known in their own countries or not successful, they were just not titans of industry. Which is fine.

However production can not happen without financing. According to the credits the financial participants were with Telefilm Canada, the Government of Quebec, and Centre National de la Cinématograohie (France.) All of these are state-funded agencies. 

I do not know what the production budget was for The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo. I couldn’t find any info. It might be behind the paywall of imdbpro. However considering the show was financed either fully or in-part by public-funded agencies, I would wildly speculate that the budget for The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo wasn’t exorbitant but it doesn’t appear to be shoe-string either. It was 26 episodes which are mostly consistently produced across the board. In looking through the credits it appears that the animation was not outsourced to a cheaper studio to do in-between frames, which I think is a fairly typical practice. Not outsourcing would have impacted the over-all budget. 

The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo, Esmeralda, François, Quasimodo, Episode 15 The Beast
Esmeralda, François, Quasimodo, Episode 15 The Beast

I do think that there was a couple hundred grand spent on this show which means a modest to average budget for a 26 episode show which also includes the writing, editing, pre-production etc. There is nothing about the production values that were overtly awful but also nothing amazing. The story and the over-all concept are more “interesting” than the character designs/ setting but again they are fine, very serviceable with getting the point and characters across to the viewer.     

I think it would be easy to wave this show off as just another kid’s show from the mid-90s and therefore it just par-for-the-course that it was so averagely produced. But there were quite a few kids shows at the time that were pushing the envelope in terms of stories and animation that it would be disingenuous to those productions. However though shows probably had more of a budget and/or name recognition behind the production.     

The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo Background extra, Episode 15, The Beast
Background extras

On a scale of Disney’s Hunchback to the Dingo Production, Magical Adventures falls somewhere is towards middle of the spectrum. It’s not a total trash piece but it’s by no means an example of the art of animation. However I doubt the production behind The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo was trying to be anything more than a semi-decent animated TV show of the mid-90s. It’s average in its scope of its production values and I think that was the goal. 

Animation: C-
Backgrounds: C-
Character Design: C-
Music: C
Voice Acting: B-
(My opinions)

Quasimodo in action with frame-blending in The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo, Episode 21
Quasimodo in action with frame-blending

Also I just want to mention that show’s quality of the animation that is available on streaming sites is at disadvantage. This due to the conversion process to covert film to digital which means there are frame-rate issues resulting in frame blending, rainbowing, and artifacts. The show is free so I don’t think much effort was put into the conversion other that to get it in a digital format. So any moments that MIGHT have had good fluid animation, like action scenes, suffer a bit. But at least it is available to watch and not lost to time.  

 The other members of the main cast (plus a very special bonus) 


Esmeralda, Dennis, Quasimodo and François, The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo, Episode 26, The Secret of the Templars
Esmeralda, Dennis, Quasimodo and François

Dennis is Quasimodo’s primary care-taker. He works at Notre Dame though what he actually does is not clear. He seems to fulfill the arch-deacon role but Notre Dame functions more a secular place of knowledge. For instance, Dennis is always at the ready with just the right book from Notre Dame’s library for any situation. 

He also is the King’s advisor and confidante. 

King Louis XI

King Louis, The Magical  Adventures of Quasimodo
King Louis

This show depicts King Louis as a kind good-nature ruler. Quasimodo, Esmeralda and François are held in very high esteem with him as they help protect France from Frollo’s scheme to take over. So he’s more akin to the 1939 version rather than the book who was an apathetic misanthrope. 


Esmeralda, François & Angelica, The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo Episode 1
Esmeralda, François & Angelica

Much like Dennis is Angelica, Esmeralda and François’ adopted grandmother. She took them in and raised them after their parents died when they were babies. Also like Dennis, Angelica is also has just the right piece of knowledge or insight when the situation calls for it. Though her knowledge is based on her experience and know-how rather book knowledge.  

She also works at Notre Dame as house keeper of sorts.    

Between Dennis and Angelica they either point Quasimodo, Esmeralda and François towards adventures or they help solves the issue.  


The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo Djali, Episode 15, The Beast

Djali is Esmeralda’s pet goat and is the best. She is very similar to other versions of the character in that she is highly trained and very intelligent. This Djali is the most intelligent version as she saves Esmeralda’s life not once but twice. She is also either slightly older than Esmeralda or the same age given that Djali saved Esmeralda and François as babies after their parent put them in the river to save them from a forest fire.  


Frollo's Dog, Azarof, The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo Episode 2,
Frollo’s Dog, Azarof

Azarof is Frollo’s dog who is very loyal to Frollo even though Frollo is terrible. Frollo does prefers Azarof’s company to other people, which is relatable. Azarof is often used a test subject for Frollo’s magic however Azarof is a very talented singer and a good boy. 


Dragon, The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo
Dragon the Gargoyle

Of all the main characters Dragon is the weirdest. Dragon isn’t really a character, he is a stone gargoyle that Frollo brings to life via magic to do the heavy lifting, transport or whatever Frollo needs done. Dragon is Frollo’s brute-strength, a literal strong silent type.  


Azarof, Frollo & Clopin The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo, Episode 20 The Music Master
Azarof, Frollo & Clopin

Clopin makes a few appearances. He is one of Frollo’s associates who assists in a few schemes. He is the leader of a gang of thieves and has some association with The Court of Miracles. This might be the only instance of a version having Clopin in cahoots with Frollo since they tend to be on opposite sides thematically.

Though had his name not been associated with a book character I wouldn’t have included “Clopin” as he is a side-character in this show at best.   



My home girl Doris    

Doris, The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo
Doris the Gargoyle

Doris is the best!

She is a pink gargoyle who had an injury but is all better and can fly again. According to the show, Doris was the inspiration for the gargoyles of Notre Dame. She helps Quasimodo who is helping the hidden valley where she lives with other mythical creatures and sauropod dinosaurs.

Doris should have been in more episodes. She is a hit of pure serotonin

Frollo, The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo, Episode 1
Frollo, The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo, Episode 1

The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo’s version of Frollo isn’t like other Frollos. He differs in one yet very critical way; he is not into Esmeralda at all, ergo he can’t be obsessed with her and thus does not suffer. This Frollo differs in other ways too but that one is the deciding crux of the character, the pivotal element that makes the character essential the character. This Frollo is only the character in name only.


Frollo ≠ Frollo

Frollo kidnapping Esmeralda, The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo, Episode 23, The Treasure
Frollo kidnapping Esmeralda with some magical fire, Episode 23, The Treasure

He does share some aspects of the character. At the start of the show, Frollo works in Notre Dame. What he does there is not stated, he just works there. He does help with raising Quasimodo even though he is abusive. All that is akin to the book, he works at Notre Dame and Quasimodo is his ward. However this Frollo is not part of any religious orders.   

Another similarity is Alchemy. Alchemy is a big part of this Frollo’s characterization. Most of his “evil” plans revolve around alchemy which is magic to a large degree in this show. It also features into his backstory as an assistance to Quasimodo’s parents were accomplished alchemists. 

Also part of this Frollo’s backstory is that he was born to poor parents and was bulled as child. This differs from the novel but ties into to his whole desire for money and power angle for the show. 

He is also around the same age as his book counterpart except he is four years older.  At least 40 in this show versus 36 in the book. But this Frollo is more young at heart than the book version.  

It’s Magical!!!

Frollo with the Philosopher's Stone, The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo, Episode 23, The Treasure
Frollo with the Philosopher’s Stone, Episode 23, The Treasure

In the novel Frollo follows hermetic and seems to working on the classic transmutation of  turning lead into gold. The desire for the transmutation of turning lead into gold by alchemists was not for greed. It was because gold was considered a spiritually perfect metal, while lead was viewed as immature and flawed. 

Frollo in the novel is obsessed with the idea of “spiritual perfection” and Esmeralda ruined it by being really, really, really ridiculously good-looking. Magical Adventures Frollo just wants the gold for wealth. He wants to be really, really, really ridiculously rich and to rule the world. Classic simple villain wants and desires. 

Also unlike his book counterpart, Magical Frollo is unencumbered with mortally or pretending that he was ever a “good” person.  He flaunts being evil and his alignment would be neutral evil. 

Frollo & Friends

Frollo and Azarof, The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo Episode 10
Frollo and Azarof, The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo Episode 10

Magical Frollo also has a lot of companions and associates. He has two side-kicks one being his dog, Azarof and other is Dragon, a stone gargoyle he brings to life via alchemy/magic. Dragon works too much and Azarof is good boy who is long-suffering under Frollo who shows little to no gratitude for his sidekicks/minions. 

Given that Quasimodo is liken to a dog and gargoyle, one can see why these work for Frollo to have as side-kicks. Sort-of deconstructed Quasimodo without him being the underling.  Or there is another reason that we’ll circle back to.  

Also Azarof looks to be modeled off a Saluki. 

Frollo has several associates who help him out, including Clopin. He’s also very good at getting help from other like-minded villainous people for his numerous evil schemes. So he has good people skills which is another difference from the book. People did not like Frollo in the novel. So magical adventures Frollo is villainously charming. 

Cartoonishly Evil Magician Trope

Frollo, The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo, Episode 5 A Trip to Italy
Frollo, The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo, Episode 5

 If the magical adventures version of Frollo could describe himself, he would say (and does say) that he is “Brilliant, Handsome, Sensitive and above a Liar.”  

This Frollo acts and operated more like Gargamel from The Smurfs. He is a sorcerer who obsessed with riches and status and to achieve that end he wants the Philosopher’s stone.  Frollo has dog named Azarof and Gargamel has cat named Azrael….

Frollo, The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo, Episode 5
Frollo, The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo, Episode 5

 I referred to him a lot as  “Cartoonishly Evil Magician Frollo-type”  and that sums hims up very well.

He might more Gargamel than “Frollo” but he is delightful as well as “Brilliant, Handsome, Sensitive and above a Liar” and doesn’t love those types of villains.  

François, The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo, Episode 1

The third member of the gang of pals triumvirate is François. François is Esmeralda’s twin brother. He is quite different from Esmeralda and Quasimodo as he is cowardly and egotistical. This means his ego can override his cowardice when properly manipulated and his twin sister can absolutely play him like a fiddle. But don’t worry, Esmeralda manipulates her brother for only good.   

Le Poète des Fous

François and some thieves, The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo Episode 7, The Court of Miracles
François and some thieves, The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo Episode 7

François is very often the butt of the jokes. Typically the jokes involve his very bad poetry, falling down, or some sort of embarrassing scrape. Speaking of his poetry, it is very bad. His poems are so bad that it often used to drive people away.

François naturally doesn’t think his poetry is bad, everyone else is just doesn’t understand great works of high art. It’s often a red flag if someone claims to like François’ poetry. This is either because they are a bad guy or trying to use François for some ulterior motive. This tactic absolutely works because of François’ pesky ego.  

Lovely is the Love of François’ Lovey Love Poetry

François, The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo, Episode 4,
François reciting his genius work with a harp

Admittedly his poetry was funny in the beginning of the show but wore thin after a few episodes.

François also has no other talents. He can not sing, play an instrument, draw etc. This is because Quasimodo and Esmeralda are good at things. But at least he thinks he is good at stuff, so he has confidence and that is at least something.     

Unlike Quasimodo and Esmeralda, François is a flirt. Some girls seem into it and some are not. François being a flirt is presented as an off-shoot of him being a “poet.” Wooing ladies with his sonnets, in his mind, adds to his mystique. Also at one point, Quasimodo tells his that he is a handsome guy, so the consensus in this world is that François is attractive. Which explains why at least one lady is alright with the bad poetry.

Basically François is the foil to Esmeralda and Quasimodo as well comedic relief. However he does display some measured behaviors. For example, when he learns the truth of his origins, he’s very accepting of it which played against Esmeralda’s reaction. Though a few episodes later, he was all in when he learned that his ancestor was the founder of Knights Templars. So maybe not the lesson about found family and family being more than bloodline was a moot point to François. Though the whole thing feed his ego so it does track for his character.    

François from the Novel?

François, The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo, Episode 1
Esmeralda & François

François is technically a new character for The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo. According to IMDB, François was based on the character François Villon in The Beloved Rogue (1927) as they are both poets. That could be true but there is a character in the Hugo’s novel that is a poet, works closely with Esmeralda and whom is considered more like a brother to her and that would be poet Pierre Gringoire. It’s more likely that François was based on Gringoire. Even the last syllable of their names sound a little similar. But why they changed his name is a puzzler.  Maybe they just prefer free men to rocks.    

Also given that François is a handsome flirt, which Gingoire is not, it could that the show threw is a dash a Phoebus into his character. Phoebus is not a character in this show nor does he get a name drop of any kind. But that is a “quasi-baked” theory. 

Warrior Poet François?

François is not as agile as Quasimodo nor does he have a magical item like Esmeralda. He can be helpful in a fight but he is more an assist than the VIP, which is always Quasimodo. It’s a shame they didn’t weaponize his poetry otherwise they would have been unstoppable.

François is a Genius; You just don’t get his Art!

François, The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo, Episode 1

François is mostly a bumbling buffoon. He does come off as good natured and has some moments to shine but mostly he is there for comedic effect. And donkeys are his worst critics.

Esmeralda, The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo Episode 1

Esmeralda in The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo is very similar to Quasimodo’s characterization. She is smart, kind, loyal, charitable, athletic, creative and has a sense of humor.

Unlike Quasimodo, Esmeralda is a hot-head who will rush into situations. She is the most assertive one of the main characters. However despite being the most brash one of the group she considers herself “the happiest of people.”

Esmeralda and Others

Esmeralda & Quasimodo, The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo, Episode 10
Esmeralda gives Quasimodo a little hug

Like all other Esmeraldas, she is very pretty but unlike most Esmeraldas she’s never singled-out for being super attractive. She never captures the attentions of this particular Frollo as he is not into her in the slightest. This Frollo has other motivations.

When Esmeralda first sees Quasimodo, she forms an instant affection for the shy hunchback. Their relationship is very innocence and wholesome. Had the show gone on longer their relationship might have evolved into something more romantic. However she likes his shyness and calls him “dear friend.” It is clear that the show was all for this pairing, as it is the only pairing.

In contrast to other versions, this Esmeralda has a twin brother, named François. François is similar to Gringoire from the novel as François is also a “poet.” This is different from other adaptations and yet the novel does sort-of support this take. After Esmeralda saves Gringoire in the novel, she makes it very clear that they will not be lovers but would have a more sibling-like relationship.

The decision to make Esmeralda and François siblings could have been less about book and more to prevent a love triangle. François and Esmeralda being siblings means the young audience will not root against any flirtations between Quasimodo and Esmeralda. There is at least one episode that Esmeralda has a bit of an admirer which gives Quasimodo some insecurities. Esmeralda does not reciprocate this admirer and it is never mentioned again. 

Her Backstory

Esmeralda, François & Angelica, The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo Episode 1
Esmeralda, François & Angelica

This version also fixes Esmeralda’s backstory from the book so it that it’s free of negative stereotypes but still akin to the novel. Esmeralda and her brother are raised by their grandmother, Angelica, who took them in after their parents died. However this is only part of the story. Esmeralda and François believed that Angelica was a blood-relation and thus they were fully member of the nomads however that is not the case.

They were raised by Angelica after their parents died in a forest fire. Their parents placed them in basket on a river with Djali to look after them. So yes they were taken in by the nomads but no they were not stolen. Esmeralda takes this news really hard because she really believe that bloodline matters. The tension is resolved by the end of the episode and Esmeralda learns her lesson.  

A Girl of Action

Esmeralda, The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo Episode 3

In addition to all the magical adventures, saving France and thwarting Frollo’s evil plans, Esmeralda does dance and does train Djali. These are things she enjoys but she is rarely called “dancing girl” and there only few instances of Djali showing off her training. Esmeralda does fall prey to being a damsel in distress on occasion as typically getting into trouble for acting on her own.  Despite that she is useful throughout the “adventures” especially with her other talent.    

A Girl of Magic…?

Esmeralda's Magical Locket, The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo Episode 16
Esmeralda’s Magical Locket

Of the three main characters in The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo, Esmeralda is the only one who can actually use magic. This is a complete departure from other Esmeraldas who are accused of witchcraft but are only guilty of having a smart goat or parlor tricks.

The outliner would be Melody from Enchanted Tales who is has the godlike power to bring instruments to life. The Magical Adventures Esmeralda is not as godlike as she can only create powerful illusions using her locket. While the illusions are tangible, they are temporary.  So technically, yes she is the most bewitching Esmeralda on the the technicality that the other character has a different name.   

Esmeralda, The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo Episode 1

This Esmeraldas has a good balance between of the late 90s conventions and her characterization from the novel. She is pragmatic, somewhat dreamy, yet can stick up for herself, help in a fight and is delightfully charming. Plus Djali!

It’s the culmination of the Spooky Season, Halloween.

The characters of the Magical Adventures of Quasimodo wear a lot of disguises. Heck, in episode eight they have a Halloween-like festival. What are they all wearing this year for “Witches Eve???”

Whose Costume would Win Best Costume?

Quasimodo as Aladdin…maybe?

Quasimodo in costume with Azarof, The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo Episode 1
Quasimodo in costume with Azarof

Not really sure what Quasimodo is dressed up here. The fez makes it look like an Aladdin costume. It’s defiantly a look though.

Esmeralda as a Frightful Old Lady

Esmeralda as an Old Lady,The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo, Episode 24
Esmeralda as an Old Lady

This is the first time that a Quasimodo calls an Esmeralda “ugly.” However that means it’s a convincing costume.

Frollo as The Reaper

Frollo looking Scary, The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo Episode 1
Frollo looking Scary

Classic Frollo! If wasn’t for the scythe this could have been a Phantom of the opera costume.

François as a Spooky Ghost

Spooky Ghost François, The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo, Episode 22 The Oracle
Spooky Ghost François

François even has a lighting effect.

Dennis as a Delightful Bird

Dennis as a Bird,The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo Episode 1
Dennis as a Bird

A cockatiel maybe?

The King as a Strutting Peacock

The King as a Peacock, The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo Episode 1
The King as a Peacock

Seems correct for a King to be a Peacock.

Happy Halloween!!!!!

The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo version of the titular hunchback is quite likely the most well-adjusted iteration of the character. He starts out being too afraid to go outside but he gets over that quickly when Esmeralda is in trouble in the first episode.   

His Award-Winning Personality…

Quasimodo: The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo: Episode 3: The Carnival of Fools

Aside from the hunch, Quasimodo is quite a catch. He is smart, kind, loyal and charitable. Add in that he is athletic and creative in both art and problem solving. But what about a sense of humor and kind to animals? Of Course! 

The Magical Adventures version of Quasimodo is not as musically inclined as some of his other counterparts. However massive bells cathedral bells are hard to play. He just needs some practice which is he willing to do, so he’s humble too.

He is also well-versed in the act of patience but can be impulsive. When he is impulsive it is out of necessity. As in something he needs is getting away like a scroll or a messenger pigeon.  So he is flexible.  

His Goals…

Esmeralda, Quasimodo & François, The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo, Episode 19, A Song of the Heart
Esmeralda, Quasimodo & François, The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo, Episode 19, A Song of the Heart

This Quasimodo is also family-oriented. He on an on-going search for his super awesome alchemist parents. Quasimodo’s parents are also members of the nobility and for some ladies find that super appealing.

This one of three versions of character to have “noble” origins. The other versions that see Quasimodo coming from wealth are the 1999 Quasimodo del Paris, The Enchanted Tales version and that 2023 medieval farce movie.

If you want to stretch the text of the novel, this backstory is not too far off but is is a stretch. Quasimodo is Frollo’s ward and Frollo is a member of the petty nobility with a small fief and an alchemist.    

His Love Life…?

Esmeralda & Quasimodo, The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo, Episode 10
Esmeralda give Quasimodo a little hug

Quasimodo is sort of in a semi-commitment relationship with his best friend, Esmeralda. They are just friends but they flirt a fair amount and genuinely care for each other. In fact it’s Esmeralda who makes the first interested overtones to Quasimodo.

They are still young and it’s a younger kid’s show so they maintain friendship between them but had the show had more episodes, I think they would have started a more a romantic yet wholesome relationship. A given episode could center on them going on a date but either a Frollo plan or François mucks it up somehow. Or some eclipse happens that endangers France with magical shenanigans that plague the world. Again this not the only version to have Quasimodo have an actual romantic relationship with Esmeralda. The other versions are Quasimodo del Paris, The Enchanted Tales version, and 1986 Jetlag version.    


Is he Perfect? You Bet!

Quasimodo drawing a Map, The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo, Episode 13
Quasimodo drawing a Map

Aside from Quasimodo’s psychical deformity he is pretty much without major fault. Throughout the show the hunch doesn’t really pose much of an issue. He is shy in the beginning of the show but after he makes some friends, saves the king and freed from his abuser, he is no longer shy. Quasimodo doesn’t have much in the way of hang ups or insecurities. His hunch is only a minor issue when he is rejected from the army but he just shows up and proves how capable he is to the captain and that solves the problem. 

Making Quasimodo nearly perfect is a tactic to get the young audience to like him and want to watch his magical adventures. Ergo he doesn’t need to be heartbreaking or super compelling. This version of Quasimodo just needs to be fun, likable and maybe make a silly quip every once in a while.

Quasimodo ringing a Bell The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo, Episode 19, A Song of the Heart
Quasimodo ringing a Bell The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo, Episode 19, A Song of the Heart

When I first heard of The Magical of the Adventures of Quasimodo, I thought the usage of the word “magical” was metaphoric. Like the adventures were going to be “charming” or “delightful.” Maybe there is a touch of whimsy but it’s was grounded since the book is grounded and the concept of “magic” is tantamount to madness and injustice but no, that is not the case. There is magic in this show in multiple forms in most every episode. And that is just how it is.

Now this show came out right on the heels of the Disney’s Hunchback being released, about a month prior, so was this show in the works as fantasy show and got reworked to fit a Hunchback-esque theme in order to capitalize off of the Disney movie or did start off a knock-off and became something else or maybe it was a coincidence? I have no idea however because it’s a weird hybrid of fantasy that is inspired by Hugo’s novel this makes the show its own unique thing. It’s strange to be sure but it’s memorable and odd.

Mind you it is very flawed and for a very specific age and time period. Not that it’s not enjoyable in parts but it’s a product of its day and age. It’s very debatable whether this show is good or not.

Frollo, Quasimodo, Esmeralda, François, The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo, Episode 4, The Star Master
Frollo, Quasimodo, Esmeralda, François, The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo, Episode 4, The Star Master

So is there a plot and is the plot anything like the book? Kinda and no, not at all. The plot of the book does not feature in this version. There are shades of it but it’s manifests as being representational of the characters. Quasimodo is the bell-ringer at Notre Dame in Paris. He develops feelings for Esmeralda who is a nomad dancer & goat trainer. At the start Frollo and a Priest, Dennis, are Quasimodo’s care-takers. Frollo’s lust leads to him becoming a criminal but his lust is for power and wealth instead of a beautiful woman. The setting and time period reference the book but aside from Notre Dame acting more as a boarding school with an impressive library it functionally is not the same, it exists in name only.

So does this loose take on the novel have any plot? While the episodes are episodic there is a narrative through-line, a through-line that is muddle because the order of airing. Basically most episodes feature Frollo and magical shenanigans as he tries and fails to conquer the world or France or tries to gain wealth either through magic or alchemy, sometimes both. And kudos for this show going hard on the alchemy angle because it mentioned in the book but it’s a major facet here. Alchemy also factors into the plot because of the other through-line which is Quasimodo’s quest to find his parents.

Quasimodo and Djali The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo Episode 12
Quasimodo & Djali The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo Episode 12 The Choice

In the second episode we learn of Quasimodo’s origins, that he is really the son of nobles who were alchemists who also supposedly died in a fire. This fire is what led to Quasimodo getting separated from his parents as a baby. From there he was left at Notre Dame by his nursemaid. Quasimodo’s birth name is Jacques. However it’s later revealed that they might be alive and are in hiding so Quasimodo sets out to learn more about them and maybe their location in hopes of reuniting with them because they are awesome.

However by the 12th episode Quasimodo learns that a couple matching his parents’ description is about to leave France for England. Quasimodo is forced to make a choice between his parents and Esmeralda and François who are in danger.

This feels more like a conclusion to his quest as it about Quasimodo’s wants vs needs. As a coming-age story this makes sense since Quasimodo wanted to reunite with his long-lost parents but he needs to be a grown up and saves his beloved friends. I think this was the production’s intent but due to the demographics skewing younger it was switched around since this narrative ending doesn’t work as well for younger children (6-8 year olds). It would work better for older children (10-12 year olds) but this show feels a little too young for that range. So whether the episode order was intentional or not there was still a hope for Quasimodo to reunite with parents again even though narratively with the episode order it doesn’t make sense.

However a plot through-line for a late 90s kids show was something that wasn’t often seen in Western cartoon productions. Typically plots in this style of show would be a two-episode arc or reoccurring characters or gags not a on-going quest or goal. So even the little it gives is commendable.

Again this show is hopelessly flawed and can be annoyingly juvenile but it did try to do its own thing and does have a unique charm.

I started watching this show like two years ago and finally I have watched the whole thing. The duration of how long it took me to watch the entirety of the show doesn’t really reflect the show. It’s weird and odd but it’s not the worst show ever.

Episode 25: The Guardians

Quasimodo & Doris the Gargoyle, The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo, Episode 25, The Guardians
Quasimodo & Doris the Gargoyle

Four year old me freaking loved this episode.

The gang of pals learns of a nature sanctuary from one of his parents’ books which the only book not written in code. 25 episodes into this show and we get the word “Sanctuary.”

As they talk about going Frollo appears at the door of the library and overhears them. I have too many questions about why Frollo is just walking into the Notre Dame library? But he is needed for the plot and we are too far from the spooky tunnel lair. If ONLY Dragon, Frollo’s stone flying gargoyle, could have overheard this it but OH well, Frollo is just walking around in broad daylight . I should say Frollo’s lair was mention in this episode BUT there are no caves/subterranean lairs instead we get so much more…..

On route Frollo swipes the book from Quasimodo and after tussling on Dragon they both fall off. Quasimodo is saved by a man with a freaking unicorn and brings him to the Hidden Valley Sanctuary.

There Quasimodo learns that his parents were the only people from the outside world to enter the valley and were good friends with the King. He also learns that they King’s nephew is power hungry. But the biggest thing that Quasimodo learns is that the valley is home to mythical creatures referred to as “Living Treasures.” So we have unicorns. dragons, Pegasi (Pegasus), a sauropod dinosaur and more!

Quasimodo warns the King about Frollo and the King assures him that Frollo will be dealt with. However the nephew overhears and promptly finds and teams up with Frollo so they can use the “Living Treasures” for war and conquest. Shenanigan ensues but with the help of Doris the Gargoyle and the lovely Gorgon the day is saved and Quasimodo is given his parents’ code book.

This episode felt a lot more like the earlier weirder episodes. Like the one when the star was falling and everything went crazy. Defiantly a creative episode. Minor weird nitpick, François’ voice changes a lot in this episode. Makes me think that it was an older episode that got pushed back for some reason. I only noticed because after episode 24 I rewatched clips of episode 2 and it was different cadence to his voice in that episode that in present in parts of this episode.

Another nitpick was that it was very much implied that Quasimodo’s parents did make a Philosopher’s Stone as they sent gold to the King which helped the valley care for the “Living Treasures.” It’s a little odd given the episode of them finding Flamel’s which was dangerous and the results were temporary. Not sure if the de Bernassac version is less dangerous and more effective than Flamel’s or since they were nobles maybe it was just normal gold but there implication was there that they created one.

Also one of the denizens of the valley was the one who craved the gargoyles of Notre Dame. When? They started going in 1240s as gutters. So what are we talking about here? Though Doris is beyond cute so who cares? I know as you know that this show is not meant to be factual accurate to dates by any means.

Plus there is a sauropod dinosaur! Now I love Doris, she’s best (along side Djali) and there are unicorns, dragons, weird gazelle things, Pegasus (Pegasi) and more but 4 years old me freaking LOVED dinosaurs heck cranky adult me loves dinosaurs. Especially Sauropods. So is this the best episode ever? YES! Yes it is! 110%

No Djali but Dinosaur and Doris made up for it. Doris is the best, tell your friends.

I mean it’s a weird episode for a show that is based on a 1830s novel with religious overtones and totes a depressing ending but kudos for the creativity. And I’d still say the star episode was way weirder.

Also also, Quasimodo misses his geometry test for this adventure, I just wanted to state that.

A Sauropod Dinosaur, The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo, Episode 25, The Guardians
A Sauropod Dinosaur!!!!!

Episode 26: The Secret of the Templars

Esmeralda, Dennis, Quasimodo and François, The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo, Episode 26, The Secret of the Templars
Esmeralda, Dennis, Quasimodo and Grandmaster François

This is last episode and we are going out on François focused one with a moral. Up-side a lot of great Djali moments so I will forgive it.

François gets kidnap by some men in strange white costumes. In the effort to save him Good girl Djali head-butts one them and gains a clue, that Dennis identifies as being the symbol of “The Order of the Templars.” Then they get a note from François saying that he is happy and he is surrounded by people who love his poetry. This doesn’t track with Esmeralda as his poetry is known to clear the room, it’s his superpower.

They find Templars’ location immediately but not before getting trapped but Djali gets them out of because Djali is a good girl. Turns out François is now the Grandmaster of the Templars because he is the direct male descendant of the founder which also doesn’t track with Esmeralda, she doesn’t believe that, he just looks like him.

Anyway one the Knights wants the secret treasure which he thinks François knows the location of but François is a Jon Snow in this situation. Esmeralda, Quasimodo and Dennis are then locked up because of this guy. When they try to use François’ poetry as ploy to get the guards to leave so they can escape the guards claim to like the poetry but an encore proves too much and they peace-out. Quasimodo then comes up with another ploy to reveal the greedy knight and the templars give up their quest for the treasure.

François bemoans that he is no longer special because of a supposed bloodline and Esmeralda reminds him that it doesn’t matter because they are super happy people. Dennis then discovers a secret room filled with treasure which he rejects but is then rewarded with two gemstones by Templars ghosts so that he can help the sick and poor.

This episode is very reminiscent of episode 9 “Trapped” when the gang of pals get trapped in that booty-trapped orphanage but this was one more enjoyable probably because of Djali. It’s not the best episode it’s more of middle range. There is some weirdness around the plot because the Templars are using François to find the treasure but there a weird line from which made it seem that the knew where the treasure was located expect for the one greedy one but that was an isolated weird line, they didn’t know. And the ghosts wouldn’t have been happy anyway. Turns out the villager who warned Quasimodo, Esmeralda, Djali and Dennis that the place was haunted was right.

This was weird episode to end off the show. Nothing really happened and it was a smaller scale plot even for this show. François is kidnapped because he looks similar to the founder and might know where a treasure is but he doesn’t and that’s it plus ghosts. There is a moral about how greed is bad and wealth leads to jealousy and corruption. But these are the happiest and least selfish characters imaginable so they don’t need wealth, just each other.

If there were a regular episode it would be fine but as sort of ending it just is very underwhelming. Makes me rather curious if there were going to be more episodes planned or if the episode aired out of order. Both are likely.

Also IMDB’s only trivia for this show says that François was inspired by a John Barrymore movie The Beloved Rouge (1927) where he played a poet named François. Not sure if this is true, Pierre Gringoire is a character in the original novel, is a poet and Esmeralda considers their relationship to more like siblings than romantic. The building blocks were already there so this trivia is more confusing than illuminating, if true.

And now that the show is all watch we can review the show even more! And you hoped we were done!

Quasimodo & Djali, The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo, Episode 26, The Secret of the Templars
Quasimodo & Djali