Disclaimer -In an effort to get this series review done, I’m doing one episode for this and most likely the next post.
Episode 11: The Clay Army
As is the norm with this show there is some public event that Frollo ruins with magic and the Gang of Pals has to thwart him.
The event of this episode is The March of Progress, which has ten winners get 500 Gold pieces for some good work. Quasimodp’s friend, Roger, whom I don’t recall meeting before, pitched a hospital for the poor with hot water as a heating source.
Now Frollo gets wind of the prize money and says the most “Frollo-like” thing he has said thus far. He wants the all the prize money so that he can get the materials to make a Philosopher’s stone so that he can turn everything he owns in to gold, except Azarof, because Azarof’s good dog. It is still weird that he has a dog but it doesn’t matter.
Frollo’s plan is to make a small clay army of cute gargoyles to steal the coins (which is all the gold of France so not JUST the prize money) and he is successful and uses the gold as a blanket. The scale of the clay gargoyles is all over the place but that adds to the chaotic charm of the show.
However what he didn’t account for is that the King calls the best force in France to find the gold, The Gang of Pals!
So as they do they find one of the small gargoyles and follow it to Frollo’s spooky-ooky underground tunnels. Quasimodo still hates rats but rats hate François’ poetry/prayer. Long story short, they get the gold and escape by bribing the good boy Azarof and Frollo has a literal temper tantrum.
The small gargoyles made this episode cute. I do find the insanity that Frollo brings more appealing however the show is very much set on its formula which is just how it functions as far so any little difference like tiny magical clay gargoyles over that inn from the last episode is welcome.
Also Frollo’s gargoyle Dragon works too hard.
Also, also, in this episode we get a hint of what Frollo’s dating bio would be like: he’s “Brilliant, Handsome, Sensitive and above a Liar.” Would you swipe left or right?
This episode is about orphans and a one-starred reviewed inn.
While hanging out with some orphans, the landlord comes to collect the rent which the lady in charge doesn’t have, because of course she doesn’t. Quasimodo informs the landlord that the chest is on its way by the way of Dennis and François. However the gold is stolen when the duo stopped to rest at a shady inn.
So it’s up to our Gang of Pals to get the gold and save the orphans from certain eviction. And they have to get it back before a notorious highwayman can find it at the same inn.
Turns out the cruel inn keeper, Rasperin (I think that is his name) took it and is mean to orphans AND his inn is booty-trapped and that is not even the biggest problem with this place either. I mean at least the trap doors function which is more than you can say for the bridge to get to the inn. Anyway, it turns out the highwayman has some morals and would never steal from orphans. However the orphans crew trapped Esmeralda and François along with the highwayman in some hold that is flooding and the innkeeper tells the orphans to let them die. Remember he is a real meany.
The orphans team up with Quasimodo to save them and then they get the gold and leave their bad overlord who is mean and we hate him and now they can be orphans somewhere nicer, hooray.
The gold is then used to build a nicer orphanage because the landlord was mean and greedy and we hate him too.
All in all not the best episode but then again my boy Cartoonishly Evil Magician Frollo-type wasn’t in it. There seems to be three main types of episodes in this show one is Frollo magical shenanigans, the second is Quasimodo’s family quest and finally the greedy types steal which hurts the innocent. There are some overlaps like in episode 7 when the thieves threatens France by threatening France/the King seems another thing this show likes to do to up the stakes. But the common thread in every single episode is that Quasimodo is awesome. This time he is awesome to orphans.
I do appreciate the Lon Chaney reference, Dennis says the highwayman is a man of a thousand faces. It something so I will take it.
Also I think Esmeralda like-likes Quasimodo. Is very cute.
Episode 10: Dragon Rock
Well, Cartoonishly Evil Magician Frollo-type is back.
In this episode the Gang of Pals is doing some charity work for an impoverished village where Esmeralda used to live. Consequently, a guy from there named Carlos has a crush on her. When the gang gets there it seems that the village doesn’t need charity because of “The Generous one’ who lavishes gifts on the villagers and asks for nothing in return, yet.
Of course it’s Frollo who has a masterplan and part of it is to ensnare the village with stuff. Greed and being selfish is bad, that is the lesson of the day.
So what is Frollo’s plan? His plan is to build a fortress that is hidden in the stony hills and arm it well enough to destroy all his enemies and to roll in gold from the royal treasury. However he is still at the groundbreaking stage so he needs his Mountain Smasher which is exactly what it sounds like. So he smashes the mountain causing water from an underground lake to pour towards the village.
Carlos learns that being a selfish underling is bad and helps the gang. They trick Frollo and get him to smash the mountain that causes the water to get redirected toward his lair. Frollo orders the water to stop but it doesn’t work.
In the end the village uses the water for their farms thus solving their issues with being impoverished.
Frollo is very confusing. He wants power and money and he wants to get it through strength of arms and yet he invented a machine better than dynamite. A few episodes ago he had no issues with Da Vinci’s toy machine for this purpose but now he wants to get through a weird long game plan. Oh well, he does get some funny villain lines.
It seems mean-spirited to make digs at all the weird little things so yeah they are there and shugs. I suppose cactuses in France and the superpowers of the Traveler’s horses and wagons are all part of the charm of the show.
Also I kind of wish Azarof’s name was Azaruff, bad joke sorry.
Props to the show for the Hunchback reference. It’s always appreciated.
This episode is a François focused episode, Oh joy of joys…
See no one likes François’ poetry except a group of mean thieves who get in François’ good graces by praising his poetry. They only do this so they can rob Notre Dame. GASP! Also in this alternative time-line the Magna Carta is at Notre Dame. I have no words for this. I’m out of words.
The most important thing that the thieves steal is a book of the King’s memoirs which holds state secrets which means the state of France is in jeopardy. So at the near 15 minute mark Frollo’s villain senses tingle and he gets in on the plot. Oh Cartoonishly Evil Magician Frollo-type you never cease to disappoint. Never.
Anyway the book is retrieved and brought back to Notre Dame and François learns his lesson. Not a lesson in writing decent poetry but trusting people who praise you for nefarious reasons.
A highlight of this episode was as François was returning the book to the office, Quasimodo does a swivel chair reveal this BUT since the show knows that swivel chairs were not a thing there is a chair scraping across the floor sound effect. It just made me smile.
Also here is a handy formula for how an average episode goes, Thieves + Frollo + France or the World in danger x Dennis + François’ bad poetry x Quasimodo is super awesome = An Average Episode of The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo
All in all not a fan of this episode but maybe François is better in smaller doses.
Episode 8: Witches’ Eve
It’s Halloween. It’s pretty much Halloween and if you thought we would get some spooky magical adventures for this episode well then you’re a bigger Fool than the King/Pope of Fools.
No, this episode is a backstory episode on Quasimodo and his super awesome noble parents who could be alive. GASP! And that is not all, Quasimodo’s real name is Jacques.
You see at the Witches’ Eve party, The gang of pals meet a nice lady named Maria, who was Quasimodo’s nurse maid and is the one who saved him from his home burning down. She also left him at Notre Dame but DIDN’T stick around to tell Dennis his real name or lineage out right. But then the plot wouldn’t happen so we can’t blame her for logic. So it’s fine. It’s fine. This is fine. Everything is fine.
She also tells Quasimodo that his parents could be still alive living amongst peasants. So then it’s a race between Frollo and Quasimodo along with the pals to get to the maybe awesome de Bernisacs. They alas get away.
Also Esmeralda is proving really violent. Like she jumps on a guy’s back and later threatens him with a frying pan. No shade, it just an interesting new take on the character. Though Disney’s Esmeralda had her moments.
And an important takeaway from this episode, Horses don’t like bad poetry. They just don’t. So always run a poem by a horse to assess a poem’s quality.
While a spooky magical fun times episode would have been great, a backstory is not bad since the quest for Quasimodo’s origins and parents seems to be the running plot thread of the show. But did they have to lump it with medieval halloween time? It could have been that Art Festival they were planning back in episode 7 or some other festival that they always seems to be having that Dennis is somehow always in charge of organizing. We could have had it all.
Speaking of spooky fun times, as I watched this episode during the spooky season which is complete coincidence, I thought it would be fun to assign Hunchback costumes to the Magical Quasimodo versions of the characters;
I’m starting to feel like I’m in some altered state watching The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo. Like, it looks like Hunchback they say it’s hunchback but it’s just not. I don’t know what this is. I don’t hate it but it’s weird.
Quasimodo and his pals find a carrier pigeon with a damaged message that mentions “world dominion” and a drawing of a war machine. Quasimodo then tells Dennis who tells the King. Frollo’s plot senses go off alerting him that he needs to be a villain for this episode and snoops on Quasimodo. Frollo overhears the plot of the episode and decides he wants the war machine for reason and enlists a shape shifting witch named Camilleon to assist. Frollo saved her from the gallows which is our novel/hunchback reference of the episode. There is also a discussion of repairing Notre Dame with limestone so I guess we get two. Frollo needs Camilleon to get close to Quasimodo to learn what he knows about the war machine, its location and who made it. She fails but she does gain animosity towards Esmeralda and asks Frollo to get rid of her.
So a clue points the crew go to Vinci, a small Italian village, and you can guess who made the war machine at this point. It’s a small young boy who gets bullied for being different because he invents stuff and paints. I do really wonder who this painter inventor person from the town of Vinci could be, it’s a real puzzler. Also one could go off more on being a historical grump but I’ll let it go aside for one thing later.
Quasimodo and the boy instantly bond. Turns out the war machine message was just a big olde misunderstanding, the boy would never take over the world, only a bad guy would ever try to do that. And then Frollo shows up and there are dangerous shenanigans. Camilleon tries to kill Esmeralda and François with the classic using magic to redirect a river to destroy a tower with them on a top, what a cliche. And for whatever reason Camilleon leaves early. Villain 101 states that you must make sure the deed is done. Quasimodo then uses the boy’s flying wings to save his friends. And it’s the secret of the Hunchback all over again.
Also Frollo tries to steal the war machine but it falls apart. Classic Frollo.
And before the gang of pals leave they learn the name of the boy and it’s exactly who you think it is. It’s boy Leonardo da Vinci.
I don’t want to be THAT person, I really don’t but Leonardo da Vinci would have been 30 in 1482…
Cartoonishly Evil Magician Frollo-type continues to be an utter delight so all is forgiven for now. I also just love that Frollo just knows when to involve himself.
Episode 6: The Invisible Thieves
This episode has our gang of pals going with Angelica to Avignon because it’s to bring your awesome person to the Traveler’s camp day party thing. Basically Quasimodo is awesome and don’t you EVER forget that! Angelica is then accused of stealing the family jewels from the Duke. GASP! She has 2 days to return the jewels or she will be exiled and imprisoned for life. What? How does that work? I’m confused. Oh well the point is, it’s a bad punishment.
The crew tries to help and while they find a clue at the scene of the crime they speed up the clock to midnight for her exile to go into effect. GASP! They then find the thief real quick. It’s a creepy puppeteer who is using the jewels on the puppets for decoration. Why? Who knows. He’s a creepy weirdo. Also he has some kind of magic but it’s not explained in the slightest or even how he used the puppets to steal the jewels. Anyway everything works out and Duke begrudgingly apologizes to Angelica for his accusation. Hooray!
It took me a second to figure out why I didn’t like this episode even on the same level as the other episodes thus far. And the reason is no Frollo and creepy puppets but mostly no Frollo. Frollo’s brand of “evil” is too delightful. Though his name could be Bob and the effect would be the same.
Quasimodo says the “Bells of Notre Dame” which is a cute and nice reference to something related to the source material but this episode is in Avignon for some reason. Avignon is almost 700km away from Paris. That is 430 miles to people who don’t know the metric system, like me. So either screw geography which is fine OR Quasimodo has supernatural hearing, a departure from the novel to say the least. Or he thinks every Church with bells is Notre Dame. THOUGH to be fair and we must be fair, there is a cathedral in Avignon called Avignon Cathedral or Cathédrale Notre-Dame des Doms d’Avignon, so maybe that is what he refers to. Though grumpy-me really doubts it. Pox on me for being unfair to a weird children’s show from the 90s. It’s suppose to be fun and I’m ruining it with no fun logic. That is why I need Cartoonishly Evil Magician Frollo-type to distract me.
I do like how this show goes out its way to kidnap a character and/or take a character out of the action for a second. In this episode’s case Esmeralda trips and hurts her ankle and François gets stuck in the puppeteer’s creepy wagon and needs Quasimodo’s help.
Quasimodo bridal carrying François makes up for it for things slightly but not enough either.
Feast, Festival, Carnival it’s all the same thing in the end. What is different is the contest in question. But let’s put a pin in that for the moment.
So The Carnival of Fools is being prepped by our gang of pals, Quasimodo, Esmeralda and François. The King drops by and is most pleased with their work. But who will judge the contest? What is the contest? The ugliest face of Paris like in the book and most of the adaptations? No, that is too mean-spirited. This contest is that the best performer will win the chance to perform for the King. And of course the gang of pals are judges, mostly because they asked.
Enter The Jester, who is a super honest looking sort of gentleman, right? He is also a magician like Frollo who he seems to be in league with. So he enters the contest and wows Quasimodo, who has been taking his role as a judge super seriously.
However it turns out the Jester wants to steal the King’s crown which Frollo also wants. The actual crown with the jewels. Not sure why Frollo would want that aside from wanting to rule, maybe he thinks whomever has the shiny is King. Or he just wants to play dress up.
Anyway Esmeralda figures out the Jester’s plot using a sixth ability she has. She also has some illusion based magic that comes from her locket which was more detailed this episode. The Jester however ties her in a chest before his performance for the king so she can’t tell anyone.
Esmeralda then busts out of the trunk she is being held in and informs the crowd as the Jester makes his getaway but he is followed by Quasimodo
But before Quasimodo can catch him, Frollo runs into the Jester and takes the crown and the Jester gets away. Quasimodo vows to the king that he will get the crown jewels back because Quasimodo blames himself for the whole thing. Esmeralda sends François to follow while she sees her contact in the streets, not sure what that means.
Quasimodo’s search leads him down to the spooky underground tunnels which houses something that looks like a sea turtle. Which is rather random but also delightful. However Quasimodo and François get caught by Frollo, who does display a lot of self knowledge, he knows he is a “fabulously good magician and a truly evil man.” I appreciate that he knows who is and perfectly content with himself. He is not a complex villain with moral ambiguity, then again for the times and genre wise this would have been very rare.
Frollo then demands that Quasimodo and François entertain him and then transform François into a cat because cats are entertaining the internet is proof of that.
So while Azarof chases François distracting Frollo, Quasimodo and the Jester form a plan. The plan goes great as they get the crown back. Eventually Esmeralda comes for them with the help of cat François and Quasimodo secures possession of the crown from the Jester, who does his best Gollum impression when he thinks the crown fell out while they were running.
With the help of Dennis and books of magic at Notre Dame, they revert François back to a stinky human. Darn he could have been a cat.
This episode has a moral about trust and openness. One shouldn’t distrust people because of a bad experience. One’s openness and willingness to trust may be the very thing to save your life. And while that is not the worst moral I can’t get over magical books at Notre Dame. Sure whatever, in this version Notre Dame seems more like Hogwarts than a religious site. Though I guess it would be more like Beauxbatons Academy of Magic, since the setting is France. Then again I’m not the biggest fan of Harry Potter.
As Quasimodo, Esmeralda and François enjoy a nice outing they notice a lot of very strange things occurring. Geese flying backwards in the sky, a critical donkey getting stuck in a tree and autumn just happening all at once.
Of course Dennis just so happens to know the answer instantly from a book. Very simply a star is about to fall to Earth which will bring the end of the world within 24 hours when the moon rises. And only our gang of pals can stop it by destroying the star. The star looks like a pink crystal.
Meanwhile, The Oracle, a pal of Frollo, pops into Frollo’s underground layer, which is very tastefully decorated. The Oracle shows him the power of the star using a small fragment, which makes explosions. Frollo is very into this magical items and wants more. The Oracle agrees to bring him to the rest of it if they form a partnership, which Frollo agrees. Frollo then dubs himself “The Star Master” and he wants to rule the world. The Oracle is content to be Frollo’s top advisor.
The gang of pals set out to find the star and notice more weird stuff, like berries tasting like lemons and vine monsters trying to kill François. Then get captured by some thugs that Frollo and The Oracle employ. They escape only to get captured again by Frollo’s stone gargoyle whose name is apparently Dragon, maybe?
In the end Frollo allies leave him though he did doublecross The Oracle and the thugs peace out because of the Star’s chaos magic. He half-heartedly tries to recruit Quasimodo, Emeralda and François but to no avail but the mere attempt was very endearing.
Dennis and Angelica show up to help destroy the star by throwing into a volcano that magically appeared after the star fell. Everyone works to push the star up into the volcano and the volcano pushes the star back into orbit and the world is saved.
The premise of this episode is very creative and quite high stakes for a Hunchback version.
Aside from the names, and the concept of the village of thugs, this episode does not feel like it was inspired by any version of Hunchback. That is not inherently a bad thing but worth mentioning. For the most part this show has seemed somewhat grounded in the source material up until this episode.
The only real Hunchback-ish reference was a random man who was wearing glasses that was holding a sign reading “blind.” Very Court of Miracles.
The first episode ofThe Magical Adventures of Quasimodo, sees our boy, Quasimodo, meeting Esmeralda and her brother François for the first time. Right off the bat, François is the Gringoire character. Not sure why he was not given the name Pierre but there you have it. He’s François.
Esmeralda and François are performers but they do engage in some more devious methods of money making. Mostly Djali tears at on-lookers’ coin purses and François tells the person who then gives him a reward for his honesty. Only bad guys would actually steal.
François is also a delightfully bad poet, I loved his poem. Seriously, it made me laugh.
Esmeralda is performing when she spots Quasimodo who is atop Notre Dame. They take an instant liking to each other. Quasimodo in this version is sixteen years old and he seems to function more as cleaner of the cathedral and not so much as the bell ringer.
Esmeralda and Quasimodo cross paths properly when he saves her from being arrested. But why is she being arrested? For performing without a license, which is just a form of exhortation as Esmeralda explains.
So Quasimodo helps her but gets arrested himself. Esmeralda and François along with Djali bust him out of prison, using a combination of skills in their skill set.
While that is going on there is a plot to kill the King. Oh No! Frollo, who is a magician and does something at Notre Dame, has hired a guard to recruit a thug who is in prison to carry out an assassination plot during a masked ball. It’s while Quasimodo is in jail that he overhears the plan and then enlists Esmeralda and François to help.
The crew of new pals thwarts the thug but then Frollo decides to do the deed himself because gosh darn does he want to rule France. Again Quasimodo thwarts the plan using Frollo’s dog, Azarof, to sniff him out. Frollo is caught with a dagger and gets away after he brings gargoyles to life and flies away. Because this Frollo can and does that.
This episode showcases Quasimodo, Esmeralda and François’ ingenuity as they very effortlessly solve the conflict. It also shows us that Frollo is truly evil as he is mean to his puppy-dog.
Also it is weird to see the King so nice. That is a new interaction for Louis XI.
Episode 2: Frollo’s Revenge
Or Frollo Strikes Back! No, one calls it that.
This episode is about Frollo’s retaliation for getting banished to the spooky underground tunnels after his coup failed. Far be it for me apply lines of successions on a children’s story but even if Frollo did murder Louis XI, he would not have been crowned but Frollo despite being a magician is none too smart. Or blinded by ambition.
Qusimodo learns about his backstory from Dennis, the archdeacon. His parents were super noble nobles and alchemists who were very close to learning how to make gold from lead. They were doing this to help the poor being they are super noble nobles.
Dennis gives Quasimodo a medallion which is most likely his family crest, which is an eagle holding a snake. Interestingly enough the symbolism of the eagle for a family crest is “Emblematic of fortitude and magnanimity of mind.*” And the snake is “Emblematic of wisdom & medicine.*” Not sure if this was intentional or not since eagles and snakes are common but it does showcase Quasimodo bravery and intelligence as well as his parents for being more or less scientists. The snake symbol has ties to Hermes who has connections to alchemy.
As this is happening, Esmeralda, François, Djali and their adopted Grandmother Angelica are leaving Paris along with the other nomads at noon. This bums Quasimodo out but he convinces them to meet him in the square to say a proper good-bye. This is when Frollo strikes using his dog to steal Quasimodo’s medallion to lure him underground in the aforementioned spooky-ooky tunnels.
Once down there Frollo turns rats into human-size guards, complete with helmets and swords. This is bad news for Quasimodo because he hates rats.
Esmeralda figures out something is wrong when Quasimodo doesn’t show up and she and François help out. She manages to halt the rat by giving them the cheese she had bought earlier.
In the end Frollo summons a green whirlpool looking vortex thing. Quasimodo is hanging on to Frollo who is begging Quasmodo not to let go because though he was mean to him in the past it was for Quasimodo’s own good. Remember Frollo used to do something at Notre Dame and watch Quasimodo grow up. Quaismodo doesn’t drop him if only to get this medallion back. Frollo then rages but then leaves by magical means.
Also in the end, Angelica takes a supervisor cleaning job at Notre Dame which means Esmeralda and François can stay in Paris. Hooray!
Frollo tells Quasimodo that his parents were not nobles which is a departure from the novel. As Frollo’s parents were low ranking nobles, petty nobles, who had a small fief of twenty-one houses according to book four chapter two of the novel. If you want to get really specific it’s the estate of Tirechappe.
And it’s Quasimodo who is descended from nobles. Which is a departure from the novel but there is magic in this version so let’s just not hold it against the book too much.
Also this version of Frollo seems more like Aladdin’s Jafar than either the book or Disney’s Gaston which was the case in two other off-Disney versions of Hunchback.
Well the time has come to take up the mantle of reviewing a Hunchback version geared at children once again.
The Magical Adventures of Quasimodo has been long been requested. I watched the first episode maybe two years ago and I was ambivalent towards this version. I found it neither good nor awful. It was a children version that was clearly not for me, a grumpy person and perhaps at the time a super judgmental adult who reviews Hunchback versions on the internet.
Now all that is possibly still true but I like to think I’ve soften over the years regarding my views on Hunchback versions. After all it has been nearly two years since I have reviewed a version. But now I’m reviewing this one. Not sure if my less “angry critic” approach will be make for entertaining internet content but oh well. C’est la vie.
Very simply, it’s a 26 episode Canadian children’s TV show that came out in May 1996. Same year as the Disney version.
Some very introductory differences are that Esmeralda has a brother, named François. Frollo is a magician and has a dog named Azarof. It seems according to wiki that he “plotted’ to kill the king of France. Though that could just be his thing throughout the show (spoiler it is). And Esmeralda and François have an adopted Grandmother called Angelica. I’m sure there are many more differences to be revealed.
A bit of house keeping. As of this moment I’m not sure what the the schedule for reviews will be nor do I know how many episodes will be covered in each post. The aim is more than one. I don’t know much right now. If you know Meyers-Briggs at all consider me a super P type right now.