Combo Niños is a French animated series produced by SIP Animation in association with Jetix Europe and TF1 aimed at a 6-10 year old audience and aired on Jetix channels across Europe and Latin America in 2008.
Four colorful kids, Paco, Serio, Pilar and Azul are juvenile capoeira practitioners with the mission to protect the city of Nova Nizza from attack by mystical creatures from another dimension called "Divinos". The kids have the ability to transform into mystical beings in animal form by touching one of the totems that appear on the creatures. This form gives them unique skills that serve them in the battle against the Divinos and to perform special attacks called Big Blastico, used to return a Divino back to its own dimension.
Why It Rocks
- Like with SIP Animation's other programmes, the animation is very unique, with this show having an anime/manga-esque look to it and even having sweat drops. It is surprisingly quite detailed for a Flash-animated series.
- Likable characters.
- Interesting concept of having regular kids (well, they're really superheroes as well) turn into animal-like forms.
- Most of the humor is quite funny.
- Awesome music from Noam Kaniel and Alain Garcia (especially the opening theme).
- Above average voice acting and writing.
- A fun fact is that one of the voice actors on the series (James Keller) voiced all the male Divinos, and he gave them all unique voices to fit with their personalities. Now that's talent.
- Captures the spirit of Latin American countries very well, complete with some Spanish words!
- The Divinos, while being generic Villains of the Week, are quite creative.
- The series was in production for nearly five years and even then only lasted a single season of 26 episodes.
- The show wasn't very popular (especially in the UK, as it was removed from Jetix after only one month) and has never gotten any form of DVD release.
- The series never aired in the United States, akin to most of SIP Animation's shows.
- Many of the episodes have been lost in various languages, including English.
- The episode "El Gaseoso" is exactly what it sounds like (it has a lot of fart jokes).
- The music, while good, can get repetitive at times.
- Over-usage of stock footage, especially the scenes where the Niños transform into their animal forms, which is the same in every episode. It could explain that the show was likely made on a low budget.
- One example is in the episode "Masks", as in the episode the Niños wear different masks, but when they transform they have their old masks. How this this possible?
- Another proof is that the characters are controlled using Motion Capture, which most low budget cartoons use.
- The Latin American inspiration is evidenced by the clothing, food, and names, as well as the use of the Capoeira style of fighting. Some of the characters play a game called Novanoc that parodies the ancient game of the Mayans, the pok-ta-pok.
- The show was ironically very popular in Latin America, and has gained a cult following there.
The series has been appraised as part of a well-needed fresh wave of television programming at the time. The concept of introducing young viewers to capoeira via an animated medium has been viewed positively, though some aspects were criticized as not ideal.