Onyx Equinox Review 2020 Tv Show Series Season Cast Crew Online
Creator: Sofia Alexander
Stars: Sofia Alexander, Olivia Brown, Alejandro Vargas-Lugo
Crunchyroll Original anime Onyx Equinox takes viewers into Mesoamerica. In the series, Izel (Olivia Brown) is humanity’s only hope, chosen to represent “the lowest of the low” by the god Quetzalcoatl (Zeus Mendoza) to help win a bet against Tezcatlipoca (Arin Hanson). Quested to close the four gates of the underworld, Izel is no longer alone, joined by twins Yun (Patrick Pedraza) and K’in (Juan Arturo Maldonado). Having left the Mayan city Ox Te’Tunn last episode, the trio uses the Ulama artifact to find the next gate in Onyx Equinox Episode 4, “The Stranger.”
Guided by the artifact and Yaotl, Izel, K’in, and Yun find the Mayan temple in Lakamha where at the second gate they encounter Zyanya (Carolina Ravassa). A young warrior from Danibaan, Zyanya offers them her help to close the gates, so long as they help her save her people. While Yaotl is suspicious of the stranger, the boys are in awe and are quick to befriend her.
While on their way to Lakamha, we get a brief look at the relationship building between the trio. While Izel is still working through his anger at the twins, the twins have to contend with the idea that they can’t return home, and if they do, their guardian might be there when a god appears over Ox Te’Tunn. There is a moment that needs to be quoted in the conversation. While we’ve seen Izel struggle with his grief since episode two, Yun and K’in don’t have the time to handle theirs, and they know it. When Izel asks them if they’re okay, they list the things that are wrong, and say, “Not okay at all, but we have to be.” The twins serve as a comedic pair. Polar opposites in their disposition, this is the one thing they share: perseverance. And it’s clear that this resiliency is what Izel will learn from.
The Zyanya is a phenomenal addition to the cast of characters. She’s physically strong, sure of herself, and more capable than any of the humans we’ve seen so far. While this makes Yaotl question Izel’s qualities as a champion, we get the chance to see a strength and ferocity from humanity, and it’s brought to the surface by a girl. Plus, Zyanya’s character design is phenomenal and a welcome change from how we usually see female characters animated. Zyanya is visibly muscular, and the beauty of her deep brown skin against the yellow face paint is one of the series’ phenomenal animation choices.
That said, Onyx Equinox Episode 4 doesn’t only introduce a new character but builds out the mythology for the audience to understand. First, audiences are told the difference between Maya and Olmec, and further establishes a historical timeline. This is important because many Americans with no connection to an Indigenous history in Mesoamerica, and those who use Mestizaje to erase Indigenous history, paint the Indigenous history as one monolith. In truth, the great empires that get the spotlight were a part of thousands of years of history, changed over time, and encompassed many tribes. While Onyx Equinox doesn’t go in-depth, it does showcase the long history of indigenous people in Mesoamerica.
In a scene between Yaotl and Quetzalcoatl, the feathered-serpent god, we learn more about the gods’ plan for humanity. Quetzalcoatl explains the cycles of creation to Yaotl. The gods create one iteration, wash it away in destruction, and then they create a new one. Now, they’re on the fifth incarnation and Izel must protect humanity from being wiped out again. Explained in the simplest of terms by Quetzalcoatl, it helps situate Onyx Equinox’s story in larger mythology.
Finally, it must be noted that I got the chance to watch both the Spanish and English dubs of Onyx Equinox Episode 4 which has informed my rating of this episode. By watching the Spanish dub first I was able to take in the story and animation without being distracted by some of the English voice actors’ inabilities to pronounce certain Nauhautl and K’iche’ words. This was important for this episode because the entrance of Zyanya is also the entrance of voice actress, Carolina Ravassa. This makes the unaccented trio of Izel stand out even more in a negative way in the English dub. From “Yaotl” to “Ox Te’Tunn,” the anglicized pronunciations stand out against Lakamha’s pronunciations. Additionally, the scene between Yaotl and Quetzalcoatl mentioned above, is the only scene from the English dub that holds the same intensity in English as it does in Spanish—due to the voice actors involved. I mean, even “Izel,” the name of the hero, isn’t pronounced the same away across the different characters.
Overall, Onyx Equinox Episode 4 is beautiful when it comes to animation and story. It’s the strongest episode so far shows more about Mesoamerican mythology in a way that both teaches and offers up an immersive story.
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