Hi everyone! I’ve got another candidate here that I’d like to nominate as pure good. Honestly, ever since I got around to watching this great series that they come from near the beginning of last year, I’ve been thinking more and more about whether I should make a proposal for this character since he struck me as an especially admirable figure, especially considering his limited screen time and prominence. Therefore, I recently took the time to rewatch the episodes that he either appears in or is talked about, and especially after doing that, I really don’t see any reason why not to. Opinions can always vary a little, but I’m pretty confident this guy is a solid keeper.
What’s the work?
Rapunzel’s Tangled Adventure, formerly known as Tangled: The Series when its first season aired, is a sequel to none other than Tangled, the movie that Walt Disney Animation Studios used to kick off the 2010s on a high note and prove they still had the magic. Unlike the movie though, which used computer animation like all their modern films, this series uses hand-drawn animation. Anyway, it kicked off with a short movie titled Tangled: Before Ever After, then went on to air for 3 seasons and 70 episodes all the way from March 2017 to just over 3 years later in 2020 (which also means it ended right when you-know-what became a global problem, but we’re not talking about that). Story-wise, it kicks off right where the movie left off with Rapunzel finally being reunited with her real parents, King Frederic and Queen Arianna of Corona. However, she quickly finds it difficult to adjust to her father’s overprotective nature, and after she ends up sneaking out with her maid Cassandra, she comes across some mysterious black rocks, which cause her long, blond hair to not only inexplicably return upon touching them, but magically imbue it to make it practically invulnerable.
After that, the series mostly focuses on lighthearted antics and day-to-day life in the kingdom of Corona for a little while, but eventually, the black rocks start coming back and spreading all over the kingdom, so eventually, Rapunzel and a bunch of her friends travel to a place that they lead them to called the Dark Kingdom to seek answers, which is primarily what the second season revolves around. Among other things, she learns her hair has been imbued with the power of an object called the Sundrop Flower, that the rocks are being created by its counterpart called the Moonstone Opal, and that they’re two halves of an ancient power seeking to be reunited. As is often the case though, that power has the potential to be used for either great good or evil depending on who wields it.
Who is he and what does he do?
Lord Demanitus is a fairly minor and mostly posthumous, but very important character in Rapunzel’s Tangled Adventure. In fact, he can reasonably be considered the overarching protagonist of the series. He was a brilliant inventor and engineer who existed thousands of years before the present tense in ancient times. However, he was also an avid adventurer, and set out with a sorceress named Zhan Tiri to find the Sundrop and the Moonstone, likely because he knew they were two halves of a great power that had been divided and sought to join together again, and that if they eventually didn’t, the Moonstone would keep creating black rocks until it destroyed everything. Unfortunately, his ally Zhan Tiri quickly went down a very dark path that she would never emerge from again and betrayed Demanitus by seeking to wield their combined power for herself.
The chronological order of how things transpired after that is a little unclear, but I’ll do my best to cover the events that are gradually revealed to have happened in the order I’m pretty sure they occur to the best of my ability. First, some time after this happened and the two became archenemies, Demanitus and Zhan Tiri confronted each other. Although Demanitus genuinely tried to reason with her to give up her foolish quest for power, as well as convince her they were genuinely allies until she made the quest all about gaining power for herself and turned her back on what was right, Zhan Tiri remained completely unrepentant, stubbornly insisted he was the one who betrayed her by not supporting her goal, and declares she’ll never stop trying to gain the Sundrop and Moonstone’s power as long as she lives. With a heavy heart, Demanitus acknowledges he’s aware of this and uses a portal he built to send her to the Lost Realm since at that point, it was the only way to ensure the safety of Corona.
Sometime while she was in the Lost Realm, Zhan Tiri came to possess some rather dark magic that allowed her to shapeshift into various forms, including a dark, hulking and menacing form that made many think she was a demon or a warlock. Anyway, she would then go on to corrupt 3 pupils he took on, one of which was none other than Mother Gothel, Rapunzel’s evil stepmother. They summoned her back, and bent on exacting revenge on Demanitus, she cast a spell that created an all-consuming blizzard to completely destroy the land of Corona, which she knew Demanitus cared about. However, Demanitus was able to create a sophisticated subterranean machine that would come to be known as the Demanitus Device. Having the power to change the wind’s trajectory, it neutralized the blizzard and saved everyone in Corona.
Around the same time, she would go on to corrupt the Great Tree, turn it into her stronghold and use its power to destroy anyone who got near it. However, Demanitus put a stop to this by using an enchanted spear to destroy the corrupted heart of the tree, releasing it from Zhan Tiri’s control. Using all his powers, he would go on to imprison Zhan Tiri in the Lost Realm a second time, along with some of her disciples like Sugracha the Eternal and various evil spirits that were loyal to her. He then went on to divide the Graphtic Scroll, which contained all his research on the Sundrop and Moonstone, including how to wield them, into 4 pieces and hid them so they wouldn’t fall into the wrong hands. Finally, to stay hidden from Zhan Tiri, he sealed his spirit into a monkey companion he had with him named Vigo, where he would lie dormant for hundreds more years until the time was right to emerge since he would only be able to do it once, and only for a few hours before submerging for good.
In the present, Demanitus’ heroic feats have since become legend and are sometimes shared by people like Xavier, a local blacksmith in Corona who’s very knowledgeable about their folklore. This ends up being a very good thing in the episode “Queen for a Day”, where it is revealed that unfortunately, Demanitus didn’t completely get rid of Zhan Tiri’s curse when she tried to destroy Corona with a blizzard; it just lay dormant until Corona was at its weakest, which happens when Rapunzel is forced to take the mantle as queen while her parents take a two-day trip. The blizzard starts up and gets progressively worse, but just as everything is looking hopeless for the citizens of Corona, Rapunzel approaches Xavier since he previously shared the story of how, using the Demanitus Device, Demanitus was able to stop a similar occurrence thousands of years ago. Xavier then leads her, along with Pascal and Cassandra to the subterranean device, and using it, they manage to stop the blizzard and save Corona, which he deserves a lot of posthumous credit for.
Next, Demanitus makes his most significant appearance in the late season 2 episode “Lost and Found”. Here, he finally takes over Vigor when the monkey accompanies Rapunzel and Eugene on their journey to the maze that he, himself, created to protect the 4th and final piece of the scroll when they arrive there (much to their initial surprise, of course). Thanks in part to his guidance, they’re able to navigate all the puzzles and riddles in the maze, make it to the center of it and get the scroll piece, but they also run into trouble when a stone guardian awakens and tries to kill them due to Eugene being stingy earlier and not being willing to offer a single coin to the fountain it resided over as a tribute.
Eventually, they get stuck in a tomb when hiding from it, during which Demanitus uses his final moments before his conscience submerges into Vigor for good to explain everything important that he hasn’t already. Among other things, he reveals to them that the final piece of the scroll contains the instructions on how to wield the Sundrop and Moonstone, that it’s very important that they are reunited since if they’re not, the black rocks the Moonstone is creating will keep popping up and seeking out the Sundrop’s power in Rapunzel until they destroy everything, that this power can be used for great good or evil depending on who wields it, and that the reason he designed all of the maze’s challenges to test one’s faith is because he wanted to ensure that whoever would get final scroll piece would be someone pure of heart enough to see the importance of having it. He then encourages Eugene, who admits he’s always been the kind of person who only believes in what he can see and doesn’t think he has the faith he’s encouraging them to have, by telling him to keep holding onto the faith he already has in Rapunzel. Just before he submerges for good, Rapunzel panics and desperately tries to ask him all her other questions, like how her hair works and what the Moonstone does, but he tells her she needs to find those answers on her own, and that of course, he has faith that she’ll succeed. Thanks to his advice about having faith, Rapunzel then stands her ground when the stone guardian breaks in and protects them with her hair’s shielding power, which destroys the guardian and allows them to escape the maze without any more problems.
Honestly, I can’t think of much to put here. Both from what we’re told about his past exploits and when we do see his personality when he finally appears in some capacity, mostly in the episode “Lost and Found” and a full flashback in the series finale, Demanitus doesn’t seem to have any sort of corrupting factors. He’s shown to be fairly stern, but nonetheless very kind and noble with no ulterior motives to his goals and all the good things he does, both in the past and in the present when briefly aiding Rapunzel and Eugene. For the sake of discussion though, I can see the fact that he used to be allies with someone as evil as Zhan Tiri raising some eyebrows, but in stark contrast with her, there’s nothing implying he ever intended to seek out the Sundrop and Moonstone for selfish or evil purposes. As soon as it became apparent she was after them for herself, he opposed her at every turn. So as far as we see and are told, his intentions were only ever benevolent, and all the things he did for the sake of protecting Corona and all its inhabitants from his formed friend only reinforce that.
Another nitpicky point is that I can see some people similarly raising an eyebrow at the notion of him creating a maze full of deadly traps to hide one of the pieces of his scroll, but he makes it clear he did it specifically to ensure that it was kept out of the wrong hands and away from the “unworthy”. Besides, this would only be a possible problem if anyone innocent ended up trying and getting killed, but there’s absolutely nothing indicating that ever happened; very few even knew about the maze, and most of the few that did were probably followers of Zhan Tiri, AKA the exact individuals he was trying to keep it from. Plus, it was largely designed to be manageable to anyone with a pure heart, making that possibility even more slim.
So to summarize, no, Demanitus has no apparent corrupting factors whatsoever. It’s extremely ironic that he was former friends with someone like Zhan Tiri when they turned out to be polar opposites; she Corona’s biggest and most dangerous threat, and he its most dedicated and valiant protector, but what can I say? People grow apart.
Admirable Standard/Goodness Zone
I think he easily passes this part too. Despite mostly being a fairly minor character who existed long before when the show takes place and most of his limited “appearances” consisting of other characters talking about him accompanied with illustrated flashbacks or showing his picture on a scroll, he handily stands out as one of the series’ most admirable characters. In fact, I’d go as far as saying he’s one of the only ones who rivals Rapunzel herself as the most admirable and heroic character in the setting. He devoted a good chunk of his life to protecting Corona and all its inhabitants against Zhan Tiri and her followers by standing up to and opposing all their attempts to claim the Sundrop and Moonstone and sealing her away on two separate occasions. And even then, he made a serious attempt to reason with her and implore her to stop the first time despite how irredeemably power-hungry she had become. He was even genuinely saddened about having to do it since he initially wanted to believe there was still good in her, even though he knew there wasn’t, which really demonstrates just how merciful he was and is. Also, his personal research on the Sundrop and Moonstone, which he recorded in the Graphtic Scroll, served as invaluable help to Rapunzel and her friends in navigating the dilemma with the black rocks as they assembled the pieces of it, which he divided up and elaborately hid in the first place to keep them out of the wrong hands.
Most notably though, if it weren’t for him proactively creating the Demanitus Device, Corona would have been destroyed by Zhan Tiri’s blizzard thousands of years before the series even began, and this same device allows Rapunzel to save everyone again in the present, meaning he’s responsible for saving the lives of everyone in Corona from certain death at least twice, once directly, and once indirectly. It that doesn’t stand out as especially admirable, I’m not sure what does. Oh, and pretty much all his heroism, including everything he did in the past, isn’t even merely offscreen/implied heroism; when people like Xavier and Adira talk about his feats, they’re accompanied by flashback illustrations of him doing those things, like saving Corona from Zhan Tiri’s blizzard and driving her out of the Great Tree. And even his acts that aren’t shown, like subsequently capturing all the evil spirits with the portal, have impact since we see them later on when most of the supporting cast temporarily get themselves stuck in the Lost Realm in the finale, further showing just how much he did to keep Corona safe.
Considering all of this, I would say Demanitus is a pretty easy keeper. The more I think about it, the harder it is to come up with any reasons why he doesn’t qualify, but if you think I somehow missed something important, let me know. Otherwise, I hope you enjoyed reading this and that my reasons are convincing enough for you to give him your vote of approval. Thanks for your time and see you around!