Not now, Maria. It's Joaquín time.

—Joaquín Mondragon

Joaquín Emilio Mondragon Jr.[3] is the tritagonist in the film The Book of Life.

Physical Appearance

Joaquín is a young man dressed in a blue uniform reminiscent of the uniform clothing from the Mexican Revolution. He bears brown epaulettes decorated with gold stars and gold strings. He wears two bandoliers around his chest and has many different medals covering his chest. He has white trouser pants and black knee high boots. He also wears a detachable black cape with red lining and a sombero. He has a dual sword holder on his back which holster two silver and gold swords with a brown handle. 

Joaquín has short brown hair, a very handsome mustache, and a goatee. His eyes are hazel green or green with white highlight from the top of his cornea to the middle of his pupil. At the end of the film, he wears an eye patch.


Joaquín is a friendly, duty-driven, authoritative, and confident soldier. His greatest dream is to be a great hero like his father was. However, Joaquín can be very selfish as he sees himself as the greatest man to ever live, to the point where he starts putting his own ambitions before the feelings of his two best friends.

Though, Joaquín is not completely uncaring or self-centered. He than realize when his actions have gone too far or caused people sadness. Although he may seem a bit sexist, he does not act that way shamelessly, being rather "socially awkward" and influenced by the beliefs of other men. Since he has always admired Maria's fighting spirit and even hit a fellow soldier for making an inappropriate comment about her.

In The Book of Life

Joaquín is first seen in the movie as a young child with two of his best friends, Maria and Manolo. Both Manolo and Joaquín try to impress Maria to win her love, with Manolo playing his guitar while Joaquín relies on his strength, and persistence in becoming just like his father, Captain Mondragon. When Manolo and Maria are called by their fathers, Joaquín is left alone. He heads to his fathers' statue, and questions Manolo giving bread to La Muerte, disguised as a human. Joaquín then hears a noise from a building adjacent to the statue. When he enters the archway, he is greeted by Xibalba, who has disguised himself as an old man. He asks if he can have some bread, but Joaquín states that the bread is for his father. When he is offered a medal as a trade, he believes it's an old medal, but when Xibalba reveals that whoever wears the medal cannot be hurt, Joaquín accepts the trade, and hands over the bread. Xibalba warns Joaquín about a bandit that will stop at nothing to get the medal back. He realizes it could be Chakal, but when he looks for the old man, he is nowhere to be seen. Joaquín then is shown the next day refusing Marias request to free some pigs just because she does not like bacon. When a giant boar attacks Joaqiun, he attacks the boar back and doesn't get hurt due to his medal.



Like Manolo, Joaquín had a crush on and infatuation with Maria when they were young kids. He still remembers her as the three of them grow older and is stunned by her beauty upon seeing her again. Joaquín begins to see Maria as just another young woman, forgetting that she has a rebellious and independent personality and nature in favor of how he sees a woman who just worships him.  

Despite this, Joaquín's feelings for María are genuine and in those ten years he had only thought of her, waiting for her to return; as he showed by keeping the bonnet she had lost the day she was sent to Spain. Unlike General Posada, Joaquín tries not to pressure María to marry him, and waits patiently for her response. 

After Maria hears of Manolo's death, she agrees to marry Joaquín in great sorrow. It is then that Joaquín begins to realize Maria's love for Manolo and that he is being very selfish for putting his own happiness and joy before Maria's.


Manolo and Joaquín have been best friends since they were young boys. Joaquín does understand that Manolo lives under the great shadow of his family of bullfighters and sympathises because he, himself, feels the same pressure of living in his father's shadow. Their friendship has shown to remain strong throughout their lives. While Joaquín was learning to march he briefly stopped to wave hello to 'Manny', and when they were young adults, he stopped his crusade of fighting bandits to see Manolo's first bullfight.

Joaquín uses every advantage he has to gain Maria's love and heart, even when he sees her smiling as Manolo sings for her. He fights (almost) with Manolo when the two of them point out the other's family issues and storms out of Maria' grand welcome back party afterwards. Later when he sees his best friend carrying back Maria's (comatose) body, Joaquín angrily blames Manolo saying her death was completely his fault. Even going so far as to say "it should have been Manolo who had died instead of Maria". But that fury disappears when he finds out about Manolo's death. The death of his best friend Manolo is somewhat the catalyst to Joaquín realizing that his very selfish actions have caused terrible unhappiness onto his two best friends.

When Manolo returns, Joaquín remains in the fight and battle against Chakal and his army of banditos by aiding Manolo and Maria. Even he secretly give the Medal of Everlasting Life to Manolo at his own expense to ensure he will come out alive.

Captain Mondragon

He is the deceased father of Joaquín. Joaquín highly esteems his father and dreams to become a great hero just like him. But at the same time he feels pressured and that he lives in the shadow of his father.

Family Tree

Captain Mondragon
Captain Mondragon
Gertrude Mondragon
Matilda [4]
Joaquín Mondragon


Joaquin's autograph

Joaquin's autograph.

  • Joaquín is loosely based on Jorge's childhood friend, Mauricio, who died when he was nine. His death led Jorge's mother to teach him about Día de los Muertos and the rest of its history. There is a dedication in Spanish to him at the end of the credits.
  • Joaquín is truly known to be Joaquín Jr., because his father was named as Joaquín Mondragon Sr., according to animator and director Jorge R. Gutierrez on his Twitter webpage account.
  • Joaquín's mare's name is Plata. He got her as a gift from his father as a graduation present from the academy.[5]
  • Joaquín's artistic talent is calligraphy, as told by Gutierrez on his Twitter webpage account again.
  • After war hero Captain Mondragon's death at the hands of the bandit king Chakal, Joaquín Jr.'s mother, Gertrude Mondragon, left the town of San Ángel, leaving her only son in the care of General Posada.
  • Gutierrez's Twitter page implied that Joaquín formerly lived in the Mondragon mansion.
  • Joaquin's rank in the military was Private First Class [6].
  • Joaquin is the best dancer between himself, Manolo, and Maria. [7]
  • Joaquin is related to Frida Suarez from "El Tigre". [8]
  • Joaquin was originally going to die in the bandit raid, crushed by his dads statue, which would have been the moment he gave Manolo the Medal of Everlasting Life.
  • Joaquín will be able to see "things" with his bad eye [9].


Posters and Concept Art