Chanul are a race of spirits that appear in the Disney Channel show Elena of Avalor. The Chanul are inhabitants of the Spirit World. In the Ever Realm, they have the role of acting as a spirit guide for humans and pivot them towards the right path.
All chanuls have a carefree and educative personality due to their roles as advisors and guides, but like most sentient races, there can be different types of chanul; some may even exhibit unique facets that mirrors the human the chanul is paired with. Not all chanul are necessarily spirit guides, as was the case with Bobo, but they are capable of becoming one. Every human has their own chanul, although an individual chanul may be paired with more than one human. Despite this, the spirit guide has a connection with their humans, thus they know where their human companion is at all times.
In general, a chanul's role is to be the human's conscience; the chanul is responsible for helping the human consider their decisions and actions, but it is up to their human to decide what they must do.
Most chanuls seen have the form of glowing, anthropomorphic animals with a cyan-blue color scheme. When a chanul is summoned, the size may be subject to change, as was seen in the case with Zuzo - when he was summoned by Sofia and Mateo, he was as large as a wolf; when he appears to Princess Elena, he can be the size of her head or that of an ordinary fox. The notable difference between a normal chanul and a chanul that is a spirit guide is the presence of magical stripes across the spirit guide's body, which will light up when a chanul is being summoned. Some chanul also appear to wear jewelry or earrings.
Powers and abilities
As spirits, chanul are invisible to humans, including their own human counterparts. They are capable of disappearing and reappearing wherever they please. The only beings capable of seeing chanul are the wizards that summon them or humans imbued with special magic like Elena. Chanel can also practice magic of their own via special items from the Spirit World. However, spirit guide chanul are capable of entering the human world and bringing others to the spirit world through the use of their magic stripes.
Zuzo is a prominent character in the show. Having transferred to Elena as his human double, Zuzo provides Elena with advice on during her career as Avalor's ruler. Elena and Mateo are the only ones who can see Zuzo, due to residual magic the Amulet of Avalor left on Elena and Mateo's affinity with magic.
In the episode "Spirit Monkey Business", Elena enters the Spirit World and encounters other chanul, including the laid-back Cacahuate (who is Mateo's chanul) and the ambitious Bobo. It is also explained that chanuls attend a spirit guide school on the spirit guide branch of the Spirit World in order to become spirit guides themselves, and those that graduate earn their magic stripes in recognition.
- In southern Mexico, the chanul is an animal spirit that was believed by the Tzotzil people to share a part of a human's soul, effectively making it the animal companion to that human. It was said that whatever happened to the chanul also affected their human counterpart.
- In Elena and the Secret of Avalor, Zuzo appeared with a significantly different appearance instead of how he normally looks in Elena of Avalor. According to Craig Gerber, this was because the Sofia the First crew was the one that made the special as opposed to the Elena of Avalor crew.