Produced by South African animation studio, Triggerfish, Kizazi Moto: Generation Fire is a gorgeous, unique, and visceral display of animation and storytelling. With ten distinct episodes in this anthology series carefully crafted by a team of African animators, there is something new and exciting to experience in each segment. Blending different mythologies with a sci-fi and fantasy aesthetic, Kizazi Moto is easily one of my favorite animated series this year.
The first episode, titled “Herderboy,” takes us to the Chwezi Highlands. It’s here we see the first blending of sci-fi tech with the natural surroundings and get a glimpse of the coming-of-age through line that appears in all ten episodes. In the second short, we leap over to South Africa in “Mkuzi: The Spirit Racer.” Featuring a more classic animation style, the energy of this short is fast and electric. Perfect for a story focusing on high-speed racing. Following is “Moremi,” which pulls inspiration from Yoruba legends.
We dive deep into oceanic waters in “Surf Sangoma,” where family legacies tie into the backdrop of rapidly rising ocean waters. If you’re afraid of squid, best to skip this short. They get a little scary here. The most traditional coming-of-age story is “First Totem Problems,” where we watch Sheba take part in her totem ceremony and it goes a bit awry. Tackling influencer culture and colonization is “Mukudzei,” and it reminds us how easily it is to lose sight of ourselves in the midst of fame pursuits.
In “Hatima,” we get a major dose of fantasy. A great war between the air breathers and water dwellers has erupted. It isn’t until they learn the origins of their existence that healing can begin. From Egypt, we get “Oracle,” a tale of a girl in pursuit of her destiny when society refuses to give her one. Diving even more into influencer culture is “You Give Me Heart,” reminding us how easily fame can come and go and who all we are making out to be gods. Wrapping up Kizazi Moto: Generation Fire is “Enkai,” which transports us to Kenya. Tackling topics like pollution, the impact of colonization, and more, this beautiful episode packs a wallop.
It’s an understatement to say that all of the episodes of Kizazi Moto are breathtakingly stunning. Featuring a wide array of art and animation styles, each team brings their own unique perspective to their respective episodes. While each story is different, the connective tissue between them that binds them together is that each one features a main character coming of age in some fashion. Whether it’s overcoming a fear, becoming an adult, or having the blinders taken away, all of the protagonists featured in Kizazi Moto: Generation Fire level up.
It is no easy feat to tell a distinct and tightly wound story in ninety minutes, let alone the ten minutes that each team was allotted for their episode. Yet, all of the episodes of Kizazi Moto are great examples of tightly succinct storytelling. While certain episodes like “Hatima” and “Surf Sangoma” feature stories that could be expanded on if given the greenlight, you don’t walk away from any episodes feeling like you wanted something more. A lot is conveyed to us in those ten-minute segments.
With the emphasis of these episodes focusing on coming into one’s own, Kizazi Moto: Generation Fire seems geared towards kids 8 and up. There are some scary moments in certain episodes like “Herderboy” and “Surf Sangoma” that may turn younger children away. That said, both kids and adults will appreciate the smart storytelling of the anthology series. The visuals alone will inspire all generations.
Kizazi Moto: Generation Fire boasts talent ranging from Zimbabwe, South Africa, Uganda, Nigeria, Kenya, and Egypt to create this introductory Afrofuturism series for wider audiences. No story feels or looks the same, giving each team an opportunity to bring their own perspectives into the mix. Tackling subjects such as colonization, the destruction of the planet, and the transition from childhood to adulthood, there’s so much packed into each episode for us to take away.
Each episode of Kizazi Moto: Generation Fire is rich with detail and impact, and will leave you feeling full. Everyone will have something that jumps out at them in this series. For both kids and adults alike, step into this exciting visual experience and get a taste of Afrofuturism like you haven’t seen before.
Kizazi Moto: Generation Fire
Each episode of Kizazi Moto: Generation Fire is rich with detail and impact, and will leave you feeling full.