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tek's rating: ¾

Kizazi Moto: Generation Fire, on Disney+
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This is a series of animated Africanfuturist (distinct from Afrofuturism) short films from various African studios, overseen by Triggerfish Animation Studios in South Africa. It was released on Disney+ in July 2023, but I didn't watch them until February 2024. (The title "Kizazi Moto" is Swahili for "The Generation of Fire", according to Bing Translator, so having the English words "Generation Fire" seems kind of redundant.) Originally, I rated each short film individually, but later decided to give a single rating to the series overall.

Herderboy (CGI; 12:25)
In the highlands of the Chwezi Kingdom in Uganda, a boy named Ndahura secretly follows his older sister, Katono, and two other herders, who are protecting a herd of cyborg cattle from evil spirits. Katono wants him to go home, believing he's too young for such a dangerous job. But he's determined to prove himself. That's all I'll say about the plot, but I thought it was a pretty decent story.

Mkhuzi: The Spirit Racer (12:38)
A half human, half alien teenager named Manzo longs to become a great racer like his legendary mother, Mkhuzi, as well as to reconcile his half alien heritage with his Zulu heritage. Mkhuzi is retired from racing, but is challenged by the current champion, Ogun, who had lost to her before she retired. He buys up the town where Mkhuzi and Manzo live, and threatens to demolish it unless she accepts his challenge. (Which reminds me of The Karate Kid II.) So she does accept, but on the day of the race, Manzo disguises himself as his mother to race against Ogun himself. I don't want to reveal how it ends, but I will say the whole thing is chaotic and frenetic in a very anime-esque way, which was cool. But I feel like it would have been a better story if it could have slowed down its pace more than it did, just some of the time. The animation (which as far as I could tell was traditional, not CGI, but I could be wrong) was great fun to watch, but it was hard to get too invested in the characters.

Moremi (CGI; 12:35)
Um... I didn't really understand this one. The story a mother tells her kid at one point helps a little. But it still didn't make a ton of sense to me. I'm not saying it wasn't good. But it wasn't really something I could fully appreciate.

Surf Sangoma (CGI; 11:36)
There was this kid named Njabulo who was out in the ocean with his grandmother, a legendary surfer, when she got dragged under by glowing squids or whatever. Years later, Njabulo is still haunted by the incident, but he works as a surfing coach at like a theme park or whatever. His best friend, Mnqobi, has fallen in with a gang that surfs in the ocean outside the city wall, which is now illegal because of how dangerous it is. Mnqobi tries to get Njabulo to join them, but he refuses... until the gang steals his grandmother's surfboard and tosses Mnqobi into the ocean without a board. So Njabulo grabs his board from the gang leader and dives in to save his friend. when he nearly drowns, he has a vision of his grandmother, who encourages him. And... I feel like I've said too much already. It's a really weird short (I haven't even mentioned the weirdest part), but I think it's cool, in a dystopian naturepunk anime sort of way. I could see myself getting into a longer story than this, if it toned down the weirdness just a little, some of the time.

First Totem Problems (11:50)
So... this young woman is supposed to get a totem (tattoo) which apparently marks her as an adult. While her family squabbles, she goes through a waterfall I guess, into the ancestral plane. There, a couple of her ancestors fight over who gets to give her a totem. It's all very weird, but sort of sitcom-ish, or something. I think it seemed as weird to the protagonist as it did to me, which is somehow comforting.

Mukudzei (CGI; 12:07)
A teenage social media influencer named Muku films himself spray painting graffiti on a monument in Great Zimbabwe, when suddenly he finds himself flung into a futuristic alternate universe due to a time glitch. There he meets a girl named Rumbie, and the two of them have to avoid a mechanical bird that's chasing them, while making their way to a portal into Muku's own time and space. Along the way, Muku makes a realization about Rumbie's identity, which I don't want to spoil, but I thought it made the short even better than it already was.

Hatima (11:55)
There's a society of merfolk who are at war with humans, and one merboy is impatient to become a warrior and avenge his father's death. There's a substance called Hatima which the surface-dwellers use as a weapon against the merfolk, but the merfolk use it for healing themselves. Meanwhile, there's a sick surface-dweller who discovers Hatima can be used to cure her illness, but it has a surprising side effect, which I won't spoil. Eventually, the merboy and a human he was fighting discover an ancient secret that could change everything.

Stardust (CGI; 13:20)
A girl named Nawara asks an Oracle who is handing out scrolls of destiny for a scroll of her own, hoping to make something more of her life than what she was born into. The scrolls are created using a power source called a star. When Nawara finds that her scroll is empty, she takes off through the desert in pursuit of the Oracle, and steals some scrolls from him. But when he is attacked by bandits called Pallids, she tries to defend him. More stuff happens, but that's all I want to reveal of the plot, except to say it has a happy ending.

You Give Me Heart (11:32)
So... there's this competition to become the new god of creativity. An unknown sculptor named Sundiata competes against two other artists, judged by Maadi, the Goddess of Plenty. But that's just the first round. After that, Sundiata must attain a million followers on social media to win the competition and become a god, himself. Or will he choose a different ending to his story...?

Enkai (CGI; 11:28)
Okay, there's this sort of goddess, I guess, who uses her powers to try to save Earth, which is dying from the exploitation of its natural resources. Meanwhile, her daughter, Enkai, is worried that her mother is always working and has hardly any time for her. So I guess Enkai creates a new world for them to live in, leaving humanity to save itself. Or not. Who knows? But it was a fairly interesting short.

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