You know how we grew up watching Samurai Jack, Dexter’s Lab and the Power-puff Girls? We didn’t have any cartoons that we could relate to and the kids these days still don’t. There weren’t any cartoons those days depicting childhood in Africa let alone Kenya.
The cartoon characters didn’t eat what I ate and they sure as hell didn’t speak like I spoke. Not many cartoons today show our kids Kenyan culture. It’s no wonder I didn’t grow up excited about my Kenyan-ness despite its richness. A short animation called Ma-Otero seeks to change that.
“Ma-Otero” is sheng for Heroes. It’s a production by Avandu in collaboration with Tsunami Studios. Both of them are animation gurus in their own right. Avandu is the same talent that brought you Kade Ule Mtoi Mrui.
Ma-Otero is based on a comic by Mmbasu Mbwabi and is directed by Salim Busuru. It follows the lives of four youngsters who live in Nairobi. The first episode indicates that they are really close and that their favourite pastime is cleaning up Nairobi as a vigilante crew. The kids aren’t actual superheroes, but in their minds they are. And what superhero wouldn’t be complete without superpowers? (Except you Ironman) These kids have super speed, lightning, they can fly, and also have super speed.
I love the kids’ alter-egos. There’s Otero Blue, the kid who is always boasting about scenarios he was in that we all know didn’t happen. Otero Prime is the leader who always has a plan. The muscle, who is seemingly the strongest of the quartet, and Otero Small who is the only girl in the group.
The graphics are beautifully done. The setting is familiar- it’s Nairobi’s city centre. I spotted City Hall and KICC in the back. Ma-Otero is also entirely in sheng- a language we grew up learning and converse in.
Ma-Otero is a must-watch for any 90s baby. You’re going to love the visuals, funny script and the fact that it depicts what it’s like growing up as a child in a world that isn’t dominated by smartphones and apps.
I thoroughly enjoyed watching this and you can bet that the Avandu Facebook Page is bookmarked on my browser.
Watch the first episode of Ma-Otero- “Ma-Otero Wameingia” here;
In the last scene, you’ll notice one of the kids seems suspended in the air as he jumps up and down.